Hammock Camping!

nbp

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
10,732
Location
Wisconsin
We had a pretty slick hammock camping thread going, and it would be fun to continue the discussion over here.

Has anyone else camped sans tent/sleeping pad etc., using just a hammock for their shelter/sleeping accommodations? It has some pretty distinct advantages, IMO.

I have the Skeeter Beeter from Grand Trunk Goods, and it's pretty nice. Sturdy hammock below, bug netting above. I have used mine for backpacking a couple of times. Here's some reasons why a travel hammock makes so much sense when the weather is not too inclement.

-They are very light and small and stuff in their own sack, so they're great for backpacking.
-They are very fast and easy to set up.
-They are comfy.
-They keep you off the ground, where there are creepy crawlies, or perhaps flood waters or other hazards.
-They can be set up anywhere there are trees, whether the terrain below you is flat or pitched, or if there are rocks, roots, and debris that make sleeping on the ground impossible.
-They require no disturbance to the landscape or flora, and you can leave your camp without a trace. This is perfect for backcountry camping or staying in places you "technically" aren't allowed to camp. You can take down camp and have it in your pack in minutes.

I also purchased a Kelty Noah tarp to add to my hammock as a rainfly so that I am protected in the case of rain, but I have not had to use it yet. I would like to try to do some more backpacking and camping this way. If I backpacked more, I would probably invest in a more deluxe setup than I have, but this seems to work for me so far.

It's a really cool way to camp.
thumbsup.gif


My main challenge is that when it starts getting colder out, my back gets chilly since the cold air can circulate around me and my weight crushes the insulation in my sleeping bag. I see they have some hammock blankets that go around the outside of the bottom but I have not used one. Could use some tips and suggestions in that regard!
 
Last edited:

scout24

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 23, 2008
Messages
8,560
Location
Penn's Woods
Hennessy was our hammock of choice when my oldest was in Boy Scouts. I still have mine, his was a "Scout" model, which he has since outgrown. One of our troop's Eagle Scouts has a very nice cottage business making flys for hammocks and general use. The under hammock "Nests", or quilts, are the best thing since peanut butter for cold weather hammock camping. Good memories. :thumbsup:


IMG_0301.jpg
 

smokinbasser

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 19, 2003
Messages
1,193
Location
East Texas
I used to use a jungle hammock when I was motorcycling until I tied it between two trees and woke up to see a trains lights illuminate the hammock and I remember noticing train tracks but couldn't recall if I used two trees or two train caution poles. Jungle hammocks are not the easiest to get out of especially while trying to remember if I crossed the tracks while putting up the hammock. the hammock had a rainfly as the roof of the hammock. the train rocked the hammock as it passed by safely.
 

Woods Walker

The Wood is cut, The Bacon is cooked, Now it’s tim
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
5,435
Location
New England woods.
My main challenge is that when it starts getting colder out, my back gets chilly since the cold air can circulate around me and my weight crushes the insulation in my sleeping bag. I see they have some hammock blankets that go around the outside of the bottom but I have not used one. Could use some tips and suggestions in that regard!

Here I am hammock camping in the polar vortex. It's true that insulation of clothing and sleeping bags will get compressed. This is a bad thing for cooler temps. It doesn't have to be sub zero like in my pics for someone's back to get cold. Say even the 60's can be cool enough. The trick is to have insulation which can't get compressed under body weight. Under quilts, closed cell pads and insulated inflatables come to mind.




Open celled under pad with secondary silnylon bottom to act as a total wind break and trap some warmer air within the open celled pad. You can also see the insulated inflatable Exped 7 XS within the hammock. Like the open cell pad hung underneath it's insulation won't get compressed.



The Downmat 7 XS.



Also don't forget the Lithium batteries. LOL! I believe there was one in that Fenix HL20 seen above that has an old camo PT headband.
 
Last edited:

blackbalsam

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 18, 2009
Messages
1,585
Location
WNC
I do some hammock camping and also a member of Hammock forums. I have a Warbonnet Blackbird, A Dutch hammock and a Dream Hammock Thunderbird. For insulation I have 0 degree top and bottom quilts from UGQ and for warmer times a 40 degree top and bottom quilt form UGQ. I use a Warbonnet tarp and an underquilt protector from 2QzQ. They are great people over at HF as are the members here at CPF. Thanks
 

markr6

Flashaholic
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
9,262
Hammock camping is pretty much my life! I've only been doing it for 4 years, but I'll never go back to the ground. I decided to leave hammockforums after a moderator accused me of doing something I never intended. I must have hurt is little feelings. Very unprofessional. I won't be back.

I use either a Warbonnet Blackbird or Traveler (depends on bugs/no bugs)
Hammock Gear top quilts (20° and 40°)
Hammock Gear under quilts (20° and 0°)
warbonnet Superfly tarp or Mamajamba tarp depending on weather

I don't do summer. Heat, sweat, bugs, people, HELL!

My lowest was -5°F so far (-21 wind chill). That was cold enough. I think that's where I'll call it quits! It's not the sleeping, it's the little things you have to do around camp that make it difficult.

IMG_7486.jpg



Just a few weeks ago (October 17) I was up in northern MI. Got to hang in the first snow of the year :)

101715.jpg



March 2015 - having coffee in southern IN

IMG_9155.jpg



February 2015 - NE Michigan

IMG_8318%20copy.jpg



Manistee River Trail Fall 2014 - MI

NCT_MRT6.jpg



Snowshoeing in 34" of snow February 2014. One of my favorite trips!

004.jpg
 

Woods Walker

The Wood is cut, The Bacon is cooked, Now it’s tim
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
5,435
Location
New England woods.
I really like that tarp Markr6. To be honest given how comfortable the downmats are hammock camping in winter is becoming a harder sell for me. Used to do it more before discovering Exped.
 

markr6

Flashaholic
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
9,262
Thanks! For years I've always said I would still use my tent in the winter. But it didn't take long for me to give it a shot and use my hammock year round.

My back is starting to get sore every morning from the mattress at home, so I really try to avoid the ground. I just don't know where to put my arms! They fall asleep when I'm on the ground.
 

nbp

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
10,732
Location
Wisconsin
You guys rock! Thanks so much for the great pics and info. The quilts look like exactly what I need. I am going to need to do some reading and researching on those for sure. If I could make my hammock system warmer, I would be all for doing a winter hike. My work schedule slows down to a crawl in the snow so I have the time. Haha.

What is everyone's preferred way to attach to the trees? I had used some climbing rope and knotted loops in it. It works fine, but on my last trip I found they weren't quite long enough. I had to go with two trees that were a little too close together since I couldn't go farther, and ended up with my body kind of folded too much for comfort. My buddy stole the two best trees in the campsite and we were on the side of a ravine so I couldn't get too far off. I see that Grand Trunk has these new trunk straps which are made of webbing with a ton of loops and they are 10 feet long each, so that gives way more options. I might pick up a set of those.
 

Woods Walker

The Wood is cut, The Bacon is cooked, Now it’s tim
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
5,435
Location
New England woods.
You guys rock! Thanks so much for the great pics and info. The quilts look like exactly what I need. I am going to need to do some reading and researching on those for sure. If I could make my hammock system warmer, I would be all for doing a winter hike. My work schedule slows down to a crawl in the snow so I have the time. Haha.

What is everyone's preferred way to attach to the trees? I had used some climbing rope and knotted loops in it. It works fine, but on my last trip I found they weren't quite long enough. I had to go with two trees that were a little too close together since I couldn't go farther, and ended up with my body kind of folded too much for comfort. My buddy stole the two best trees in the campsite and we were on the side of a ravine so I couldn't get too far off. I see that Grand Trunk has these new trunk straps which are made of webbing with a ton of loops and they are 10 feet long each, so that gives way more options. I might pick up a set of those.

I have been using repelling rings for the past few outing with good results. If you look at the end of tree hugger straps you will see the two aluminum blue rings.



They work on friction and I don't need to tie a knot to hang and adjust the hammock. I will do several half hitches just to make sure but no real knots are needed. Two rings per side, one larger benier and a strap.
 

markr6

Flashaholic
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
9,262
What is everyone's preferred way to attach to the trees?

I like the standard webbing straps some hammocks come with. Easiest to adjust with the buckles (just like a backpack/belt). Smaller/lighter "whoopie slings" are popular, but I like the simplicity of straps. Whatever you use, you should use at least 1" wide straps to prevent tree damage. No, I'm not a "tree hugger" in the usual sense, but I really like them :) You'll find a lot of research online about cordage damaging the inside of a tree. I'm not sure I buy it completely, but erring on the side of caution is just good practice IMO.

When in the woods, I walk between trees to roughly measure off 15'. I find that to be the ideal spacing. Get both straps hanging around 30° angle. Hang the foot end about 10" higher than the head end. Perfect!
 

markr6

Flashaholic
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
9,262
In the "adventure fail" thread, you may have seen my post about forgetting my hammock this past weekend. What a mess :(

But I think it was a blessing in disguise. I ended up driving to the sporting goods store and buying a Grand Trunk single. Man is that thing comfortable!!! I didn't need a third hammock, so I never would have tried one of these otherwise. I certainly overpaid by about $20, but what can you do. They're cheap enough on amazon now that I can't really sell it for a decent price even if I wanted to.
 

more_vampires

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 20, 2014
Messages
3,475
Man, my last hammock camp attempt was pure fail.

In the area where I'd planned to be, there were nothing but dead tree limbs above. The weather radio said high winds, rain, and lightning. Sigh. I hadn't even pitched the hammock yet, turned around, left the woods. :(

Discretion is the better part of valor. I didn't want to wake up with a tree branch stuck in me.
 

markr6

Flashaholic
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
9,262
Sometimes I set up and forget to check above/around me. I've been know to set up, notice it, then move. I always try to avoid obvious areas with lots of blowdowns. But you never know; you can set up between two perfect, strong oak trees and still get crushed. I try not to think about it too much. But when that wind kicks up...you start looking around!
 

more_vampires

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 20, 2014
Messages
3,475
Speaking of stuff we try not to think about, am I the only one who thinks about getting bitten on the butt by a wild animal while hammock camping?
 

markr6

Flashaholic
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
9,262
Speaking of stuff we try not to think about, am I the only one who thinks about getting bitten on the butt by a wild animal while hammock camping?

No, but I've heard of people actually getting nudged by curious coyotes, foxes, whatever!
 

scout24

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 23, 2008
Messages
8,560
Location
Penn's Woods
Markr6- Lol at the hammock left behind, but only because I've forgotten tent stakes and poles before. Thankfully we had my saw, and a bunch of 550 cord so all was not lost, Definitely won't do that again! Gotta check all the equipment before we go...
 

markr6

Flashaholic
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
9,262
Markr6- Lol at the hammock left behind, but only because I've forgotten tent stakes and poles before. Thankfully we had my saw, and a bunch of 550 cord so all was not lost, Definitely won't do that again! Gotta check all the equipment before we go...

The worst part is I have a nice spreadsheet with the item, weight, and when (temp-wise) I usually take certain things. I crossed them all off, but still forgot the hammock AND cell phone charging cord. Fail!

But like I said, it turned out OK because I'm liking this $50 hammock even more than my $100+ hammocks! It's currently serving as my indoor napping hammock. I got in this afternoon for a few minutes...woke up 90 minutes later, missing my plans for dinner!

GT_hammock.jpg
 
Top