When backpacking, weight is often an extremely important factor. The more weight you carry, the harder your trip will be. That’s why many elect to scrap the tent setup, and purchase a backpacking hammock setup. It is often an incredible, ultralight method for sleeping in the backcountry. Here, we will cover everything you should consider when purchasing the best backpacking hammock for your situation. If you’ve never hammocked before, be sure to check out our complete guide to hammock camping.
How To Choose A Backpacking Hammock
Quite simply, your hammock needs to be long enough to be comfortable. You’ll want a hammock that is at least 2 feet longer than your height. This tends to mean that almost all hammocks are good or all people, but very tall individuals may want to pay close attention to this to ensure they are purchasing a hammock long enough.
Hammock Size (Single Vs Double)
Most people are not sleeping in hammocks with two people. Purchasing a double is more about having some additional space and comfort while by yourself, but also some additional comfort if you plan to use your hammock or just hanging out as well. Having a double will enable you to utilize a hammock for more than one person when just relaxing.
Most single hammocks have a 4-5 woot width which will save weight over a double, but will be less spacious. Weight limits on singles are often in the 300-450 pound range, but do keep in mind that some weight limits are in the 200-250 range or singles. Therefore, heavier individuals should watch for these limits.
Not all hammocks list material specs that help you understand how durable they may be. A common term used for hammocks is “denier” which a higher denier number indicates more durability. Durable and heavier models will have high denier ratings (example – 70) while lightweight models may have lower ratings (example – 35). A lower denier hammock will be lighter, which is a big plus or those looking to cut weight, but will wear out more quickly.
Many hammocks will come with a suspension system that makes hanging them up far quicker and easier. A simple rope may be the lightest option, but having a suspension system will make the process a whole lot easier and safer. You don’t need to purchase a hammock with this, as you can buy tree straps easily at any time. We highly recommend tree straps for tree health. If utilizing a rope directly on the tree, you could be damaging the tree, so you’ll want to either use tree straps, or place some type of protection on the tree where your rope is applying force.
Rain Tarp System
Many hammocks come with rain tarp system to keep you dry during precipitation. This is basically a necessary item for any backpacking hammock setup. Yet again, this can easily purchased separately, but some hammocks come with rain systems that it really nicely with the hammock you purchase.
For camping in cold weather, many backpackers will simply use a sleeping pad stuffed in the hammock or warmth. This is a great idea, but or ultra cold nights, and underquilt may be necessary or warmth. Again, this can be purchased separately, but should be considered if cold nights are likely in your backpacking hammock ventures.
Bug Net System
Some hammocks will come with an attached bug net system. This is a huge bonus, but does add some weight. If camping in buggy areas, you’ll definitely want this, but keep in mind you can easily purchase a hammock bug net separately from the hammock you purchase.
Know Your Intended Use
If you are backpacker, you’ll likely want to invest in a lighter system, that has smaller pack sizes. This saves you weight, and valuable space in your bag. If you plan on car camping a lot, the weight and pack size may not be a factor at all, so you’ll want to elect for the most comfortable and durable features. Simply make the choice that best its your needs.
Finding the best camping hammock brand can be tough. There is a lot of competition. Some brands specialize in lightweight options, others in durable options, others in budget friendly options. You will simply need to weigh what you are looking for to make the best decision. We also always encourage those to look at the brands social values and mission. Given that you are camping in the great outdoors, it is often a great idea to invest in gear from a company that has at least some social responsibility.
Jack is the co-founder of daily trekking, and loves to travel and hike. Jack is an expert in hiking and outdoor activities and helps travelers and adventurers find the best gear, and destinations.