Hammock tents are used by a lot of backpackers. This is especially true of thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail.
But are hammock tents comfortable? Hammock tents are comfortable to sleep in but only if you know how to use them properly. Set the hammock up incorrectly, sleep in the wrong position, or forget to accessorize them properly and you’ll end up very uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, many people do just that. They fail to use their hammock tent correctly and they blame their discomfort on the hammock. This leads them to return their hammock and they end up missing out on all the benefits of hammock camping.
Don’t be one of these people.
Read through the rest of this post and I’ll tell you everything you need to know to get a comfortable night’s sleep when sleeping in a camping hammock.
There are five steps you need to take to ensure that you’ll have a comfortable night’s sleep when camping in a hammock.
These steps include:
- Choosing the right hammock.
- Picking a good campsite.
- Setting up your hammock correctly.
- Sleeping in the right position.
- Taking control of the temperature.
Choose the Right Hammock
All camping hammocks are not created equal. They aren’t all meant to be either.
Hammock makers have come up with a variety of types to fit different campers and you’ll have to find out what type suits you best before committing to one.
For your reference, you can choose between the following types of camping hammocks:
- Asymmetrical hammocks.
- Symmetrical hammocks.
- Gathered hammocks.
- Bridge hammocks.
- Single Layer Hammocks.
- Double Layer Hammocks.
- Two-person Hammocks.
I’ve gone over these types of hammocks in detail on my post titled, The Guide to Hammock Camping. My advice on choosing a hammock for camping would be to read the guide and then narrow down your selections to one or two hammock styles.
Once you’ve narrowed things down, you can then begin to focus on hammock materials and hammock brands. Some hammocks are easier to set up than others so be sure to test out whatever hammock you buy before you take it out on an overnight trip.
Choose a Good Campsite
One of the big advantages of hammock camping is that you can set up your hammock in areas where a tent or bivy setup just wouldn’t be practical. You can even hang your hammock at the top of a mountain or over a river.
However, just because you can set up at the edge of a mountain or over top of a river, it doesn’t mean you should.
Imagine setting up next to a river or a cliff with beautiful views. You take a bunch of pictures for Instagram and then you drift off to sleep.
Several hours later you wake up to answer the call of nature only to accidentally climb out on the wrong side of the hammock. Now you’re in a freefall down the cliffside or trying to swim to the surface of a deep river.
If you must feed your Instagram account, set the hammock up in these places, take your pictures, and then take the hammock down and bring it to a safe location.
Choose a place away from hazards. Inspect the area just like you would before setting up your tent for the night and make sure it’s safe away from dead trees, animal dens, and insect nests.
Set Your Hammock Up Correctly
Setting up a hammock isn’t the hardest task in the world but it is more difficult than setting up a tent. You’ll need to know how much space you need between trees, how to use your hammock straps, and how high to place your hammock.
On top of this, you’ll also want to make sure you have bug netting as well as a tarp set up over your tent. You aren’t going to be comfortable while tent camping if you’re getting rained on or eaten alive by mosquitos.
Sleep in The Right Position
Sleeping positions are intuitive aren’t they? With hammock camping, the answer to that question is a strong no.
When you sleep in a hammock, you need to sleep differently. In most cases, you’ll need to lay diagonally with your feet slightly raised up.
Of course, this will vary depending on what type of hammock you decide to get, so make sure you find out the best position for sleeping in your particular hammock before you head out on the trail.
Learn How to Keep Warm or Stay Cool
A hammock gets you off of the ground and makes it easier to keep warm or stay cool depending on the weather. However, it also makes it easier to get too cold and to get too hot as well.
To combat the cold, you’ll need an underquilt and possibly an over quilt as well. To combat the heat, you may want to set your tarp up higher and you may even want to set you hammock up in an area that will receive both shade and airflow.
Here is a good video from Outdoor Adventures detailing the different types of hammock quilts you can use to stay warm.