Hammock camping, just like any other activity, needs the proper preparations to be thoroughly enjoyed. Having the right hammock accessories can make these preparations go much more smoothly.
In this guide, we present essential gear you should bring, some product recommendations, and other valuable items that can further enhance your hammock camping experience.
One of the first things to look for in hammock accessories is a sound suspension system; suspension straps are essential to hammock camping as they are what keeps your hammock hanging in the air; hammock tree straps are the best gear designed to hang your hammock. Hammock straps or webbings are made of sturdy, non-stretch material wrapped around two trees or two posts and attached to your hammock.
Essential factors to consider when choosing hammock cords are their load capacity, length, adjustability, and weight. You should also consider tree-friendly straps, which help minimize the damage done to the bark of trees.
A budget-friendly but still high-quality hammock strap, the Pro Venture Hammock Straps should be an excellent consideration for hanging your hammock. The cords are made of polyester, each of which has triple-stitching; the Pro Venture also has a potential load capacity of 1200 pounds, proving the sturdiness of these hammock straps.
Nature’s Hangout XL Hammock Straps are one of the most versatile hammock tree straps out there. With an absurd 28-foot stretch and number of attachment points at 48, you won’t have to worry when you hang your hammock; the combination of stretch and anchor points allow Nature’s Hangout to be very versatile and adaptable to almost any situation.
A rainfly is a definite must-have accessory for hammock camping. Camping outdoors means that you are exposed to the elements, and that can become a problem once weather conditions take a turn for the worse; a rainfly can shelter you from such circumstances and keep you dry.
A rainfly or tarp is a piece of gear that you hang over your hammock. Tarps give you and your hammock coverage and protection from winds and rain. In the summer, they can also provide a significant amount of cooling shade from the sun. Your rainfly can be hung on the hammock ridgeline if there is one, but it might move along with you when you move in your hammock; a better layout option that avoids this is to set up a separate line for your tarp instead.
Hammock tarps are usually made of waterproof material such as polyurethane-treated polyester, are sturdy, can have a broad coverage depending on size, and are typically lightweight. Depending on your needs and preferences, you can prioritize what properties of a hammock rainfly you want to have the most.
The Rainfly EVOLUTION is not only an affordable option for those on a budget, but it also delivers on quality. This hammock tarp is made of durable 210T diamond ripstop nylon, is coated with polyurethane double the industry standard, and includes an extra six carabiners and two accessory sacks.
It also comes with a bonus 5-in-1 Survival Kit Bracelet, which consists of a compass, whistle, flint, small knife, and a 10.5-foot military-grade rope. So indeed, the Rainfly EVOLUTION gives you value for your money.
If you are looking for a hammock tarp to provide the ultimate shelter from the elements, the Chill Gorilla Fortress 2 Hammock Rainfly Camping Tarp is the perfect choice for you. The Chill Gorilla Fortress 2 has four doors – which you won’t see regular tarps usually come with – giving you the best rain, wind, sun, and even snow protection from any side.
When hammock camping on a cold night or in cold conditions, especially during the winter season, having proper insulation is crucial. Because hammocks don’t mainly give warmth themselves, you will have to acquire hammock accessories designed for that; these items come in the form of quilts. Quilts are divided into underquilts and top quilts.
A sleeping bag, blankets, and multiple layers of clothing might help your upper-facing body keep warm, but they largely neglect your back portion. Laying in a hanging hammock means your back is not against the ground but is instead exposed to the open air. So, when chilly winds blow in the night, your underside will feel the brunt of the cold.
An underquilt is designed to help solve this problem. Underquilts are hung under your hammock, trapping heat there and thus keeping your back warm.
For a low-budget underquilt, the Snugpack Hammock Underquilt will fit you quite nicely. The Snugpack will keep you comfortable in 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures, is light enough, weighing at around 1.81 pounds, and easy to set up. It does take at least two weeks to ship, but at the price the quilt is at, the Snugpack is worth the wait.
The OneTigris Ultralight Hammock Underquilt is also another very budget-friendly underquilt option. The OneTigris has a durable water-resistant (DWR) coating, which helps you stay dry in wet weather conditions. Another perk is that the quilt is quite long, with dimensions of around 9.2×4 feet, giving you extra material to wrap around yourself. The measurements mean that it is also on the narrow side, but you won’t come across many underquilts that are as long and low cost as the OneTigris.
A top quilt essentially serves the same function as an underquilt but instead helps keep your front portion warm. Top quilts are a great addition to underquilts, giving you insulation for both the bottom and top.
The Paria Thermodown 15 Down Sleeping Quilt, as its name suggests, helps protect you from temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for even the winter season. The only downside is its weight coming at around 2.2 pounds, although if you want shelter from freezing conditions, the Paria Thermodown doesn’t disappoint.
For a lightweight option instead, search no further than the ENO Vesta Topquilt. Coming in at only around 1.75 pounds, the ENO Vesta is simple to cart around. It also has a decent temperature rating of about 35 degrees Fahrenheit and is easy to set up. This top quilt is on the smaller side, though, with dimensions of 6×4 feet, but the quilt’s lightweight property isn’t something you want to miss out on.
You are supposed to be relaxing when you go hammock camping. But, bugs can turn your good mood into a sour one in an instant. During the summer, insects such as mosquitoes can be a bad sign and bother to keep away even if you have repellant. Repellants may or may not last long, and even if they do, they usually have chemicals that can be harmful not only to you but also to the environment.
The best solution would be to get a bug net. A bug net covers your hammock with mesh netting that keeps insects away from you and still gives proper visibility and ventilation; they are also environmentally friendly. Some hammocks do come with bug nets, but if yours doesn’t, then it would be best to acquire your own.
The PYS Hammock Bug Net’s biggest pro is its coverage. Being one of the most extensive nets available on the market at 12 feet, you’ll readily have 360 degrees of protection. The PYS Net is also lightweight at around 1.3 pounds and easy to set up.
The Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock Bug Net is also lightweight at around 1.25 pounds, but its main feature is its low price point. Being relatively cheaper doesn’t mean it’s not sturdy, though, as the Wise Owl Net has triple-reinforced stitching for extra durability.
Other useful accessories
A ridgeline is a firm piece of cord that runs along the stretch of hammocks. You can use it to hang a rainfly, bug net, or other hammock accessories like small bags.
A carabiner is not just used to get your hammock attached to its suspension system. You can use a carabiner to clip smaller hammock accessories to your ridgeline, for example. And having extras doesn’t hurt either.
Ropes or paracords have plenty of uses on camping trips, such as securing gear, tying down rain flies, and hanging stuff.
Sleeping pads are hammock accessories that provide warmth, although not as much as quilts. Because a sleeping pad doesn’t trap as much heat, you can use them for less cold weather where a quilt would make you hot. Sleeping pads can also be extra insulation for colder conditions.
Stakes are generally used to set up and secure your rainfly when camping. However, some rainflies don’t come with stakes, so it would be prudent to bring your own if your rainfly doesn’t include them.
A hammock repair kit is a handy accessory to have when your hammock gets a tear while you’re camping outdoors.
You can use a stuff sack or bag to place and cart around multiple hammock accessories you have at your site.
A pillow can give you the extra comfort you need to sleep in your hammock. But, of course, there’s no such thing as too much comfort on a camping trip.
Do hammock straps hurt trees?
Thin cords or rope can dig into the bark of trees, which can also cause long-term damage such as stunted growth. Recommended strap widths should be at least 0.75 inches wide, but one-inch-wide straps are best.
Do you need a pillow in a hammock?
You don’t need a pillow to sleep inside hammocks, but some people may find it more comfortable to have one with them. You can also use cushions to support not just your head but your neck, sides, legs, and feet too.
Is sleeping in a hammock bad for your back?
Sleeping inside hammocks can be good for your back. When you sleep in a hammock, pressure can be relieved from your back, shoulders, buttocks, and other joints and muscles. The curved and narrow shape of hammocks also helps to support your spine, keeping it in place and preventing it from shifting to positions that could cause your back discomfort.
What do you need for a hammock?
The most crucial factors to look for in a camping hammock are how comfortable it will be and how well it will fit you. The most important criteria you can take into account are the hammock’s size and weight. It would help if you also looked for a sound suspension system as it supports your hammock and keeps it in the air; look for long and easily adjustable straps.
How can I make my hammock more comfortable?
A great way to make your hammock camping experience more comfortable lies with your sleep position. Instead of laying along the length of your hammock, you can instead position yourself around 30 to 45 degrees diagonal to it; this configuration spreads your body weight more evenly and allows you to stretch out more.
Hammock camping is a great outdoor activity, which you can enhance by bringing the right hammock accessories along. Some of your must-haves should include a sound suspension system, rainfly, quilts, and bug net. Of course, you can also bring even more gear if they help get you more comfort. There is no such thing as being too prepared to make sure you enjoy an activity you love to the fullest.