Camping hammocks are a backpacker’s best friend when travelling. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience. They’re super comfortable, easy to set up and much lighter than a tent. Best of all, they are affordable. Many camping hammock set ups include a mosquito net, rain fly, hammock and straps and will weigh and cost far less than most tents. Best of all, camping hammocks look cool and there ain’t nothing like inviting somebody attractive to spend a night in a hammock with you… It’s bound to be filled with LOLs.
Nowadays, camping with hammocks is all the rage among travellers who are on a broke backpacker’s budget. My camping hammock has saved me some serious cash and I far prefer sleeping in a hammock over a tent when I am in a hot country. Wherever you can find two trees or poles, you are sorted and can set up your backpacking hammock and catch some Zs for free.
Camping hammocks are pretty damn versatile and can be used as a rain cover, to hang out in, as a makeshift picnic blanket and, of course, as the perfect vessel to transport you to a land of sweet dreams.
Is there anything better than sleeping under the stars? Stargazing whilst on beaches, in the mountains or on a hostel roof (to save money y’all) is one of my favourite ways to drift off.
Sleeping above the ground in a camping hammock prevents most creepy crawly insects from jumping into bed with you, especially if your camping hammock includes a mosquito net. There have been many times where I’ve been totally shredded whilst sleeping in a tent that had unwittingly caught a dozen mosquitos.
A valuable tip when sleeping in your camping hammock – Know how to tie a good knot and set up your hammock before consuming alcohol. After a big night out, I attempted to hang up my hammock whilst drunk…. Needless to say, I woke up on the ground with a sore and ant bitten ass the next morning. Apparently, I’m not as good as I thought at tying knots whilst drunk.
It can be hard to find the right camping hammock when the market is flooded with different brands and styles and oh boy, there are tons of options out there. I’ve tried out close to a dozen hammocks over the last few years and recently, I launched a new venture of my own – selling adventure outdoor gear. The list below is the ultimate breakdown of the best backpacking hammocks around and, of course, I’ve included my very own, Broke Backpacker approved, Active Roots Camping Hammock for your perusal.
What to Consider when Buying Your Camping Hammock?
- Type of camping hammock
- Strength or weight capacity
- Suspension system
Type of Camping Hammocks:
There are many slightly different types of camping hammocks, utilising various blends of different materials and styles. Overall, you get what you pay for but there are some very competitively priced hammocks available on the market which still use superior quality materials.
Open Camping Hammocks
These type of camping hammocks also referred to as parachute hammocks, are shaped like a boat and can accommodate either one or two people. Although some parachute hammocks claim that they can fit two people, it’s often not a very comfortable fit. You’re supposed to sleep diagonally in your camping hammock and this can be tricky with two people. Two person, double, camping hammocks are longer and wider than standard hammocks so even when it’s just me sleeping in a hammock, I always travel with a double – it’s more spacious and comfortable and the increased weight and bulk is almost unnoticeable.
Open camping hammocks tend to be quite cheap, durable and fairly lightweight. However, they do not usually include a mosquito net. So keep in mind the potential extra costs associated with purchasing an open camping hammock as you may want to buy a mossie net as well. However, camping hammocks with mosquito nets are not nearly as cool to just hang out in so a standard parachute hammock, like the one pictured below, is usually your best bet for chilled times on the beach.
Ultra Lightweight Camping Hammocks
Lightweight camping hammocks are great for backpacking, hiking, climbing and trekking as they add hardly any weight to your travel pack but, in all honesty, hammocks are not heavy to start with so the premium pricing may not be worth it. If you forego weight on your camping hammock, you might also forego comfort. Although ultra lightweight camping hammocks are light as a feather they are typically less durable and less comfortable than parachute hammocks or expedition camping hammocks. If you only need it for a couple nights sleep here and there, or emergencies, then an ultra lightweight camping hammock is an ideal choice but personally, it isn’t my choice.
Expedition Camping Hammocks
Expedition camping hammocks are without a doubt the most durable camping hammocks, regardless of the weather. They’re designed for long term use, so they’re super comfortable and durable. Expedition camping hammocks can withstand a variety of conditions and have an asymmetrical design.
Many expedition camping hammocks include a ton of extras like guy-lines, rain flys and bug nets. Expedition camping hammocks are made to last – the whole point here is that you can sleep in this thing multiple nights of the year if you need to. The main drawback with expedition camping hammocks is that they are typically much heavier and pricier than parachute hammocks, but if you plan on sleeping in your hammock for 300 nights a year, this is the one to go for. If you want something for just a night or two a week, go with a parachute hammock.
The weight of your camping hammock will vary depending on the fabric and accessories included. Usually, the expedition hammocks weigh a fair bit extra as they include a rain fly and mosquito net and are made for long term use.
If you’re trekking, climbing or hiking, you’ll want to keep your pack weight down, so be sure to invest in a lightweight hammock. A few hundred grams may not seem like a lot, but every little bit adds up.
Typically the longer and wider your camping hammock is, the comfier it’ll be. When choosing the length of your camping hammock, take into consideration how tall you are and be sure to leave a little excess room at either end. I STRONGLY recommend picking out a double, two person, hammock even if it’s only going to be you sleeping in it.
The width of your camping hammock is more of a personal preference. I love having excess room either side of my hammock so I can wrap myself up like a cocoon. However, you may want to invest in a backpacking hammock that isn’t too wide if you get a little claustrophobic.
Hammock Suspension system:
The suspension system for camping hammocks generally consists of straps and carabiners. Most camping hammocks include the suspension system, however, some do not.
If you want the flexibility to set up your camping hammock wherever you want, be sure to invest in longer straps. That way you have more options with your attachment points and can stretch to reach that perfect spot between those two generously spaced trees.
When determining the desired strength of your camping hammock, you must take into consideration your own weight and the maximum weight capacity of your chosen backpacking hammock.
Overloading your backpacking hammock can significantly reduce the product’s lifespan. Be sure to take note of its maximum weight capacity before inviting someone back for hammock snuggles. Make sure you use a two person hammock or a four person hammock for that! #hammockorgy
If you want a strong, long lasting camping hammock, make sure it consists of high quality materials. A surprise fall is the last thing you want when you’re sleeping, especially if you’ve suspended your camping hammock high off the ground.
If you want an all round, weather resistant, camping hammock, then a mosquito net and rain fly are essential. Some hammocks are waterproof – keep an eye out for those. Most expedition camping hammocks come with the multiple add-ons included. However expedition hammocks do come with a hefty price tag, so take into consideration the added costs of extras if you opt to purchase these accessories separately from your camping hammock.
A mosquito net is essential when camping in jungles, beaches and low lying areas with still air or near water. I regretted not having one at a random beach in Vietnam and constantly being woken by the horrifying sound of the mosquito’s buzzing past your ears or the sand flies, once again, biting at my ass whilst I tried to grab some sleep after a long day of riding my motorbike. Many camping hammocks include an integrated mosquito net, which takes up far less room in your pack if you decide to purchase separately… On the other hand, if you are travelling somewhere where you need a mosquito net – i.e. most of South East Asia – it makes sense to have a mossie net separate from your hammock so you have more flexibility.
If you’re sleeping in your camping hammock in an area with a lot of rain, then a rain fly is a necessity. You’re better off investing in a rain fly that’s much bigger, to protect you from the wind and rain. This way you can attach it to the ground, keeping you dry if the rain comes with a gust of side winds. It’s definitely not fun waking up in a pool of water because you thought it wouldn’t rain during the night. If it looks especially likely to rain and you have stored your backpack and gear below your hammock, I strongly recommend digging drainage ditches flowing away from your gear.
Comparison of the 5 Best Camping Hammocks
|Ultra lightweight Double|
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|$||900g||3m x 2m||230kg|
|Oat Creek Outdoor||Expedition|
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|$$||1650g||2.8 x 1.2m||160kg|
|Edge Outfitters||Parachute Double|
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|$$||1020g||3m x 2m||230kg|
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|$||1900g||2.8m x 1.5m||230kg|
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|$$$||1250g||2.55m x 1.35m||230kg|
Best Overall Camping Hammock of 2017
I couldn’t go past this Camping hammock as the best overall camping hammock of 2017. It includes everything you need to sleep comfortably in the rain, hail or shine when backpacking; from the hammock to the tarp, a built in mosquito net, storage sack, ropes, pegs, hooks and a service card if there are any dramas.
You can chill in the hammock during the day, then zip up your mosquito net & hang your rain fly to sleep at night. The rain tarp is obviously waterproof, made from PU-coated polyester. This covered hammock provides generous protection from the wind & rain, and can also be used with all camping hammock makes or for shelter. There you have your little hammock tent for some cozy sleepy time!
This camping hammock is made from sturdy & durable Nylon. It’s quite generous in size and can accommodate two people if need be. If you’ll be hanging solo, you’ll have extra room to stretch out comfortably when sleeping. The maximum weight capacity 160kg, which is all you really need.
Best Lightweight Parachute Hammock
The Active Roots camping hammock is the best and most affordable lightweight parachute hammock. It’s super durable and strong, perfect for long term use. This is one of the biggest two person hammocks around so it’s got plenty of room for two people. This camping hammock model can withstand up to a whopping 230kg of weight & is made from durable, breathable, nylon parachute fabric.
The Active Roots camping hammock includes the full suspension system and is easy to set up and take down, it normally takes me about three minutes and is one of the best value hammocks on the market. This hammock is ideal for backpackers, as the whole set up only weighs 0.9kgs and includes a stuff sack for portable use.
Also, 10% of each sale is donated to the Elephant Conservation Center in Laos. By purchasing a camping hammock and supporting this cause, you help protect and save the elephants!
Best Value for Money Camping Hammock
There are a lot of different hammocks on the market but the best value for money camping hammock is undeniably the Sportneer backpacking hammock. This camping hammock is fully equipped with a mosquito net, preventing bugs and insects from pouncing on you in your sleep. It has added ventilation, allowing air to flow inside preventing it from getting hot and stuffy.
The Sportneer backpacking hammock has a maximum weight capacity of 230kg, so it can handle two peoples weight. However it’s only 1.5m wide, so it’ll be a super close, snugly sleep for two people. It also includes an interior storage pocket to keep your valuables safe and close by at night time.
It’s super easy to set up this camping hammock and it comes with all the necessary equipment you need, like tree straps, ropes, carabiners and hook holders. The Sportneer is the best budget camping hammock for real adventures.
Best Expedition Camping Hammock
The Hennessy expedition camping hammock is referred to as “the ultimate, all-in-one hammock”. You don’t need to purchase any extra parts because it comes with everything you need for any environment.Included in the package are a rain fly, mosquito net, tree straps, guy lines, steel carabiners and a stuff sack for the hammock – however, it ain’t cheap.
The Hennessy camping hammock allows for breathability whilst protecting you from bugs with its mosquito net. It includes a waterproof rain fly that can also be used as a sun shade and can hold up to 115kg of weight.
This lightweight hammock is strong and compacts down well; the whole pack will only add 1.65kg to your backpack, which is lighter than most sleeping bags. Plus it takes less than 3 minutes to set up.
Camping hammocks are a backpacker’s best friend when travelling. A hammock will come in handy in so many situations, plus they look cool.
There’s a ton of hammocks out there – Make sure you consider the style, weight, dimensions, strength, suspension system, fabric, price & accessories when determining what is the best camping hammock set up for you!
It’s ideal to pick a reputable brand, that way you know the quality is good and you’re investing in a product that’s long lasting rather than picking up a cheap hammock and regretting it.
You want me to just pick one for you? No worries amigo – The Active Roots Camping Hammock is a solid choice and 10% of all Active Roots profits go back into noble causes.
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