My family’s hobby is Lewis and Clark reenactments. Ok, maybe it’s a little strange, but eating around an open fire and camping in a canvas tent was one of the ways I grew up loving the outdoors. As I thought about this post, I realized the ancient tradition of tent camping has been around for centuries – back through the time of Lewis and Clark to the Dark Ages and beyond. Compared with this long-accepted practice of constructing a framework of poles surrounded by a fabric enclosure to pitch a tent, stringing a hammock between two trees is very much the new kid on the block.
Sleeping in hammocks is not an entirely new concept. Years ago, when my parents brought back a rope hammock from a vacation in Mexico for our deck, I quickly found it was great for napping. But recent developments in materials (i.e. parachute nylon) have made hammocks a ton lighter and more durable. This has jump started an exciting recent development in the work of outdoor sleeping. Hammock camping.
There is a huge and growing community of passionate hammock enthusiasts who have chucked their tents in favor of swaying in the trees. For bugs, you can get a bug net that encloses the hammock. For rain, you can string and stake a tarp overhead. In all the accessories they even make special hammock down bags that surround the entire hammock to keep you warm.
Although Elizabeth and I cannot claim to be among those most ardent hammock campers – we have camped and slept overnight in our hammocks only once during the trip in Congaree – every time I set up our hammock at camp I want to be. I find the benefits of hammock camping super intriguing:
- Less camping gear – Forget your tent and sleeping pad. Even the pillow and sleeping bag are optional. Hammock camping is great for the pocketbook.
- Less weight and space – Less gear means less weight to lug around. Stuff sacks means hammocks pack down super small.
- More comfortable – Comfort is a matter of opinion. However, depending on your sleeping pad, being suspended in the air without pressure points can be a nice improvement.
- Health benefits – Studies show that lying on your back with your head slightly elevated is the ideal way to sleep. Learn the right way to sleep in a hammock here (hint: diagonal).
- Versatile campsites – When the ground beneath you doesn’t need to be flat or smooth, you have lots more options for where to camp. You can also more easily set up in an area with primo views. Plus it doubles as a seat big enough for two.
- Less impact on campsites – With appropriate suspension straps, no one will be able to tell where you slept, unlike a tent site.
- Easy set up – Hammocks are faster to set up and take down than any tent I know of.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever go 100% hammock. Some limitations I’ve found include treeless terrain, very cold weather and National Parks (like Dry Tortugas) that don’t allow hanging stuff on trees. But I definitely want to do more because the benefits speak for themselves. I don’t know what it is about hammocks but they honestly make me feel really cool to set up at camp. Like I’m in the cool kids club. And even when we don’t sleep overnight they are awesome to lounge in whether you’re at camp or your backyard.
Just in case you need anymore convincing to give hammocks a whirl, we are really excited to give away the newest Serac Hammock model, a SeracSequoia Extra Wide Hammock and Suspension System!
This hammock weighs 19oz and stuffs to the size of a coconut, but is 9ft 10in x 5ft 7in and holds up to 400 pounds. The straps are 6oz and 6ft each with 10 anchor loops to choose from.
So enter below by September 16th for your chance to win!
Psst, even if it’s not your lucky day, this hammock is currently on sale for $60 at www.ExploreSerac.com!