If you’re hiking or exploring, then you might find that you’re not quite ready to go home once the sun starts to set.
If you really want to discover as much of the area you’re in as possible and don’t want to be limited by frustrating time constraints, then you’ll need to find a way to extend your trip over longer than a single day. And one of the very best ways that you can do that, is to take a portable hammock.
Essentially, portable hammocks are hammocks that can be folded down to incredibly small and light dimensions. This, in turn, makes them very easy to slip into a backpack or any other type of bag, meaning that you can take them with you wherever you might be traveling and then quickly erect them as and when necessary.
Often these will add only a few hundred grams to your overall travel weight but can then turn any two trees or other anchor points into a comfortable place to sleep for the night!
It’s a great idea and it’s something that has helped a great many people to get more from their travels. So the only question remaining is how you can go about getting the very best travel hammock for your particular trip and how you can then go about making the most of them.
This article will be your ultimate guide to getting a comfortable night’s sleep, pretty much anywhere in the world!
Right off the bat, you need to be aware of the different types of a hammock and the specific requirements that you are likely to have for your travel hammock.
A travel hammock is any hammock that is small enough to be able to fit into a bag and then be inserted into a rucksack or even coat pocket. This means you’re looking for a hammock that comes without a spreader bar.
A spreader bar is a bar that is built into the design of some hammocks as a way to flatten them out and let you lie on them with easy back support.
The only problem with this is that a spreader bar will also prevent the portable hammock from being folded away into your bag by adding some rigidity to it. Another problem with spreader bars is that they actually make it harder for you to sleep in your hammock.
That’s because a spreader bar will make the hammock too flat, which in turn means it will be very easy to roll off of! Conversely, most portable camping hammocks that are designed for sleeping will be designed so that they can wrap around and envelop the user, thereby preventing them from falling out!
So no spreader bar. And at the same time, there are some other requirements for your portable folding hammock. One is that it should be at least somewhat weather resistant. Bearing in mind that this hammock is for people who are planning on sleeping out in the woods, it’s rather important that it won’t dissolve into nothingness at the first hint of rain!
You also need to think about the maximum load of your hammock and whether or not it will be able to take your weight. If you’re looking for a two-person hammock, then you’ll need to ensure that the max load is even higher.
Look for ripstop construction when possible – this will help to ensure that your hammock isn’t going to tear when the weight gets too great.
Finally, keep in mind that the material will also greatly impact how warm and how comfortable your hammock is and therefore how comfortable your night’s sleep is.
And at least partly, this will depend on the climate of the place you’re exploring. For a warm climate, you will want a cool hammock made from a loosely woven fabric.
An excellent example is the Venezuelan hammock, also known as a ‘jungle hammock’, which will use fine netting to allow ventilation from underneath in hot weather. This type of hammock was popular with the US army during WW2 thanks to these properties.
On the other hand, for very cold climates you may want something a little less breathable. A good example, in this case, is the Brazilian hammock, made from a cotton fabric gathered at both ends by hand-crocheted lace. You’ll need to ensure that this type of hammock is still foldable however if it’s going to be a truly portable hammock.
Anchor points are another important consideration for your hammock, as are the attachments that work with them. The anchor points are what attach to the trees and if you plan on exploring with your portable folding hammock, then you should ideally seek out hammocks with tree-webbing.
This will wrap around the bark of the tree in a way that won’t damage it. This allows you to avoid causing damage to the local environment as you’re sleeping, which is something that any good explorer should aim to do.
Of course, there are plenty more features that you may look for in your hammock, depending on what you want it to be able to do. For instance, some people will choose hammocks that come with a bottom slit for easy entry.
Of particular use for those camping meanwhile is the inclusion of pockets, which should allow you to easily store items for use while in your hammocks!
Note too that it is possible to buy portable hammock stands that fold up and allow most normal hammocks to attach. This means you can set up a hammock anywhere that you might want to stop, without having to first find two well-situated trees.
But at the same time, it means you’re going to have to carry more around and probably bring a larger backpack! Of course portable hammock stands cannot fold up quite so small as portable hammocks themselves – even if they are designed specifically to be mobile!
So there are plenty of portable hammocks to choose from, how do you go about making a selection? One option is to check out our hammock reviews in order to find our best recommendations!
Once you’ve chosen your portable hammock, all that’s left is to actually start using it! So what is there to know about a portable tree hammock?
The first tip is that a portable hammock isn’t just a place to sleep. In fact, this can be an incredibly versatile tool and a very useful item to bring with you on any hiking trip – even if you’re not planning on sleeping!
For starters, a hammock can offer a great place to sit and this is a very nice way to relax if you can find some trees and you want to take a breather for food and water. Note that the fact you’re off the ground means that you’ll be much less likely to have to worry about bugs and insects that might otherwise come after your food!
Another option is to use a hammock for storage. You can use it as a sling in order to carry items while hiking for instance, or you can use it to rest your bags and food when you need a break without letting them touch the floor! Finally, you can also erect some hammocks depending on the material and use them simply as a shelter from the rain!
But while all these options are great, the main purpose of your portable tree hammock is still always going to be to let you sleep. And to that end, there are a few points to consider.
The first is that your hammock should be attached so that the attachments come away from the trees at 30-degree angles. This is the optimum angle in terms of strength and it will ensure that your hammock shouldn’t break under your weight!
Meanwhile, it’s also important to consider the angle that the hammock hangs. If you have done this correctly, then your portable hammock should automatically hang with a slight dip in the middle that resembles a banana (like a banana hammock!).
This will provide optimum comfort. However, some people find that if they have a bad back, then they actually get more support by hanging the legs end slightly lower than the head end!
When sleeping, the idea of a portable camping hammock is that it will envelop you and wrap you up like a bat. This will keep you warm and prevent you from falling out.
When you’re just resting conversely, you should lie slightly across the hammock at an angle. This will keep the hammock flatter and thus allow you to look over the edges while also avoiding falling out!
Finally, keep in mind that your portable camping hammock isn’t just a place to sleep and rest. If you use this correctly, then it can actually be an amazing opportunity to add some more wonder and amazement to your experience.
Don’t just hang anywhere that you can find – experiment with more exciting options and consider setting up over a stream or near an incredible view. There’s nothing quite like waking up in the morning and being in a truly exotic location!