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Camping with the hammock
Camping with a hammock is a whole new feeling in camping life. With the hammock, you are much more connected to nature than if you were to sleep in a tent in nature. While you are lying in the camping hammock you can watch the stars and have no roof over you which takes away the view. The practical thing about a hammock is, for example, when it gets cold or it starts to rain, you can simply close the hammock and so you are protected from the cold and the rain. Another great advantage of the camping hammock is that you sleep well off the cold ground. So you don’t have to worry about wet forest floors or insects on the ground. Just give it a try on your next camping trip, you will be amazed by this type of overnight stay in nature.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR SLEEPING IN THE HAMMOCK
Do you remember Magnum, the TV series from the 1980s? If so, the picture of the eponymous main character, private detective Thomas Magnum, with a Hawaiian shirt and his characteristic and dressable bread broom may immediately flash in front of your eyes. Why this excursion into the ideal television world from childhood? Quite simply, it’s about hammocks! And when it came to this topic, I immediately thought of that TV hero, in a good mood, sipping drinks from a pineapple, lounging in the hammock and grinning at the camera.
A comfortable overnight stay in the hanging lounger is not as easy as the Hawaiian TV detective suggests, especially when camping in a hammock on an outdoor tour. Mosquitoes, the cold or the wrong lying position, many factors can impair sleep in the mat. So here’s a little help on how you can make yourself really comfortable in your hammock.
WHICH HAMMOCK IS THE MOST COMFORTABLE?
Before we hit the mat for a well-deserved slumber like the mustache, we must first clarify which hammock variant is the most comfortable to crack.
Let’s start with the uncomfortable candidates. Rod hammocks, i.e. models in which a spreader bar spans the lying surface, are perfect for reading and hanging out in the garden, but not for sleeping in them for long periods of time. Since the body weight is not distributed over the entire lying surface, but lies on individual points on the hanging surface, this becomes uncomfortable in the long run and causes uncomfortable tension in the neck and back area.
In addition, the bar hammock is open on the sides, which quickly becomes cool and for the restless sleeper the risk of rolling out at night. Another disadvantage that interferes with sleep at night: due to the strong tension on the lying surface, every movement is translated into an annoying wobbling. Coarse-meshed net hammocks are also of the type that is uncomfortable in the long term. If you lie down for a long time, individual strands press uncomfortably into the skin, even if you put a blanket underneath.
If you are looking for a comfortable sleeping hammock, it is best to use a cloth hammock or a fine-meshed net hammock. The cloth variant is stable, comfortable and keeps you warm from below. The fine-meshed net hammock adapts perfectly to the body and ensures top ventilation from below and the sides – ideal for sultry nights.
HANG WELL – HOW YOUR HAMMOCK HANGS CORRECTLY
In order to doze comfortably on the mat, it must first hang. It doesn’t take much more than two trees, stakes or the like at a suitable distance from one another. The correct distance means between 3.5 and 5 meters – the length of the mat itself plus about one meter on each side. Of course, the branches or trees that you have been looking for should neither be rotten, nor serve as a woodworm board, and also be strong enough to be able to carry your body weight permanently.
There are special tree straps and suspension ropes that do not damage the tree bark for fastening. The two attachment points should be at the same height so that the hammock hangs horizontally at the end. The following applies to the hanging height: the higher the mat hangs, the cooler it gets. If there is a summery, humid night in the house, it can get a little higher.
As a rule, the straps hang between 1.70 and a maximum of 2.00 meters in height. Make sure that the mat does not sag too much when you attach it, your own weight will also add to it. If your mat resembles a banana in terms of curvature, everything is fine. This results in an approximate 30 ° angle, which enables a comfortable lying position and ensures the right tension under load. Together with its contents, the lying surface should hang about 50 cm above the floor.
ME GUSTA! – THE RIGHT LYING POSITION IN THE HAMMOCK
If the mat hangs comfortably in the air, you can finally sleep well. But how? A widespread hammock cliché is that it is only suitable for a short midday siesta and that a restful sleep is hardly possible with it. This prejudice quickly turns out to be a mistake – assuming the correct sleeping position.
The right lying position is crucial so that you don’t have back or neck pain screwing up the next day of touring. The usual sleeping position, aligned parallel to the side edges, as we know it from the mattress at home, quickly causes discomfort in the sleeping hammock, as the back and neck area are forced into a strenuous curve. A small but important trick provides a remedy and, in the best case, a more back-friendly, more comfortable and healthier sleeping position than at home on the old, laid-out mattress.
Lie down slightly diagonally on the mat with your feet pointing slightly to the left or right and your upper body and head in the opposite direction. This position ensures optimal load distribution on the lying surface and thus the perfect tension of the sleeping hammock.
At the same time, the cloth adapts ideally to a relaxing lying position that is healthy for the back. In many South and Central American countries, for example, some people spend almost their entire sleep career in a hammock. More and more people with back pain in European regions find relief in a hammock.
And if you’re afraid of getting seasick while scratching the mat, I can give the all-clear. A study by the University of Geneva has shown that slight rocking or rocking movements lead to faster sleep and deeper sleep – even for people with sleep problems.
CAMPING UNDER THE STARS – HAMMOCK AS A TENT
The idea of swapping the musty personal tent for the sky tent on multi-day tours and instead of rocking to sleep in the comfortable hammock undeniably has a certain appeal. If you decide to camp in a hammock, you can also save a lot of weight, after all, the tent stays at home.
Sometimes a very practical thought plays first fiddle when deciding on the hammock. If you are out and about in heavily wooded or uneven terrain, it can sometimes be problematic to find a flat surface for the tent. The hammock is quickly and easily lashed between two trees or corresponding fastening options and the tent alternative is ready under the sparkling star firmament. Ok, maybe that’s a little romanticized, because gnats, mosquitoes and similar animals still have a say. And a nocturnal rain shower is not exactly conducive to sleep.
There are so-called tarps for weather protection in the hammock. This refers to waterproof tarpaulins that are stretched over the lying surface. Tarps are available – like the hammock – in all possible shapes and material variants. From tarps made of silicone-impregnated nylon to extremely light high-performance laminates and inexpensive tarpaulin, the market has everything to protect you from wind and weather. The latter variant is not exactly mobile, however, as it is relatively heavy and takes up a lot of backpack space.
WEATHER AND MOSQUITOES PROTECTION IN THE HAMMOCK
For light downpours, asymmetrical, diamond-shaped tarps are recommended. These tarpaulins, shaped like a parallelogram, can ideally be stretched in the diagonal lying position and allow great ventilation. The disadvantage is that these tarps have to take off the sails in heavy rain or storms. Diamond-shaped or square tarps keep you dry even in heavy rain showers and are super uncomplicated because they are attached to only two tensioning points.
In stronger winds, however, rain can be blown in to the sides. Larger tarps provide a remedy, but also bring more weight to the luggage. Hexagonal tarps offer excellent weather protection, but are complex to set up because they require six tensioning points. All-round four-season tarps can be closed on the sides and attached close to the ground, which provides comprehensive wind and weather protection. However, these comrades are comparatively large, difficult and difficult to attach. In another article, we took a closer look at the subject of tarps.
If you’re going on tours where biting bugs make you sleep, you need a suitable mosquito net. There are special hammock nets that are completely stretched around the lying surface and closed with a drawstring or zip. Depending on the model, the net must also be tensioned and you are already protected from winged, aggressive troublemakers.
If you need an extra portion of warmth, there are hammocks with a slot for sleeping mats or self-inflating, insulating hammock pads. A sleeping bag in the hammock is possible, but it quickly becomes uncomfortable. At the same time, the thermal output suffers, as the insulation material can trap little air due to the large-area pressure and thus cold bridges can easily form.
If it gets really cold, there are so-called underquilts for the hammock. These are blankets filled with down or synthetic fibers that are hung under the mat. This means that nothing can be flattened and the hanging cloth is insulated from below and the sides. Together with a normal quilt as a blanket or, if necessary, the sleeping bag – depending on the underquilt model and your own tolerance limit – you can camp in the hammock up to frosty minus areas. After so much reading, you’ve definitely earned a cozy nap in the hammock. Good night!