Many an outdoor enthusiast has relaxed on a hammock by the lake or stargazed from a traditional rope hammock on a bright, cloudless night. But did you know that hammocking is also a fun way to camp? The simplicity and comfort of hammocks is lending popularity to their use in outdoor recreation, and countless people are switching from tents to hammocks.
When you think of a hammock, you probably imagine a contraption of woven ropes and long wooden spacers hanging in someone’s backyard. But camping hammocks are more reminiscent of the woven hammocks many cultures traditionally used for sleeping. Camping hammocks are made from a variety of weatherproof materials, but all are woven and lacking the support rods that stretch hammocks into flat, easy-to-flip surfaces. Sling your outdoor hammock between two trees or use a freestanding support. Leave yourself a bit of slack so your body can relax into a curve. On rainy nights, pull a rope taut above your hammock and sling a tarp over the line to protect you from the elements.
Hammocks give better support than sleeping flat. Many doctors suggest patients with back troubles replace their mattresses with hammocks, and medical research shows that the gentle rocking motion promotes better rest. Regardless of whether you’re ready to trade in your TempurPedic for a good ol’ cloth hammock, it’s by far the most comfortable choice for outdoor sleeping. Hammocks provide better alignment and inflict less tension than sleeping on the ground. And during those sticky summer months, the suspension of the hammock allows nighttime breezes from Lake Nantahala to keep you cool as you sleep.
Hammocking is easier and less costly than traditional tent camping. Unlike tents, hammocks are easily transportable and can be strung nearly anywhere. They are easier to assemble and disassemble than tents, and at a fraction of the cost. You can enjoy all the amenities of traditional camping and savor the beauty of nature as you drift off to sleep.
You can hammock on your porch, nap in a hammock by the lake, or near those explorers sleeping on the hard ground. Camp as a family or enjoy the wonders of nature on your own. The possibilities are as endless as Nantahala and your taste for adventure.