Hammock Camping Gear List
Photo: Tobias Tullius

Quick Start Hammock Camping Essentials Gear List

Transitioning from tent camping to the gentle sway of a hammock presents an element of the unknown. After all, just about everyone knows how to tent camp. Set up a tent and toss in a sleeping bag and you’re good to go. Well, not really.

Then there’s the cushion required to negotiate the hard ground and ongoing protocols to protect against bugs, mosquitos and biting insects from sneaking into your tent. Truly, tent camping is less comfortable and more work than restfully sleeping in a hammock. But before you can enjoy being gently rocked to sleep under the starry sky, outdoors enthusiasts will need to gather together these hammock camping essentials to maximize the experience.

The Hammock Camping Essentials Checklist

Although this hammock camping gear list may seem a tad unwieldy at first blush, you will see the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. You may find that when you add up the weight and size of these hammock camping essentials, they are far less burdensome and expensive than you might expect.

This hammock camping gear list also effectively replaces your tent, stakes, sleeping bag, and potentially your sleeping pad in the big scheme of things. Hammocks also tend to improve a restful night’s sleep even above traditional beds. So, imagine the difference between sleeping in a hammock and on the cold hard ground!

  • The Hammock – Obviously, this is the foundation of the sleep experience and the top item to purchase. It’s imperative that you secure a hammock that is suited for backpacking and camping scenarios. Those marvelously luxurious and oversized hammocks you see in backyards, and poolside are often too bulky for real outdoors usage. Hammocks used for backpacking and camping tend to be quite small and lightweight. The reason these are better suited than backyard hammocks is that they pack neatly and can be carried effectively. Anytime you go for a substantial hike, every pound makes a difference. Numerous outfits are producing camping-style hammocks. Reasonable standards for a camping hammock are products that weigh less than 2 pounds and hold upwards of 400 pounds. Also, consider hammocks that are designed for two people for couples.
  • Suspension System – Ranking only second to the hammock itself, the suspension system is the support straps that elevate you off the ground. This gear connects the hammock to a pair of anchor points, often trees. Hammocks generally come either with a built-in suspension system or you must attach it after unpacking.
  • In some cases, hammock lovers will upgrade to a portable hammock stand as a more permanent option. The goal is to perfect the tautness, angle, and sag of your hammock and maximize a restful sleep. Items may include advanced straps, whoopie slings, cinch buckles or a lighter system to reduce backpack weight.
  • Rain Fly – No one gets it wrong more than the TV weatherman, and that’s why a hammock rain fly is a must-have accessory. Regardless of what your weather app says, nothing stinks more than getting soaked in the middle of the night. That being said, a rain fly is a simple, lightweight accessory that covers the hammock and protects you from the elements. They tend to be nylon tarps that hang over a string and can be anchored to the ground.
  • Bug Net – Today’s mosquito and biting insect netting may be the single most significant advancement in camping hammock accessories. Not too many years ago, the inherent drawback to hammocks was exposure to flying bugs. Top-rated bug nets can provide 360-degree protection day and night. They are hammock game-changers worth owning.
  • Under Quilt – These are the equivalent of a camping pad used under sleeping bags with some differences. An under quilt provides additional back support, if needed, as well as a way to insulate you from drafts on exceedingly cold nights. If you enjoy winter camping, a hammock under quilt is a must.
  • Top Quilt – Sleeping bags tend to be too awkward for some hammock enthusiasts. This accessory provides the top-layer warmth and comfort that tent-users find in sleeping bags. They are specially designed for hammock use and generally a good idea when temperatures dip overnight.
  • Sleeping Pad – For more advanced back support, there is a class of sleeping pads engineered to fit snugly into hammocks. They provide unique support, insulation and are crafted to stay firmly put. It’s not generally a safe idea to try to use pads designed for tent camping in this platform.
  • Carabiners – For those unfamiliar with camping and hammock jargon, carabiners are fasteners that connect things such as the hammock, backpack and suspension items. It’s advisable to keep a few extra handy anytime you go hiking or camping. Coming up one short can become problematic.
  • Paracord – This type of hammock and camping rope has versatile benefits and tends to be handy in a pinch. A length of paracord may mean the difference between setting up your hammock in camp or venturing out to find trees close enough together for your existing suspension system. Better to have it and not need paracord than need it and not have it.
  • Guylines – Perhaps the most overlooked item in hammock camping, guylines allow you the flexibility of securing rain flies and even shelters if the weather turns foul. Make sure to keep this on your hammock camping gear list at all times.
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  • Extra Tarp – Along with the guylines, an additional tarp can mean the difference between experiencing the brunt of Mother Nature or remaining dry. An extra tarp can be set up to repel unexpectedly challenging elements, craft a make-shift shelter or just cover an area to eat. Expect the unexpected and bring an extra tarp when hiking and camping.

Final Thoughts

Running through a hammock camping essentials list may seem like a lot of additional gear on the surface. But, in reality, these products are tremendously lightweight. Many of them overlap with other camping needs and often prove beneficial on multiple fronts. At the end of the day, the goal is to enhance your outdoors experience and checking the boxes on this hammock camping gear list will lead to improved success.

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