I want to try a hammock…but I have questions

Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums General Forums Hammock Camping I want to try a hammock…but I have questions

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
  • #3468847
    Stu M


    I have always been a ground camper and am perfectly happy with that in all respects but one. See, I do most of my trips in Shenandoah NP and along the Blue Ridge, and finding acceptable campsites, even for my little 1p tent, can be a headache. So trying a hammock is attractive for that reason alone, but I have some questions about how to even start. I’m hoping some of you experiences peoples can help me sort through this stuff.

    1. How can I try it without breaking the bank? Aside from a friend with a basic Eno he carries for sitting in, I don’t know anyone with a decent hammock. I’d rather not spend $$$ on something I find I don’t like. Any ideas on how to try this out without upfront investment? (probably worth noting I have a “good enough” tarp for a tryout trip)
    2. The main reason I’m worried that I won’t like it is that I’m a side sleeper. And not a little, either; I’m a total side sleeper. I can’t sleep on my back at all. This seems to me like it would be a problem, but maybe I’m just missing something.
    3. Will a Zlite be sufficient for under insulation on a tryout trip?
    4. What the best “how to hammock camp” site you know of?

    Thanks in advance.


    Ken Thompson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Right there

    Being where you are I would suggest attending one of the hangs organized through

    Very active community along the AT

    Many who sleep on their sides or toss and turn are surprised to find they had the best nights slepp ever, on their back. Lack of pressure points are a game changer.

    Cheap hammock and a closed cell foam pad is a pretty low investment. There’s always Gear Swap. Zlite is fine.

    Look up Shug on YouTube for all things hammock.

    Enjoy life above ground!

    Bob Shuff
    BPL Member


    Locale: SoCal

    Listen to Ken T.  Use you sleeping bag like a quilt.  Check out Dutchware gear site for good prices on an 11′ hammock.  This is more comfortable for most than a shorter ENO.

    I’m a side sleeper and continue that in my hammock.  Switching sides like I do in my bed.

    Kevin Babione
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pennsylvania


    Welcome to BPL.  I live in Pennsylvania and do most of my backpacking there.  You’re right – sleeping in a hammock will give you way more choices regarding where you camp than even a small-footprint 1P tent.  It’s also nice if you’re hiking with ground sleeper because you only need to find a spot for them – you can hang anywhere.

    I sleep on my side(s) exclusively when in a bed, but am amazingly comfortable on my back in my hammock.  Ken is right – it would be best to find a local “hang” where you can see the setups that people have and ask questions.  Everyone will tell you that when you lay diagonally you’ll be flat, but until you actually do it’s really hard to comprehend.  When the hammock looks like a shallow “U” hanging to between two trees, I couldn’t imagine how to “straighten the banana.” Amazingly it works.

    Bottom insulation is definitely personal preference, but a pad really doesn’t work well in my experience.  I really wanted to use a Z-Rest in my hammock because I then had a pad with me to go to ground if necessary.  I’ve even purchased hammocks with pad pockets but they’re still not as comfortable as an underquilt.

    I have a large selection of hammocks and would be happy to ship you one to try out if you’d like – you’d only then be out the cost of shipping it back to me.  PM me if interested.


    Katherine .
    BPL Member


    Locale: pdx

    I’m a side sleeper and love my hammock.

    Yes, it helps a lot to try a hammock before you buy — take Kevin ^^^ up on that generous offer!

    Short of that I”d say see if you can get a used Warbonnet Blackbird – that’s a big favorite and what you might want over the long run.

    You can go cheap on a tarp. Doesn’t have to be a fancy hex tarp, a large enough flat tarp will do.

    Underside insulation. Yeah, I tried the pad-in-pocket thing and didn’t like it. Currently I’ve rigged up a kid’s sleeping quilt underneath, but eventually want to get a real underquilt.

    William Kerber
    BPL Member


    Locale: South East US

    I’m a side sleeper and sleep better in a hammock than on the ground. It takes a little trial and error to get the right hang. You’ll hear that the angle of your straps should be at 30 degree and that is true for most. If the hammock is too flat, it’s hard to get a comfortable lie. All in all, no different than trying to get the right pitch on your tent/tarp or finding the right pad to sleep on. Just takes a little practice.

    Katherine .
    BPL Member


    Locale: pdx

    for #4 check out the “Shug” video series, like Ken says. And the book everyone recommends is The Ultimate Hang.

    be warned that hammockforum can be overwhelming. I mean, I love researching gear, but my eyes glaze over whenever I’ve visited there.

    Greg Pehrson
    BPL Member


    Locale: playa del caballo blanco

    Great suggestions. Generous offer from Kevin; great idea from Ken to check out a local hammock forums get together.

    The above are both better options but I’ll throw one more into the mix–MYOG. This is my setup, 31 oz for these 3:

    A “3 minute” hammock for $15

    A $10 bugnet–very fast-a couple cuts, 2 lines of stitching, and some shockcord,:

    Ready-to-go suspension $22.50: (you could go a little cheaper making your own but this is very convenient)

    Use your quilt, your tarp, and a foam pad (sounds like you have these) or check Hammock Forums for easy underquilt projects.

    Less than $50 and you’re good to go. Not top of the line, no fancy features like shelves and the like but perfectly serviceable to take on a bunch of trips to see if hammocking is for you.


    BPL Member


    Good video to watch for beginners:

    YouTube video

    Once you get the hang of it, watch his video adventures for this year:

    YouTube video



Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!