At Hammock Gear, we design, test, manufacture, and sell world-class hammock camping systems. But we also believe it is our job to champion the idea of hammocks; to proselytize the lifestyle of hanging out. That’s why in this article, we’ll highlight an infrequently discussed, but very important, benefit to hammock camping. That is, the hammock’s unique ability to create extra sleep space in any forested campsite without additional tent pads.
Imagine you’re backpacking in a group that splits into three tents at night. You arrive at camp exhausted, but soon discover the campsite has only two tent pads! You draw the short straw and decide to check out other sites nearby. If you don’t find anything, you’ll have to set up on a rooted, rocky, or sloping surface. Because all of the other sites were full, you wind up pitching on roots. Having suffered through a night of fitful, uncomfortable sleep, you will struggle and drag during tomorrow's hike.
But this whole scenario could have been avoided if one of the group’s campers were instead using a hammock! In just about any forested campground, backcountry or frontcountry, there is usually room to squeeze at least one hammock in between or around the tents. And if you’re the one forfeiting your right to the tent pad, your friends will thank you for your generosity and selflessness. Though, of course, the jokes on them, since hammocks are comfier than tents anyway.
2021 is on track to be one of, if not the, busiest years for the national park system, and campsites across the country are in short supply. Outside Magazine recently ran an article titled “We Need More Campsites.” And from my personal experience in the backcountry over the past year, it’s felt more crowded than ever before. So it follows then, that anything we can do to save space and reduce our camp footprint or tent sprawl is a step in the right direction.
If for every three tents, one person hammock camped, then we’d collectively be able to fit more people into the same amount of space. Since small groups can already fit into any site, this means medium and large groups stand to yield the most benefit by adopting a tent-hammock hybrid model.
If a group of eight that is planning to disperse between four tents can instead fit into three tents and two hammocks, then they might not require a dedicated group campsite, leaving the biggest area available for an even larger squad. And just as beneficially, a medium sized hammock-tent-hybrid group can likely fit into a relatively small campsite.
Take up only as much space as you need and there will be more for everyone else! If you like doing your part and you want to make more space for everyone else, then start by purchasing or upgrading your hammock shelter, and using it whenever possible! From complete, all-in-one beginner friendly kits like the Wanderlust, to top-of-the-line ultralight hammock systems like the Wanderluxe, we’ve got you covered. Happy camping, happy space-saving, and happy hanging!