Best Tips On How To Buy An Equip Travel Hammock
When was the last time you took a hammock on a camping trip? While most campers go with sleeping bags as ideal camping gear, few realize the benefits of the good old hammock. Did you know that an Equip travel hammock is cheaper and more comfortable than a sleeping bag?
In this travel hammock guide, I am going to explain everything I know about travel hammocks including how to tie them, what to look for when buying one, and even what type of hammock suits the indoors or outdoors.
Tip #1: Camping Hammocks vs. Tents
First, let me tell you a story about why I switched from sleeping on the ground to sleeping with the stars. Let me first start by admitting that camping tents can be quite uncomfortable especially when sleeping on hard ground. However, a hammock has certain unrivaled benefits as I came to realize during a recent trip to Yosemite National Park.
Many of my camping friends brought inflatable mattresses with them, but even these felt too bulky to carry around. I had carried my good old camping tent. Finding flat ground to pitch our tents was also a problem.
Attaching aluminum rods and running them through the tent to erect it also became cumbersome. Consequently, my tent was easily blown off by the wind during the night. As an avid camper and hiker, a travel hammock became the next practical solution.
Soon I replaced my old tent with a travel hammock for only a few dollars online. I have never looked back again! Set-up time reduced to 2 minutes and there was no more sleeping between a tent and a hard place.
Travel hammocks are lightweight and literally roll into a tiny ball for packing convenience. In addition, using a hammock eliminates the need for dismantling tents or folding sleeping bags. With a travel hammock, you never leave any traces behind.
Tip #2: Types of hammocks
There are two types of hammocks: the lounging or indoor hammock and the hiking or outdoor hammock.
A lounging or an indoor hammock can be mounted in your living room or outside by the pool. Lounging hammocks are suspended using hooks and chains attached to wooden spreaders. A variant of the lounging hammock uses a two-pole stand with the hammock suspended in the middle.
Most indoor hammocks are made of synthetic material like vinyl and acrylic. A home hammock is perfect for sunbathing on a weekend by the pool. You can also use it to for afternoon naps or simply rest while you read a book.
An indoor hammock can also be used as a decorative item in the house. Find a lounging hammock with a decorative fabric that matches your home décor. You can also accessorize with pillows, container bags, or hanging straps.
Lounging hammocks tend to last longer since they are semi-permanently fixed; they are also not used that frequently like the hiking hammocks.
Lounging hammocks cannot be used for outdoor camping for two reasons: their fabric is quite heavy and difficult to carry around. Indoor hammocks will also succumb to harsh weather conditions especially rain and snow.
Hiking hammocks are commonly used by campers, hikers, and military personnel. Equip hammock falls under this category.
These hammocks are tiny and can fold to a smaller size that is easy to carry around. Some commercial hiking hammocks come with a storage bag. When unfolded, the storage bag transforms into a convenient pouch where you can keep your valuable thing while out in the wilderness.
A hiking hammock is lighter than an indoor hammock. Most hiking hammocks weigh less than two pounds yet can hold a maximum weight of up to 400 pounds. Compared to camping tents, hiking hammocks are easier to set up; in just under two minutes.
Hiking hammocks are also very comfortable and offer a good night's sleep in any serene outdoor environment. I often use my hiking hammock to carry extra supplies.
Hiking hammocks are made from nylon. They are quite durable and resistant to wear and tear caused by the elements.
Tip #3: What to look for when buying a hiking hammock
There are several factors to consider when buying a hiking hammock. You need to take into account certain details to avoid getting the wrong hammock model. Here are some of the factors to consider when buying a hammock.
Your hammock should be wide enough for you to fit in and leave ample room for stretching. A width of between 4 to 8.5 feet is enough to help you sleep soundly. If your spouse occasionally joins you for a cuddle, 6 feet to 8 feet wide hammock will accommodate both of you.
What you do not want is your hammock to be too wide that it engulfs you when you sleep. A little room for stretching is enough.
The length of your hammock may not be as important as the width. Most travel hammocks have a standard length to fit any body type. However, if you are exceptionally tall, then go with a length of at least 8 feet.
At the end of the day, personal preference should be an excellent guide for deciding what hammock length to go for.
Weight capacity refers to how much weight the hammock can hold. A standard hammock should be able to carry a maximum weight of 500 pounds. Always check the weight capacity specification on the packaging or when shopping.
For the frequent camper like me, a heavy-duty hammock is ideal to hold any weight and remain durable. As a precaution, never jump up and down on your hammock, you risk damaging it.
Weight of the hammock
The material used to construct the hammock will influence the overall weight of the hammock itself. Most commercially sold hammocks weigh between 7 ounces to a few pounds.
This total weight should include the weight of the mounting accessories that come with the hammock. If you hike or camp frequently, go with a lightweight hammock that is easy to carry around.
The material used to make the hammock determines its insulation properties. Nylon is the best hammock-making material because it is breathable and remains cool even in hot summers. Nylon would still be the best option even in cold weather.
You only have to add more insulation layers to keep warm. I would suggest adding a top and under quilt, as well as sleeping pads to keep the cold away.
Cotton-made hammocks are also ideal for the cold camping seasons. However, they are heavy to transport and take time to dry when wet. It will be better to use a cotton hammock in your home than outdoors.
Weatherproofing accessories are a must-have, especially in unpredictable weather conditions. I bought some waterproof tarps to shield myself from getting wet when it rains at night.
Some hammocks come with waterproof tarps. A waterproof tarp can provide effective protection against the elements.
While sleeping under the stars is romantic, it is no fun having to slap mosquitoes or bugs around your face all night long. Consider fortifying your hammock with an insect protection screen.
This comes in handy if you will be camping in areas infested with insects like near swamps. Alternatively, you can buy hammocks treated with the chemical permethrin.
Permethrin is an effective insect and bug repellant. Another option is to add a bag net as a hammock accessory. Bag net is more convenient to use than insect protection screens.
Your hammock has to be fastened in place using suspension systems. Commercial hammocks are held in place using carabiners. Carabiners can either be sold with the hammock or separately as accessories.
Carabiners are used together with webbing straps to secure a hammock to tree or any other support. Ensure the webbing straps are at least 0.75 inches wide to avoid damaging trees with the weight on the hammock.
Suspension systems also have to be made of the right material to ensure they hold the hammock taut. Suspension ropes are often made from nylon, which has enough tension to prevent the hammock from hanging too close to the ground.
Tip #4: Types of Hammock Suspension
Hammock suspension is required for the sturdy support of your hammock. These suspensions not only provide support but also ensure your hammock stays off the ground at all times. Hammock suspensions come in different types and whichever you choose depends on personal preference.
The oldest suspensions are known as the knot based suspensions. Knot based suspensions are the hardest to tie and require skill and patience to master. Once you learn to tie them perfectly, they become a backup plan in case you lack hammock suspension accessories.
The modern types of hammock suspensions are known as hardware, cord, and webbings. Hardware suspensions comprise of finger nines and ring buckles. They are easy to tie and lightweight enough to effortlessly carry around. Cord based suspensions, on the other hand, use a special cord that is attached to the hammock ropes then wrapped around the support points.
Webbings suspensions are the simplest and easiest to tie of the three. They use special straps that are wrapped around the tree then fastened on the hammock. One advantage of webbings suspensions is that they hold the weight of the hammock and human body better, therefore, protecting the support points from damage.
Tip #5: Best Knots for Tying a Hammock
There are two types of hammock knots; Figure 8 knots and Clove Hitch knots. Both knots have varying characteristics.
Figure 8 knots were used by rock climbers before hammock users discovered them. Basically, the suspension rope is laid flat then the tail end passed over itself to form a loop. This bottom loop is then tucked beneath the standing end of the rope to create an ‘8’. Figure 8 knots are very strong and will hold the hammock weight better. They are also easy to untie making them ideal for situations where hammocks have to be frequently taken down.
Clove hitch hammock knots are easier to tie compared to figure 8 knots. They were commonly used by sailors before hammock owners borrowed the knowledge. Tying a clove hitch knot is also easy for a first time hammock user. One end of the rope is crossed over to form an X shape then wrapped around the support point. The other end is also crossover over to form an X shape, wrapped around the support point, then slipped beneath the first X shape. The knots are then pulled together to tighten the rope.
Remember, when tying the clover hitch knot, one X shape goes overhand while the other X shape goes underhand.
You can see more at this video:
Tip #6: Hammock Care and Maintenance
Taking care of your hammock is important to prolong its lifespan. Fortunately, you do not have to invest in expensive equipment to maintain your hammocks.
Always find a cool shady spot to tie your hammock. Hanging the hammock in direct sunlight may damage the suspensions rope and cause rapid wear and tear. You also reduce the risk of sunburn when you choose to hammock in the shade.
Most hammocks are made of a washable fabric like cotton. To wash your hammock, find a flat space to spread it out then hose it with some water. Using a mild detergent and a soft bristled brush, scrub the hammock gently from one end to the other. Next, rinse the hammock thoroughly with clean water before hanging it to dry.
Always ensure the hammock is completely dry before reusing it. If you are not going to use the hammock again, store it in a cool dry place. The storage area should be free of rodents or bugs that may damage your hammock.
Care for Hammock Suspension Ropes
The hammock suspension ropes should be looked after as well. wash the suspension ropes occasionally with warm water and a mild detergent. Scrub with a gentle brush as well before rinsing. Because the ropes, and hammock, are made of cotton, they tend to shrink when wet but will stretch out again when dry.
Care for Hammock Wood Finishing
With repeated use, the hammock’s wood finishing tends to wear off. Always check the wood finishing for signs of wear and tear. Where the finishing looks worn out, consider repairing or replacing it with a new finish. You do not have to take the hammock apart to replace the finish. Just lay it down a flat surface and work your way around the ropes.
Care for Hammock Metal Stands
Naturally, suspending hammocks on trees gives the best experience ever. Other people may prefer metal stands especially when using the hammock indoors. In such cases, taking care of your metal stands is required.
Occasionally, check for signs of scratches or rusting on the metal stands. Ensure there are no foreign objects sticking out the metal stands that may eat through the ropes. Blemishes on the metal stands can be taken care off by repainting the metal surface.
Care for Hammock Accessories
Hand-wash your hammock accessories as opposed to machine washing them. Hammock accessories include items like pillows, hammock pads, and swing cushions. Use warm water, mild detergent and a soft-bristled brush to clean your accessories.
I hope you found this article useful. You can use it as a guide next time you go to buy a hammock. Help fellow campers and hikers by sharing this guide on your social media pages. I would be happy to hear about your experiences using travel hammocks in the comments section.
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