Scroll down for our full camping hammock reviews...
Close your eyes and picture yourself swinging in a hammock. A tropical breeze through your hair, warm, white sand underfoot, cocktail in hand.... no, stop. This is a different kind of hammock-ing (yes, that's a word we made up). Have you ever camped in a hammock? We're talking the top of a mountain, expedition-style, hot tea in hand hammock experience. Proper adventure.
Many campers are turning to hammocks as an alternative to a tent. It's easy to see why. Camping hammocks are generally lighter, quicker to set up and keeps you off the hard, damp ground. It's a nice middle ground between using a bivvy bag and a tent.
It's not simply a case of picking the nicest stripy one out there, however. Camping hammocks are a different ball game and some technical know-how is required. Choose the wrong set-up and you could be in for an uncomfortable and chilly night. Luckily we've done the work for you, so read on for the low down (or should that be high up?) on the best camping hammocks.
Best Camping Hammocks: Our Top Picks
Best for: summer camping – Sea to Summit Pro Double Camping Hammock
Best for: couples – ENO Doublenest Camping Hammock
Best for: comfort – Kammok Roo Camping Hammock
Best for: remote backpacking trips – Hennessey Expedition Classic Camping Hammock
Best for: long-distance walkers – ENO OneLink Shelter System
Best for: those on a budget – Naturefun Ultralight Camping Hammock
Best for: car camping – ETROL 3-in-1 Camping Hammock
Best for: bikepacking – Tentsile UNA Hammock Tent
Best for: ultralight backpacking – Ticket to the Moon Single Camping Hammock
Camping Hammock Buying Guide: Where to Start?
There are several different types of hammocks available, but here we're concentrating mainly on camping hammocks.
The best camping hammock will be lightweight and easy to transport, comfortable and roomy, yet strong and long-lasting. You'll need to check what's included with the hammock. Some hammocks are sold as a kit with everything you need, others give you the basic hammock and everything else needs to be bought separately, which can bump up the price and the weight.
If you just want to chill or only intend to sleep out when the weather's hot, you may get away with just the hammock. For general camping in the UK, you'll need at the very least;
- A rain fly or tarp. These are usually removable but chances are you'll get some rain at some point, unless you only try hammock camping during a heatwave.
- A mosquito net or bug net. Depending on what time of year you go, you'll be pestered by the little blighters. And if you're heading to Scotland it's most definitely an essential piece of kit. Most bug nets can be unzipped and rolled back if not needed.
- Wide suspension tree straps. Ropes are fine for indoors or attaching the hammock to other supports but they can cause a lot of damage to trees. We want to cause as little damage as possible out there.
HAMMOCKS VS TENTS
More people are choosing a hammock over a traditional tent and these days it's hard to find an outdoor enthusiast who doesn't own at least one hammock.
The benefits of hammock camping are many. They're quick and easy to set up - providing there are a couple of anchor points available - they keep you off the damp grass and you can hang a hammock on sloping or rough ground where it would be difficult to pitch a tent. As long as you can find two trees 12-18 feet apart and have a good suspension system you can sleep anywhere!
With so many people choosing a staycation this year, a hammock gives you the flexibility to avoid some of the more crowded campsites.
Jungle hammocks give a more consistent set up, unlike a tent where different terrain affects how it feels every night. As they don't crush vegetation underneath, they do less damage so you truly can camp without a trace.
The best camping hammocks are versatile – they're not just for sleeping. They're great for just chilling for the day outdoors or even in your own garden with a few beers.
The most obvious disadvantage of hammock camping is that a hammock gives you less room to store your stuff. You'll need to be more creative to make sure your gear stays dry. Some hammocks get around this by fitting storage areas or hooks for hanging gear.
Sleeping in a hammock can take some getting used to. Some people find the bend uncomfortable but you can get round this by using a wider asymmetric hammock or using spreader bars. Hammocks can feel more restricting than a tent, particularly around the head and feet. If you've tried but just can't get comfy in a hammock then try a hammock tent or check out our article on the best tents and shelters.
You'll need to be able to find tree that are the right distance apart and strong enough to take the weight of you and your hammock – this could be a problem in moorland areas with few trees.
How to keep warm when hammock camping
The main disadvantage to sleeping in a hammock is that you're at greater risk of getting cold from underneath, especially if it's breezy. Even on warmer nights you're likely to feel some chill as hammock sleeping tends to compress the insulation in a sleeping bag so it's less effective. So how can you avoid the dreaded ice bum?
You'll need some form of insulation to keep out the chill. You can use a sleeping pad, but these tend to slide around in hammocks, especially the larger asymmetrical ones, so you could find it difficult to stay on it. Some camping hammocks have a double layered floor to keep a sleeping pad in place; our article on the best camping beds will help you pair up a sleeping pad with your hammock.
An underquilt is your best bet for keeping warm. It looks a bit like a regular quilt, but instead of going over you it fits snugly under the hammock. Because it hangs outside and you're not lying on it, it doesn't get compressed like a sleeping bag so retains heat far better.
Underquilts are generally available in full length for complete protection from the cold, ¾ length, or half quilt, which covers your midsection. Obviously the smaller the quilt, the lighter it is to carry but the trade-off is less protection for your nether regions. If weight is an issue try choosing a smaller underquilt and keep your socks on!
A tarp can also be an effective windbreak if it's really gnarly out there. Tarps can be pitched tightly around camping hammocks for better protection from the elements.
When choosing the best camping hammock for your next trip, you'll need to ask yourself some questions. What will your hammock camping adventures look like? Going with your other half? A double camping hammock is a great date night idea. If you're planning on summer trips or days out with your mates, a basic lightweight hammock set-up like the Sea to Summit or Ticket to the Moon should tick the boxes.
Planning on sleeping outdoors? You'll benefit from the extra features the ENO OneLink Shelter system gives you. Serious backpacker looking to get off the beaten track? It might be worth ponying up for the Hennessy Hammock Expedition or even one of the durable hammock tents from Tentsile.
CAMPING HAMMOCK FAQ
How do you set up a camping hammock?
If it's your first time using a camping hammock, hanging the thing can be a little daunting. You need to consider the distance between the two attachment points – if they're too close together or too far apart then the hammock will be too tight or too loose. Make sure they're sturdy enough to take the weight or you could be in for a rude awakening in the night!
When hung, your hammock should resemble a banana in shape. One common beginner's mistake is to try to tighten the hammock so it's flat. This can cause the edges to narrow too much and it'll feel claustrophobic and constricting – you need to embrace the curve!
Still unsure? Watch the video for some tips on setting up your camping hammock.
How do you get in and out of a hammock?
We must admit, at first glance it doesn't seem that hammocks are the easiest things to get in and out of. Too many people make the mistake of trying to clamber into it like it's some kind of cargo net. Climbing onto a hammock without losing your dignity - and your beer - can be a major hang up for those thinking about trying a camping hammock out, which is a shame as once you've got the hang of it (see what we did there) it's actually quite simple.
Stand at the middle of the hammock, back up against it until it's vertical, grab hold, sit down and swing those legs onto it.
To get out, hold the middle of the hammock, swing your legs back over the side and just stand up.
Can two sleep in a camping hammock?
Theoretically yes – two person camping hammocks are available after all. But the reality is it's not very comfy. Double the bodies means double the sag, plus you'll end up getting much closer than you bargained.
Chilling in a hammock with a buddy on those long summer days can be fun, but when it comes to sleeping we'd recommend you snooze solo unless you really need to share a double hammock.
How do I get comfy in a hammock?
We hear you. Sleeping in a curve can take some getting used to, but once you do you might never want to get back in a tent.
Try angling your body in the hammock so that you're sleeping slightly diagonally across it rather than straight down the centre. You'll find you're lying much flatter and it makes it easier if you're a side sleeper.
Make sure you haven't pulled the hammock too tight and use an underquilt to keep things cosy.
How do I clean my camping hammock?
A hammock can usually be machine washed on a gentle cycle, but should be washed inside a lingerie bag or pillowcase with the ends tied together.
Airdrying your hammock rather than using a drier will avoid any shrinkage.