Why a Hammock?
I have slept in many tents, multiple sleeping bags and a ton of different air mattresses to help keep me comfortable and somewhat off the ground. None of this really worked for me and I wake up with a sore back and crawling out of the tent hurt my knees.
I had a friend who was hanging a hammock during on of our camping trips and I thought, “What kind of new age hippie stuff is this”? Little did I know, this would become the way I would camp when I wasn’t out with family on various trips.
I am currently hanging in a Pinnacle 360 by Ridge Outdoors. This isn’t a very expensive hammock and is more in the range of a budget hammock. I find it very comfortable with a great lay. I’m able to lay flat without issue and I don’t get any shoulder squeeze that I have in other hammocks.
The integrated bug net zips off for when I want to hang without during the winter and also has an integrated ridgeline which helps keep the netting off my face as well as keeps the sag in the hammock so that I have a great sleep. The ridgeline also helps me hang a organizer as well as a small ridgeline storage hammock for the items I need.
What About Rain?
I hang a tarp above the hammock to ensure that I stay dry during rainy days/nights. I normally have a tarp deployed above the hammock no matter the conditions just in case weather changes and it does from time to time in Texas.
I use an Eno DryFly for when I know it’s going to rain or during heavy rain. This tarp is really handy during windy conditions as long as I pitch my hammock and tarp to block the wind. This can be tricky by not impossible.
During the summer, I use a diamond shape tarp produced by Phiroop. This allows for more air flow and helps to keep me cool during those hot nights.
What About Winter?
For those who love to camp during winter, a Hammock is a great choice but it does required some additional gear. An under-quilt is required and is placed under the hammock to create a pocket of dead air so that it retains heat. The reason this is used instead of a sleeping bag is that the compression of the insulating material under you makes it almost impossible to keep you warm. With an under-quilt and an top-quilt, you will stay warm throughout the night.
Another way to help retain heat in a hammock is to use a Winter Sock. This is kind of like a tarp that goes around the entire hammock that can help raise the temperature depending the branch and material. They are normally vented to help with condensation.