The marriage between hammocks and backpacking is a match made in heaven. Instead of having to put up a tent at the end of a long hiking day, you can string up a hammock between two trees and start relaxing immediately. Adding hammock camping gear to your arsenal lightens the load so that you have energy left in the tank at the end of the day.
What is Ultralight Backpacking?
Perhaps you arrived at this subject not long ago, and you're not sure what it even means. We will start from the beginning. Experts have transformed this adventurous form of hiking into an art form. You set the goal to travel with as light of a load as possible. You only want to carry a few pounds on your shoulders considering that you will be doing this over long stretches of miles. When you chop it down to the minimum on an adventure, you save a lot of energy. Many seasoned pros call this more than an activity—they call it a lifestyle. You learn to live happily with less, and you consume less in the process as well.
Here are some of the reasons to choose hammock camping gear as ultralight backpacking gear over a tent.
Reason #1: You Don't Need a Cleared Space
Especially in some areas, clearing out a space to camp for the night in a tent can become a tedious chore. Stringing up a hammock helps you live by the championed philosophy of, "Leave no trace." The setup takes less than a couple of minutes and you have a ready space to kick back in and relax for the night. After backpacking for a couple of years, you learn how most veterans prefer a hammock for several reasons. Overall, it improves your ultralight backpacking experience.
Reason #2: Keeps the Bugs Away
You may think that it can't possibly eliminate bug bites, but in fact, you can buy hammocks that have integrated mosquito netting to stop mosquitos in their tracks. Now if you had a tent, this leaves you with another problem—the bugs on the ground that crawl into your tent. For example, wood ticks are infamous for crawling into your tent at night. With a hammock, however, since you hang off the ground, the spiders, ticks and other small creatures won't become a problem, and the mosquitos will have an impossible time reaching you. You may question what happens if the rain comes? You can string up a tarp to protect yourself from the rain like a tent. When the rain clouds don't threaten your trip, you have a picturesque view of the stars in the night sky. Even with a rain tarp and mosquito netting, hammocks will still have a much lighter burden than what you'd receive with a tent. In fact, two hammocks add up to less than 50 oz, and they don't take up much space in the backpack.
Reason #3: More Comfortable Than the Ground
Sleeping on the cold, hard ground was meant for the younger generation, and even then, you don't have much fun doing it. Even if you added an air mattress, that depletes the purpose of ultralight backpacking because it will add plenty of weight to your backpack. At the same time, many people inflate their air mattress only to wake up on the ground the next morning. Leaks are common. With a hammock, you don't have to worry about any of it. Because the hammock suspends itself in midair, you wake up feeling like you slept on a cloud. After a long day of hiking, the hammock becomes the perfect place to curl up with a good book while swinging in the breeze. It's a versatile piece of equipment that will serve you in a variety of ways.
Reason #4: Set It Up Wherever
Ever tried to set up a tent on a windy day? You must set up a tent when the conditions are perfect, or you struggle with the materials flapping in the wind and making it difficult to put the stakes in the ground. With a hammock, moisture and uneven ground never even become a worry or a night of restless sleep.
Reason #5: Take Quick Breaks
Maybe you have trekked several miles in a day, but you want to relax for a bit and take it easy. With a hammock, you can hook it up in minutes for a fast break, and there's less commitment. Try doing that with a tent. When someone sets up a tent, they can expect to finish the rest of the day there because it isn't practical to do otherwise. With hammock camping gear, you can take a breather and sit somewhere comfortable in your downtime. You won't receive the same experience with a tent.
Tips and Tricks
Tip #1: Make the Changes Gradually
Especially if you have never tried this form of backpacking before, you may want to make a shift slowly. You don't need to replace all your gear immediately because this can lead to sticker shock, and you might dislike it. Instead, try out every piece of gear that you buy slowly and learn how each of them work. Plan out what you will take with you on your backpacking excursions. You must remember that practical and functional will always serve the most important role with this form of backpacking. You should also understand how to use your gear in advance to avoid obnoxious surprises later.
Tip #2: Carry a Water Filter and Collapsible Water Bottles
The hardest aspect you encounter with backpacking comes down to water, and you need to stay hydrated when backpacking. You can go as much as three weeks without food, but you can only live three days without water, so you should plan ahead. When you plan your ultralight backpacking gear, you want to pack light and avoid taking too many liters of water with you. Before you ever set out on the trail, you should understand where you can find sources of water and mark them on the map. In addition, you should take a water filter with you because this lets you fill up your water bottle wherever you go. You should also choose collapsible water bottles because it takes up less space in your backpack.
Tip #3: Choose Dehydrated Food
If you want to pack ultralight, you might pick out the dehydrated food instead of cooking it over the campfire. Cooking over the campfire means that you need to bring food with you that will weigh more. In addition, you might need a stove. Dehydrated food, on the other hand, just needs water to serve. You could also choose some of the instant food for a backpacking adventure.
Tip #4: Safety
Remember that just because you have chosen to pack ultralight doesn't mean that you should ever skimp on safety. For example, you should always keep a first-aid kit in your backpack, and you should understand how to use it in the event of an emergency.
Hammocks help make backpacking more enjoyable. When you go ultralight, some people mistake it as a more torturous slog, but you don't have to act as a stoic or a hermit to go ultralight. In fact, the actual goal of this is to help you to enjoy your hiking even more because you don't have to carry this heavy burden on your back. You can enjoy your walk through nature even more and pay more attention to your surroundings.