As an outdoor enthusiast and avid camper, I’ve always been on the lookout for new experiences and ways to connect with nature. One such adventure that has recently caught my attention is hammock camping.
Swinging gently between two trees, listening to the sounds of the forest, and feeling the cool breeze on your face sounds like an idyllic way to spend the night outdoors.
But as with any new experience, the question of safety inevitably arises: Is hammock camping safe?
Hammock camping can be a safe and enjoyable experience if you set up your hammock with care and precision. In fact, when properly hung, a hammock may offer even greater safety than traditional tent camping. By elevating you off the ground, a hammock keeps you away from damp conditions, curious critters, and unexpected rainwater pooling.
In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of hammock camping, drawing on personal experiences, expert advice, and the shared wisdom of the camping community.
So whether you’re a seasoned camper looking to try something new, or a curious beginner eager to learn more, let’s look at potential safety concerns with hammock camping and how to address them.
Raccoons, Deer, and Coyotes
You may have heard stories of deer or coyote sniffing campers in the middle of the night. This happens to almost every camper once in a lifetime.
Though these animals usually don’t see us as prey since they are wild animals, circumstances can go wrong at any point, and the result will be hazardous.
There are a lot of ways to save yourself from circumstances like this, but one option is to avoid places where you can find traces of animals.
But, if you don’t know how to trace animals then hang your hammock around 5-6 feet high.
Hanging a hammock high obviously increases the risk of falling, but the more you keep it closer to the ground, the more risk you are causing to yourself.
When you are high up in the hammock under the trees, you have better chances of getting unnoticed or out of reach for certain animals.
You May Summon Bears
Bears are one of the major concerns for hammock campers. Most animals tend to sleep at night, but bears are different. They hunt for food at night.
Bears are also famous for their sense of smell which is way higher than any other animal.
Sleeping while you keep food right beside you are the best way to summon bears at night.
The best possible way to avoid this is to camp in areas where there are no bears around.
But if that’s not possible, then try keeping food into bear canister. This container does not make the food completely smell-free but for sure reduces it to some extent.
Another way to avoid bear interaction is not to use anything that makes their sense of smell trigger. Avoid using perfumes, creams, or anything fragrant stuff while camping in a bear area.
Fear of falling off
Wild animals are not the only danger you have in the wild.
Another major distress associated with hammock camping is the fear of falling off the hammock. You don’t want to break your bones on a solo camping trip, right?
One can easily avoid this by taking tying your hammock with tree straps, with at least on trees with 6-8 inches’ thick stems. Avoid trees that seem pale, brown, or dead because they might not be able to bear your weight.
If you are camping in a relatively safer sit, there is no harm in trying your hammock low because it will save you from severe injuries in case you do fall off.
But if not, then use tree straps or reflective tapes and tie them in a way that ensures maximum strength. If you want to know what to do without trees, this will help you.
Skimping On Gears
It may sound like a good strategy to cut costs on your gear because you have other layers, but it surely is not. While you are in the wild, your gear gets exposed to things like Ultraviolet radiation, storms, and heavy winds.
If a hammock is the only home you have while camping, you need to be sure of its quality, durability, and performance.
Unless you don’t care if a tear appears in your gear or if its material deteriorates, making you fall in the middle of your trip.
While buying your hammock, you often focus on comfortability, ease of setup, or weight. But, you tend to ignore the strength, durability, tear resistance, and strap strength.
Owl Outfitters hammock is my personal favorite due to its premium quality and super-strong material.
Snakes, Spiders and Insects
Imagine leaving your hammock to fetch water and coming back to a tarantula waiting for you on your hammock. It would be terrible right? Now, imagine the same situation with a snake!
Although when you are camping on a hammock rather than a tent, the chances of finding creepy reptiles in your gear are low. But not impossible!
Inspecting your gear every time may seem like a hustle, but it is quite important for your safety. Especially if you like your hammock low and close to the ground.
It is really important to closely check your gear before you lie into it and be attentive to any weird sound or movement.
As a camper, you might find a thrill in taking risks and getting on adventures. But what’s the point if it gets you killed? Certain locations are marked unsafe due to wild animals, poisonous trees, or extreme heat and fire.
For hammock camping, you often look for places that are close to a water source or have better insulation, but you tend to avoid safety at times.
Before you get on a trip, you must look for information like weather conditions on the campsite and safety concerns, or just simply read and look for incidents that may have occurred with people in similar locations.
It’s also quite important to understand your surroundings, like animal nature or sounds they make or signs of hazardous trees and how they look like.
When you understand the wild, you tend to avoid mistakes that may cause consequences.
Risks of Widow Makers
Widowmakers are tree branches that fall off due to heavy winds or storms. Winds in the wild are pretty harsh and tend to break dead branches, which at times cause dangerous accidents.
To be safe from widow-makers, try to avoid camping in areas clustered with trees. And also, avoid camping under tall trees that may seem dead.
To be extra safe, look around for any branch that may look dead.
But, if you are paranoid of them, the best thing to do is to cover yourself with rip-stop canvas made, winged-tarp.
Ripstop fabrics are generally very sturdy and strong, and a winged tarp provides a feeling of being covered in a tent which will make you feel secure.
When we plan a camping trip, the main goal is to have some time off work, social life, and responsibilities.
All you want is to leave phones, disconnect from the world, and be close to nature. This is justified, but what if you get in trouble during your solo camping trip?
It’s okay to disconnect, but there should be some source with you that you can inform in case of an emergency. Like a phone or walkie-talkie.
Apart from that, when you are in the wild, you need to keep a first aid kit with you at all times, not for severe cuts but for minor injuries and bites, which are quite common.
Is hammock camping safe? – Conclusion
Coping with the paranoia of safety while hammock camping requires more mental strength than physical. In the wild, you need to be attentive and alert all the time because your senses and instincts will save you from mishaps.
Having said that, You cannot make the most of your trip if you are suspicious all the time.
All you need to do is to take maximum precautions so your fear level goes down and you feel secure. Happy Camping!
This blog is part of our comprehensive hammock camping guide. If you are new to hammock camping, read the complete guide to get ready for your next camping trip.
Recommended Camping Gears: I have compiled a list of my favourite camping gear in one place. The selection is based on my own personal experience using them for many years camping as well as feedback from fellow campers. Check them out on my Recommended Camping Gears page