Being paranoid about safety before heading to the forest is pretty logical in cases of hammock camping. I mean, there are a thousand things that can go wrong when you are exposed to the wild. What if you come across wild animals, or fell off, or worse, what if you get hit by a widowmaker stem? These concerns are pretty natural. So, is hammock camping safe?
Yes, hammock camping quite safe if you set up your hammock properly and securely. If hanged correctly, a hammock is even safer than traditional tent camping. You are above the ground and can avoid ground moisture, creepy crawlers, and even rainwater. Hammock is also completely safe for your backbone and posture.
That being said, there are facts that you need to know before getting on to the trip that will help you be safe. Because no one can deny the fact that, while you are camping in the wild, minor mistakes can cause you serious harm. In this article, I’ll help you identify the dangers you can encounter and ways to tackle them; let’s get started!
#1 Raccoons, Deer and Coyote
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 life time.
Tough, animals usually don’t see as prey but 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
#2 You May Summon Bears
Bears are one of the major concerns for hammock campers. Most of the animals tend to sleep at night, but bears are different. Bears are popular 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 make their sense of smell trigger. Avoid using perfumes, creams or anything fragrant stuff while camping in a bear area.
#3 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.
#4 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.
#5 Snakes, spiders and insects
Imagine leaving your hammock to fetch water and comping back to a tarantula waiting for you on your hammock. Would be terrible right? Now, imagine the same situation with a snake!
Tough, when you are camping on a hammock rather than a tent, the chances of finding creepy reptiles in your gear is 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 of any weird sound or movement.
#6 Perilous Locations
As a camper, you might find 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 water source or has better insulation, but you tend to avoid the safety at times.
Before you get on to a trip, you must look for information like weather conditions on campsite, safety concerns, or just simply read and look for incidents that may have occurred with people on 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.
#7 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. Rip stop fabrics are generally very study and strong and winged tarp provides a feeling of being covered in a tent which will make you feel secured.
#8 Unexpected Emergency
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 and 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 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 the 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.