Few things beat being cradled to sleep by the swaying of your hammock under a starry sky, waking up to the sound of birds chirping feeling sun rays on your face … That’s not always the case though. I´ve woken up shivering from the cold, covered in mosquito bites and with an aching body … Still, when done right; spending the night outdoors in your hammock can be an incredible experience - and a great way to experience nature for your #Staycation this summer!
Iselin Næss is a blogger for the Norwegian outdoor community turjenter.no and has spent her share of nights in the outdoors. She has gathered some tips on how to optimize sleeping outside in a hammock, that will hopefully help you achieve that same inspiring feeling first described above.
I’ve spent so many nights going to sleep shaped like a banana, waking up sorer than rested. The quality of my sleep improved drastically once I started tightening my hammock properly to make it flatter. However, the tightness also depends on the flexibility of the trees you’re hanging in. I recommend tightening the hammock pretty tight, and if the trees are flexible re-adjust even tighter.
The weather is heating up in the Northern Hemisphere these days, but the temperature can still drop during night time. That’s why I always prefer to put on merino wool baselayers when sleeping outside. Merino wool has the unique ability to self-regulate temperature and naturally wicks excess heat and moisture away from skin to create an optimal temperature zone for a good night's sleep. Another advantage is that wool is self-cleansing. Just hang it out to air, and it will feel fresh again fairly soon!
I always bring a sleeping pad to put in my hammock for insulation. You don’t want to bring one of those fancy blow-up ones as they are too stiff and will fall out. Bring one that will mold to the shape of the hammock – a cheap foam layer is often the best!
During summertime, you don’t necessarily need top quality gear for the outdoors, a thin sleeping bag can work just fine. However, remember to tighten the bag around your neck to avoid letting out all the air warmed up by your body. I prefer to wear a beanie and keep my head outside of the sleeping bag for the perfect mix of staying warm while still getting fresh air.
The fact that you don’t need a flat surface to put up your camp, gives you so many options for hammocking, and you can find trees almost everywhere. I find a lot of inspiration through Instagram or internet in general, but I also love scrolling through Google maps looking for open spots with a view in the forest, either at the top of a slope somewhere, or around a lake in the woods – perfect for a morning dip the day after. Just putting on your hiking shoes and go looking outside for a spot works too!
Throughout the summer you’re not allowed to put up a fire in Norway, however I always bring a burner and some gas to be able to heat up some water for the best morning coffee you’ll ever have. There´s tons of options for how you like your coffee but I really like to bring my Aero Press kit during the summer - easy and so good!
The good thing about a sleeping in a hammock is that it’s so easy to put up and down, it’s not intrusive and leaves no trace after you take it down. Remember however that the same should go for the rest of your camp, bring back what you brought in, and even if you have leftovers that are degradable, make sure to hide them well - so that it looks nice for whoever comes next.