North Carolina’s landscape provides a vast array of scenic settings that create the perfect backdrop for a hammock camping adventure. Whether you decide on a backcountry hammock camping trip or an easy, low-impact hammock session in your local park, sleeping under the stars and drinking in the beauty of nature makes for an unforgettable North Carolina outdoor adventure.

Outdoor NC has partnered with ENO to provide a guide for planning the ultimate hammock camping trip.

What is Hammock Camping?

If you’ve never been hammock camping before, it’s a lot like regular camping, but instead of a tent for sleeping, you’re tucked in a hammock.

Those who enjoy backpacking often favor this style of camping because hammocks are lightweight, take up less space in a pack, have less of an environmental impact and are much easier to set up than tents – saving you time and energy getting them set up. Additionally, you’ll be spared the discomfort of sleeping on sloped or rocky ground. Instead, all you need are two trees to keep you comfortable.

Hammock Camping Tips for Your Next North Carolina Outdoor Adventure

To ensure you have the best experience possible, we’ve put together our top tips for your safety and comfort while you enjoy the outdoors. Always check local regulations to ensure hammocking is allowed.

Bring the right gear

Like most other types of outdoor gear, hammocks come in all shapes, sizes, materials and features.

First, you’ll want to decide which type of hammock you need. If you’re camping close to your car, weight and size are not an issue. If you are straying far, an ultralight hammock might be a better fit. Don’t forget your hammock straps for trees or a portable hammock stand if there will be none. Since you’re going to be out in the elements, choose a hammock that’s durable, breathable and made of fast-drying fabric so you’re prepared in case you find yourself getting hit with unexpected rain. You’ll also want the right accessories for your trip. Two additional types of gear that are imperative to hammock camping are a bug net and rain tarp to keep you free from pesky bug bites and help shield you from getting wet.

Pick trees that are well spaced out

While this may seem like one of the more obvious hammock camping tips, it’s an important one to keep in mind. Your hammock will stretch farther than you might think, especially with adjustable hammock straps so pick trees that are about 10 to 14 feet apart, ensuring your hammock can hang with some slack. Only attach your hammock to healthy, mature trees (no saplings or other small trees that move under weight) and use a wide diameter webbing, at least 2 inches wide, to reduce your impact on the tree.

When dialing in the tension of your hammock, test it out to see what’s comfortable. We recommend starting with a slight sag, where your tree straps are at a 30-degree angle. This allows you to move while in the hammock without having the sides wall up around you. Lay diagonally with your head to one side and feet to the other for the flattest lay.

Wear layers and use an underquilt

Similarly to sleeping in a tent, sleeping in layers helps keep your body warm throughout the night. Since you’re outside and exposed to the elements, you’ll want to have at least a base layer to keep you comfortable.

Most people tend to feel cool in a hammock when temperatures are at or under 65 degrees Fahrenheit. While a typical sleeping bag will work to keep the front of your body warm, you’ll need to use an insulated sleeping pad in your hammock or a hammock underquilt that hangs under your hammock to keep your back warm. This also blocks any wind, keeping you cozy for a good night's sleep.

Tread Gently: How to Reduce Your Impact While Hammock Camping

As you settle in among the trees and enjoy your natural surroundings, there are steps you can take to protect these beautiful outdoor spaces. Here are a few things to remember before heading out on your outdoor getaway.

Plan ahead and be prepared

  • Since nature can be unpredictable at times, planning and preparation can help give you some control.
  • Check the weather before you leave so you can plan accordingly, and make sure you have adequate gear. Consider bringing a rain cover to keep you dry such as ENO’s ProFly™ Rain Tarp, and extra layers to keep you warm such as ENO’s Vesta™ TopQuilt.
  • You’ll also want to make sure you have enough water and food, so look for supplies and food items that reduce packaging and waste or prepare food ahead of time and store in reusable containers. If you’re in an area that is inhabited by bears, bring a bear-resistant food container for overnight use to be safe.

Pack out your trash

  • Even the smallest piece of trash, like the little plastic tie that comes with bread, can make an impact. Trash and litter, no matter the size, can take years to decompose and are unhealthy for wildlife. Come prepared to properly pack out your trash and waste to help protect our outdoor spaces.

Leave it as you find it

  • Taking rocks, wildflowers or leaves may seem like harmless mementos, but they can upset the sensitive ecosystems of the outdoors. Instead of taking a piece of nature home, take photos as remembrances of your trip and enjoy nature in the moment.

Protect wildlife and keep it wild

  • Whether you’re hammock camping in the backcountry or in your local state park, you’ll experience all kinds of native birds and animals in their natural habitats. As excited as you may be to be up close to these creatures, it’s important to leave them be. To keep wildlife safe, observe and take in the experience from a distance.

Be mindful of fire

  • Sitting around a warm fire can be the highlight of any hammock camping trip, but they can also cause significant damage to the environment if you’re not careful.
  • When collecting wood for your fire, check the area’s rules (if you’re in a campground) and make sure it allows wood collection. Find dead sticks or leaves to burn, and when you’re done, make sure that the fire is completely out and that ashes are cold.

Hammock Camping Essentials by ENO, a Proud Partner of Outdoor NC

When you’re browsing your local outdoor store for the right gear and accessories to bring on your upcoming trip, you’ll find a slew of different brands to choose from. A home favorite here in North Carolina are ENO hammocks.

Based in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Asheville, NC, ENO makes hammocks that are innovative, easy to pack and ready for adventure. The company’s range of hammocks, such as the DoubleNest® Hammock and SingleNest® Hammock, and accessories, such as the Talon™ Hammock Organizer and Guardian™ Bug Net, give hammockers an all-access pass to explore, connect and relax. But what makes ENO truly special is its commitment to outdoor stewardship, helping to protect and preserve outdoor spaces by serving and supporting the outdoor community. As a partner of Outdoor NC, ENO is joining the Outdoor NC movement to take care of our state’s treasured outdoor spaces by not only making environmentally friendly hammocks but by being outdoor advocates and encouraging others to do the same.

You can read more about their story here and browse all their innovative hammocks and accessories to get ready for your next trip.

Be a Part of Keeping NC Beautiful

Honoring and taking care of our natural spaces starts with small impacts we can make together. That’s why Outdoor NC, Leave No Trace and many other organizations across our state have partnered together to take part in preserving the natural beauty of our state. So what can you do to make an impact? Join the Outdoor NC Movement now.