Tips on Hammock Camping with Kids

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26 Responses

  1. Mike Gardner aka Meerkat says:

    Looks like a fun camp. The Nemo tarp/net a good addition. What do you have over your RR? ps like the book

    • Derek says:

      Thanks Mike! In the photo with the Nemo Bugout shelter, I’m not in a RR, that’s the Eureka! Chrysalis hammock. It’s a bridge hammock with modular bug net and “Campersleeve” that combines a tarp and bug net enclosure. It’s similar in design to the Warbonnet sock, but on the Chrysalis, it’s a fully-functional, waterproof tarp. Pretty slick.

  2. Paul says:

    Great Job, very informative and enjoyable to read.

  3. Mattox says:

    Thanks Derek. Your book helped alot when I first started. Since then my boys are now starting to hang. Thaks again!

  4. Daivd Wallace II says:

    Great post. I’m working to get hammock camping going in our troop. Not only have you shared ideas which helped getting my set up going but this will help within the troop. Keep up the great work. If I stubble across anything I think of I’ll be sure to pass it along.

    Troop 67 Dover, PA

    • Derek says:

      Thanks Dave. Another thing we do with our troop is bunk the hammocks, which the boys really like. They get to sleep near each other and share a tarp. I’m preparing a trip report for our 50-miler this summer where you can check out photos.

  5. John Min says:

    I am going to be giving this a go this fall or as soon as it cools down a bit. Great page, looks like your family is having some really good times. Thanks for all the info, you addressed my concerns. I will be taking the large tarp to create the wall that shuts out the scary darkness and hanging her close so she won’t want to climb in with me. I could already see that wasn’t going to fly. Thanks for your efforts and sharing!

  6. Jimmy says:

    Great ideas, Derek. Of course, as you probably know, Hennessy makes a good hammock for younger people with their Scout. Anyone under 6 foot would fit in. It comes in either the regular or the zip entrance and like all Hennessy hammocks comes complete with an attached mosquito net and a good sized rain fly.

  7. Rolando says:

    Derek. I liked your book very much. Your drawings are very nice and do a great job getting the point across.
    What size hammock would you recommend for children or people under 5 ft (1.5 m)? My point being one can save on material and weight by making a more size appropriate hammock.

    • Derek says:

      Thanks Rolando. I understand your concern about saving some material, but it is only short term, especially if you plan on making bigger hammocks when the kids grow. If you want to scale down, try making a hammock that is 4-5 feet longer than the occupants height. The width should be half the length.

  8. I liked this article so much that I made my hubby read it. I like to call myself the original hammock camper. I have been camping since I was in diapers. I am now 36. I have been hammock camping for the last 20 years and my family has been laughing at me ever since. I have been laughing at them as they spend hours setting up tents, blowing up airmattresses or cots and all the other crap they bring. Once I started having our 4 kids, the oldest is 7, they have all been in the tent and I have been ham mocking it outside. Ha! This year they are all finally on board. This coming week we will be FINALLY taking no tents and crap, only hammocks and tarps. Yippee!!

    I am a photographer with 4 autistic kids aging 7, 6, 4 and 2. My husband is 31. I have been a hiker, kayaker, camper canoe er my entire life and have spent the last 7 years “training my family to do these things with me. Hammock camping will lighten our load so very much which is a nessecity becUse of the camera great I have to pack in. Check out our site to see how it goes next week and some of our other pages for how we survive our special needs family.

    LOVED the article so much and after my husband read it he agreed to do only hammocks next week when we hit up Red River Gorge. Yeah!

    • Derek says:

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the article. It sounds like you have a similar set-up as my own, in regards to having a “big” family (compared with today’s standards).

  9. Pablo says:

    Good food for thought. I enjoy taking my kids on short backcountry hikes here in the PNW. I’ve got my young girls into hammocking and their small enough I usually have them sleep in the same hammock. I’ll have to try bunking them in separate hammocks and the other suggestions you gave. I took my six year old even snow caving and shehad a great time because she slept warm. A cold or wet night of rest can stay with kids for a long time.

    I’m also a Scout leader and I haven’t pushed hammocking on the scouts. They’re almost always wet in their walmart tents. The northwest will put your gear to the test constantly.

    • Derek says:

      One wet tent campout was enough to convert my troop to hammocks.

      • Pablo says:

        Wet camping is about 60% of our experience so I’ve told kids and parents that the cheap tents and gear will not work around here.

        I should start pushing hammocking to the boys since our scout master is also into it.

  10. Ted says:

    Just wondering how you get into that top hammock? Looks like it is 7 feet off the ground.

    • Derek says:

      The top hammock was only about 5 feet off the ground. I lifted and placed my son in and out of the hammock. There was no fear of falling out since the Mayan style hammocks have such a low center of gravity and high sides that they can’t simply roll out; they have to intentionally climb out.

  11. Tom Humerick says:

    Great write-up Derek, now if only I could convince my daughters that camping doesnt mean taking the RV we’d be all set.

  12. Richard says:

    What 4 season tarp are you using? What is your recommendation for a multi-person tarp?

    • Derek says:

      There are lots of options for 4-season tarps. A basic 10×12 tarp with multiple tie-out points (like from Jacks R Better) can be pitched down into a roomy, fully-enclosed shelter. I also have a cuben fiber winter tarp from, and the Wilderness Logics Tadpole tarp with a door mod. It is a smaller tarp, but still provides more coverage options with the doors.

      For multi-person, it’s nice to have a larger tarp, like a 10×12. Underground Quilts has a nice winter dream tarp that can fit two people side-by-side and has integrated doors. If you stack, there are even more options available.

  13. Emily says:

    How young do you and your readers start using hammocks? Have toddler and wondering how young is too young due to things like neck position and heavy blankets, more so than the risk of falling out.

    • Derek says:

      If you ask some cultures, like the folks down in Mereda, Yucatan, Mexico, their children sleep full time in a hammock. My 5-year-old loves sleeping in a hammock. When hung properly, the hammock provides a low center of gravity, making it difficult to flip out. It also provides a flatter laying position, so there are no neck kinks or twists. As with all things, there are risks. I wouldn’t put a heavy blanket or put infants in a hammock without supervision. Use good judgement and be wise!

  14. Yvonne says:

    how do they get the hammock out the bottom of the sleeping bag? I read the article and it never said. once that’s resolved, I see this 100% as working.

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