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Must-Have Hammock Accessories

July 06, 2018

A couple share a smile together as they sit in a hammock between two trees at the edge of a sunlit lake.

Whether You’re Camping or Relaxing at Home, Get the Most Out Of Your Hammock With These Accessories

Not so long ago, hammocks were fairly ordinary devices. There wasn’t much hammock innovation in the 20th century when suburban families used them for one or two summers, then tossed them in the garage and forgot about them altogether.

In fact, many people still (mistakenly) think of hammocks as bare-bones, cobbled-together products, a piece of sturdy cloth and some rope tied to a tree.

But hammocks, like most products since the turn of the millennium, have evolved to match the modern world around us. On top of technological advances that help new hammocks last longer and offer more durability, there is a wide array of accessories customers can purchase to further enhance their hammock experience.

Hammocks are now made with materials that make them last longer and may already include accessories to make them a must-have item every summer, instead of a product that gets lost in the garage.

So which accessories should you take a look at when buying your next hammock?

Tarps

A must-have while utilizing a hammock during camping trips, a decent tarp meets that most basic of requirements when living in the elements – keeping you dry.

Choosing the right tarp means considering a few factors: your hammock’s size, your immediate environment, and the always-popular weather forecast. Hammock tarps hang on a ridgeline suspended over the hammock, with each point secured or weighted down to prevent flapping and blowing.

Of course, no matter what type of hammock you currently own, there are several varieties of tarps available, distinguished by shape and size:

  • Asymmetrical tarps – These tarps are usually rectangular and quite narrow, used primarily with asymmetrical hammocks. They are great for some sun protection, but don’t offer terribly effective protection from the rain.
  • Diamond-shaped tarps – These tarps offer incredibly easy set-up and are ideal for maximum protection from rainfall. These tarps usually hang diagonally and are generally quite light, making them a great option for dependable coverage on a camping trip.
  • Hexagonal tarps – Now we’re getting into some serious territory! These 6-sided tarps are the most effective option when battling the elements. There aren’t any nooks or crannies for rain to collect and pool. Furthermore, the shape naturally helps withstand heavy gusts of wind.
  • Rectangular tarps – Probably the most common tarp used for hammocks, rectangular tarps most resemble actual tents and hang over a hammock’s ridgeline. Many all-season/winter tarps for hammocks are oversized rectangles with added flaps to further look like a tent, giving you a cozy little escape at the end of a long day of hiking.

Tree Straps and Clips

Planning to hang out between two trees? Your hammock is only as effective as its tree straps, so finding a durable set of straps is paramount when hammocking.
Here are the most important things to keep in mind when choosing hammock straps before your next hang:

  • Strength – Hammock tree straps need to support twice your own body weight to ensure safety and comfort. Quality straps are made with materials that can last years, even in the roughest terrain.
  • Versatility – Straps are not always tied to the same type of tree or wall. For example, red pine trees have a brittle outside layer of bark, meaning you will need to peel away at that outside layer to avoid having the strap slip down the trunk of the tree. In any case, quality tree straps should be able to handle virtually any tree or wall you need to use when setting up your hammock.
  • Durability – Likely the most important factor when purchasing a quality tree strap for your hammock is the durability. Straps will experience the most abuse of all hammock accessories, and the difference between a durable strap and a low-quality strap will determine if you wake up in the dirt. 
  • Size/Weight – Not all campgrounds are ideal for setting up hammocks. In many instances, you will have to navigate challenges like length between trees and thus require straps that are long enough to accommodate. Finding straps that can fit in your tarp is also important. Most outdoor straps are fairly light and ideal for set-up and hiking to and from your site.

Two hammocks hang, one above the other, silhouetted against a beautiful orange sunset.

Clips, meanwhile, can be thought of as a quick and easy alternative to carabiners. Dutch clips, in particular, offer easy set-up and tear-down, perfect if heavy weather is rolling in or you just want quick pack-up times. If you’re concerned about stability or slippage, though, a set of locking carabiners is a must.

Don’t forget other clips to hang additional accessories from your hammock, either. While some heavy-duty models might be able to take double-duty to help support your hammock in a pinch, these clips are ideal for keeping tarps or other items in place.

Cup Holders and Coolers

Hammocks are the personification of relaxation, and what better way to relax than with a cold beverage in your hand? Sling style cup holders, braided and functional, will enhance your hammock experience. These easily clip or tie onto your hammock and can even be clipped onto your belt if you need to hold a water bottle during a hike to the campsite.

And don’t forget, drinks need to stay cold, so a hammock cooler is another must-have accessory. Soft coolers are a great way to keep things nice and chilled on a hot day and work the same way as drink holders.

Protection and Transport

Durability and strength are vital for the longevity of your hammock, but if you really want your hammock to last you will need protection. Hammock socks, mosquito netting and specialized rain-resistant tarps extend the life of your hammock, as well as your personal comfort.

Don’t forget sacks and storage bags to help protect your investment, either. Nothing’s worse than watching a hammock slowly succumb to wear and tear, so take care to clean and pack up your hammock before storing it in a convenient and durable tote.

And always, always keep a repair kit on hand!

Quilts, Sleeping Bags, Pillows, and Other Helpful Gear

Sleeping on a hammock is wonderful, but sleeping on a hammock with specialty pillows, a handmade quilt and a light sleeping bag is heaven. Enjoy the outdoors in a way you’ve only dreamt of, with accessories made from waterproof materials and an extra touch of comfort.

But beyond comfort, we recommend grabbing an alternate suspension system just in case your first option doesn’t work out or breaks. This isn’t as important if you’re just hanging out at home or at the cottage, but being unable to sleep in a hammock during a camping trip would be a serious hitch in your plans.
You might also want to consider investing in a few handy organizers to hang off your hammock itself or the ridgeline.

Hammock accessories are a growing industry, and the demand has never been higher to maximize the comfort of a product already known as an item of leisure and relaxation. Make sure your next hammock experience takes advantage of these accessories, and treat these products with care so you can enjoy hammock life for years to come.


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