I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Sleep is an important aspect of a survival situation and it’s still an underrated characteristic of many survival scenarios. Having a survival hammock in your bug out bag will help you get the needed rest to recover from a stressful situation. There are a few tips that can help you get a good night’s sleep if you are using a survival hammock.
If you go camping often, you probably learned the hard way that a rough night out can ruin the next day. You will have a hard time adapting to the situation, even though it’s just a recreational experience. Imagine having to survive in the wilderness with a weak mind and body just because you didn’t manage to get some shut-eye.
I’ve spent countless nights sleeping in my hammock and I can tell you that there is a learning curve you should master before being able to swing from trees and get the rest you deserve. The tips and tricks described in this article will help you get the most out of your survival hammock and get the sleep you are looking for.
Survival hammock tips and tricks:
- You need drip rings for your survival hammock
You can control the weather, but you can shelter from it if you don’t want to wake up in three inches of water. To avoid turning your survival hammock into a recreational pool you need to take care of its waterproof vulnerability. While a good survival hammock is completely waterproof, the webbing and cordage can ruin this quality as water can creep down on you. You should learn to divert water away from your sleeping area by setting drip rings on the hanging straps. This is not complicated at all and you can use pieces of paracord tied into the hanging strips, allowing for the water to drop on the ground.
- Cover the ground before going to sleep
This is one trick I’ve learned when visiting Europe and it’s so simple, I can’t believe I haven’t thought of it on my own. While camping with a few friends, I’ve noticed that one of them used a small tarp to cover the ground beneath his survival hammock. He used the ground cover to take off his shoes, rather than struggling to sit sideways in the hammock like we did. Even more, he told us he started doing this because he was tired of losing items that fell from his pockets as he was preparing to sleep. This is pretty smart and it will help you find dropped articles easier.
Suggested article: 15 essential tips for surviving in the wilderness
- Use non-stretch straps
If you are a beginner at using a survival hammock it is quite possible that your hammock will form a V shape if the suspension straps will stretch. This will create an uncomfortable sleeping position and you will not wake up in the same position as you fell asleep. To avoid this you should inquire about the type of materials the manufacturer used for your survival hammock (go for static material that will not stretch). There is also another alternative solution to this problem and I’ve seen it used by many campers. They use daisy chain anchors equipped with multiples loops to create a non-stretch strap and fit it to the anchor tree. Regardless the type of straps you use, make sure you sit in it and observe how it is hanging. This will help you adjust the straps into a stretch point that provides a comfortable sleeping position.
- Keep the creepers outside your hammock with a simple trick
If you brought toothpaste with you (and you should because dental hygiene is important) you will discover that it has an alternative use to help you sleep better. Your toothpaste will prevent ants and other biters from crawling down the suspension straps. Mint toothpaste works great, but other types should work as well. All you need to do is smear it on your straps and you will sleep like a baby without waking up with unknown bite marks.
- Use a tarp in conjunction with your survival hammock
Having a tarp in your survival bag is smart prepping and I’ve written before about how such a survival item can help you while exploring the backcountry. If you use it together with your survival hammock, it will make your life easier and here are just a few examples. You can collect water if you configure it in a diamond pattern and you can use the points of the diamond running to the site of the hammock body. You will be able to funnel water in a bottle or bucket and you have your own running water system (to rinse off gear or toothbrush). You can use a tarp suspended in many ways to protect you from the elements. You can drop your survival hammock lower to the ground and use an A frame for warmth to lock out the cold air. You can use a lean-to frame if there is a prevailing wind to one direction and so on.
A must read article: How to make a tarp shelter – 15 designs
- The hanging debate
Your survival hammock should be comfortable when you lie in it and the secret lies in the hanging angle. If it’s not even you will slide toward you head or fee during the night and you will get discomfort and less sleep than you aimed for. Most of the survivalists I know agree that 30 degrees of strap from hammock to three in relation to the ground is the magic number.
- Prepping for overhead storage
If you do your homework right, you will discover that many survival hammocks come with an internal line running the length of the body. These types of hammocks are ideal because it will be easier for you to attach carabiners and snap-links for your survival gear (flashlight, water canteen, etc.). You can even make a small bag with all your essential survival items and suspend it overhead.
- You need to learn knots
This is a survival skill that becomes mandatory if you spend a lot of time in the wilderness. It will help you rig your survival hammock under adverse circumstances because you will never find the perfect setup of trees. The diversity of knots that you can learn will help you attach your hammock to various supports, both in the wild or urban environments. You can eve make knots that you can chock in cracks to attach your hammock if no other option is available. This is another perfect example that necessity is the mother of invention. Learning about making the perfect knot is rather easy and there are many books that can help you. I recommend reading the “The Knot Tying Bible: Climbing, Camping, Sailing, Fishing, Everyday“book.
- Hammocks provides unique setups
One major feature of the survival hammock is that you can use it for camping where others cannot. Survival hammocks have been used in all types of environments, from jungles to deserts and the ingenuity of certain setups is unbelievable. Soldiers have suspended them between vehicles and sailors have been using them in the inside of ships since the begging of the sea exploration age. You can even stack survival hammocks on top of one another using the same lashing points. Not to mention that climbers have attached their hammocks at great heights and some of these photos are viral due to their ingenuity or unorthodox setups.
- Sleep diagonally if you are a big fellow
If your survival hammock is not equipped with spreader bars and if you are a large fellow, you will turn your hammock into a taco. The fabric will fold onto itself and in order to prevent such discomfort, the best solution would be to lay diagonally in your survival hammock. Your shoulders and your legs should be able to stretch the material open and you will enjoy a good sleep.
The versatility of a survival hammock is not up for debate and it’s more than a sleeping accessory if you know how to use it. Setting it up the right way and making good use of the tricks listed in this article will provide you with a better sleeping experience than you thought it would be possible. A survival hammock is an ideal piece of gear for your bug out bag and you should consider getting one, especially if you have kids. Children love hammocks and they will play in them for hours, and most importantly you won’t have to fight a constant battle to keep them happy while exploring the great outdoors.
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