Have you been a tent-camper all your life? Well I was… until 2 years ago when I discovered hammock camping and realized that my outdoor trips could get a lot better, being able to sleep more comfortably in the mountains, without my back hurting from the unforgiving ground. In this post, I’m not going to convince you to ditch your tent on your next camping trip, but I will share the amazing benefits of hammock camping!
Why I Fell In Love With Hammock Camping
I lived in Vietnam for a year and it was amazing to see hammocks in almost every corner of their country! I was also doing a lot of backpacking in around Saigon but I only knew tent-camping back then which gave me a hard time! First is that tents are just generally heavy for a petite lady who does lots of solo-backpacking! Second is that I rarely ever slept well against the ground so I end up still feeling exhausted for the next day of hiking. There were only 2 solutions to my problem: first is buy a rather expensive ultralight tent which I couldn’t afford at that time, and second: switch to a hammock system.
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When I came back to the Philippines, almost all of my hiking and backpacking trips were accompanied by a hammock! I traveled around Cordillera (Benguet, Bontoc, Abra), Siargao, Siquijor, Camiguin, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Quezon Province, and Palawan sleeping on a hammock when possible, as well as hiked mountains near Metro Manila just hang-camping. There care cases of course when hammock camping is impossible like in Mt. Gulugod-Baboy summit where there’s not a single pair of trees for hanging; but in general, most mountains in the Philippines have some! You can join our FB Group Hammock Camping in the Philippines to find spots to to go pitching!
Benefits of Hammock Camping
Hammock + tarp is my go-to shelter when camping in the Philippines. Of course, you have to do your diligent research to make sure that there are trees you can hang your hammock to. But once you have that step out of the way, then you’re going to enjoy the following benefits.
1. Better Rest and Recovery
Yes, this has to be top 1 for me because when I hammock camp, I sleep like a baby! Did you know that sleeping in a hammock promotes optimal blood circulation on your brain? That is because there is zero-pressure point as you sleep, and you can slightly elevate your upper body – perks that no tent + mattress can provide!
2. Deeper and Faster Sleep
Hammocks provide the similar effect to “hele” or gentle rocking that you do for babies to sleep. This allows you to enter “Deep Sleep” mode faster. When you are hiking, this is more important because deep sleep is when energy is restored, tissues and muscles are repaired, and the immune system is fortified. This means you’re getting a good recovery, which also means waking up feeling more refreshed.
3. Relief from Sleeping Pressure Points
Have you experienced tossing and turning trying to sleep inside a tent? Well that’s your body complaining to your brain that it is experiencing discomfort from sleeping in a hard surface. Going with a hammock on outdoor adventures eliminates that and allows you to hit the trails each morning well-refreshed, and return home feeling rejuvenated instead of exhausted.
4. More Campsite Options
Want more freedom on where to lay your head at night? Achieve that with a hammock! Tie your hammock up between trees and rocks, beneath piers, over a stream, on a hill, next to a waterfall, under a hut… you can even string it up between two car racks. PLUS! A hammock serves not only as a bed for sleeping, but as a chair and a lounger. There are just some exceptions for mountains that has designated grassland campsites that are treeless. So you really have to search first if the campsite you are spending the night on has trees or huts to hang on to.
5. Hello Lightpacking!
Good news for those who want to achieve a lighter pack! A complete hammock system that includes a tarp and mosquito netting weigh only 3lbs or less. They’re also small and compact and take up very little space in your pack.
6. Quicker Setup
Pitching is as easy as finding a pair of trees separated by 12-18 feet, with very little consideration to the surface below it. Even without any knowledge of knots, as long as you have a pair of good tree straps, a hammock can be set up in a snap! Once you get the hang of it, setting up a hammock can be fast as they are consistently set up the exact same way, night after night. In contrast, the ground experience changes nearly every night due to ground sloping, ground cover, and surface abnormalities. Therefore, it’s easier to master the setup, and you can reliably sleep the same way each night.
7. Better Views
The views from a hammock are incredible! You don’t have to own a mesh-walled tent to gaze the stars at night. Once you lay comfortably in your hammock with a good view, it could get difficult to get up and prepare a meal! Check out my 3-day hammock camping trip in Mt Kaanducian in Nueva Ecija where sunrise, sunsets and star-filled skies were my only company!
8. Hammock Camping Near a Water Source is Possible
Many times, it is quicker and more practical to camp near a water resource, like if you are hiking in a valley where water options are rare. This is a no, no with tent camping. But with a hammock, you can camp near water sources even if there are no suitable ground campsites nearby. This can be very convenient since you get more water availability.
I remember our overnight hike in Mt. Mal-ak where we had a mission to camp near Baawan Waterfalls! The area was too rocky and tent camping would have been impossible. But thanks to our hammocks, we slept just fine with the rushing waters as our lullaby.
9. Protection Against Ground and Rain
You’ll be thankful having a hammock system when it’s raining or when the terrain is wet. The tarp keeps you shielded from rain, and the hammock can be used as a dry seat while you are cooking or relaxing in camp.
Okay, this might not apply to everyone, but for me who solo-backpacks on a budget, my hammock gives me a lot of savings from accommodations! I rarely book accommodations outside the city. I just find a couple of trees and I’m good to go! Sometimes, I ask resorts for permission to camp in their area and I only pay like around 100Php, if not free per night. I’m a cowgirl so hammock-life really fits me! This photo below is when I slept in Magpupungko Pools in Siargao, instead of booking a hotel! I even slept one time outside Cebu Port to catch an early morning ferry to Bohol. Why would I spend 500-1000 just to be able to sleep?
Recommendations on Hammock Camping
So, are you ready to try your first outdoor hammock camping adventure? If you’re still looking for your first hammock, check out this List of Local Hammock Suppliers in the Philippines to find the best one that fits you! Remember that weather in the Philippines is almost always unpredictable so a tarp is necessary in a hammock system. On the other hand, if you’re stuck in your house like many of us, you can still practice hanging at home! Yes, you can sleep in your hammock at your bedroom even when you have a bed… because hammock camping is addicting 😉