So, in this day and age, we all have to be very aware of the impact that our outdoor activities have on nature. Hammocking is a perfect example of low-impact shelter/camping.
The smaller that your “footprint” is on nature then the better off we all are. Keeping that footprint small, however, can be an issue for larger families or camping/hiking groups. In this article, we’ll talk about how to Hammock Responsibly and keep your environmental impact to a minimum.
Hammock camping can be a truly awesome experience, but only if you’re doing it the right ways; safely and responsibly.
Responsible Hammocking Tips
- Never damage any tree or its bark. So do not hammer or screw anything into the trees. Always use wide “tree saver” hammock straps to suspend your hammock rather than thin plastic cords. If hung properly hammocks have a pretty near-zero impact on the environment.
- Find two, strong, thick-trunked trees to hang your hammock and be aware of dead trees. Your hammock can probably take several hundred pounds of weight, which the trees need to be able to hold. If they are not strong and/or healthy enough your weight could pull them down. So before setting up your hammock check for dead branches and look for signs of a healthy tree like fruit and healthy foliage.
- Avoid hanging your hammock between trees that are on wet ground. This is substantially less able to take the load.
- Camp in areas that are sparsely populated with vegetation to reduce the risk of damaging anything.
- Check the area for animal habitat or insect nests, as well as poisonous plants. The last thing you want is to wake up with poison ivy rash or a horde of angry ants!
- Keep your Hammock at least 200 feet from water sources in order to preserve communities and unique habitats that could be disrupted by your presence.
- Do not set up your hammock under anything that could fall and injure you. NEVER camp under a coconut tree!
- Keep your hammock clear of plant life. Hang your hammock at least 18″ off the ground once fully loaded – this usually means your hammock straps will need to be around 6′ up
- When you leave the campsite, take down the hammock so that animals don’t get tangled and trapped in your hammock.
- Removing your hammock while you are not at camp also keeps it in good condition as the time under load is what ages the stitching etc. It also prevents small animals or insects from making a home in your hammock.
- Split large groups up into smaller ones and set up campsites in different, but nearby, locations to reduce your footprint.
- Be sure to only build fires if they are permitted and where it is safe to do so. If possible, use an existing fire ring.
- No need to re-invent the wheel when it comes to campsites. Look for existing campsites before you think about camping in virgin forest.
- Be aware of local laws when it comes to hanging hammocks. For example, Florida State Parks do not allow hammock camping or suspending hammocks…
- As with any camping excursion, always clean up your campsite when you leave it. Leave no sign that you were there except the campsite itself…so that others can use it well and responsibly themselves.
With a dedicated and mindful camping trip, you can truly enjoy your hammock to its fullest. The idea here is to keep people camping responsibly and safely with their hammocks for a long time coming. Take care of yourself, yours, and the great outdoors!
Matt Green, is an avid hiker and lover of the great outdoors. He is always planning his next big trip or hitting the trails for a solo hike.
He’s traveled extensively to many remote regions and has plenty of experience exploring various terrains, and stories to tell.