Tip 5: Bug nets are important. We all used our hammocks like cocoons, wrapping them around us and sealing out the night air and the bugs. This was after we used Cauryn’ s bug spray on the outside of each hammock. If the night had been hotter we would have wanted to be open to the air and then the bug nets would have been a must.


Tip 6: Both girls had Twilights by Eno, they are a light made to adorn your hammock. They were a fun little addition to the trip and I would encourage you to use them if you have room in your pack.


I did not coin the phrase, but hammocking is now a verb in my book. So get out and enjoy some of the beautiful Michigan National Parks and happy hammocking! 

-Donald Shampine, CIC, CRM, President/ CEO

Tip 1: Test out some hammocks. Some have fabric that stretches and others are more taut. Finding one that is comfortable to lie in, especially overnight is important. Caitlin and I used the more stretchable kind where Cauryn used a more taut fabric hammock.


Tip 2: Practice getting in and out of them. They are not difficult to use, but you can flip out of them if you are not careful. Cauryn showed us how that worked on our trip; luckily she did so without injury, just some laughs.


Tip 3: Dress warm and bring a sleeping bag. Hammocks are comfortable and breathe well. That means the cold nighttime air will penetrate and even during these summer months, it gets cold. Use a sleeping bag with a higher rating than you think you will need. Caitlin learned the hard way that dressing warm at night also helps. When settling in at 10:30 at night it might still feel warm, but at 3:30 in the morning the cold has definitely settled in and you feel it!

tips for happy hammocking

Recently my kids have gotten into hammocks. I’m sure you have seen the brightly colored parachute material strung between two trees with teenagers resting on them from their weary days of summer vacation. Well, this weekend we put those hammocks to the test. My daughter Caitlin and her friend Cauryn and I went up to the Manistee National Forest for a backpacking trip where we spent two nights resting our tired bodies in our hammocks. We hiked about 23 miles, which is a bit ambitious for our first time, but these girls were up to the challenge and I was not about to say no. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I will give my insight about hammocks based on things I learned on the trip as well as the research I did prior to going.

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Tip 4: I found that there are sleeping pads used specifically for hammocks. We did not use them, but if you go in fall or even colder times of year, it would be a must. You are completely surrounded by air and most sleeping bags are rated with you sleeping on a pad. We didn’t bring them but I would recommend them if you go outside of the summer months.

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