Why Hammocks Are the Ultimate Companion for Overlanders: Tips for Comfort and Convenience

Why Hammocks Are the Ultimate Companion for Overlanders: Tips for Comfort and Convenience

Shane Dryden |

I recently added a second hammock to my overlanding gear; basically, my wife and I were tired of sharing! We’ve come to really love overlanding, but we are well aware that the right gear, if chosen carefully, can have a big impact on your comfort and enjoyment levels.

The very definition of 'Overlanding', a word that I only became familiar with during the hours and hours of cathartic YouTube travel channels that I was binging on during lockdown, is the epitome of self-reliant adventure travel where the journey itself becomes the destination. This mode of exploration revolves around reaching remote, often untouched destinations using off-road-capable vehicles, ranging from bicycles to robust trucks, with camping as the primary form of accommodation. You don’t overland to camp; you camp to overland.

The Overlanding Challenge: Long Days and Quick Camps

The life of an overlander is marked by long hours behind the wheel, traversing challenging landscapes and covering substantial distances daily. While exhilarating, this lifestyle can be physically taxing, making efficient and comfortable rest periods crucial. Setting up and breaking down camp swiftly becomes a priority, enabling overlanders to maximise their downtime and recharge for the next day's adventures.

Enter the Hammock: The Overlander’s Best Friend

Hammocks have emerged as the ideal solution for overlanders, offering a compact, comfortable, and easy-to-deploy resting option. Here’s why hammocks are becoming an essential part of the overlanding gear list:

1. Compact and Lightweight: Hammocks, especially those designed for camping, pack down to a minimal size and are lightweight, making them easy to store even in the most space-constrained vehicles. Efficient gear management is crucial for overlanders, and camping-specific hammocks, like those from the Ticket To the Moon Hammock range, are perfect for the task.

Compact Hammock

2. Quick Setup and Takedown: One of the standout features of hammocks is their quick setup. Within minutes, you can have a comfortable resting spot ready, which is perfect for overlanders who need to maximise their limited downtime.

3. Ultimate Comfort: After a gruelling day of driving and exploring, a hammock offers unmatched comfort. It’s like lounging on a cozy couch on a lazy Sunday afternoon, providing a gentle sway that soothes tired muscles and joints, especially after enduring the completely inadequate seat support of your Land Cruiser. Imagine relaxing with a good book and a ice cold beer, fully immersed in the tranquility of your surroundings.

Hammock Comfort

Overcoming the Challenges of Hammock Setup in Africa

Overlanding in Africa presents unique challenges, such as the scarcity of mature trees in some regions, like Namibia, complicating hammock setup. However, overlanders can get creative, using their vehicle’s tow hitch or bull bar as anchor points, especially when traveling in groups. This adaptability ensures that you can set up your hammock virtually anywhere, irrespective of tree availability.

Hammock on bullbar

Hammock Setup Tips: Tree-Friendly Straps and the Perfect Angle

For a safe and comfortable hammock setup, consider these tips:

  • Use Tree-Friendly Straps: Always opt for tree-friendly straps to protect the trees’ bark and health. These wider straps distribute weight more evenly, minimising the impact on the trees. We recommend the Moon Straps from Ticket To The Moon.
  • Find the Right Angle: Aim for a 30-degree angle between the straps and the ground. This provides the ideal balance of comfort and support, preventing excessive sagging or tension.
  • Adjust the Height: Hang your hammock at a comfortable height, typically around 50cm (chair height) off the ground when you’re in it. This height ensures easy access and a comfortable sitting position.
  • Safety First: First, check for anything that might fall on you from above: trees with loose branches or insect nests should be avoided. Your two trees should be alive and sturdy, at least 15cm in diameter and between 3 and 5 metres apart.

Hammocks are an indispensable companion for overlanders, offering a perfect blend of comfort, convenience, and versatility. Whether traversing the vast landscapes of Africa or exploring remote trails closer to home, a hammock provides the ideal rest spot after a long day of adventure. Happy travels and here's to many more adventures on the open road!

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