High Strung: Why You Need a Hammock in Your Life

There aren't many reasons I can think of, as to why people who love the outdoors should not get a hammock. The number of reasons to get one though, is almost never-ending.

For years, I've been hiking in and around the Mid-Atlantic, mixed with multiple adventures to the American West, New England's beautiful states, the humid South, and everywhere in between. One thing I've noticed on every single hike in any of these places, is that there are rocks and hard spots, but a lack of comfortable areas for anyone to sit. I get it though. Hikes are supposed to be sweaty, challenging, and sometimes almost too grueling to complete. However, sometimes just sitting and doing nothing is what you need, and that's exactly what hammocks are for.  

Two hikers find a way to make a hammock "bunk bed". Photo: Brian Balik

On peaks and summits of any mountain with a lot of visitors, any hiker stands among many other people enjoying the view. Most of them are either sitting or laying on hard rocks. Hanging a hammock at any of these places gives you the opportunity to have your whole body suspended on a comfortable place without sticks, oddly-shaped rocks, and boulders jabbing into you. There may not always be the "picture perfect" place to hang a hammock, but the user can almost always find some sort of tree or sturdy surface to put one. 

Brian (author) stargazes on a clear night in Shenandoah National Park. Photo: Mark Schenker

If you enjoy stargazing, then you should get a hammock to hang outdoors. Laying down in one puts you in an incomparable position for looking up at the sky. Add in the rocking motion of a swaying hammock, and you may fall asleep because of how relaxed you are.

Hammocks were originally made for a quick and convenient place to sleep. They still are. The hammocks most commonly used by hikers are made specifically for camping. Most of them are lightweight and pack directly into a bag attached to the hammock, allowing for an easy take-down. 

Though they are made to sleep in, one of the best ways to use them is just for a short time at a beautiful place. Your blood pressure and soul will thank you and your stress levels may decrease.

If you're feeling high strung, then string a hammock up high on a mountain.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!