Alright you wilderness lovers. When you’re talking about walking your hammock stand miles and miles into the wilderness, you’ve gotta be selective. In this article, we’re going to discuss two different types of backpacking and then offer our suggestions for the best backpacking hammock stand for each.
What Kind of Backpacking Are You Into?
The ultralight folks’ main goal is to cut as much weight as possible from their packs. From sawing the handle off their toothbrush to using their ponchos for their shelter, they’ll go to great lengths to lighten their loads. Why? Their goal is to hike further faster. Thru-hikes can last for months and go on for thousands of miles. (Think Pacific Crest Trail.) A thru-hiker will average 8-20 miles per day. They’ll hike for weeks or months on end. Because of the physical strain of vast distances covered and the many days of hiking in succession, it makes sense to keep a thru-hiking pack reasonably light. (Although it’s easy to get too extreme).
There is no formal definition of “ultralight” but hikers can generally agree it means a pack weighing between 12 and 28 pounds. Of course, there are trade-offs to having a pack weight on the lower end of the weight spectrum. Super light gear is notoriously not as durable, nor does it provide as comfortable a set-up.
All Other Backpacking:
It’s easy to forget there is a whole other way to backpack because ultralight has been quite the fad for a while. However, many folks take a much more relaxed approach to backpacking trips. They’ll choose a wilderness destination such as a mountain lake, hike 5-15 miles into it, stay 2-5 nights, then hike back out. The advantages to this are it’s doable in a long weekend, they get to enjoy the wilderness instead of passing through it as quickly as possible, and they get to bring their amenities! (Examples of amenities: Pack rafts, fishing gear, a good book, adult beverages, playing cards, etc.)
Hiking a shorter distance means you can tolerate more weight on your back. (We’ve also found that sleeping in a hammock means we can tolerate more weight on our backs.) So whether you’re hunting or just out enjoying nature, you definitely do not have to buy into all the ultralight hype.
Several times per summer, we’ll hike 15+ miles with 30-40 lbs in our packs into a destination. Cal has hiked farther than that with a couple hundred pounds on his back after a successful hunting trip! (It was painstakingly slow-going and Cal is also a beast, so we’re not recommending this to beginners.)
No matter what kind of backpacking you do, remember choose your weight safely. If you’ve never backpacked before, go on some short practice hikes and work up to your full pack weight. With time, you’ll get a good feel for what’s comfortable and manageable.
Choosing A Backpacking Hammock Stand
If you’re here searching for a backpacking hammock stand, of course you know you don’t want to sleep on the ground. You love the idea of bringing your hammock backpacking, but there’s always that pesky tree variable. Hammock stands are great for when the trees are a little too flimsy or if you’re above tree line where they’re non-existent. They provide peace of mind when you’re headed out to a new campsite, guaranteeing you’ll have a place to hang your hammock. At YOBOgear, all of our stands are lightweight when you consider they hold the weight of a human (or two). We use the highest quality aluminum for its strength, durability, and the fact that it’s quite light. Now let’s get into our recommendations.
You folks are tricky. No judgment but we know that you’ll opt for a lighter weight over comfort. (A little counter to the hammocking culture, don’t you think? Haha, I’m just teasing.) Our lightest hammock stand, coming in at 2.5 lbs is the Freedom Stand One Side. This stand requires you to have at least one tree or large boulder or something for you to hang one side of your hammock on. If you’re confident you’ll always be able to find one tree, AND want to keep things as light as possible, this is the right stand for you.
Honestly, we’re not sure an ultralight backpacker would even be interested in a hammock stand. It may be too great a luxury for their packs. They may prefer to just stick to their sleeping bag on the ground. If you’re an ultralight backpacker let us know your thoughts.
If you want to camp in comfort and are willing to pack in your amenities, YOBOgear is at your service. Of course, the Freedom Stand One Side applies to you too. Also consider our Freedom Stand Two Sides, which will only add 5 lbs to your pack! You can use it for both sides of your hammock, so no need to hang your hammock from anything else. (Watch: How to anchor your Freedom Stand without Stakes).
Now, for our personal favorite backpacking hammock stand: YOBO’s Cricket Hammock Stand. It is our “heaviest” stand at 7.6 lbs, but is still the world’s lightest (by far) free-standing hammock stand. You can shave it down to almost 6 lbs if you use the rubber feet instead of the aluminum adventure feet (it comes with a set of both). With Cricket, you’ll need zero anchors, and can set her up on uneven ground if need be.
Cricket is our preferred backpacking hammock stand and we each carry one in our packs on every trip. Even if we know we’ll be camping in the trees, we pack in our Crickets because then we can use our already-dialed-in set-ups with tarps/hammocks, etc. and get right to enjoying nature.
With Cricket stands plus all our luxuries included, Cal’s backpack weighs around 40 lbs and Kristen’s weighs around 30 lbs. It’s never felt like too much, but if we wanted to cut weight, we’d keep the Crickets and ditch the pack rafts.
When it comes to backpacking, always remember to HYOH, Hike Your Own Hike. (or Hang Your Own Hang for hammockers.) There will be tons of arguments in all the comments sections on the “perfect” pack weight, but the comments sections are not an authority! You can decide what pack weight you’re comfortable with, how far and how hard you want to hike, and what to bring with you. You’re not doing it wrong if you’re safe and having a good time.
Feel free to reach out via e-mail or social media with any questions about our products!