When camping and you’re using a hammock, there are some things you can do to make using it so much better. Here some useful handy things other campers have figured out that you might want to try.

USE A SLEEPING BAG: Some people really enjoy their hammocks, and would rather sleep in them than on the ground or in their tent. But what if it’s cold outside? Blankets sorta work, but if you move around in your sleep, you’re likely to drop them on the ground. Why not try putting a sleeping back in your hammock. You can zip it so it will not fall out, and your nicely cocooned in it and warm. You could also safety pin it to the hammock to make it more secure. You could also wrap another around the hammock to add further insulation.

GET A TARP: So your hammock is great, but the trees are a little thin, and maybe you want some shade while your napping, or maybe you want to be able to lay in it while it’s raining. Here’s a simple solution. First get a small tarp, say 5’ by 8’. Fold it in half by whichever way still leaves it at least as long as your hammock. Find a couple of pieces of wood as long as the smallest remaining width after folding. Use rope and lace the sticks to the tarp through the eye holes on the tarp. Create a small, even rope triangle on each end by tying where the ends of the wood are, the tie those about four feet above where your hammock is tied. Tie another rope to each point and find branches to anchor them to, and it will hold it steady. Make sure you have it tilted a bit so rain runs off it and does not pool in the center.

DRIP LINE: So you have done all of the above and somehow, water is still getting to your hammock. Chances are, it is running down the tree, and then working its way down the ropes to reach your hammock. After a few hours, this can become an issue. You can do something about it though. Take a couple of pieces of torn cloth, or old shoestrings, or similar, and tie them with most of the length dangling from the lines going to the hammock. The majority of the water should wind up diverting down the line and dripping from it instead of flowing to the hammock. You can further help this by wrapping some electrical tape on the hammock side of the knot to act as a dam.

LIGHT IT UP: So your enjoying reading in your hammock, but now it’s getting dark, and you are not ready to put that book down just yet. While you can purchase lights specifically built for your hammock they can be pricey. Simple fix? Head to your local dollar store and pick up some battery-powered LED garden light strings. You can generally get at least a weekend worth of power out of them if not more as LED uses very little energy. You can wrap them along the edges or top of your hammock, or you could run a line directly over your hammock to hang them from. You might want to use multiple strings for more light. This can be handy for everything from reading, eating, doing puzzles, drawing, etc.

PLAY SOME SMOOTH JAMS: Laying down is relaxing, and you would like to listen to some music to further do so. You have your headphones, but prolonged use can be uncomfortable, and cords tangle easily. You also might want to be able to hear if anything else is going on around you. The simple solution, get some small Bluetooth speakers. There are many small brands out there, some rechargeable, some run on batteries. Some brands have areas on them designed to attach to other things. You could mount them on the corners of your hammock, or up in the trees above you. Now you can sync your phone or other music players to them and listen to some relaxing music while you lay there. Or rock out. Whatever is your preference.

DON’T LAY STRAIGHT: Your inclination when climbing into a hammock is to lay straight, a perfect parallel to the edges of the hammock. You might not have thought about it before, but laying that way actually cause the sides to bunch up and pinch you. For short amounts of time, this may not be an issue, but if your planning on sleeping or being in there a while, it can become very uncomfortable. If you lay diagonally, however, it will force the hammock to more of a flat shape, and it won’t bunch up nearly as much. It is much more comfortable. It sounds odd but it works.

Hopefully, these tips will help you make your hammock time much more comfortable next time you hang one up!