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Whilst traditional camping might involve a trek to your desired destination, travelling to a campsite by car or van is just as popular. This saves lugging your equipment around and allows you to set up a base camp to explore the surrounding area.
Campsites aren’t ideal for hanging a hammock, you’ll be lucky if you find some trees that are the perfect distance a part, and even then you probably won’t be allowed to set up your hammock away from your allocated position. That’s where it is handy to have a hammock stand on board.
Quick Buyers Guide
Here is a quick run down of the key things to keep in mind when choosing a hammock stand for your next car camping trip:
Size – If you already have a hammock, then you’ll need to ensure the new stand is the adequate size. There are no clear rules about which size stand you need for each hammock as it varies depending upon the design of the stand. Instead, make sure you look at the maximum hammock size outlined by the manufacturer.
Portability – Whilst weight isn’t as much of a concern here as you know you’ll have your car with you, it’s still important to ensure the stand is quick to assemble and just as quick to put away afterwards. Most of the stands here don’t require any tools which is also a nice bonus.
Weight Capacity – Hammock stands usually have a minimum capacity of around 250lbs which is suitable for one adult, however if you plan on sharing look for stands with a 400lb+ weight capacity. Since you’ll be camping next to your car, you don’t need to worry about accounting for the weight of your backpack as you would when camping elsewhere.
Can You Fit a Tarp? – Unless it’s a warm summers night, you’ll probably want to consider using a tarp for hammock camping. This is simple when hanging your hammock from a tree, but not always so easy for hammock stands. I only found one stand that could incorporate a tarp which I’ve included below. If the stand can’t accommodate a tarp, you can use trekking poles to make one.
Best Hammock Stands for Car Camping
Here are my top 6 recommended hammock stands for car camping:
- Best Overall: ENO Roadie
- Runner Up: Sunny Daze Portable Stand
- Great for Larger Vehicles: Hammaka Hitch Stand
- Budget Pick: Best Choice Hammock Stand
- Best Single Post: Byre of Maine
- DIY Option: Roof Rack Hammock Stands
Below are my full reviews of these stands where I highlight the pros and cons of each:
Best Overall: ENO Roadie
The ENO Roadie hammock stand has been designed especially for car camping and takes it’s deserved place at the top of my recommendations.
The innovative concept uses the weight of your vehicle as the primary support for the stands. It is suitable for use with any car, truck or other vehicle that weighs 2500lbs or more and has a wheel base at least 7’10” apart.
This is the only hammock stand I came across that was designed to incorporate a tarp with the ability to attach a secure tarp ridge line.
Doesn’t require any tools to be put together and can be assembled in less than 3 minutes, when flat it weighs 56lbs and can be stowed easily in your car or van. It does have a 250lb weight limit so is only suitable for single sleepers.
Runner Up: Sunny Daze Portable Stand
My second choice is the Sunny Daze hammock stand, I’ve included this one purely for its versatility. At 10 ft long, it’s suitable for most single or double hammocks and the design will accommodate spreader bar or gathered end style hammocks.
For car camping, I would usually recommend gathered end as it provides more support for your body, but you may want to fit a spreader bar when back at home. It’s easily assembled thanks to a tubular design which consists of 8 pieces. These clip together with quick release locking clips so that no tools are required.
When packed away, the entire stand weighs less than 20lbs which puts it as one of the lightest on this list. The only downside is that there is no carry case included with the stand, so I’d recommend you invest in a decent sized duffel to store it in your car.
Great for Larger Vehicles: Hammaka Hitch Stand
If you have a larger vehicle, such as a van or truck, with a 2-inch hitch receiver (the standard type), then I’d recommend you go for the Hammaka hitch stand.
The stand can be set up in two ways; used to hold a regular hammock for lying in, or two hammock chairs. The distance between the stand when set up for a hammock is 10ft with a capacity of 300lbs, each chair also has a 300lb capacity.
When you’re not out camping, the stand breaks down in to 5 simple pieces that can either be stored in your truck, or more securely at home where it won’t take up too much room.
Here is the hitch stand being enjoyed out in the world:
Budget Pick: Best Choice Hammock Stand
Despite costing less than $80 for both he hammock and stand, this Best Choice product rivals the more expensive stands with a 450lb capacity and a lightweight steel design that’s easy to assemble and take down in around five minutes. It also comes with a handy carrying case that makes it perfect for transporting to the campsite.
The hammock that comes with it is a Brazilian style cotton hammock that works perfectly with the stands design. You could attach your own hammock, but I would recommend it’s a similar gathered end design.
Where this product falls down is its long-term weather resistance. If left out in the rain too much it is prone to rusting so is best kept in it’s carry case when not in use.
Best Single Post: Byre of Maine
All of the previous stands are completely free standing, but this Byer of Maine madera post makes use of your surroundings. Find a solid object to hang one end of your hammock from and the madera stand provides the other support.
When you’re car camping there are usually plenty of objects around you to hang your hammock from, including trees and posts, but if all else fails you can use your car. A hammock will attach to your roof rack, or you can open a window and use the top of the door frame.
The post has two wooden legs that 5ft high but split down in to two halves for easy carrying. It is recommended that the post hold up to 250lbs, meaning it is only suitable for one person. This YouTube video gives a great demonstration of a madera post in action.
DIY Option: Roof Rack Hammock Stands
If you fancy a bit more of a DIY approach, you can be more creative with your use of space.
This van roof mounted hammock stand was inspired by the Trail Nest stands that have since been discontinued. Using 80/20 aluminium tubing, the home-made hammock stand gives an excellent vantage point from the van roof.
If your car or van has a roof rack, here is another great self-made hammock stand. This one can be accomplished using simple aluminium tubing on the end of your roof rack, just make sure that it is slightly bigger to fit over the end.
Hopefully this has been a helpful guide and you’ve found a hammock stand you like, or at least found some inspiration ready for your next trip. Happy hammocking.