Depending on the type of bike trip you may want to take, sleeping options vary. If you are "hard core" you might sleep at camp sites and provide your own cover. If you perhaps want to go on a trip with someone who is camping averse, you can find hostels, hotels, or bed a breakfast places to stay in along the way.
One camping revelation for me was being introduced to Hennessy Hammocks. I cannot say enough good things about this product. The hammocks are light, easy to set up, keep you out of the elements, have a mesh top to keep mosquitoes away and maintain breath-ability, and are super comfortable. Here is a shot of my hammock from my trip.
What you see is the rain fly actually, the hammock itself is encased in "snake skins" in this shot and is suspended just below the crest. The snake skins are a cool sleeve that you use to encase the hammock when you pack it away. The rain fly also acts as a great shield if it is raining and you can store your bags underneath the hammock at night to keep them dry if it rains.
You can click here for detailed videos on setting up the hammocks, which have all sorts of add ons. One common thing I hear from people when they see the hammock is that it might not be a good cold weather option. I have only used the hammock in warm weather, however there are insulation systems as well if you wish to camp when temperatures are frigid.
Most places I have camped have lots of trees and it is possible for multiple people to anchor the hammocks off of a shared tree like this picture from my trip. In this shot you can see that my hammock (the green one) is out of the snake skins while the brown hammock is still encased in the skins and is not suspended. The snake skins are an add on but you can permanently install them to encase or retract your hammock in a manner of seconds.
One person on our trip did not like the idea of the hammock and used a tent instead. One night there was a thunderstorm and he got drenched when water funneled into the spot his tent was set up on. Us in the hammocks? Dry as a bone with the rain fly protecting us and our bodies suspended a few feet above the ground that was getting soaked with water. And when you use a tent you have to worry about finding a flat place to place the tent - with a hammock and some trees it does not matter what the condition of the ground is.
Another comment from some who see the hammock is, "Gee, it's great, but what if there are no trees?" I have never encountered this myself, however check out this picture from the Hennessy web site -
The ingenious camper threaded the cord from one end through his seat to keep one end of the hammock off the ground so it could be used as a tent. Like I said, these things are flexible and provide many different benefits.
The makers seem to think of everything too as there is a small mesh pocket that hangs from the top cord inside the hammock so that at night you can keep your wallet, phone, flashlight, and other essentials with you. And check this out, another add on is a little funnel which you can screw into a bottle and hang from your hammock to collect water at night if it rains. Even if you don't want to drink it, the water dripping off of your rain fly is obviously useful for cleaning.
The hammocks are also affordably priced to boot. My hammock, the Expedition Asym Zip, was $140 and if you consider that one night in a hotel can easily be that much it's a heck of a deal.
One "hack" you can also employ which many readers might appreciate has to do with "night relief." I picked this hack up from the friend I was camping with. You simply need to sleep with an empty wide mouth 32 oz Gatorade bottle in your hammock and with some careful positioning, you don't have to exit your hammock to go to the bathroom. Simply "fill'er up" and drop outside the hammock onto the ground and dispose of in the morning. Practical hack for sure - why get all the way out, especially in the middle of a thunderstorm, if you don't have to?
One final comment I will make has to do with how you sleep. I was worried at first because I am mostly a stomach sleeper. When in a bed, I spend the majority of my time sleeping on my stomach, which is not really possible in the hammock. However the first night I used a hammock back in the day I had no trouble sleeping. Part of it was probably because I was dead tired from pedaling all day and on top of that I consumed several beers (a great recovery drink if you ask me) prior to crashing, but suspension has a natural comfort effect and you can easily sleep on your side if you wish to.
So, if you are worried about sleep position, I would set that worry aside. I had the chance to speak with a representative on the phone and she even said some people have installed the hammocks in their home in place of a bed because they find them so comfortable.
Call me what I am, a hammock honk. If you have experience with hammocks feel free to comment or send us your own stories.