Hammock Tarp Coverage Comparison

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17 Responses

  1. Seeing the GoLite Poncho tarp on your list was unexpectedly cool ! It led me to wonder – what is the likelihood a Six Moons Designs Gatewood Cape might be … adapted similarly. What do you think?

    • Derek says:

      Very likely. Just get the dimensions and measure the hypotenuse. If it is long enough to cover the hammock, you’re good. I use hammocks of 10 feet (3 m) or less with the GoLite poncho.

  2. Bryce says:

    I currently have a 9 x 7 (11.4 ft hypotenuse) cuben tarp in .51 weight. I used to sleep on the ground, but now have a GT Nano 7 that I’d like to use the tarp with. Would you comfortable on a 5 day hike on the AT with a tarp that size to keep you dry even in adverse (rain/wind) conditions? I feel like a lot of the tarps on your list have roughly the same or smaller hypotenuses, but I still feel open to the elements. Is it me being a newb to hammocks or you wouldn’t feel comfy in a nasty storm under it either? Thanks!

    • Derek says:

      That’s not a bad size for a tarp. I would call it generous. I frequently use my GoLite Poncho Tarp with my hammocks, and that is small for some: 4.8 x 8.6 ft with about a 10 ft ridge line. Asym tarps take some skill to use, yet they are the standard style used on Hennessy Hammocks and with good reason: they work. In order for a diagonal pitch to work, you must lay in the same diagonal direction as the tarp and pitch the tarp as close to the hammock as possible for maximum coverage in a storm.

      For more info, check out my post on picking and choosing a tarp.

      Other Tips

      * Just like tent or tarp camping on the ground, site selection is a key factor in staying dry in a storm with a hammock. While you can’t pick how the storm will fall, you can often pick how and where you’ll set up camp. If possible, hang your hammock on the lee side of a hill (something not often possible in a tent/tarp) to protect from sideways gusts. Sometimes the terrain will provide rock outcroppings, foliage, or dirt mounds that can also help shield the wind and rain. Hammocks provide the ability to pitch over terrain that might not be suitable for a ground sleeper, but will offer the best protection.

      * Pitch your tarp low and tight to the hammock. This makes it less convenient to get in a hammock, but it’s more protective.

      * Use a weather shield to protect the under side of the hammock.

      When I first transitioned from tent camping to hammock camping, I also felt “exposed.” I had never tarp camped before and I had to get used to the “wide open” feeling that the tarp provided. My first hammock was a Hennessy and with its integrated bug netting I felt more secure. Over time, I began to appreciate the views offered within a hammock and soon I was using hammocks without bug nets. If you’re not comfortable with feeling exposed, I would recommend phasing in with a hammock that has an integrated bug net. It feels more “tent-like” and protected.

  3. Doug Lynch says:


    Couldn’t agree more.

    Have you ever seen the Mountain Laurel Designs trailstar?

    I know there is a chap on Hammock Forums that has managed to make his work over his hammock.

    Ground dweller DJZOW is a big fan and summitandvalley loves his.

    It’s strikes me that the five triangular panels with 2.14 metres against the ground is just one panel short of a very grand hexagonal tarp.

    Imagine a symmetrical Hex tarp as 6 identical panels…..

    I have a Hammock Gear cuben fibre with doors, a Z-Packs Asym and a Hennessy Asym but i keep going above tree lines and, well, trees are useful for hammocks.

    I don’t want to punch a hole in my HammockGear cuben fibre (it is, after all, a work of art).

    If a hammock tarp had a point, right in the middle, that could tolerate an inverted trekking pole could you not fold/tie/roll/zip one of the six panels out of the way and have both an exceptional hammock tarp and exceptional minimal shelter for the ground.

    A zip might work well to bring two seams (assuming that you would make it from six identical panels) together and give you a five sided shelter. However a zip may not be required with a good point for the trekking pole and just a few lengths of cord to securely ‘put one panel away’. (Gram weenies be calm.)

    Even if you went down to 2 metres for each ground touching edge of the panels you would have an enormous five sided “trailstar-ish” shelter (almost exactly the size of the MLD LittleStar) and regardless of the conditions or the situation you would be a very happy camper. And then you would have a huge 4 metre long ridge line to a generous hex tarp. (Still more than 500mm less than the Grand Trunk Funky Forest.)

    Just thinking out loud.

    I wonder if Rob Bell could make that work?

    Do you think it could work?

    • Derek says:

      I’ve thought of similar designs or modifications. I even tried taking a 5-sided “pyramid” tent with the idea of pitching it as a hammock tarp (it didn’t work so well). I think the simplest design is the basic A-frame design, not too dissimilar to a hex tarp. If you are trying to find a tarp that can pull double-duty, that’s what I would recommend.

  4. Doug Lynch says:


    I agree a 5 sided single pole tent/tarp would be awkward.

    I pitch both my big HammockGear Cuben and the little asyms on the ground.

    The big one is a bit of a bother to set up over two trekking poles and I expect I would really struggle in serious wind.

    The little asyms are, well, very little.

    The dual duty idea using a “trailstar” design is not just about getting a hammock tarp that works on the ground but getting a hammock tarp that’s an almost bomb proof tent that sheds big wind.

    Which is something that I rather want.

    More DIY it would seem?

  5. Doug says:

    Is the Hennessy Hex 70D really 141″? I keep seeing different measurements (the HH website lists it at 132″ which would make it nearly the same size as the Maccat although in these photos the Maccat looks significantly smaller).

    • Derek says:

      These are my measurements of the tarps you see. There are often differences between listed and actual. Cottage vendors are usually more accurate.

  6. Expat in Japan says:

    Another great article!

    Tough to get a good hammock tarp in Japan without dropping a bundle on shipping.

    Do you think a diamond with a ridgeline of 132 inches, 106 inch width, and slight cat cuts on ridge and sides would be enough tarp for a GT Nano?


  7. Mykyta says:

    Derek, what is the weight of the TTTM diamond tarp versus the stock HH asym tarp?

  8. Mykyta says:

    Which tarp would you take if you had the choice, the Hex or a MacCat deluxe?

  9. Ryan Wingate says:

    What about a Kelty Noah’s 9 x 9? I have an ENO Double Nest and was wondering if I should upgrade to a Hennesey Hex, the Noah’s 12 x 12, or ENO ProFly? I feel a little exposed in the Noah’s 9 and worry sometimes about sideways gusts pushing rain under.

    • Derek says:

      Are you hanging the 9×9 as a diamond? If so, then the hex style will provide more coverage. A 12×12 hung as a square will be similar in coverage and you can pin down the edges.

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