Hammock Camping 101

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Just getting started or looking for the basics to share? Here is a collection of blog posts that should get you started. This list will be amended as I write more content. A complete collection of all the basics including all the illustrations is found in my book, The Ultimate Hang: An Illustrated Guide to Hammock Camping.

The Truth About Hammock Camping Series

Basic Hammock Set-up

Staying Dry

Staying Warm

Staying Bug Free

  • Half Bug Net (HUG)

48 Responses

  1. The best tarp I have found is made by Etowah Outfitters. 10’x10′ 18oz with many attaching points.

  2. TomKeeling says:

    Hey I camped out last night with no sleeping bag or underquilt. I only just survived. I made a list of events/gear here if it’s of interest!
    https://journeykeeling.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/i-tried-out-my-hammock-in-the-uk-in-march-it-didnt-work/

    • Derek says:

      Tom, I read your report–crazy! Not something I recommend people to do, although I understand your desire to see just how low you can go, even for a survival situation. It sure puts your body through a beating, and can be potentially very dangerous.

  3. Lyke Basilio says:

    Thank you for this, sir.

    I’ll definitely try hammock camping on my next hike (this coming Sunday). Light weight and costs less than a tent so count me in!

    Thanks,
    Lyke

  4. anthony says:

    Hi derek,
    I am new to Hammock camping and am in the market for one now. I Rock Climb, Hike, and Camp quite a bit during the summer, being that i live in Sacramento everything is just a few hours away. I’m doin a trip to Loon Lake with some friends at the end of June, and am looking to get the Hennessy Hammock “SCOUT” and cannot seem to find many reviews and information as far as tips n tricks. I have been doing extensive research all week and plan to continue. I am aware that this is the lowest model but would like to know if it is worth it or go a different company or higher quality. But being that i am just starting this hammock awesomeness i was looking to be a little bit cheap and upgrade as i go. Sorry for the paragraph, Im a n00b!

    • Derek says:

      The Scout model from Hennessy is their smallest hammock. I would only recommend that for youth. All the Hennessy hammocks are high-quality in build and materials and in all the details put into them, so I wouldn’t worry about that. One of the biggest “complaints” about the Hennessy models is size. If you are taller than 6 feet, I would get a Safari model. I’m 5’10” and feel just right in the Hennessy models, but I couldn’t imagine being much taller and stretching out. If you’re looking for more value for what you get (e.g., and all-in-one hammock), the DD Hammock line has a great assortment. It’s mid-range quality, but still good. They ship extraordinarily fast.

  5. anthony says:

    I do like those DD ones. Now idk what to get. Thanks Derek. Appreciate your info!

  6. J. Garcia says:

    So can you explain the difference between a structural ridgelinefor a hammock and a tarp ridgeline?

    • Derek says:

      Yes! A line that connects the two ends of a hammock that prevents it from being pulled too tight is a hammock ridge line. A line used to pitch a tarp is a tarp ridge line.

  7. zeyunman@hotmail.com says:

    HI DEREK I BOUHT A HAMMOCK IN MEXICO BUT THE WEAVE IS NOT OF 3 IF NO OF 4, IF YOU CAN WRITE DO IT zeyunman@hotmail.com I want to learn to make a hammock

  8. Shal says:

    Hi Derek – I really appreciate you putting out all this info about camping hammocks. I have not camped much before for all the reasons you point out about the problems of sleeping on the ground. I just this Spring learned that camping hammocks exist. I am already a hammocks enthusiast since I make them for a living where I live at Twin Oaks Community (though they are back yard hamx, not good for camping), and so I am enthused to buy a camping hammock and bug net and tarp and try it. I bought your Ultimate Hang book and read it, and have thought about what you wrote about deciding about what I need and want. That gave me some qualifications, but I am still bewildered at all the variety of options and quality available. So I seek more specific advise based on my needs/wants and budget. If you are willing to offer that, would I ask that here on line, or to you directly off line? (Also, I do not know what I should put for the website line below since I do not have a personal website, so I left it blank)

  9. Brian says:

    Hi Derek, I am very interested in moving out of my tent and into a hammock. I’ve been searching the net a little but havin’ really seen any specific for two people, as I would like to get one for my wife and I. Could you guide me in the right direction? Or would you suggest getting two, one for each of us. Thanks in advance.

    • Derek says:

      There are a few multi-person hammocks on the market, most notable for two people is the Clark Vertex Hammock. It is also the most suited for backpacking. Personally, I would go with two separate hammocks and a single tarp if I were going out with my wife backpacking as I can get lighter systems.

  10. Mark says:

    Hi Derek, great website with loads of information, ive been raping it for days!
    Im after a bit of advice for a total hammock set up for bike touring in the UK and Europe. I won’t be doing any extreme conditions, generally in the spring and summer months. Think ive settled on the DD Frontline hammock with their 3x3m tarp. I have a Therm-a-Rest which will be my insulation and gives me options of ground or hung sleeping. Firstly, i do like to monouvre in my sleep, will the Frontline be ok or is a bridge hammock best? This leads onto the bag question, ive tried a mummy type bag and just don’t seem to get on with them due to movemen restrictions. Im thinking a rectangular bag which can cope with most conditions, which is able to be unzipped to allow a cooler nights sleep, any suggestions?

  11. lamaccor says:

    Hey, serious question for you!! What about wild animals? And I don’t mean pesky bats and harmless things like that.. I mean if I go up and camp in Glacier National Park, what stops a bear from just walking right up to my hammock and being like “Hey man, you look pretty tasty” ??

    • Seveneves says:

      What stops it from doing the same to a tent?

    • Derek says:

      Like others have mentioned, hammocks are at no greater risk of predator attacks than tents. The main thing that attracts animals like bears is smell. Be sure not to bring food into your shelter at night, keep clean, and set your camp 200 ft away from your kitchen area. These are some of the main ways to stay safe in bear country. Most of the time, the only kind of critter you’ll encounter are what I call “small bears”: squirrels, rodents, raccoons, etc. They are attracted to the same thing as bears, but most people don’t pay them enough attention when not in bear country and they find their bags chewed through.

  12. Y says:

    Hey Derek I’ve been researching a lot and want your opinion. I narrowed my hammock search down to a eno double, treklight, or the kammok roo. I plan on mostly using it for music festivals and camping, so comfort and durablitly are my main concerns. I am about 6ft tall and about 205 lbs. So when taking that into consideration which hammock would you recommend (leaning towards kammok as of now).

    Thanks,
    Ryan

    • Derek says:

      Sorry for my late reply! Any of those hammocks would do well for the use you’re talking about. The Kammok is the largest of the lot, so you get a BIG hammock for the price. It also has a more comfortable fabric than the “parachute nylon” used by TrekLight and ENO. Still, all of those brands are well-loved and offer good value.

  13. Jamie says:

    Just found your page, it’s great. I am wondering, I am 6’5″ 185 lbs. Thin framed. Looking for backpacking hammock. I dont know if I will be sandwiched up by the sides because of my small frame shoulders. Never hammocked before. So I am unsure which hammock to go with. I would have to get a bug net also. Suggestions?

  14. T says:

    Derek – Awesome site. My buddy and I have used our Eno OneLink systems twice now and love the entire idea. May never go back to a tent. We are trying to figure out our best option for hanging the tarp ridgeline. He’s running his using the Atlas strap webbing and I’m running a continuous ridgeline between trees. Thoughts? Recommendations? Better ideas?

  15. Derek, great site. Just what I needed to get out of the tent.

    My wife got me a hammock but I think it’s too small for me. My feet and head are pretty close to the knots on both ends which makes it hard to go slightly diagonal for sleeping. I’m 6’5″ 220lbs. Is there any any hope for me? Which brands make extra long hammocks that I could use for camping?

    Any advice is appreciated.

  16. Tina says:

    Hi Derek! Any ideas on rigging a side table for use with a hammock strung high enough that a regular table won’t do?

    • Derek says:

      I’m not sure I completely understand. You want to put a side table next to your hammock? That’s fine. I don’t understand why or what you mean by “rigging” a side table. A hammock should be set at just the right height for a side table unless you hang he hammock really high.

  17. Paul, says:

    What’s up man, any good under matting sustainable for cold conditions?

  18. Max says:

    Derek. How do I set up my hammock to keep it from covering my face? Whenever I lay in it, the sides cover over me.

    • Derek says:

      Make sure you have the hammock hung at a good angle and lay diagonally. Flapping fabric often means the hammock is too wise. You can often remove the side “wings” since you often don’t lay in that at all

      You can also attach a side pull out to hold the fabric out. A bigger DIY project could add some shock cord in the hem to gather up the edges.

  19. Hey Derek, Loved your book but need some sizing information for under quilts. I am 6ft 4in tall and I am in the market for a full length under quilt. How can I know how long I’ll want the UQ to be? Maybe you can point me in the direction of articles on this.

    Thanks!

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