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Hammock on the Bayou

Trip Report – Hanging On The Bayou

I’ve pitched my hammock in a lot of amazing places over the years, from the rugged Na’ Pali Coast in Kauai to the cliffs of the Grand Canyon, but I have yet to hang over a body of water. So when I saw photos of Ryan and Jamie’s trip in Louisiana, I got jealous. I asked Ryan if he would share his experience “hanging over the bayou”  that I could post here.

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WHEN: April 4, 2012
LOCATION: Lake Martin, Louisiana
PURPOSE: Two men set out on a journey to hang over water
HANGERS: Ryan Granger, Jamie Miller

From Ryan Granger & Jamie Miller, two guys that always turn a trip into an adventure!

“Having read and seen pictures in The Ultimate Hang, both Ryan Granger and myself (Jamie Miller) knew this was something we had to do.

“We signed up for an evening paddle trip put on by a local gear shop (Pack and Paddle) from 5 to 9 PM giving us the perfect opportunity we were looking for to sleep over water.

“Setting up a hammock and tarp over water proved to be much more difficult than expected. Without having stable ground to walk on and a constant shifting kayak under our feet was a challenge. Pulling the tarp ridge line tight was one of the greatest challenges because the kayak wanted to go in the opposite direction from the pull. After two-and-a-half hours our setup was complete.

“Having never before attempted this sort of adventure, we brought the equipment we already had for a night in the woods. As lightweight backpackers, we quickly found out the gear we normally carry would work but had to be modified greatly for an over water experience. For example: as a lightweight backpacker all of our gear is normally stored in one backpack, but in a boat it is more convenient to store multiple item in separate waterproof containers for easy access.

“Another example is the tarp setup had to be changed. Without having ground under us to secure our tie outs, we had to use longer-than-normal guy line and had to tie to trees that were not in the best position for a proper tarp setup. A full-length tarp ridge line is a highly recommended. String it up first without the tarp, then set up the hammock. This is the only thing you will be able to hold on to during set up!

“After setting up the hammocks, we finished our paddle trip and had dinner with the group. Once dinner was complete, we set out to find out hammocks in the dark. Finding camp in the dark proved harder than expected. Without the reflective ribbon and guylines on Ryan’s orange tarp, finding camp would have been nearly impossible.

“The lay in a hammock over water is the same as the lay in a hammock in the woods: it’s the getting in and out that are different. Getting into a hammock over water takes a lot more planning and balance. The kayak has to be tied lengthwise under the hammock, but not directly under. Getting out was much more difficult as the kayaks moved a bit in the night.

“The take-down process was much easier and faster than the set-up. Breakfast was also a learning experience. The only places to cook are the hammock or the boat. A canister stove was our only option because it does not get hot on the bottom, has an on/off switch, and a larger platform for stability.

“After all the excitement of a new hanging experience, it had to end with a sad paddle back to shore and a ride home.”

Packing List

Float Kit

  • Boat
  • Life vest
  • Paddle(s)
  • Extra rope/line (floating is preferred)


  • Multiple waterproof stuff sacks
  • Tie-down straps/rope


  • Wet shoes ( any shoe that dries fast when wet)
  • Water proof sunscreen and bug repellent
  • Sunglasses (the sun off the water can also harm your eyes)
  • Hat (or any other for of head protection)
  • Extra change of DRY clothes

Miscellaenous Gear

  • Headlamp (extra batteries)
  • Ridge line light
  • Lantern
  • Reflective tape/line
  • Sunscreen!


  • Gas stove (No alcohol or wood burning stoves because of the heat that will burn the boat or hammock when cooking)
  • Cook kit
  • Simple meals (small work space limit’s the space for food prep)
  • Snacks
  • Water and purifier

Shelter System

  • Hammock
  • Tarp
  • Top and Bottom insulation

2 thoughts on “Hammock on the Bayou”

  1. I really liked this idea as an interesting use of a hammock until I thought of the one time I had a suspension failure in the middle of the night. In my case, all I got was a rude awakening and a bruised shoulder. If I had been in my WBBB, I would have awakened upside down….in a zipped up “bag”……under water… the dark. Not sure many people would survive that. In my younger days, when I actually believed I was stainless steel and bulletproof, I would have done it. These days, I’ll paddle to shore and enjoy the sunset.

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