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Hammock Camping Basics

Way back in March of 2009, I drew up an illustration to help people understand the basics of hanging a hammock for camping. It turns out, that simple illustration would kickstart a slew of hammock camping-related illustrations, primarily for the folks at I had been a lurker on the forums for a while before dipping my toe in the water because I didn’t know if I had anything to add to the conversation. It turns out there were a lot of folks just like me who liked to visualize hammock camping instead of just reading about it. I love clear, informative illustrations, and that’s what I strive for in my own work.

I didn’t expect this first illustration to be groundbreaking — it was a very crude, simple drawing, but it worked. Since posting that first illustration, I’ve updated and created hundreds of illustrations that I published in The Ultimate Hang: An Illustrated Guide To Hammock Camping.

For additional information (and illustrations!) check out my post on Tips on Hammock Camping.

Hammock Camping Basics 101

25 thoughts on “Hammock Camping Basics”

  1. Pingback: Hammock Camping For Beginners | Camping Tips, Recipes & Campground Reviews by The Camping Gear Connection

  2. I love your book.It’s going next to Dan Beards Field and Forest handy book,Lofty’s SAS survival and several outdoor cookbooks.These are my go to books for ideas to keep our camping trips fresh and fun for my younger nephews.

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  7. Would a regular bug net such as the Expedition X Mosquito Net 84″ X 39″ X 66″ work for an eno hammock? Im a little short on money and cI am looking for something a little bit more within my price range.

    1. By itself, no, it isn’t big enough. You need to use the hung length of the hammock, which is about 100 inches. That said, you can convert that bug net into a hammock net with some sewing. Check out these instructions I posted I hammock forums.

  8. Dear Derek,

    Is it okay to translate the information on the illustration on post on my blog for Korean hammock campers? It’s very hard to find any hammock information in Korean and your illustration covers a lot in very easy way. I think it will help Korean people understand more about the hammock.
    My blog address is .

    Thank you

    Best regards
    Ian Park.

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  11. Thank you very much for your illustration and other very useful info. One aspect of camping I have not seen addressed about hammock camping is where to put one’s pack and other gear, clothes, food, etc, especially when it is raining and the ground below the hammock is wet. Please advise.

    1. There are several options. I most often just clip my backpack to the end of my hammock. It stays dry under the tarp and is above the ground. It also keeps it accessible when I’m standing. Some folks use mini gear hammocks and sling them next to the main hammock. Some hammocks have voluminous storage inside the hammock, like Warbonnet and Clark Jungle Hammock.

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  16. I’m using the Bear Butt hammie (which only comes in one size as a double) It’s too wide. When I lay down at an angle the material flops in my face. I am using the calculator correctly I think. If I were to lay right down the center (wrong, I know) the material closes around me like a coffin. When I lay at an angle as you indicate the side material flops into my face and lays on my face. I adjust positions and my shoulders are squeezed into each other. As far as I know, I am following the calculator correctly (15ft, between trees, a bit over 6″ hang points, etc. I’m not using a ridge line. Is that it? should the ridge line FORCE the hammock into the right hang? I didn’t get that impression. I’m obviously not doing something right or the Bear Butt has too much material on the side (but people love them). Any suggestions? Thanks.

    1. Roy, thanks for your question. You’ve discovered something that I’ve been trying to calculate for some time: the ideal hammock proportions based on occupant size and lay angle. I’m the first to admit I’m no mathematician, but it’s hard to find one who’s as passionate (crazy) as I am about the ideal hammock 🙂 The point is, most hammocks are simply too wide. Manufacturers think it’s great to have a wide hammock, and there are moments when that is ideal: such as laying back transversal in lounger mode. But when you want to lay down, that extra fabric is a nuisance. If the fabric’s width is greater or equal to half it’s length, you’ll have floppy sides. There’s not much you can do to fix that, even with a “perfect” hang. One hack is to put some elastic ribbon in the hem of the fabric to take up the slack. This “Knotty Mod” is a popular solution and can be done to any hammock with a little effort.

      If your hammock is especially wide, like the Bear Butt Hammock, you could almost fold it in half (reduce the width to about 4.5 feet) and then try hanging in it. Use a 30° hang angle. Make sure you place your torso on the overlapped area and your feet on the extra.

      Let me know what you think!

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