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2013 Hammock Camping Resolutions (Bucket List)

I’ve been mulling this over for a few days and I’ve decided to publish it as a motivator for myself. I figure that I can accomplish my resolutions (e.g., lose weight, spend more quality time with family, de-stress, get out more, etc.) with a little more backpacking and hammock camping. After all, research shows that getting more time outdoors and in nature helps boost creativity along with a slew of physical and mental benefits. My regular job demands a lot of creative output, so I am always up for a metal pick-me-up.

This isn’t my entire life list, but it does represent a list of places I’d like to hammock camp in 2013. Let’s see how this year unfolds, shall we?



My wife completed this backpacking trip last year and I was so envious. She’s promised that we’ll hike Havasupai in 2013 with the kids, and I’m going to hold her to it. Havasupai is known for it’s blue-green waterfalls and travertine deposits, and it’s also hammock friendly.

Grand Canyon

Indian Garden Campground Bright-Angel-Campground

There’s a dirty myth floating around that says you can’t hang a hammock below the rim (there are plenty of trees above the rim, if you’re curious). I’m already planning a trip in February and preliminary evidence shows plenty of trees in the established campgrounds such as Indian Garden and Phantom Ranch, the question is making sure hammock camping is permitted. On a river trip this year I hung my hammock on the bank in some tamarisk, which was fun. Some of the rangers we’ve spoken with are okay with hammocks, others have been mediocre. I’m going to bring the Handy Hammock stand with me just in case, but the first plan is the hang on available supports at approved campgrounds/spots.

Wet Beaver Creek

Wet Beaver Creek - The Crack

Red rocks, slot canyons, and water? What isn’t there to love about Wet Beaver Creek? Trees are abundant, and so will be the swimming. Dry bags are a must.

Sycamore Canyon

Sycamore Canyon

I’ve completed portions of the rim trail, but I really want to do the full thing. Sycamore Canyon is breathtaking and a “grand” canyon in its own right.

Paria Canyon

River Bend, Paria Canyon

I’ve driven past the trailhead for this hike dozens of times without realizing that this hidden gem even exists. This side canyon begins in Utah in the Grand Staircase-Escalante area and empties into the Grand Canyon right by Lee’s Ferry.

Coyote Gulch

Coyote-Gulch-Canyon Coyote-Natural-Bridge

More remote than most, so transportation will be my biggest hang-up for this trip. Ever trip report I read complains about the washboard roads and the importance of high-clearance vehicles. Trees and arches abound.

So, what’s on your list for 2013? Leave a comment and maybe a link to the trail.

20 thoughts on “2013 Hammock Camping Resolutions (Bucket List)”

  1. Thumbs up on Havasupai! I camped there before I got into hammocks and want to go back again and hang my hammock right above the creek.


  2. I’m taking my hammock to the south of France to hike the Canal Du Midi from the Mediterranean coast to the medieval city of Carcassone, it will be my first expedition with a hammock.

    1. Did it on a canal boat – should be a great hike! Get a schedule for the village markets along the way for great fresh produce, cheese, and wine.

    1. Thanks Brian! Some of these have been on my mental list for a while now. I’ll have to see if writing them down does anything to change my fate 🙂

  3. Now those are some good resolutions! Looking forward to hearing your trip reports.

    The first time I heard about hammock camping I thought they were nuts.
    Now it’s my favorate way to go when hiking or camping.

    1. Thanks Glen! I noticed Paria was on your list for 2013 — I’ll pencil in those dates, if you don’t mind me tagging along 🙂

      1. That would be fun, although it’s not solely my trip, looking like a group of four. You’ll have to get your own permit, but email me glen(at)gossamergear(dot)com, I can keep you in the loop as our planning progresses so if there’s a way for our paths to cross we can make that happen. Of course, we won’t be looking for sites with trees… 🙂

        1. I’ll let you know — I’d certainly love to tag along, so I’ll keep in touch. The lack of trees won’t stop me from Paria; I’m already planning to either tarp tent (e.g., hammock bivvy), or bring a lightweight stand, depending on the outcome of my research and trip planning.

  4. Just a heads up on the Canyon. I did six days on the Tonto East trail in June 2012 and left my hammock behind for lack of confirmation on whether or not it would be dead weight. Hanging is not allowed at indian Gardens or Phantom Ranch (for protection of resources), and though I couldn’t find it on paper I took that to mean that hammocks were out throughout the park. As seems reasonable in retrospect, the established camps you’ll be staying in are centered around fresh water availability which means trees of some variety. I never lacked the ability in six nights to hang a hammock, and I never saw a ranger who would have taken me to task, but it isn’t allowed. That being said I only took half of an ultralight pad, a silk bag liner (no bag), and a set of smartwool midweight thermals and did fine. I used a head net to be sure, but there were remarkably few insects. Good luck on the trip. Sleeping on the rocks builds character. I’d be happy to share some advice if you like. I went in at 13lb (less food and water), ran an average of 12 miles a day, and came out 12 lb lighter in the body in spite of a 2800 cal/day high carb/protein diet. I’m hooked and will go back.


    1. Zach, thanks for the great information. Do you have a resource that mentions hammocks are banned? Are there notices at the campgrounds? We’ve been working with the rangers over the past few months and we’re hoping to get some concrete intel on hanging in the canyon.

    1. No trip report online, but I’m happy to share some details and tips here. First and foremost, hammocks are welcome and very popular in Havasupai. Just be sure to bring tree straps to conserve the resources there.

      From the trailhead to the town is 8 miles beginning with a lot of switchbacks and then opening into a wash. Very little tree cover until you get to town. From town it is another two miles to camp, but you’ll be following the river and lush vegitation. For some people, the mileage isn’t an issue, but the sandy trail, heat, and sun are. My wife’s group included a lot of inexperienced youth and they averaged about 1 mile per hour! Most hikers average at least 2 MPH. If you know your own average hike speed you can calculate your trip time and determine what resources you’ll need.

      My wife’s group packed several gallons of water and cached it along the trail for the hike out. They ended up not needing it but it was a good fail safe. Most people recommend hiking early in the morning or late at night to avoid the heat. The springtime might no be so bad, but it is still an open trail with a lot of direct sun.

      My wife hiked in sandals–not the open-toe river sandal, but some quality hiking sandal, providing excellent foot coverage but maximum ventilation. Even light trail runners would be good. Most of her group wore stiff backpacking boots with high ankle support and were miserable. My wife was the only one without blisters yet they asked her how she could stand hiking in sandals. Of course, I mention this just as an example, not a prescription. My wife was also outfit with an ultralight kit so there were other factors in her favor.

      My wife’s group also paid to have the mules pack their gear out, so they only carried water and snacks, and still averaged only a mile per hour, or less, coming out.

      For me, hiking that slow would be tantamount to torture.

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