Skip to content

Hammock Camping 101

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)

72 thoughts on “Hammock Camping 101”

  1. Pingback: YAY! CAMPING!

  2. Pingback: First Look: ENO JungleNest Hammock Review | The Ultimate Hang

  3. Pingback: Hammock camping 101 - Momo Jord

    1. 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.

      1. Thanks Derek! The main reason was because I don’t want to have to take a sleeping bag and under quilt round the world with me. As soon as I started shivering at 5am I got up and went home as I knew it could get dangerous 🙂

  4. 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!

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. 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)

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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” ??

    1. 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.

  9. 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).


    1. 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.

  10. Pingback: Hammock camping | Outdoors with Alex Taylor

  11. 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?

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. Pingback: How To Get A Hammock On A Budget |

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  15. Pingback: Hammock camping 101: How to correctly rig your hammock - Golden Clothing Company

  16. Pingback: Hammock camping 101: How to correctly rig your hammock - Big Box of Action

  17. 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.


  18. Derek… You are the man! I just got your book… it is amazing.

    I had mostly given up on backpacking because I’ve never slept well on the ground, but now that I am older, I simply could not handle more than two nights on the trail for lack of recovery each night. Then last year my son’s new scoutmaster introduced me to hammocks. I saw the potential for a new lease on life. I became obsessed, but soon overwhelmed with information to the point of chaos, fabrics, suspensions, insulations, tarps, techniques, blah, blah, blah. Endless hours of searching for answers on Hammock Forums, searching desperately for gems and nuggets of knowledge amidst the chaff and slag heaps of poorly edited YouTube videos. Where could I turn for peace? Where was the straight and narrow path leading to restful nights of ripstop nylon nirvana? And then I stumbled across an odd fellow who seduced my curiosity, first by playing the silly clown prince of hammockry but then by simultaneously portraying an reliable sage and, ultimately, a harbinger of hang. He said buy this book, it will change your life. I did not hesitate, because I figured that either the clown would lead me to humor or the sage to wisdom. Either way, there must be something worth reading there. But how could I possibly have believed that he would lead me to both?

    Well… Thanks be to Shug who pointed the way and helped me find the Apostle of Hang… the author of the Book of Hangeronomy, the Epistle of Sweet Trailside Slumber, the secret to surviving 40 days and nights in the wilderness, and who brought us The Ultimate Hang 2…AKA the Hammockers Bible; it truly is a new testament to the straight and narrow path of holy hiking through hanging hammocks. And in an instant I was spared endless searching about in the mists of darkness of the Hammock Forums and led to the hope that through proper the tools and techniques, I too can gain rest through a righteous hang and be restored to the trail once again. Thanks to your book, I finally have the courage to hit the trail again, and I am even planning to bring my family along that path with me as I plan our first family backpacking trip ever, with the wife, all four kids, and two dogs. Aided with the knowledge that true trailside rest is possible and that a rested dad is a dad that can lead his kids to new adventures in wildernesses they never realized they wanted to explore.

    My hats off man. My son’s scoutmaster, Shug’s advice, and your book have brought a new lease to my camping and backpacking life. Hang on, my friend!

  19. Thanks for this information. Some of the boys in my sons BSA troop have opted to hang instead of tenting. My initial thought was simply, why? As I look into it and process the thought, they may be on to something. The information you have posted here will help to give me greater insight. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Mark! I’ve been a part of a few troops who “converted” to hammocks, and I can tell you how it revived the boys’ interest in camping. Instead of the slog, they were excited — eager even — to go camping. It was amazing.

  20. Very informative piece of article lerned alot form you. I always camping with my family and a dog. In my view Hammocks is not for us rather then i will choose A family tent. I was looking for my new tent and come across this article it is very informative i am thinking to give it a try wish me best of luck.

  21. i have a questions guys. i been told that a hammock shouldn’t hang no more than 18 to 12 inches off the ground. if that’s true then how do you hang a gear hammock under it? i’ve got a gear hammock or i’ve gotta ideal on making one. but i’m puzzled about the height of the hammock. so please anyone or everyone help me out. ok another question, if i’m able to put it under the hammock can i hang it from my daisy chain straps? or will that screw with the angle it’s suppose to hang? would hanging it straight from the tree be the best way? i’m just so confused about it. but i’m excited about trying to make some of my gear. it’ll be a good learning experience that’ll be fun but yet challenging. i’m new to hammock camping except in the backyard learning the correct way to use the gear. i’ll take any and all the info ya’ll are willing to give about anything in this post. i mean anything and grateful for it. thanks

    1. The sit height is only a recommendation. The 12 to 18 inches is a common chair height and it makes it easier to get in and out. The height is also a safety factor. Hanging higher increases a fall risk, but you can choose to hang your hammock at any height you feel comfortable with. Many manufacturers now post this 12-18 inch recommendation as a legal protection. As far as gear hammocks go, in my book I have several tips on how to use them, along with this post. You can hang them in many ways, so your hammock hang height shouldn’t matter too much.

      1. Thanks so much for the info. I’ve tried other forums and NO ONE cared to respond or offer any help. I’m so glad and grateful I subscribe to this place. I’ve read other peoples post and questions and answers and I’ve learned a lot just from one page of reading. I’ll be ordering your book for sure. I’m new to all of this but I’ve gotten a ton of info just in an hour or so. Thanks for the help.

  22. I like camping and i think hammock is essential for camping. I bought camping hammock on amazon that’s $40. It’s not that cheap or too expensive. It’s easy to set up. It comes with a mosquito net and the quality is good enough for regular camping. Here’s the link if you guys need it

  23. Wow, this is the ultimate guide of camping. I really enjoy this great and informative reading for camping lovers. A detailed guide to do camping in a right way, thank you for sharing this article.

  24. Derek, I am thinking about getting a Warbonnet hammock, either the XLC or the Eldorado one. My main question is, have you ever tested or used their winter top cover in place of the bug net? Did you like it? Did it help make the hammock somewhat warmer? Did you experience any condensation even though it has two vents built into it?

    What about the underquilt protector they they have as well?

    Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and by the way, your book is very good.

    Thanks again Bruce Pearson

    1. I liked the top cover! In some areas, it can easily replace the bug net if temps in the evening are cool. Swapping out for a bug net is nice if you live in a muggy, humid area. Condensation can still occur because there is going to be some level of moisture from your entire body. The bulk comes out your mouth, so the vents help, but don’t be surprised if you get some condensation.

  25. I’ve gotten a top cover from Dutch and it’s a great thing. I live in northeast Alabama so it gets cold but not super cold. The moonlight is a great way to look up at the sky and if it starts getting too cold you can close it up and don’t have to worry about condensation building up. It can zip off or halfway. It has hooks that will hook to the inside with shock cord. I’ve gotten my daughter one also and she loves it. She gets a little colder than I do. But one question. Do you recommend a double end stuff sack for my tarp. It’s not a super lightweight sil. A little more than a pound. I not real fond of having to lay the tarp down on the ground to roll it up and sticking it back in the bag. Don’t wanna get a hole. Plus it takes more time doing it and if a rain cloud blows up may it in a hurry. And would I need a sleeve or just push in like my hammock’s stuff sack? Long post but thanks for the time.

  26. Hey,

    I am going to jump on this thread in hopes it gets seen. I joined Hammock Forums but they still do not let me post for reasons I do not understand (many days have now passed).

    Anyway, I have decided to join the hammock camping crowd.

    First off, great site and thank you for all your work here.

    I did a bunch of reading and decided down to a couple and in the end bought the Warbonnet XLC as it seemed it could not be the wrong answer (Hennessey Jungle and ENO Junglenest were the other runners). Bugs can be very real in Oregon depending on where and/or season. And the ENO could have been too small.

    Now comes the question of underquilt (and tarp). I thought I saw a review you did of off brand underquilts but I can’t find it. The Wooki looks great but I am a pretty wimpy when it comes to camping weather and don’t see myself needing it to work in the snow (though I will likely be camping when it is freezing at night). I have a pretty good bag (Marmot 15F) that I may ditch eventually though for now I am going to keep it. I am not that small or young fwiw (52, 6’2″ and about 220). With my truck or canoe I switched to cots with a wall tent a long time ago if I was going to be in one spot for a while so I am familiar with the need for some form of insulation on the underside. Though I still backpack with a thermarest. And I think I am ready to be done with that.

    Wiseowl and Onetigris both make fairly cheap underquilts that look long enough to also solve the bug issue and probably be warm enough. Though I hate throwing money at something that I will get rid of in the end. My budget is sort of reasonable, but if this works out as good as I am hoping I will have to buy 4-5 setups so if I can save $100 here or there it would add up. Even if it mean giving up weight (to a limit obviously, otherwise I would backpack with my cot…)

    1. Sean, welcome to hammock camping! It’s an un-ending journey of discovery. I guess that’s similar to most outdoor endeavors: you find something you like and then over time your needs / tastes develop and you try and experiment with other things. Even thought it “works” you may find you have other needs or pressures to make changes. I started out using simple closed-cell foam pads. They worked. They were warm. They were cheap. Under quilts came over time, when I could afford them, and they improved my comfort. Synthetic fill are cheaper, work better when wet, but don’t pack down as small. Down fill has superior weight-to-warmth ratio, but are expensive.

      So, I agree: lots of choices. IF budget is your primary driver for now, I’d start with a synthetic quilt from Wise Owl, OneTigris, or OneWind Outdoors. The prices are excellent and OneWind has excellent quality. I don’t think you’d be disappointed.

      1. I ended up going with a third option (or fourth). I looked into OneWind and GearTop as well. Though I ended up buying a King Showden. Which is likely totally dodgy. Claim is 300g but I will believe it when I weigh it (I saw a helinox chair at 0.01lbs). It says to be made of something called ‘hollow cotton’. I am not a cotton fan as it is useless (or worse) when wet though down has a lot of the same problems. And with reading it appears ‘hollow cotton’ is probably not cotton at all but actually a synthetic. So we will see how this goes. But at less than $50 I am OK with the odds that it may be garbage. Summer is here and I was going to take this thing out for a spin with just a space blanket and a fleece blanket (and the bag is likely to be too warm most of the night). I will post weights and other bits when it shows up.

        And thanks for the reply. I am totally stoked about the possibilities. I do not dump money on my camping gear very often so a splurge on occasion is fair. And there are a few things that make me very interested:
        – good sleep (I have owned a hammock I got from Maranon for years)
        – site flexibility. I no longer have to camp in the site that has been beaten down by previous users.
        – getting off the ground. Oregon can be pretty wet sometimes.

        I am pretty stoked. Not sure why I did not go down this path sooner but have only recently noticed a few individuals out (twice) and that got me thinking. Well, that and I really love the hammock I have in my yard.

  27. 0.7KG. Without stuff sack. Which it is very hard to get it back in to. Though for now I will continue to use my overly cavernous external frame pack so volume is not a big deal. And I am really sort of OK with weight. My kids still make fun of me for the time I packed in a watermelon. In my defense is was a pretty small melon and it was only about four miles, downhill, on the way in. Though I did have to pack out the rinds.

    The fit is curious but I do not know really anything about underquilts. It is fairly cupped which does mean there is probably an air pocket under my butt. However, that is probably fine and my butt feels pretty toasty. I am going to add a length of shock cord to one end to shift the quilt more to my position though It is a so-so fit. But pretty low weight even at 700g. Says the guy who claims to not care abut weight (but still would prefer not to carry it).

    Totally stoked to head out. Played around with the hang a ton in the yard and think I have it down. Though gave up in the ‘becket web straps’ I bought from Warbonnet. At 220lbs I has a hard time not getting the becket hitch to not slip and had to add a stick in the loop. Which worked. But bought the ENO system with carabiners. Much better for the guy that does not really have experience getting the thing hung (you can easily index each end with confidence that you only changed it the amount you intended). Eventually I will likely go back to the becket hitch when I know what I am doing and probably with a different line (disappointed the one from Warbonnet was so prone to slipping ).

    But awesome hammock so far. Love this thing.

    Thanks again. Maybe someday Hammock Forums will let me post (now on second attempted registration) and I can stop trying to hijack other threads.

    Still very conflicted on what I want to do long term, though I think I have a short term plan in place. Things are likely to get expensive for me on the hammock itself front as it is getting rave reviews as the kids try it out (what kid would not love the concept). Though I will likely mix up some other brand in there just to try them out.

  28. I have been using a camping hammock for a long time and I have tried many products. I bought it again and it’s different from what I bought, it’s very good quality, it’s easy to set up, it’s very comfortable, the size is big, light weight and well made. Highly recommended.

  29. My daughter is 9, and saw a YouTube video about minimalist living where the woman sleeps in a hammock full time indoors. My daughter has a tiny bedroom, it’s 10’x10’, and she really wants to try switching her bed to a hammock so she has more room to play. What hammock do you recommend for kids? She’s about 50” talk. Also what are your thoughts on full-time hammock sleeping for kids.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.