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  • The Quick Guide to Hammock Camping
  • Mike Lin

The Quick Guide to Hammock Camping

The Quick Guide to Hammock Camping

You just bought a hammock.

Now what?

We'll briefly go over how to hang your hammock, how to lay in it, how to keep warm, how to keep dry, and how to keep the bugs out. This is a quick guide with pictures and videos.

Hanging a Hammock

Using Rope

Tie one end of a rope to your hammock, and the other end to a tree. You’ll need two sections of rope. You can hang your hammock with just these two knots.

1. Make a loop on one end of the rope, and then clip your carabiner in. We use a simple overhand loop.

2. Tie the other end to a tree with a quick release knot. We use a Siberian hitch. It looks complicated, but it’s actually really easy to tie. You can even do it with mittens on.

A word of warning: Ropes can cut through tree bark and damage the tree. Only use ropes on trees with tough bark that can withstand the pressure. Otherwise, use tree straps.

Using Straps

On softer bark, use tree straps, which spread the pressure over a wider band to protect the bark. Besides being more environmentally friendly, they're easier to use because you won't need to tie any knots.

Laying in It

To get into the hammock, spread it wide to give yourself plenty of room. Sit down as if you were sitting on a sofa, then raise your legs.

Getting into a hammock

Most people naturally lay centered in the hammock, their bodies curved like a banana.

Don't do that.

If you lay diagonally across the hammock, you body will rest perfectly flat, and you'll much more comfortable.

Lay diagonally in the hammock to keep your body flat

Keeping Warm

When it gets cold, a plain old sleeping bag will not keep you warm. It'll compress under you and lose the fluff it needs to trap warmth in.

The easy solution is to put a sleeping pad inside your hammock.

Alternatively, you could us an under quilt, which is essentially half a sleeping bag that goes under the hammock so that you don't crush it.

There are also specialized sleeping bags that go around the entire hammock.

Keeping Dry

The hammock will keep you off the ground, away from moisture below. To keep dry in the rain, you'll need a rain tarp.

Hammock tarp

The ridge line is tied between the same trees your hammock is tied to. One side uses the Siberian hitch shown above. The other uses the taut line hitch.

Also use the taut line hitch for the guy lines, which hold down the other two corners of your tarp.

Keeping Bugs Out

If bugs are a problem when you go out, add bug netting to your kit.

Hammock bug net

Some hammocks come integrated with bug netting on top. I prefer the standalone net, because it protects you from underneath and you don't need to take it when you don't need it.

That's It

That's about all there is to it. Most days, my sleeping kit looks like this:

  • Hammock
  • Straps
  • Sleeping pad
  • Sleeping bag
  • Tarp (which I rarely use)

Customize your kit depending on where and when you're out.

Now go hang out!
Mike