How to Hang Your Camping Hammock
After all that decision making on which hammock to buy, once you have one in your possession no doubt you’ll be eager to go and try and it out as soon as possible. However, you might have some questions around how best to set up your hammock for the ultimate hang, particularly if it’s your first time. In this guide we’ll look at considerations when setting up a hammock, some tips and advice on how to pitch it to ensure safety, comfort, relaxation and protection from whichever weather conditions you are camping in and we’ll answer some common hammock camping questions.
Included in this guide:
- What should I consider when setting up my hammock?
- How to hang a camping hammock
- How to do hammock knots
While the appeal of camping is in the ease of set up and the endless options of where to set up camp, there is some extra gear worth considering taking on your trip as well as your portable hammock and research worth doing before you go.
Pack appropriately for the weather conditions, check the forecast before you leave and be prepared for changes in the weather if conditions are temperamental. Consider taking a tarp to create a shelter for your hammock, a bug net to keep mosquitos and insects out and an underquilt or sleeping pad for extra warmth and insulation. For cool climates, take layers and perhaps some extra blankets and change of clothes for wet weather.
The options are extensive so as long as you have strong trees and permission to camp then set up is possible. Check out our blog 'Where to hang your camping hammock' for ideas and guidance.
If you’re setting up indoors then you will need to make sure that you have enough space and sturdy anchor points from which to hang the hammock. See our blog How to hang a hammock indoors.
If it’s your first time setting up a hammock then you might want to either practice close to home first or read over the instructions for your hammock model to get some top tips for the ultimate hang. For example, a hammock pitched at the wrong angle means that you might not be able to fully relax in comfort among the trees.
Leave No Trace
We encourage campers to follow the Leave No Trace principles and as such there may be some additional items you’ll want to throw into your pack such as tree straps to protect the bark of the tree you are hanging from and trash bags so you can take all your waste with you when you leave. Hammocks are a minimum-impact shelter so avoid using ropes on the trees and instead opt of a good suspension system with straps which actually make set up a whole lot easier.
First you’ll need to choose your anchor points, whether this is two or three healthy trees that are approximately 15ft apart or using another secure stationary anchor such as a post or a vehicle. Check out our video Choosing 3 Trees which can be applied to any hammock set up and our TreeTent calculator app which will help you set up a Tentsile with the perfect tension and distance between trees.
For a two-point hammock, to allow for the sag of the material, attach the straps six ft up the tree using one of the knots below or a carabiner. Once in place, try it out and adjust for the optimal angle and sitting height.
Be careful of mistakes when setting up a hammock such as having too much of a dip which makes for an uncomfortable night, and if you have one end pitched higher than the other then you will be sloping at an angle. If you pull your hammock too tight then you’ll find yourself trapped within high hammock walls making it difficult to move and get into a comfortable position. Hanging the hammock looser will give you more room to adjust and if you lie slightly diagonally then you’ll find the fabric beneath you will be flatter.
Once your hammock is in place, now is the time to add those extras as needed. You can create a ridgeline to run above the hammock and hang a bug net and tarp to create a shelter by pegging out the edges with guylines. You may also want to add an underquilt or sleeping pad to block out any cool air flowing underneath the hammock.
Or, for those that are perhaps setting up in the backyard or are travelling by car, a hammock stand is quick to assemble and a simple way to accomplish the perfect hang every time.
If you prefer a flatter surface that will fully support your body in a fully reclined position rather than in a curve, then any of the Tentsile hammocks with a three-point anchor system will provide a taut surface and separate sleeping bays for multiple occupants so you won’t all roll into the middle. Tentsile hammocks come in a range of sizes from two-person to the giant 6-person Trillium XL. The Trillium 3-person hammock also comes with a roof kit so you have a perfect fit rainfly to keep you out of the wind and rain. The double bubble bug nets can also be fitted between stacked hammocks to keep insects and mosquitos at bay. The solo hammock is for a single person and will attach to any of the Tentsile Tree Tents or can be hung as you would any other two-point anchor system.
Here are some knots that will come in useful when setting up a hammock and more generally for other outdoor pursuits where there are ropes and straps involved. These are great to have in your toolkit to make sure you are safe and secure. These video demonstrate how to tie each of these knots and tell you when you might use them
- Bowline knot for load-bearing such as attaching a guyline to a tent
- Half-hitch for typing a rope to a post, tree or ring. The half hitch can be easily loosened and tightened.
- Figure 8 to tie off the end of a rope to prevent it from slipping under tension.
- Clove hitch used to attach guylines and ropes to post or standing item
- Taut line an adjustable friction-type hitch that can be tied to a rope under tension.
- The Sheet Bend/Weavers Knot is used to join two ropes for a longer line
- (Double) Overhand is a basic stopper knot
How do you stop your hammock from swinging?
Laying at an angle should stop the swinging but if you want no swaying movement at all you might find the Tentsile hammock models more comfortable and supportive while you sleep.
What do you do with your backpack while hammock camping?
It’s best to keep your bag off the ground so that it is accessible and dry, away from insects and larger animals. Depending on whether you are hanging out for the day or camping overnight you can attach your backpack to the ropes of the hammock or even hang it from the branch of a nearby tree or to a ridgeline overhead.
Tentsile hammocks and Tree Tents have a flat surface so it’s possible to keep your bag next to you or store items in the accessible pockets or hang them from the suspension system straps. Most products also come with underfloor storage nets so there are lots of options for bag storage, even for multi occupants.
How high should a hammock be off the ground?
For two-point anchored hammocks the ideal height from the ground is 18 inches at the lowest point. This handy Hammock hang calculator helps you work out the perfect set up.
For Tentsile products we recommend setting up at 1.2m/4ft as a safe and easy height to use.
Other related articles of interest: