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Hammock Hacks


I am a big proponent of hammock camping/backpacking as I have had a lot of fun on the trails with my hammock and rainfly. I am always looking for ways to improve the way that I hammock camp and am looking for any hacks, tips, tricks, or efficient means to hammock overnight. I feel that I have exhausted myself trying to come up with new things and would love anyone and everyone's favorite trick they do with their hammock. I also believe in helping other people enjoy the outdoors so I have posted some of my favorite trips and tricks below 🙂 


-Bring an extra carabiner that is attached to the loop at the top of your pack. When you go to sleep at night, attach your pack to the strap at the end of the hammock. That way if you have a rain fly, your pack is off the ground and out of the rain/snow. 

-If you cannot find trees that are far enough apart to hammock, put the end with the single loop through the closest loop on the other end. Meaning, wrap the multi-loop end around the tree. That way you can hammock between even closer tress

-Get some paracord or a clothesline and attach it between the trees that you are hammocking in between above your hammock. You can then attach your headlamp or a lantern above you for easy access to light. 

-At the end of the night, put your camp shoes/flip flops in your large hammock pocket, and your hiking shoes go at the very end of your hammock where it begins to sinch. The sinching of the hammock will keep your boots in place and keep them out of the elements. I suggest cleaning them off before you do so by running the tread in a nearby stream. 

-if you don't want to spend the extra money for an underquilt in cold weather, a compact quilt (with no down or fluff) can go beneath you under your sleeping bag. It won't be as good as an underquilt but it will keep you warmer. 

-If you are concerned you won't be able to find close enough trees for hammocking, you can take paracord and carabiners and create extensions. It is fairly cheaper than buying extra straps. I use the square braid which is easy and doesn't use up a lot of the length. 

-If you are hammocking with friends, I highly suggest getting the ENO fuse tandom hammocking system. It allows two of you to hammock on two trees. You can split the cost, they are $30. If you use these, make sure you don't make your hammocks as taunt as you normally would. Make them slightly loose because the poles make them really tight. 

-when packing your hammock in your bag, pack the ropes in your sleeping bag. Saves room. 

-you can bring extra carabiners(small, lightweight) and attach multiple items on the paracord that you put above you (like mentioned prior). It will give you easy access to your water bottle, bear spray, flashlight, or anything else you need close to you. you can tie knots in the paracord to keep them from sliding. 


Thanks for reading, and PLEASE leave any tips you have for hammock camping/Backpacking! 

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
6 Replies

Two friends and I have successfully set up three hammocks, one above the other, on the same two trees. I don't recommend it in general, but it can be fun once in a while. Let the top-sleeper get in first, climbing on the lower hammocks to reach the top. Reverse order in the morning.

I'm pretty sure I saw that on an episode of "the three stooges", lol!

REI Member Since 1979
  1. KNOW YOUR SYSTEM.  Try it out at home or in a short overnight.  After tons of planning, I still end up modifying my methods constantly because things didn't work as I expect.
  2. On setting up a clothesline or paracord above the hammock, you can also tie it to the hammock at home (making it a "fixed ridgeline"), which means that you'll always get the perfect sag.
  3. It turns out that if you make a "finger gun" pointing gesture, the invisible line between the tip of your thumb and the tip of your index finger is just about 30 degrees.  Good for getting the right sag in your hang.  Similarly, learn how many paces you need between trees so that you can quickly measure the distance.
  4. I'm worried about HoughtonLikeTheLake's suggestion about using paracord to hang the hammock.  Paracord is normally 550-600lbs strength, which is about the tension in a typical setup.  In other words, it's normally fine but any given use could also cause the line to snap.  Although it sounds like Houghton suggested braiding the line for strength?
  5. I use a closed-foam pad underneath because it's cheap and gives me a go-to-ground option.  I've started putting it inside my sleeping bag to minimize having it slide around at night.  Also, have a go-to-ground plan in case there aren't any good trees.  Normally you can rig your rain fly from only one tree on the ground, and then you just need to think about wet/cold ground mitigations like a pad and/or small tarp.
  6. Pack for bad weather:  if your rain tarp is packed separately, you can set it up first (to set up everything else in the dry under it).  If you keep that rain tarp and your straps separate from the rest of your kit, they won't get your hammock, sleeping bag, clothes, etc. wet when you break camp.

LOVE the tips! And You are correct, a single strand of 550 paracord can withstand 550 lbs, that is why I always suggested a double braid(there are various braids you can use) which increases not only its durability but its tensile strength. And you should only use carabiners that are meant to hold weight. Sorry, I should have made that more clear 🙂 

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

And YES, thank you for specifying where to put your wet straps, you shouldn't put wet straps with your sleeping bag! I was so excited about the post I skipped over some important explanations haha 🙂

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

great tips!  One of these days I'm going to have to try hammock camping/sleeping!

REI Member Since 1979