Hammock Camping FAQs

hammock camping with gear storage how to store gear

Frequently asked hammock camping questions answered


Where do you store your gear when hammock camping?

If you don’t need to hang your pack in a tree, you have a couple options. The first, you can hang your pack from the guyline. If you choose this route, make sure you hang your pack when you’re setting up your hammock so you can make sure it’s not going to weigh down one side unevenly. 

The second option is to place your pack under you. If you’re using a rain tarp, your gear will be protected from the weather. If you’d like more protection, such as from mud, you can place your pack in a waterproof bag or a trash bag. 

What do I need for hammock camping?

For a full hammock set up you need a hammock, a suspension system such as tree straps, a rain tarp, a bug net, and an under quilt. If you’re only going to use it in fantastic weather, you can forego the rain tarp, the under quilt, and possibly the bug net.

What size tarp do I need?

Rain tarps come in various shapes and sizes. Size is more important than shape because no matter what shape the tarp is, if it doesn’t cover your hammock, it’s not going to work. Using a tarp that is 6 to 12 inches longer than your hammock helps guarantee full coverage.

So if you’re using the Kammok Roo Double hammock, which is 10 feet long, you could use their Kuhli UL Weather Shelter tarp which is 132 inches long.

A little more budget friendly, but just as popular, the Wise Owl Outfitters Double hammock is 9 foot long making their Wise Fly Premium tarp perfect for keeping you dry and giving some privacy.

Can I try hammock camping without breaking the bank?

Absolutely. Some hammock set ups cost much less than backpacking tents of comparative weight. Wise Owl Outfitters, linked above, has great low cost gear, and you can purchase a hammock, tarp, bug net, and tree straps for less than $150.

Why do you need an under quilt?

3 words. Cold Butt Syndrome. When you sleep in a hammock, you are exposed to air on all sides. Laying on your sleeping bag compresses the loft, stealing away it’s insulating properties. To prevent your bottom half from getting cold, you use an under quilt. The under quilt hangs below the hammock so it’s loft doesn’t get compressed by your body laying on it. 

Hammock Camping Gear Care

How do you get Urushiol (Poison Ivy Oil) out of tree straps?

Follow your manufacturers cleaning instructions. Rinse well. Repeat if you still see residue on your straps. Not following the manufacturer’s instructions (using harsh chemicals when noted not to, ect.) can cause damage to your tree straps

Hammock Camp Set Up

What’s the best distance between two trees?

As long as the trees are farther apart than your hammock is long, and you have long enough tree straps, almost any distance will work. 

I try to find trees that are approximately 9 to 14 feet apart to get my best hang. This is one of the things that just “comes to you” after you’ve done it a few times. You’ll be able to eyeball two trees and just know that they’ll work. 


Is hammock camping comfortable?

Very comfortable. You don’t have the hard ground, which may be rocky, underneath you. The free floating feeling is hard to beat when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep. 

How can I make it more comfortable?

First, make sure you are properly hanging your hammock. Your straps should be at a 30 degree angle to the trees they’re attached to. Your hammock should not be banana shaped. That’s a little too much slack. Aim for a slight sag that resembles a smile. 

A proper hang will not only make your hammock camping experience more comfortable, it’ll make it easier to get in and out, and reduce your risk of falling out.

Can I sleep on my side in a hammock?

Yes! I am a faithful side sleeper and I am always comfy in my hammock. When you have the right sag in your hammock, you can side sleep and even pull your legs up a little if you’re a fetal position sleeper.

Is a hammock better than a tent?

 This is going to be a personal preference. Some people do not like hammock camping. But many find it to be comfortable and get amazing sleep in them. While each has its own benefits and drawbacks, with the right set up, a hammock can provide the same things a tent can. 

In terms of set up and take down, I find hammock camping to be simpler than tent camping. There’s also awesome things called a bishop bag or a snakeskin which makes packing up your hammock breeze.

Can I hammock when it’s below zero outside?

To hammock in subzero temperatures, your first task is to make sure you have a warm sleeping arrangement. 

You’ll definitely want a warm under quilt to help guard against the cold and wind from beneath you. Adding a sleeping pad to your hammock can add additional insulation to your bottom side. 

For the top, you can use your sleeping or top quilt. In addition to that, you may want to look into a 4 season tarp for covering your hammock. A 4 season tarp is fully enclosed and in comparison to the other types of tarps, provides the most protection from the elements.


Do hammocks hurt trees?

The answer to this depends on you. If you are using rope or very thin straps to hang your hammock, there is the possibility of causing harm to the tree. Rope, and straps that are too thin, can damage bark or strip the bark off the tree, leaving the tree vulnerable to disease and insects amongst other things. To hang your hammock in a tree safe fashion, use straps that are at least 1 inch wide.

How do you keep a hammock dry?

Keeping a hammock dry is as simple as hanging a tarp over it. It’s important to create a drip line when setting up your hammock so that water doesn’t run along your line and drip into your hammock. 

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