Switching from a tent to a hammock

8:06 p.m. on June 2, 2015 (EDT)
George of the Jungle
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40 forum posts

I've always used tents for camping, but I'm recently becoming interested in using my hammock/tarp set-up. My concern is staying dry in the windy rain storms that i love to sleep in so much.

I know that i'm gaurenteed to stay dry in my trusty tent. We've been places and seen things. My hammock is still relatively new to me, and very exposed to the elements.

I see all of these pictures online with people hanging their tarps diagonaly, but this seems like the bottom and ends of the hammock are left very exposed, and would get very wet in a high wind rain storm.

Some use bigger tarps, and just drape them over the ridge line, then fold in the ends to sort of make doors, but that still doesn't seem as weather proof as my tent. I know there needs to be drip lines tied onto the hammock suspension under the tarp, but what about the wind blown rain coming in the slightly open crack? My down sleeping bag gets useless when it's exposed to too many rain storms.

I love the comfort and compact-ness of the hammock, but I'm having trouble putting my faith in it for the long haul. My tent has never once failed me, but a tent is also idiot proof, while hammock camping seems to have a learning curve.

Any tips/tricks/guidance/shared experience will be greatly appreciated.



Currently using "kelty naoh's tarp 12" and either a "grand trunk minimalist" hammock, or an off brand nylon parachute hammock, sometimes with a klymit static v sleeping pad when needed.

7:20 a.m. on June 3, 2015 (EDT)
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Its all about proper hammock hanging and proper tarp rigging. I have been using my hammock system exclusively for quite a few years now. Not once has any of my gear gotten wet other than my tarp(obviousl). I have been in some crazy weather, and i use my hammock setup year round/4 season here in the NE.

Unless your in a hurricane water isnt going to blow exactly horizontal. your hammock should be raised up so that it is enclosed and completely covered by the tarp. Some hammocks need drip lines so dont due to their design.

i have one of those tarps with the ends/doors, and i also have a smaller minimalist tarp for summer use. Neither one has ever failed me and gotten me or my stuff yet.

i can try to give you some better advice if you post pictures of how you set up everything.

The beauty of a hammock is its off the ground, so as long as you rig your tarp to cover the hammock ends and sides your good to go. I an going on a trip this weekend and will take a bunch of pictures of my setup if u want.

1:07 p.m. on June 3, 2015 (EDT)
John Starnes
107 reviewer rep
527 forum posts

Gmid83- I'm sure you'll love hammock hanging! Too many benefits. ready made bed or chair, roof for getting out of weather, no cleaning mud or dirt out,  much cooler in summer, setup takes just a min or 2  and the over all weight savings plus packability are a serious plus. I have the Clark jungle hammock nx250 and it's largest tarp the vertex I believe they call it, $149.00. it works great mine is about 12ft by 10ft I think and has Velcro on the ends for hunkering down in real bad weather. kinda like a poncho over the hammock. but it is a bit clostraphobic in that mode. the first time I ever use it I learned first hand about drip rings, wet back in the night sucks.  There are some other tarps out there that I have no experience with since their not offer around here that you might want to look hard at, one is the Warbonnet  Mambajamba tarp with door kit. it appears to be an award winner.    

10:15 p.m. on June 3, 2015 (EDT)
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150 forum posts

Congrats on exploring another shelter system!

Tip 1, hammock forums.

Tip 2, 2QZQ Under Quilt Protector, you can mod a poncho or even a 5'x7' walmart tarp for the task.

Tip 3, learn how to set you Kelty 12 up in door mode to keep the wind/rain out. As other said doors are great. I carry a tarp with an add on door set and usually only carry one end.

Tip 4, hydrophobic down under quilts and top quilts.

Tip 5, use what you got until know how you'd like to improve it and then research for replacements as you better understand your "hanging" preference.

There are lots of great products to suit the various methods to hang, experience is a great teacher. Group outings are also excellent sources and provide a way to try those cottage makers products before you by. There are always group outings posted on Tip 1.

Enjoy the journey, hammocks will help you enjoy the rest!


10:52 p.m. on June 3, 2015 (EDT)
John Starnes
107 reviewer rep
527 forum posts

correction my vertex tarp is 10 x10 

3:48 p.m. on June 4, 2015 (EDT)
George of the Jungle
490 reviewer rep
40 forum posts

I have my ridge line set at around 6' so that my end doors will close all the way (as much as they do). With the peak set so high with my 12' tarp, my walls are fairly narrow, so I had to lower my hammock to avoid contact with the walls (wich would likely be saturated in the scenerio that I would need the doors).  When I do this, my hammock ends stick out of my hut, and if a gust of wind blew, I'd be in the elements. Do I need to find closer trees, raise my suspension & lower my hammock even more? My hammock is the same length as my girlfriends "ENO Doublenest" (around 9' laying on the ground i believe). Each of my suspension straps are 10' long.

dirtwheels- the underquilt protector looks like it might be what I want if i set up with the smaller diagonal tarp. My only problem with it is that it's another item . my goal is to stay below the weight and mass of my 3 lb tent, and I'm already riding that line. I'd like to try and use the items I have.


left to right - tarp, stakes, hammock, suspension/ridgeline, sleeping mat, sleeping bag

5:33 p.m. on June 4, 2015 (EDT)
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Trying rigging your tarp from corner to corner for your main ridge. Instead of as rectangle. It looks like your tarp coverage on the ends is a little close. This is why cat cut tarps are popular with hammockers. Hanging it this way will give you more coverage. The sides will basically be big V as will the end by hanging it like this.

6:56 p.m. on June 4, 2015 (EDT)
1,096 reviewer rep
150 forum posts


Not necessarily in order.

1) Shorten the loop in the end channel to get your s hook under the tarp.

2) Add a ridge line to your hammock, primarily this will provide you a consistent lay by having a set amount of sag (and you can hang stuff on it!). You can use various cordage even masons line to dial in the length you perfer until you select a better cordage. I use zingit or lashit from Redden or West marine, or Dutchware.com. It's spliceable which you will find handy and, did I mention Hammock forums where you can learn more than you ever wanted about splicing.

Start with a ridgeline of *#% of your hammocks length, or 98".

Check out the link below and watch the video in the OP to see a cleaner knot for your hammock. Sgt Rock is a great guy to listen to!


3) Drop the heavy S hook and replace with....nothing (see Sgt Rocks video), with a climbing biner, a dutch biner (dutchware.com)

4) CUT THAT HEAVY HOOK OFF your strap!!! You don't need it just run the strap thru the loops sewn loop. See Harbor Freights super light weight strap, it's what I use, $4 a pair.


There, you just lost 8 oz.!

5) The hammock strap should likely be about 6' high and the strap angles should be about 30*, download a free phone app, buy a TATO Gear HANGLER for a few $ from tatogear.com. Down load the hammock suspension app from the ultimatehang.com.


AWESOME app, enter the tree distance, preferred sit height, your new ridge line length (or hammock length for the ridgeline adverse) and babam, you know how high to hang your straps and how long from the tree to the hammock!! Does it get any better than that?

Ultimate hang is a great site, and a great book, LOTS of GOOD STUFF THERE!

6) Don't be scared, raise that tarp up, hang it high, this ain't no tent and we don't need to be near the ground. Seriously, the tarp hanging wide means that rain has to blow under and then up to wet your under quilt. The hammock frees you from the ground and the muddy tents and rain flys. The more the tarp over hangs the stronger the winds must be. I slept in a monsson winter before last, the campground flooded, odly enough that's the 2nd time that has happened to me in a hammock and it was a group hang. My Tarp is 10'6" x 7.5", I did have doors which helped out a lot.

Arrowhead Equipment has a 12' x 10.5' hex tarp onsale right now 10% off, it doesn't have doors but it's only 14 oz.

Check out Shug's tarp video series.


I do appreciate using what you have, and you should be able to do that for a while. You DO NOT need another tarp for better coverage, you DO NOT need to hang your tarp at an angle. Your tarp is 12' long, your hammock is 118", IF, your ridge line is 83%, then your hammock hangs at 8'2". That gives you 3'10" or almost 2' of over hang on the ends of your hammock, you'll likely not need doors. The general rule of thumb is a foot on each end, your got almost double that!

IF you add a ridge line and learn tarp hanging from Shug's video you're set! Drop those heavy steel pieces and you'll be nearer your tent's weight. Buy a 1 pound 12' x 10' tarp and you'll think you cut your tent in half, because you'll cut your tarp's weight in half.

So your kit will work just fine, the biggest thing you are missing is the ridge line, which sets your hammock to your favorite sag angle for maximum comfort. Setting your ridge line will enable you to live comfortablly under your hammock, check your the porch mode! With your mammoth tarp all your buddies will have a spot to hang out the nest time ya'll get caught in a storm.

Don't get in a hurry buying gear, what you have should work fine, if you really like hammocking, using what you have for a while will convince you what you need to replace 1st.



6:37 a.m. on June 5, 2015 (EDT)
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150 forum posts

Qmid83, one other technique recommendation, you want the strap to form a straight line (nearly) from where it comes off the tree to the hammock, this will cause less stress on the black hook or sewn loop of the strap.



10:35 a.m. on June 5, 2015 (EDT)
1,096 reviewer rep
150 forum posts

Forgot to mention a bugnet, a must for me in the southern woods. This is the cheapest around, I use this style and prefer it over hammocks with zippered nets. $50


6:54 p.m. on June 7, 2015 (EDT)
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750 forum posts


You switch from a hammock to a tent, not vice-versa.

8:04 a.m. on June 8, 2015 (EDT)
George of the Jungle
490 reviewer rep
40 forum posts

300 winmag - I've been in tents (and love/trust mine whole heartedly), but I want to explore other options & expand my abilities to make comfortable temporary forrest homes for myself. Variety is the spice of life.

Dirtwheels - Holy information batman! Thanks for all of your input. It's been very appreciated and helpfull. I found out my main problem was not having a ridgeline attached to the hammock, I just had one for my tarp.

The day after I read your messages I went out and started tinkering with my set-up, and luckily that evening a rain storm rolled in for me to test what I came up with.

The ridgeline pulled the ends of the hammock in more, so that it was under my tarp when it wasn't occupied (atleast a foot on each end), and I now have a quick, consistant hang no matter how far apart the trees are.

I took my gear out to the mountain saturday night, and learned that my un-insulated inflatable sleeping pad doesn't do much for insulating my underside when it's 45 +/- degrees outside. So now I'm looking into underquilts.

I have a military surpluss ponch liner that I've heard can be easily turned into one. Does anyone have any experience with this, or know of an alternative idea/solution?

Once agian, thanks a million!

9:34 a.m. on June 8, 2015 (EDT)
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150 forum posts

You're most welcome.

The poncho liner under quilt should work for those temps. I don't have one, I use a Wilderness Logics Summer Series Under Quilt for warmer weather. There are a number of instruction threads on hammock forums.

Here is one that would work on any blanket and there are links to an outdoor blanket for under $50.


Derek Hansen the Ultimate Hang guy has instructions for both the no sew and the sewn version of the poncho liner under quilt (PLUQ).


The thread he introduced it on hammock forums created good discussion:


Heres a video for more information:


You'll be happy with an under quilt, a pad is doable but it really changes the hammock feel. 

July 13, 2020
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