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The Ultimate Hang An Illustrated Guide to Hammock Camping

photo:   The Ultimate Hang An Illustrated Guide to Hammock Camping camping/hiking/backpacking book


Price Reviewers Paid: $13.00


2 reviews
5-star:   1
4-star:   1
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

Derek Hansen's "The Ultimate Hang" is a must read for anyone serious (or curious) about becoming a hammock hanger. Hansen thoroughly covers the information relevant to hammock camping in an easy-to-understand manner. The illustrations are both whimsical and informative, reminding the reader that hammock hanging is ultimately about enjoyment. This book should be in every hanger's library.


  • Thoroughly covers crucial (and less crucial) topics
  • Easy to read
  • Helpful illustrations
  • In one night, I learned more about hammocks than in two years of trial 'n error.


  • Gear junkies like me suddenly want one of everything discussed in the book!

Hammock camping is not an intuitive practice. While most people can pitch a tent and crawl into a sleeping bag, those who try hammock hanging quickly discover there is a learning curve. This review references a few sources in the intro, but it focuses on a book that everyone interested in hammock hanging should read. 

My Intro to Hammocks:

In 2011 I got a good deal on a Grand Trunk Skeeter Beater. "Oooo! It has mosquito netting. I can take naps in the back yard!" Then, we ended up having friends camp in our backyard, and I suddenly thought, "Hey! I could spend the night in this thing!" And so I hung there like a folded banana all night, but it was kind of fun.

Fast forward to summer 2012, when I suddenly have an inspired thought..."What if instead of a tent, I just took my hammock with me when I go backpacking!" I know, unheard of...I should have patented the idea. Eventually, I discovered I wasn't the first guy to consider this idea, and I found the folks over on Hammock Forums had a lot of information. For example, I learned that hammocks are meant to be slept in diagonally, so you sleep flat (not like a folded banana).

The problem is I quickly discovered how ignorant I was of the whole hammock thing. There are knots to learn, methods to be followed, ways to stay dry, warm, comfortable. AND MORE!

Two sources helped me more than any other. The first was watching a guy on YouTube named Shug. The second was purchasing Derek Hansen's "The Ultimate Hang, An Illustrated Guide to Hammock Camping" on Amazon.

The Ultimate Hang

The Ultimate Hang (TUH) is one of the simplest, easiest books I have ever read on any outdoor subject. Hansen doesn't attempt to impress the reader with his vast knowledge. Instead he shares with his audience the things he has learned from years of experience. Hansen is a Scout Master, and one can easily imagine him writing this book for a group of boys he is seeking to instruct. That's not to say this book is for kids. I learned more about hammock hanging in a couple of hours with this book than from a couple of years of trial and error.

What makes this book so easy to follow are the illustrations:


Every page provides illustrative examples of the text. These are drawn well enough to provide useful, relevant information. At the same time, they are whimsical enough to remind the reader not to take things too seriously...hanging is meant to be enjoyable and fun, not burdensome.


After giving a brief introduction on the history, overview, and terminology of hammock camping, TUH gets into the meat and potatoes that the reader is after. Topics include:

  • How to hang a hammock
  • Where to hang a hammock
  • How to lay in a hammock
  • How to stay dry
  • How to stay warm (above & below)
  • How to stay comfortable
  • How to deal with bugs

Along the way, the book is full of references to free on-line resources. Readers will find several QR codes that can be scanned with a smart phone in order to open up websites.

Hansen discusses sheer forces on trees, Leave No Trace principles, safe practice with lightening, bears, tarps, and repairs. He even explains how to load your backpack when carrying a hammock, rather than a tent.

The Appendixes

Normally, the appendixes of a book are a wasteland of information thrown at the end of a book. TUH appendixes are valuable resources! These include:

  • QR Codes to further reading.
  • A list of hammock retailers and suppliers (including a checklist of what they sell)
  • A check list for packing for a hammock camping trip
  • Quick references to a number of things backpackers need to know
  • A tear out "Hammock Hang Ruler" to get that perfect 30-degree angle

The One Con

TUH lists a ton of cottage manufacturers, but anything in print becomes outdated as companies go out of business and new ones start up. My own Dream Hammock Danger Bird missed the list.

So I'll list this as a con, but only a slight one. The reader can learn about hammock hanging in the book and find hammock manufacturers through Trailspace.


At $13, you won't go broke, and TUH just might revolutionize your outdoor practices. Buy it, read it, and enjoy your hammock!

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $13 at Amazon

Daniel Oates

With the the AT so close to me in North Carolina and just the general wooded trails, I'd love to get into hammocking in the future. Even though it may seem silly to others to get a book, I say if you want to do it right it'll be worth it. Looks like a fun book!

7 years ago

Great review, Goose.

7 years ago

I don't think it's silly to get a book at long as it's the right book. I still grab my ancient copy of The Backpacker's Field Manual from time to time, especially when I'm about to do something unfamiliar. It's a bit outdated, but there is still good stuff in it.

7 years ago

Thanks for the very informative review, Goose! I am really intersted to read this book.

7 years ago

Nice one, G00SE. Loved this read myself—I love the carefree vibe of the illustrations, too!

7 years ago

great review Goose! I've got TUH in ebook for Nook. The only con to that is the illustrations can't be expanded to full page. Which makes some of them hard to see. I'm a hanger myself and I learned a ton of stuff for both The Ultimate Hang and Hammock Forums. I +1 your recommendation to get this and journey over to HF if you're thinking of getting into hammocking.

7 years ago

I have this book too (nook version) but haven't gotten round to reading it yet. One of these days...and your review is good reminder...thanks!

7 years ago
Daniel Oates

I ended up purchasing this book a few months back and I've read it three or four times. I'm not into hammocking yet, but this book has provided great info and is a fun read. Not only will I be more comfortable in my search for gear, but I have a great reference source. Again, great review G00SE!

7 years ago

I finally got round to reading the book too and really enjoyed it. It's an easy read, great 'handmade' illustrations, and has good tidbits about backpacking and camping in general. Derek's website goes into even more detail, providing an unending source of information. It's one of my favorite sites in fact. Videos, apps, reviews, you name it. It's great to see a guy turn his passion into such a useful resource for others.

7 years ago

Very good book for beginners. This book gave an understanding of hammock camping. It gives you the knowledge to ask the questions you need to know.


  • Gives you all the basic information for hammock camping.


  • Not inclusive as this knowledge can only be obtained by experience.

The reasons for not giving 5 stars is no book can answer all question. A must-read for anybody just starting in hammock camping. I recommend electronic copy from Amazon as it's cheaper.

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