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Did you know that trees do not really need to be your anchor points when hanging a hammock? Sure, they are the preferred method. However, there are several ways how to hang a hammock without trees! And that is what this article is all about.
Camping outdoors is more fun when there is a hammock on the site. Unfortunately, not all campgrounds or backcountry sites have enough trees to anchor your hammock. That is where you need to be resourceful.
The hanging point for hammocks does not necessarily need to be a tree. If you are resourceful enough, you’ll realize that you can use cars, tent poles, boulders, and even a portable hammock stand purchased separately.
So, whether you are in a treeless outdoor area or inside the comfort of your abode, you can still hang hammocks in a jiffy!
5 Ways How to Hang a Hammock Without Trees
Looking suitable trees for hanging hammocks can be difficult. But if you have your car with you (which you most likely do), you can still enjoy your camping trip while lounging in a hammock.
Cars and trucks are commonly used as anchor points for hammocks. All you need to do is locate one additional anchor point, such as a sturdy tree, boulder, or any other structure. Then, park the car a short distance from that anchor point.
You can use your vehicle as your secondary anchor? The roof rack, the door latch which is bolted on the inside of the door frame, or any part of the car that does not bend when you attach the hammock can be used. Tie one end of the hammock to your car and the other to the additional anchor point.
This will also work well if you have two cars during your trip. You can use both cars as anchor points by tying one end of the hammock to the first car and the other to the second. Just make sure that you always pick a sturdy anchor point that can carry your weight while using the hammock.
Boulders or Large Rocks
Large rocks are an alternative point where you can safely hang the hammock. If there is no tree trunk in sight, look for rocks that you can shove a peg into. A rock with a deep crack or groove will work best. However, the crack shouldn’t be too wide or too narrow.
A wide crack won’t secure the anchor peg, while a narrow one might be so tight that you couldn’t pull it out afterward.
Instead of using an anchor peg, you may wrap tree straps or rope around a stable rock to create anchor points. Typically, the rocks should have a 10 to 18 feet distance between them. They must also be large enough to support your weight while resting in the hammock.
Hammock camping is a popular activity. Thus, camping sites tend to have hammock structures available. Hanging a hammock in an already-built structure is a convenient fix. Before you hang the hammock, it is wise to check the structure first. Some are so worn out that they are no longer safe to use.
We recommend asking the campsite’s management before using it to ensure safety.
Old or Extra Tent Poles
You can use old or extra tent poles for holding a camping hammock. Learning the skill of suspending a hammock with tent poles is very practical. Just ensure that the poles you use are strong enough to hold the hammock and your weight while in it.
Create a tripod using three poles for each end. You can use a single pole on each side if it is strong and durable enough to hold the weight. Secure the pole with a heavy-duty J-hook. Once the poles are ready, dig a hole deep enough to hold the post.
Place the pole into the hole and attach it to a sandbag for a better anchor. If allowed, fill the hole with a fast-setting post anchor and let it dry. Hang the hammock strap using a J-hook, bolt, or screw to the anchor point.
You can create a tripod using large branches if no tent poles are available. Cut off any growth or sticks protruding from the branches, leaving poles about 3 to 4 inches in diameter. These are used in making a DIY hammock stand.
Secure the poles with a rope and knot in place. Then, lay an approximately 8 foot pole horizontally on top of each tripod. Tie the hammock’s straps to each end of the horizontal bar and fix them in place.
A hammock frame is readily available in gear stores. This portable stand is made to suspend a hammock and is the most convenient way to hang a hammock without trees.
It is better to bring a portable stand on a camping trip, especially if you are unfamiliar with the place you are going to.
The flip side of a portable stand is the need for you to assemble it on your campsite. Some portable stands are also heavy and may not work well if you want to go light.
Tips for Hammock Camping
Hammock camping is fun whether you are doing it alone or with a group. Expert hammock campers have these tips to make your experience better and more memorable:
- Know the campground regulations you are staying in. Campgrounds have their individual rules, and one of them might be about setting up a hammock. To avoid getting in trouble, you should talk to the campground manager about where you can hang your hammock at your campsite.
- Observe CLAYGO. Clean As You Go should be practiced at all times. That means you must take all your stuff – including garbage and all materials used in making a stand – with you as you leave the site.
- Always test your hammock. Sometimes, we tend to get overly excited in that we just want to lay on the hammock as soon as it is up. But, this is a bad habit for every camper since it can lead to injuries. It is a good habit to test your hammock by sitting on it cautiously for the first few minutes before laying on it, making sure it doesn’t collapse.
- Protect yourself with a tarp. Though a tarp is unnecessary, placing it over a hammock is advisable to keep rain and/or snow off of your hammock if weather is a factor. In addition, a tarp can keep the sun from beating down on you during the daytime as you take an afternoon nap.
- Bring the right pillow and sleeping pad. Hammocks won’t be as comfortable without proper cushions. A sleeping pad and a pillow provide comfort and warmth while using the hammock.
- Be ready when things don’t go your way. Keep in mind that some places are not built for hammocks. Even if you know how to hang a hammock without trees, there will be times when you cannot find a substitute. Hence, it is better to come prepared by bringing other equipment to sleep in, such as a backpacking tent.
Is sleeping on a hammock good for the back?
Sleeping on a hammock is safe for your back, assuming it has been set up correctly. Sleeping on a hammock reduces the tension on your back and the pressure on your spine.
However, it is highly recommended to consult your physician if you have spinal or nerve problems. You may aggravate existing conditions by sleeping on a hammock.
Can I experience deep sleep while sleeping on a hammock?
Yes, you can. Many people experience deep sleep in a hammock. This is mainly attributed to its gentle rocking motion. One study showed that a swinging bed hastens the transition from being awake to sleeping.
You can hook up hammocks even without using trees. All you need is to be resourceful with the materials around you. These simple DIY methods of hanging a hammock without trees are handy wherever you go. Learning one or two of these tricks will be helpful in your next backcountry or camping trip!