View Full Version : What if there aren't any trees?

11-16-2003, 22:08
When there aren't any trees what does one do as an alternative, when using a hammock?

11-17-2003, 01:52
When there aren't any trees what does one do as an alternative, when using a hammock?Here is a link to a page on Sgt Rocks that describes how to pitch a hammock as a bivy tent on the ground using 2 hiking poles or 2 sticks just scroll down to tip#3. Hammock tips (http://hikinghq.net/hammock/hammock2.html)

bearbag hanger
11-17-2003, 11:49
I tried that with my Hennessey, didn't quite work. Couldn't get it adjusted so that some of my weight wasn't hanging on the sticks. What did work was using only one hiking stick and tying down the rear end to the ground. You have to set it up so what is normally the feet side will be where your head goes and you back into it. I found the front end about 30" to 36" high worked best. The hammock should be tied off to the same tent stakes and hiking stick (or nearby tree, etc.) as the canopy. The ridge line of the hammock mesh netting should be close to the ridge line formed by the canopy between the hiking stick and rear end on the gound. A little tighter than a small tent, but better than a bivy. You may find your feet touching the canopy a little. Try moving the rear tent stake back (more line out) so the rear of the canopy is a little more off the gound, maybe 6" to 8". Anyway, set up in your yard and try it out before you go on a trip. You'll find something that works.

06-17-2004, 08:03
In July I will be doing a six day 450 mile bike tour in the finger lakes. Our luggage is trucked to the campsite each night. I should be the envy of all the tired riders sleeping in my hammock while they are stuck on the hard ground. I wanted to prepare for the possibility that a campsite might be a field with no trees, however. I found Sgt. Rock's site and the previous post on alternative ways to pitch your HH. Hey Sarge can you go into more detail of your technique. I love your tips but always thought this tip was a little vague and could use some updating. Your other tips go into more detail. What knot do you use on the poles? Also any suggestions for poles. I have a pair of hiking poles but a smaller lighter option that would fit better in my duffel bag would be better for this trip. Also anyone have any experiance doing this technique for extended periods. I have a Shires tarptent and am tempted to take it as a backup sleeping option. Means brininging the ground cloth, the thermarest pad.......would rather just bring the hammock. Just thought about it some moreI have to bring that stuff if I am going to sleep on the ground Hammock or no hammock.

Thanks for your help

Kozmic Zian
06-17-2004, 08:57
Yea.....Just Hammock. You know, I'm a firm believer in HYOH, an all that stuff, but what does a 'hammocker' do when they get to a hostel or like 'The Place', or the Upper Goose Pond Shelter, or anywhere, Blackburn Hostel, Bears Den, any AYH or shelter that has hard wooden 'bunks' inside, and say you're tired of 'hammocking' or the weather's bad, what do you sleep on? Are you carrying an inflatable, or a pad? Something to think about....one of the weaknesses in the 'hammock only', because of ultra-lightness, philosophy of sleeping gear genres. With the lightweight 'tent', resulting sleeping pad, at least there's an option. Just [email protected]:-?

06-17-2004, 09:16
Kozmic's observation has been one of my concerns also...there are times when I'd like/need to sleep on a hard surface. I tried to double and quadruple fold the thin (1/8") enzolite pad I use in the hammock, but this didn't prove very comfortable (especially since I'm used to a Thermarest pad). Consequently, the hammock has been relegated to shorter trips during the warmer months.

06-17-2004, 22:00
Bivi if you want. but unless above the tree line, there are trees...me I'm going to find two and be comfortable. Site selection is a choice. most of the AT above treeline is prohibited camping any way. Also the HH does bivi...so practice if necessary.

06-18-2004, 00:24
As far as your knot question goes, I use a clove hitch for tying guy lines to tarp poles and to tent stakes. The nice thing about using it for stakes is that the knot is easily adjustable, if you take the slack out with one hand and loosen/slip the slack through with your other, and to untie it (from stakes anyway) you just slip it off the end and the knot falls out.

I usually tie my tarp guy line to the pole using a clove hitch at the right height, and tie the line to the stake, and stake it where it needs to go.

I like knots.


06-18-2004, 01:39
I have started hammocking but carry a 3/4ths ridge rest so I can sleep in the shelters. I use the pad in the hammock to cut downon the cold even tho it makes sleeping a bit uncomfortable.

I didn't realize people ditched pads altogether. I guess that is why hammocks are such a POSIBBLE weight saver

06-18-2004, 09:41
I'm not speaking FOR Sgt. Rock, of course.

If I understand the info on his site correctly, I think he runs the lines for the HH (normally tied with the 'Tree Huggers' to a tree) THROUGH the wrist straps of his poles and then stakes them down several feet further away. The tarp looks to be connected to the support ropes as normal.

I have not tried this myself. I do not often get "above treeline" here in Arkansas. :jump Perhaps in an area recently clear cut. :mad:

I imagine, however that you would either need to get your hiking poles (or whatever sticks you use) well stuck in the ground lest they fall to one side the first time the hammock support ropes pull them that way. One of the pics on the HH website (also shown on Sgt. Rock's site) seems to show the support ropes run through the wrist straps and then at an angle to one side with another line guying the pole in the other direction.

You have to look at the pics to understand what I'm trying to say that I see in them, I guess. :-? A pic is worth 1,024 (1K) words.

As I am near that number with this post anyway, I'll just join in the call for Rock to help us out a bit! :)

Clear as mud, I am...

06-18-2004, 09:59
Sue/Hammock Hanger sent me this answer

I tried this numerous times with disasterous results... UNTIL I sat with Tom & Sgt Rock at trail days.
I will try hard to explain but it is one of those things best seen.

1- put down a tarp or plastic bag under the hammock
2- lay out the hammock
3- tie a CLOVE HITCH in the guide line about 8 inches from the hammock around the tip of a hiking stick or something similar
4- place a stake securely in the ground wrap the guideline around the stake
5- now looking at the pole and stake one place the second stake so that you have an even triangle, wrap the guideline around second stake
6-bring up the guideline and tie it off up at the top of the hiking pole. The triangle should be taunt.
7- repeat on the other side. This is much much easier with a second person holding pole #1 for you

Thanks Hamock Hanger!

Hammock Hanger
06-18-2004, 10:12
You are welcome. Hope it helps. --

I am embrassed to say that a few ladies from the WHL did a hammock weekend and we tried to assemble a hammock bivy using 2 hiking poles and rope, it was a disaster and kept falling down. The "triangle" keeps the hammock taunt like when it is tied to the tree. Using seperate ropes does not secure the hammock. NOt to mention how many of us carry alot of extra rope. (If you carry bear bag rope then it is in the tree with the food...:) )

Sgt Rock I am really not sure that I explained it properly but that is how I have done it since seeing you and Tom at TD's and it has worked.


06-18-2004, 19:16
This is one of the reasons a tarp is such a good thing to bring along. Rarely will you be above treeline, and for those times you are, just stick a hiking pole or two the tarp, if it's got grommets. If it doesn't, I usually tie the corner to the pole.

06-22-2004, 00:01
Here is an advantage of the Speer hammock: It uses an 8x10 silnylon tarp as a rain canopy over the hammock. No trees, use the 8x10 tarp. NB. When used over the hammock, the 10' section runs lengthwise. The seam is in the 8' section which forms the ridge line for usual tarp camping. Also,if the quarter inch pad is too thin a cushion for you on the ground, you could carry an 8 section z-rest. Some packs like the one from http://www.sixmoondesigns.com has a separate pocket for such a pad that doubles as a backpad in the pack. (the "Starlite" Pack)

06-22-2004, 07:31
I agree with Rambler in that an 8'x10' rectangular tarp makes bivying on the ground more practical. (However, I would still use the 10' length for the ridgeline when I tarp camped.) Not only do you get better rain and wind driven ground splash protection, but it's rectangular shape is inherently easier to set-up on the ground in a stable arrangement because the ends of the tarp are orthogonal to the ridgeline. However, it is a personal choice that involves weight, pack volume, cost and comfort. I believe Hennessy Hammocks come with a non-rectangular tarp and the Speer Hammocks come with a rectangular tarp because of the design parameters that the various hammock makers chose. If that is not what you want, you can always use a different tarp.


06-22-2004, 07:55
When there aren't any trees what does one do as an alternative, when using a hammock?

a TENT! :D

07-07-2004, 21:09
Question: Has any of you developed an easy technique to keep the guidelines attached to one end of the Tree Huggers (straps) when taking down the HH?

Thank you,


SGT Rock
07-07-2004, 21:29
You mean like tying a knot in the end, then stitiching a line in one side of the loop so the line can't pull through?

07-07-2004, 22:01
I don't think you want to sew the tree hugger to the rope since the rope has to be able to slide thru it to adjust depending on how far away apart the trees are. Why not take a safety pin and close up the openning in the hugger with that. That would allow the rope to slide but make it tight enough where it won't just fall off.

SGT Rock
07-07-2004, 22:13
Well I am basing this off the tree huggers off my ultralight. The one I got from Tom had the ropes already through the tree huggers and knots in the end. The holes on the first end were big enough for the rope to slide easy but not big enough for the knot to go through. I noticed when I was at Trail Days that they are not made like this anymore. I didn't think to ask Tom why, I just assumed it made construction easier.

07-08-2004, 04:37
Sgt. Rock,

Thank you for the tip. That is exactly what I needed. Why I did not think of it on my own is beyond my imagination!


07-08-2004, 07:23
In July I will be doing a six day 450 mile bike tour in the finger lakes. Bob

Having grown up in the Finger lakes... you will be hard pressed to find a spot without trees! :)

Hammock Hanger
07-08-2004, 07:29
From a discussion Tom and I had a while back I think the larger openings were because some folks couldn't tell one end from the other and complained that they had a lot of trouble putting the cord thru such a small hole and never thought to just use the other side. Sue/HH