View Full Version : Can you camp in a hammock along most of the AT?

11-24-2003, 16:21
I am thinking about getting a nice light hammock for my thru hike and I was wondering if along most of the AT are there enough tree's to set up the hammock? Any areas where I might have a problem setting a hammock up? Thanks.

11-24-2003, 17:44
Yes, you can use a hammock as a shelter throughout the length of the AT. I guess one exception would be above tree line in the Whites ...but you probably wouldn't want to sleep above tree line anyway.

I think a bigger question might be ...would you really be comfortable in a hammock as your only shelter on a thru-hike. To that question (and this comes from my personal experience) I would have to say NO. I've tried just about every possible adaptation of my hammock and still can not honestly say that I am comfortable in extremely cold weather. This comment will probably draw some flack, since I know that several members here at Whiteblaze swear by the hammock as a 4 season shelter. I'm just telling you about my experience. Your mileage may vary.

11-24-2003, 18:58
I think that I am going to take my sleeping bag that is 0 degree rated - I am sure that will be overkill in the summer and might send it home and send out my 30 degree bag but we will see.

11-24-2003, 21:34
Something that I had considered but have not tried is to take a hammock (Hennesy in this example) and replace the fly with a silnylon tarp. This would theroretically allow you to sleep on the ground with the tarp in colder weather while allowing the comfort of the hammock in more moderate temperatures. The larger tarp would also provide for better inclement weather protection. I'm sure someone else has tried this and may pipe in.


11-25-2003, 01:02

I don't know what HH you have but mine came with a silnylon tarp.

11-25-2003, 08:23
AT Troll

the older Hennessy Hammocks came with a coated nylon rain fly - I have one from 2000 that is coated nylon instead of silnylon - I use a sil tarp these days.

11-25-2003, 10:03
I was talking about a larger tarp than the one provided with the Hennessy. The provided fly is pretty small IMO.


Hammock Hanger
11-25-2003, 18:05
I was able to hang my hammock everywhere I wanted on the AT with the exception of Max Patch Bald and Uncle Johnny's backyard. I have hiked all of the AT minus the sections from Franconia Notch to Munson. So, if ya want to do the hammock thing it is very very doable. For me it is the only way to go.

Hammock Hanger

steve hiker
11-25-2003, 19:42
I was able to hang my hammock everywhere I wanted on the AT I have hiked all of the AT minus the sections from Franconia Notch to Munson.

Ever laying in your hammock and have a nose come up and sniff you and take a bite out like a Big Beef Burritto Supreme?

Hammock Hanger
11-25-2003, 19:52
Ever laying in your hammock and have a nose come up and sniff you and take a bite out like a Big Beef Burritto Supreme?
Twice in one night a bear came up to me while I was hanging. I kept singing I'm no taco baby.... I'm no food bag big boy... so just move you big ole butt out of here and go bother someone else.

I'm not sure if it was the words or the tune (a little off key) but he went the mile down the trail towards the shelter.

:bse Hammock Hanger

11-26-2003, 00:00
There are trees almost everywhere on the AT, but flat spots for tents are harder to find. There were lots of times when I wished I had my hammock instead of my tent because it was getting late and I couldn't find a good spot to put the tent.


12-04-2003, 03:47
Sue, we went over MaxPatch Monday, I posted a pic in my section-- dont think I would hammock there either :)

01-15-2004, 09:41
Yes you can hammock everyday. The four worst nites of my 800 mile sections last year were in shelters (slow learner). Have hung warm and dry thru nites in th20s and 5" snowfalls. The key is a Wide pad, min 24 inches. Have switched to a two inch thick down under-quilt and 20s are a warm cozy affair. No pad hassle is a dream. You can pitch a hennessy on the ground. but why give up the comfort unless you just want to be on top of Max Patch.

bearbag hanger
01-15-2004, 11:04
Ever laying in your hammock and have a nose come up and sniff you and take a bite out like a Big Beef Burritto Supreme?
I was awaken one night by a deer munching the grass underneath me. Didn't seemed to be the least bit bothered when I woke up, turned over and looked at him. Wasn't sure what to do, didn't want to startle him, I'm sure his horns would have done a job on my butt if I had. After rearanging all the gear I left on the ground he left.

I plan to use my Hennessey Hammock for my 2004 attempt. I've pitched it on the ground with the supplied canopy (sil-nylon, the "30%" larger one they supply with the newer ones) and it seems to work OK. A bit tighter than a tent, but better than a bivy. Cold is the biggest problem. My plan is to have two closed cell foam pads for a total of 7/8 in under me (24" wide, 20" is not enough) and a 25 degree bag combined with a 30 degree down blanket on top. Will send the bag or blanket back home around 1st week of June.

01-15-2004, 18:04
With my HH ULA I use a 27" closed cell pad (3/8" or 1/2" thick), cut to ~40" (from the base of my neck to mid-thigh) and place it on top of a truck sized silver windshield cover (27"x72"x1/8"). I use the short pad alone down to ~40F. Both together down to 20F-25F (winds are a bigger factor when it is cold than the temps). Small patches of velcro are used to keep the two pads from sliding around on each other. I don't typically have problems with pads sliding out from under me once I'm situated.

I believe SGT Rock uses a similar setup. Check out his site for more info and some pics.

Also, for a bag I use a set of silk sheets with a WM MityLite or a SD Van Winkle as a quilt depending on temps. With sheets, MityLite, top and bottom long-johns, socks and a thin cap I'm good down to freezing. I carry the heavier SD bag if I expect colder temps.

I always put my neck/head on a fleece-lined stuff sack filled with extra clothes (socks, gloves, hat, dry rain gear, etc.)

NOTE: You almost always need to be wearing a shirt of sometype when you have a pad under you as normal body sweat will form between your back and the pad. Some folks cover their top-most pad with a "neat sheet" (google it) just for this purpose. Then they can sleep shirtless in warmer temps without worrying about thier back sticking to the pad. Once the night time lows are above ~75F, I don't need a pad at all.

bearbag hanger
01-15-2004, 18:14
Bearbag & Peter Pan - what kinds of pads do you use? Is it something which is also used to provide structure to a frameless pack? I'm looking for something that will do both and is still lightweight, any suggestions? Also, how are you keeping the pad secured (so it doesn't slip out from underneath you when you're sleeping)?
The two pads are have are a 20" wide, 3/8" thick 6' long (summer pad - 8 oz) and a 24" wide, 1/2" thick, 6' long pad I got for winter (14 oz), but got scared and decided to use both (I live in Southern Florida and don't usually have a way to test cold weather gear). They stick together very well.

When I first started using a hammock, I used a 20", 3/8" by 4'. The idea was to use my rain jacket under my lower legs and feet when it got chilly. I found myself getting exhausted trying to get the rain jacket under my feet, plus the rain jacket never stayed put and so moved to the 6' foot long pad.

For a backpack I'm using a Moonbow Gearskin and either pad works fine for the structure. I fold the pads in six sections which works out to the same width as the Gearskin pack. As for keeping the pad(s) underneath me, I guess I don't have as much trouble as other people do. It was a problem the first time I used the hammock about three years ago (woke up with the pad on top of me), but it's never been a problem since.

Capt Chaos
01-25-2004, 10:28
Next year for my thru hike, I am going to start with just a tarp, since I am starting on March 1. Then once I get to Erwin or Damascus, I am going to have my hammock shipped to me with my summer gear. I am guessing this will be around the end of April, maybe mid April. I am not going to neccassarly use it everyday but mainly as a backup shelter or for a nice night. I got the new A-Symetrical hammock that has a lot bigger fly and is shaped a lot better to prevent rain in storms. It is much more ideal than from previously.

To answer your question, I think it is quite possible to carry a hammock the whole way. This is also depending on weather. I personally wont camp in it if it is below 40 degrees. I know about how to rig a sun shield and all but I would rather just camp on the ground in the winter. Also, a 0 degree bag should not help too much on your bottom side. The thing is that when you lie down, your bag is compressed on the back side therefore making a thin covering between you and the air. That cool air will flow right below you and chill you pretty quickly. A good thick sleeping pad will give you better luck than a low temp bag.

I hope this helps you out a bit and good luck to you my friend.

Over and Out,
Captain of The Chaos

01-29-2004, 22:26
Once - in a pinch, I had to stay the night with my hammock above treeline - it was very easy to improvise a way to use it as a bivy bag (I left my evazote mat between the hammock and the ground). I'm not very clever or handy when it comes to improvising gear - so if it is easy for me, it should be easy for backpacker.