View Full Version : When you HAVE to go to ground

08-16-2005, 11:47
What do you do? how do you pitch your tarp? I have a hex tarp, and, though it has great coverage over a hung hammock, how am I gonna pitch it on the ground?

going to ground sucks. :)


08-16-2005, 12:32
I pitch mine like a tent and cover the opening with my parka.


08-16-2005, 12:42
Excelent topic. I went on a solo overnighter last week and put some thought into this very issue before I left. The best I could come up with:

Find a spot with thick soft loam. Remove any sticks. Pitch my 8 * 8 tarp low to the ground, probably in an a-frame configuration. Use the (presumably damaged) hammock as a ground cloth. Hunker down with the bag, and hope that loam offers sufficient insulation underneath me (anybody know?).

My plan B would be to skip the sleep and walk another 25 km. I don't think I would have fared too well at this. :)


Just Jeff
08-16-2005, 12:52
Mountain men have been making duff beds for years. Not too environmentally friendly cutting down all those pine boughs, but it'll keep you warm and comfy.

Finding squirrel midden at the bottom of a tree can make a difference, too...gets you up off the ground a bit, but not as good as a nice soft bough bed.

I haven't found a reason to go to ground yet...just plan ahead and make sure you have the right gear! I guess if my hammock broke I'd have to find a way.

08-16-2005, 13:34
For various set-ups browse at

If you hava a hexagon, won't a pole in the middle turn it into a pyramid?

08-16-2005, 14:04
pyramid: yeah- it's not "perfect" its longer than it is wide.

I saw a guy with a hennessy, he pitched three corners to the ground and pitched one corner up. I was thinking more of the "no trees" scenario rather than the "hammock broken" scenario.

thanks for the replies.


Just Jeff
08-16-2005, 14:10
Oh. Then you plan ahead and bring a pad and tarp instead of a hammock. :p

08-16-2005, 14:13
One of the reasons I carry a walking stick. I use the one pole pitch.

08-16-2005, 14:36
I'm cheap- I'd like to use the same tarp... so... :) I'm concerned about space for sleeping if there is a pole in the middle of the tarp.


08-16-2005, 15:05
There are any number of ways to pitch a tarp on the ground. Have a look at the pictures in the gear gallery.


If you have to go to ground, use whatever you have in your pack and whatever you can find in the woods to create a reasonably soft bed.

08-16-2005, 15:13
Thanks Sgt. Rock This is my personal fevorite way to set up my 8 x 10 tarp.


Tye one corner to the tree and needs only 3 stakes!

08-16-2005, 15:39
anyone with a hex tarp?


08-16-2005, 18:42
anyone with a hex tarp?

here is a couple of pics of my wifes henn.hammock with her hex silnylon
henn.hammock tarp.:cool: neo


Big Dawg
08-16-2005, 20:16
What do you do? how do you pitch your tarp? I have a hex tarp, and, though it has great coverage over a hung hammock, how am I gonna pitch it on the ground?

going to ground sucks. :)


Titanium Hiker,, a hammock is only on my wish list, but i've considered the options for the same question you have. Once I own my HH w/ hex fly, I know there will be times that I want to camp out on top of a bald, like Max Patch. In this case I'm going to use my hiking poles (or you could use 2 big sticks) at each end to tie onto (replacing the 2 trees) & stake down the other 4 corners in an A-frame pitch. The hammock would also be tied to each pole, lifting up the ends but buttom still on the ground, creating a bivy effect, & I would climb in through the bottom/end entry & setup sleeping bag, I would keep my HH 4-Season undercover/underpad in place on the hammock which would give me waterproof/insulation qualities. Who knows,, sounds like it would work. I'll be trying it out soon enough! :D

Just Jeff
08-16-2005, 21:53
If you're going to ground, you might want better insulation under you than the teeny HH open cell foam. Just a thought.

And the supershelter isn't really a 4 season solution. From what I hear (haven't used one myself) it's good to about 50F with the pad he sells. You can buy more pads to put in there, though.

08-16-2005, 22:14
Don't plan to sleep where there are no trees...no choice...carry two expanding climbing anchors and look for an appropriately sized canyon, with facing or angled walls.

Hex tarps pitch well, as low, modified A, one point high at 24-30 inches, the opposite point low at 12-18 inches, back two outer tabs out far and to the ground, front tabs in and to the ground... the opening is like the fith side of a pentagon with a triangle door above it...of course it would be nice to have a lift tab in the center to help with maximizing volume while retaining the lowest pitch...if your tarp does not have at least one of these tabs consider adding one....and we all know the secure footend goes to the windward.

Camp where the water is...even in the arid south west...finding water generally means finding trees.

I once hung a hammock diagonally between the last two posts on adjacent sides of a barbed wire fence corner...ie across an interior corner.

Plan well, improvise, or hike on to stay off the ground.


08-17-2005, 21:28
like the modified A, pan- I guess you could bury the backend if you were in a real guster... umm... what about ground protection? I'm thinking of a blue closed cell el cheapo foam, not large.. step mat for normal camps, (though I just use my shoes..) emergency extra insulation for coldness, and for hardfloor sleeping (shelter) and ground sleeping... roll it up for the top of the pack ala muppets rocky mountain holiday...

wow, my hex tarp is really different. I'll have to get some photos up soon.