Hammock camping gives you freedom that regular camping doesn’t. You get to be in one with nature. But unfortunately, there won’t always be a spot to hang your hammock.
To hang hammocks without trees, you can create a hammock stand by building two tripods out of thick sticks you find around your campsite. You can also use your car, rocks, and more for hanging your hammock. Buying a portable stand is always an option, too.
There are plenty of options for hanging your hammock even if there are no trees around. I’ve done some research to tell you the best way to do all of them.
#1. Make A Stick Tripod
You’ll need to be crafty with this method; you’re going to make yourself a hammock frame.
Locate sticks 3–4 inches in diameter, and about 8 feet long. Create two tripods tall enough to hang the hammock off the ground and sturdy enough to hold you within it, and secure everything with a rope, doing a timber hitch then a tripod latch.
Lay a stick between the tripods with the ends resting on top of each pod. This is the stick you’ll suspend your hammock from.
See the diagram below:
Please test the setup out before you get into the hammock. Grab one end of the top stick and see if it will hold your body weight with your legs off the ground. If it can, then it can hold you in your hammock.
#2. Utilize Old or Spare Tent Poles
You can use old or spare tent poles to create a tripod as seen above, too. However, as tent poles are made of stronger materials than wood, you may not need a full tripod setup depending on how strong your poles are.
You can simply use a single tent pole on each side as long as you install a few heavy-duty J-hooks on each. This should be done at home, before your trip. Ensure you drill into your tent pole with a steel drill bit.
Once on your site, dig a hole and attach your tent pole to a sandbag or similar to ensure it’s anchored in the hole. Fill in the area around the hole.
Now you can test your setup. Place your luggage in the hammock to ensure it’s stable. If it seems to be, remove the luggage and sit in the hammock. If there are no problems, then your hammock is safe to use.
#3. Use Your Car
Your car’s roof rack or any other part of your car that won’t bend or take damage will do nicely for a hammock anchor.
If you have two vehicles with you on your trip, then you may even be able to hang up your hammock between them.
One of the easiest ways to anchor your hammock with your car is using the door. Here’s how:
- Grab a 1 by 2-inch piece of wood that’s about four inches long
- Bore a hole through it
- String a piece of 1-inch tubular webbing through the hole, securely knotted on one end
- Clip your hammock into the loop in the webbing with a carabiner
- Place the wood over the top of your car door and close the door
The rest of the webbing and the hammock will remain outside the door and will suspend nicely. You can see this method and several others in the video below.
#4. Locate Large Rocks
If you’re camping in the mountains or anywhere else there are large rock formations, then you can use these to your advantage.
Locate some rocks with a deep crack or groove that you can shove a peg into. You won’t want this crack to be too big, as it needs to hold your peg securely. However, don’t find a crack that you won’t be able to pull the peg out of, either.
You can use rocks to anchor one or both sides of your hammock, depending on your surroundings.
Of course, you want these formations to be solid. Don’t anchor your hammock by shoving the end of your hammock in between piles of rocks, as these aren’t stable enough to trust.
Test your hammock for stability before you get into it.
#5. Get a Stand
The easiest way to suspend your hammock when there are no trees around is by getting a stand for it.
There are lots of different types of portable stands, including ones made for backyard use and others that are made for portability.
Portable hammock stands aren’t always the lightest or easiest to transport, and they may take some assembly when you reach your campsite. This is why this is often only an option for car campers.
Check out these 9 best portable hammock stands, and look for one that’s lightweight but has a high weight limit. This will ensure it’s easy to transport and it’ll take your weight with room to spare.
A stand that’s easy to set up is also a must, and a carry bag will make it even better.
The Kammok Swiftlet Hammock Stand from the article linked above has all of these features, so it’s my suggestion if you’re looking for a stand you can trust.
#6. Look For Hammock Structures
Hammock camping is increasingly popular, so your campsite might have pre-existing hammock structures. Call your desired campgrounds to see if they have any hammock structures near or on any of the sites, and you may be able to string up your hammock in one and relax.
Hammock structures are usually permanent fixtures on the site, and they may resemble portable hammock stands or they might look like something sturdier and fixed to the ground.
Be sure to reserve the use of one of these, as they’re likely to be highly popular, especially if there aren’t any trees around your campsite.
#7. Check For Fencing, Posts, and Poles
Generally, any sturdy fixture will work to suspend your hammock. Fencing, posts, and poles around your campsite will all suffice.
However, you can’t just rig your hammock up and be done with it. The campsite managers might not like this, so always seek permission before you decide to use campsite fixtures to string up your hammock.
And always remember to leave your campsite exactly as you found it, so don’t do anything that would leave a mark. If you wouldn’t be able to hang your hammock without altering a fixture, then it’s best to avoid doing it entirely.
More Tips for Hammock Camping
Finding a suitable place to hang your hammock isn’t the only thing you have to do to make your camping trip more comfortable. You should always be prepared for whatever nature and circumstances throw at you.
Here are a few tips to make your hammocking trip as safe and comfortable as possible:
- Have a backup plan; bring a small single-person tent or a tarp to sleep in/under in case you can’t find a way to suspend your hammock
- Test your hammock; sit in it carefully for a few minutes before committing to laying in it
- Consider a tarp; placing a tarp over your hammock will help shield you from the elements—check out the best tarps for hammock camping
- Consider hammocks with mosquito netting
- Play with your setup for maximum warmth; consider a sleeping bag vs overquilt or sleeping pad vs underquilt
- Camp near a windbreak to stay warm and comfortable
You should check out the area you plan on camping in before you actually go, as it can be a nasty surprise when you show up somewhere and find that it’s devoid of trees, fences, poles, and other structures that will help you suspend your hammock.
Learning a little DIY craftiness is also a good idea before any camping trip, just in case you want to use the tripod method. Preparation is key when picking a campsite and going camping, so make sure you’re prepared days or even weeks in advance of your trip.