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ground sleeping in a hammock
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Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
ground sleeping in a hammock on 03/21/2007 11:08:58 MDT Print View

Has anybody used their hammock for ground sleeping? My main hammock is a Hennessy Ultralight Explorer, and there is some information on it used as a tent, but I'm also interested in hearing about ground experience with other hammocks as well. I suppose I could just set up the tarp by itself, but I'd be glad to get some tips on rigging it with the hammock as a bivy. A GossamerGear polycryo ground sheet (small: 1.3 oz) wouldn't be too much extra weight to carry to have ground-sleeping versatility, although I suppose I'd have to bring a pad too if I wanted to get any sleep.

Edited by Otter on 03/21/2007 11:16:27 MDT.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
It can work on 03/21/2007 11:45:31 MDT Print View

"Going to Ground" works, but isn't exactly ideal.

I own 2 HH's myself and the two drawbacks are:

1) It's not exactly easy to get in/out while on the ground
2) Carrying the pad & groundcloth adds weight/bulk

Can't do anything about #1, but #2 can be accomplished comfortably enough. Been thinking about the JRB pad conversion myself, as I own several of the Jacks' products and am quite pleased.

Weather & bug protection is as good as a tent, and it's nice to have the option to sleep (GASP!) on the ground if conditions dictate.

Peace - Todd

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: ground sleeping in a hammock on 03/21/2007 14:21:01 MDT Print View

Douglas, I hope you get some good feedback as I'm interested in this as well.

I slept on the ground between two perfectly spaced trees once. It was before I had my quilts. I was using a mummy bag, a Prolite 4 regular pad, and an Equinox bivy to keep the pad under me. To make matters worst the zipper on my bag and the bivy are on opposite sides. I'm sure you can imagine the difficulty of getting situated in a swinging hammock with this setup. I laugh now, but at the time I was driven to the ground in frustration. That setup worked great on the ground but was obviously too heavy. I tied one end of the hammock to a tree, about four feet up, and staked out the other three corners. For that trip, I was experimenting with a home made pack. The bivy was the body of the pack, so the weight of the bivy didn't count toward the weight of my sleep system, according to my accounting.

Ron, at MLD (Mountain Laurel Designs), had a hammock that looked like it might perform equally well on the ground as in the air. It looked like the shape of the hammock would naturally keep the pad under you while in the air. Ron's hammock is similar in shape to a Speer hammock. Maybe Ron will chime in or someone with experience with a Speer hammock can say if the pad stays put. I don't know if Ron had a chance to deliver any of his hammocks or if they will be made in the future.

I think using a pad, rather than an under quilt, is key to achieving the versatility of air and ground use without a lot of weight. In a Hennessy hammock, the pad needs to be secured in some way or it will be on top of you part way through the night. Maybe someone has an ingenious way to do this. The Hennessy Underpad seems inadequate for ground use. One problem with a pad in a hammock is that I feel it needs to be a little wider and longer than normal because it needs to wrap around you. I know Gossamer Gear sells wide pads for this purpose. I don't know if they are long enough? I'm 6'4".

Edited by ericnoble on 03/22/2007 10:55:34 MDT.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: ground sleeping in a hammock on 03/21/2007 14:31:32 MDT Print View

An MLD (Mountain Laurel Designs) hammock and poncho/tarp, JRB quilt, and a wide 1/4 or 3/8 inch Gossamer Gear pad, is the best I can think of at the moment, but the devil is in the details. The only thing I have experience with is the JRB No Sniveller. I hope to get a Gossamer Gear pad and an MDL Spectralite poncho/tarp soon.

Edited by ericnoble on 03/22/2007 10:57:14 MDT.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: ground sleeping in a hammock on 03/21/2007 14:32:06 MDT Print View


I only have 4 seasons on my Hennessy Hammock, but I have never had an unplanned night on the ground.

I still use a ground system for above timeberline and the desert.

Edited by food on 03/22/2007 07:43:03 MDT.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
Hammock on the ground on 03/22/2007 05:56:21 MDT Print View


The technique is easy... especially in the backyard.

The application, in the wild has potential pit falls....The largest, is the risk of ground punctures to the hammock body.... which can eventually lead to runination or a considerable repair.... this problem is exaccerbated in the lighter ( read thinner bottom) hammocks.

Have not been to ground in over 3.5 years with many subfreezing nights... best plan is to gear up and plan camps to stay in the trees.... or learn to use climbing nuts....

Failing that just use a ground cloth and pad under the tarp in the ground.


Cameron Reed
(cameronjreed) - F
MDL Hammock? on 03/22/2007 10:12:21 MDT Print View

Great advice. I just had one question. In your post you mentioned an MDL Hammock. Did you mean to say (type) MLD (Mount Laurel Designs) If not, what is an MDL hammock and where can I go to check one out??


Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: MDL Hammock? on 03/22/2007 10:25:03 MDT Print View

Thanks Cameron, I'm glad you caught that. I did mean to say MLD or Mountain Laurel Designs. I've fixed my previous posts.

Edited by ericnoble on 03/22/2007 10:54:45 MDT.

Jason Turner
(headchange4u) - F
Tom Claytor Hammocks on 03/23/2007 13:57:36 MDT Print View

From the pictures the Tom Claytor Juugle hammock has one of the best looking ground options I have seen:

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Re: Tom Claytor Hammocks on 03/23/2007 15:29:51 MDT Print View

Cool looking hammock. From the website, "The stuff sack for Jungle Hammock and Fly measures 13" high x 6" wide and weighs 1.6kg (3.5lbs)." 3.5lb is a lot for a stuff sack ;-)

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Tom Claytor Hammocks on 03/23/2007 15:54:43 MDT Print View

Yeah, I thought that was pretty funny too. I hope they meant that the whole thing weighs 3.5 lbs, but even then it's kind of heavy. An interesting hammock in need of a diet. I seem to recall Bill working on something similar.

Edit: Jason, thanks for the link! I hadn't seen that before.

Edited by ericnoble on 03/23/2007 16:45:39 MDT.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Tom Claytor Hammocks on 03/24/2007 08:09:21 MDT Print View

I really like the Claytor Jungle hammock for a top entry option, but I am waiting until Jacks'R'Better introduce their hammock at Trail Days to make the final decision.

The double bottom allows the use of ccf pads for insulation and that makes going to the ground more practical.

Gene .

Locale: New England
Re: ground sleeping in a hammock on 03/27/2007 09:46:25 MDT Print View is the website for Clark Jungle hammocks. Gary Clark is a 'below the radar' cottage guy who stands behind a superior product IME. I've used a Clark Jungle model for the past 8 years and it is pretty much bulletproof no matter where you hang it, or don't! I've ground pitched it many times; and the dual side zipper entries allow you to get in on either side. Sometimes if I'm too beat from the trek of the day, I just toss the hammock on the ground as a bug bivy and pitch the rainfly over it and hit the sack. No brainer, I'd use this hammock even if it weighed 5lbs! Once you use one you'll understand my loyalty to this piece of gear. NEVER had a bug get in or bite through the fabric, in travels to some of the buggiest places on Earth.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
Why set up a hammock on the ground? on 03/30/2007 19:51:00 MDT Print View

The only reason to sleep in the hammock on the ground would be for bug protection. The advantage of the Speer-type hammocks are that the netting is detachable and would be easier to hang alone under a tarp. Using a hammock gives you the advantage of having options for sleeping. As long as you have a pad, just set up the tarp and sleep on the ground. If you really need the hammock, too, for extra warmth, just wrap it around you. No need to set it up under a tarp while sleeping on the ground. Thanks to someone's design, my hommade Speer has another layer of fabric underneath, forming a pocket for the pad. A pad (either z-rest or thermarest) no longer slips around like it did in the Hennessy.

Michael Gabel
(mgabel) - F
Hyperlite Backpacker as a BED NET?? on 11/08/2008 16:14:35 MST Print View

--- This is not about "ground sleeping" but "bed sleeping"--

I'm about to buy a Hennessy Hyperlite Backpacker hammock.

I often travel to places where I can sleep in a hotel on a bed but I still need mosquito protection (as in South East Asia). So, I've been carrying the 1 pound Skeeter Defeater.


or start at

I'd like to start traveling with the HH Hyperlite Backpacker but I don't want to also have to take my Skeeter Defeater.

So, can the Hyperlite be used on a bed? Are there some lightweight "poles" that one can put inside (or outside?) so that one can sleep in it without having to use any ropes that attach to a wall or the ceiling (as you cannot always be sure you can do that)? I was thinking of the kind of semi-circular poles that support some bivouacs, like, for example, the BIG AGNES
Three Wire Bivy Sack

Thanks for any advice here.

Mark Hurd
(markhurd) - M

Locale: South Texas
Re: Hyperlite Backpacker as a BED NET?? on 11/08/2008 17:18:03 MST Print View


Th HH Hyperlite Backpacker would certainly work as a Bed Net, but after looking up the Skeeter Defeater net on the web, I don't think the hammock would give you the same kind of room. When used in the ground mode, which would be like using it on a bed, it is much more like a bivy sack. It is adequate, but not spacious. I am also not aware of any aftermarket poles that would work like the ones for your Skeeter Defeater, although since you have those poles you could probably figure a way to rig them. I think the Mosquito Hammock (Claytor) mentioned above may be a better if heavier alternative.

Mosquito Hammock LInk

I really love my HH Hyperlight Backpacker and have pretty much given up my tent for solo treks, but it makes a poor tent and I would assume poor bed net.


John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
HH to ground on 11/08/2008 19:28:43 MST Print View

I am interested in this also as I am planning a CT hike with my hammock. There are some extended areas above treeline and for some reason, hammocks seem to work best when trees are available.

For now, I plan to just tarp camp if I have to camp in an alpine area but if I run into a serious bug problem I would like to have a backup plan for the hammock as a bug bivy. For now it sounds like just too much hassle but if someone comes up with a reasonably workable plan I'm all ears.

I've tried numerous pads in the hammock, the only one that worked for me was a Big Agnes insulated air core with a BA bag. I can live with the hammock weight penalty, but the additional weight penalty with a pad is too great for the CT trek. Just taking the JRB quilts on this one.

Mark Hurd
(markhurd) - M

Locale: South Texas
Re: HH to ground on 11/08/2008 19:44:40 MST Print View


I think for camping purposes, if you don't mind sleeping in a bivy then the hammock on the ground would work ok on a limited basis like when the bugs where eating you alive along the CT. Michael, on the other hand, sounded like he was wanting it for tourist or business travel in places where you can get malaria and Dengue fever which I don't think the HH is really suited for.


Edited by markhurd on 11/09/2008 22:46:45 MST.

Michael Gabel
(mgabel) - F
Re: Hyperlite Backpacker as a BED NET?? on 11/09/2008 02:46:08 MST Print View

Mark, John,

Thanks for thinking about this. My need, at least, is a multi-need. For example, a few years ago I was in Borneo and I used the skeeter defeater in my hotel room, on my bed. But then I spent a few days in the jungle and sure would have liked a hammock. I did not spend the night in the jungle but spent many hours crouching on my haunches, just watching orangutans (for example) but spent much of that time swatting mosquitoes and watching out for bullet ants.

The skeeter defeater is indeed somewhat roomy, but I really only sleep in it. But, as it was very hot, I was thankful that none of the netting was touching me. Using the Hyperlite as a bivy without any internal or external supports would be too hot, I think,

I do indeed have those skeeter defeater poles and I was thinking of finding a way to use them. I don't yet own a Hyperlite (nor have I ever seen one in the flesh) so I could not work on that. I was hoping that others may already have solved this problem.

Mark, you say you own (and like - nice to hear that) the Hyperlite. How tall are you? I'm 6' 1" and its rated for 6'. The reviewer in BPL was 6'2" and he said it was fine. But I've read others who have said to get the HH Explorer ultralite, which is nearly a pound heavier.

Thanks again for the comments.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Hyperlite Backpacker as a BED NET?? on 11/09/2008 12:47:27 MST Print View

I don't know anything about hammocks due to motion sickness and lots of aline camping, but I wonder if JRB Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock could be set up in ground mode for entry from the top??

Edited by retropump on 11/09/2008 12:51:59 MST.