November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Shelter that doubles as hammock tarp?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Rishi Sugla

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Shelter that doubles as hammock tarp? on 03/05/2014 13:43:12 MST Print View

I was thinking about getting a shelter setup that allows me the versatility of using a hammock below the tree line and a shelter above it.

I was wondering if there are any shelters/tarps available that might fit this bill. I sleep like a baby in a hammock, but want to be able to camp above the treeline on occasion depending on the hike. My thoughts are that I could use the hammock as a groundsheet above the treeline, and get a bivy (for when its colder) or bug net (for those warm months).

Just an idea I'm toying around with now... I was thinking that an MLD Trailstar might be good for something like this... thoughts?

Edited by rksugla on 03/05/2014 13:44:18 MST.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Shelter that doubles as hammock tarp? on 03/05/2014 13:46:04 MST Print View

A golite poncho tarp works as a minimalist tarp over short hammocks. MLD's Pro poncho might work, and would be a longer ground shelter, too.

A Trailstar could work but hanging the peak effectively would be a big pain.

Hammocks work fine as a bivy if you use trekking poles for the ends.

Trace Richardson
(tracedef) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
tarp on 03/05/2014 14:47:30 MST Print View

Would a simple 8 x 10 or 8 x 11 tarp fit the bill or is that missing something you're looking for? Personally I would stay away from shaped tarps for hanging, plus you have a lot more options with a rectangular tarp or square tarp but not the simplicity of shaped tarp .... Also want to consider that many shaped tarps may not have enough length to cover your ridgeline .... I would want an 11 foot ridgeline for hanging if I have a standard 10 foot long hammock ....

Since all a traditional hex hammock tarp is is a normal rectangular tarp with angled corners ... with a rectangular tarp you would get more coverage when hanging and even have enough overhang on the ends to make small doors if needed or hang it asym.... Was in same spot as you and but went with a hex tarp, even for if I have to be above tree line ...

Edited by tracedef on 03/05/2014 20:07:33 MST.

Jacob Hammond

Locale: Central New York
square on 03/05/2014 15:41:34 MST Print View

Perhaps an 8.5 x 8.5 flat tarp. It could be pitched on the diagonal for the hammock. Zpacks has a nice one.

Steve Meier
(smeier) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
7 x 9 tarp on 03/05/2014 18:27:22 MST Print View

I have a 7x9 cuben fiber tarp that I use to both bivy as well as over my hammock with the long diagonal as my ridge line. Provides a nice asym set up for the hammock. If I had to do again I probably would go with a 10x8 tarp to provide a bit more coverage but works well for on the ground or in the air.

Rishi Sugla

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
First time tarp user on 03/05/2014 20:05:04 MST Print View

As someone who never has used a tarp shelter before for any type of real backpacking, is it something I could just pick up and try start out with? I've set up tarps for camping trips in a hammock but never anything out in the wilderness. I don't want to be over my head out in the bush...

Steve Meier
(smeier) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Practice, practice, practice on 03/06/2014 06:03:28 MST Print View

I would start with a silnylon tarp and go at least 8x10 and then just start practicing in your yard or at a local park, which is what I did. There are some great books and websites to learn from. Anything from Derek Hanson on hammocking is great stuff.

John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Hammock shelter/tarp on 03/06/2014 06:35:27 MST Print View

Yes, you certainly can find a tarp that works for hammocks and also a shelter when hanging is not an option. I'm with you, I much prefer a hammock but there are parts of some trails that require going to ground.

Check out the JacksRBetter tarps for a variety of sizes, materials and weights.

Also, Zpacks has a few different hammock tarp options.

John Almond
(FLRider) - F

Locale: The Southeast
Dedicated 4-Season Hammock Tarp on 03/06/2014 08:45:17 MST Print View

A "four-season" hammock tarp (that is, with one that has doors to close off the ends) will definitely provide you with an enclosed shelter on those rare occasions that you have to go to ground. The Superfly (by Warbonnet Outdoors), Bullfrog (by Wilderness Logics), Cuben Standard With Doors (by Hammock Gear), Hammock Tarp With Doors (by Zpacks), and JRB 11x10 Tarp (by Jacks'R'Better) are all good examples of this. There're more out there; it may be worth a little investigation (all of these are just off of the top of my head).

Coupled with a groundsheet (my poncho doubles for this, if ever needed), one of these tarps and your hammock used as a bug bivvy (if needed) will work just fine with your trekking poles as a shelter option. It won't be quite as easy to pitch as a purpose-designed tent, but that's what you get multi-using gear.

Hope it helps!

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Get hammock tarp that will work as a shelter on 03/06/2014 09:37:25 MST Print View

Agree with John. I have the Zpacks hammock tarp with doors and have used it as a very roomy ground-dwelling tarp on a number of occasions.

Probably obvious, but if ground dwelling, don't forget a pad and (if-needed) bug protection.

Edited by QiWiz on 03/06/2014 09:41:59 MST.

Rishi Sugla

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Get hammock tarp that will work as a shelter on 03/06/2014 10:14:29 MST Print View

Robert- Do you have the optional trekking pole attachments on the Z-packs hammock tarp? How do they hold up?