Thanks for the post Andrew. I always use a hammock where I hike. Unfortunately poachers are an ever-present threat, even in the most remote parts of the country. The chance of having kit purloined is always a possibility. I usually pitch the tarp close to the ground to make some sort of enclosure under the hammock for kit, or alternatively buckle my pack tightly around one of the trees .
A water break—or drip line—is a piece of line added to all lines running under the hammock tarp to provide a path for water to the ground. They are not included on some hammocks, and instructions lack detail on the need for them. Sometimes suspension hardware, like a Dutch Biner,  provides some water break, but always add a drip line for the cheap insurance it provides.  Videos that further investigate the how and why of drip lines are linked below.  This <$1 item protects sleeping gear from getting wet. A cotton shoelace works great, but other options are below. I wrapped a small piece of line around the suspension line and tied a taut line hitch.  This seemed to stay tight on the line better than other methods.
I guess it depends on where and how you use paracord. Some folks have tried to use a single line of paracord for hammock suspension as a way to reduce weight, but the cord often fails. The 550 lbs load limit does not afford much latitude for dynamic strain or if the hammock is pitched too tight. The forces on each side of a hammock can exceed the load weight due to sheer forces. These forces can exceed 550 lbs pretty easily. Check out my hammock calculator to play with the numbers.
Hammock camping is a burgeoning trend in the outdoor industry. Instead of finagling around with a tent and its footprint, rain fly, poles and stakes, many people simply string a hammock up and enjoy a night between trees. However, when winter approaches and the temperature dips under 45 degrees, suddenly the tent replaces the hammock for overnighters. That once-refreshing breeze is now a face-chapping enemy and your once-toasty buns are now cold and numb.
With a hammock, you also have more freedom to sleep where you please. If a campsite doesn’t have a proper patch of clear, flat land for your tent, no worries. You just have to find two well-spaced trees (which isn’t difficult in an Alabama forest). In your hammock, you can nod off while gazing at a starry sky, while folks in their tents are stuck staring at nylon walls.
A backpacker doesn’t need an excuse to go backpacking. But this trip felt more urgent than others. I had been working at a crowded biological research station in the Appalachians of North Carolina, eating, sleeping, and snoring with a dozen others in close quarters. Spilling 12 servings of boiling spaghetti in my lap was the last straw. I needed to excuse myself from communal living for a while.
Upgrade your fly. Your best bet for weather protection is a silnylon hammock-specific fly (not a tent fly). A tarp will suffice if it’s long and wide enough. To rig a tarp, hang a taut “ridgeline” rope between your two trees. Tie the ridgeline below the suspension straps so your tarp stays close even when your bodyweight sags the hammock. Stake it for security. If it gets stuffy, activate porch mode: Prop up one edge of the tarp with a pair of trekking poles.
On the downside, the sling itself is narrow, making it one of the least comfortable models we tested. The material is also very thin, giving us concerns about how durable it will be. Also, with so many pieces to put take on your adventure or leave at home, be sure you're grabbing the parts you need, and don't forget anything important! Altogether though, this system's lightweight versatility makes it a solid choice for backcountry adventures.
I know it’s super comfy to jump in your hammock. And after a long day of trekking you probably want to pass out the second you lay down. But take a second and make sure everything is set up to your liking. Adjust your sleeping pad or quilt. Get your perfect angle. Make sure the hammock is level. The last thing you want to do is wake up in the middle of the night uncomfortable. Then you’ll have to make adjustments in the dark while you’re tired and groggy. So make sure everything is just to your liking before you call it a day. And don’t forget to keep your headlamp in the stuff sack – just in case you need to get up while it’s still dark out.
So long as you can find two trees that are 12-15 feet apart, you can setup a hammock without regard to the surface below it, even on rocky tree root riddled ground. That means that with a hammock you often get the option of camping at prettier, more protected, or less buggy campsites. Furthermore, you can avoid the obvious flat campable areas that in many parks have developed into crowded, heavily impacted and not particularly attractive places to spend the night.
When most people think of hammocks, they immediately picture a Pawley’s Island rope hammock. Or maybe they imagine of a heavy canvas hammock set up in the backyard. The hammocks are widespread but so different than the traditional Latin American hammocks. This popular hammock is actually quite uncomfortable for sleeping longer than a minute in. Besides the uncomfortable fabric, rope hammocks have a incorrectly implemented spreader bar.
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