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Hammock Camping in the Rain: How to Stay Warm and Dry

Some people think of hammock camping as a summer-only activity – I’m here to tell you otherwise.

With the right gear, it’s totally possible to camp in a hammock in the spring, fall, or even winter while staying totally warm and dry in the process.

We’ve already broken down exactly how to go hammock camping in the winter snow – so today we’re going to focus on hammock camping in the rain.

Here’s what you need to know to stay warm and dry while camping in a hammock in the rain.

Why I Like Hammock Camping in Rain

Hammock Shelter

I’m a huge fan of camping in the rain.

Much of that undoubtedly stems from living in Northwest Washington – if I want to go camping at all, I need to brave the rain roughly 9 months out of the year.

I’m also a huge fan of hammock camping and sleeping in a hammock, especially on solo trips.

Originally, I’d only break out the hammock when the forecast predicted decent weather. But, over the years, I’ve slowly transitioned to using my camping hammock in rain, cold weather, and even snow.

In fact, I now prefer my hammock versus my tent, even when the forecast calls for lots of rain. Here are a few reasons why.

Use Your Hammock Tarp as a Hangout Shelter

My top reason for camping in a hammock in the rain, rather than a tent, is that it’s more versatile.

What I mean is this: your hammock rainfly isn’t connected to the hammock like a tent rainfly is connected to your tent. 

It actually sits above the hammock on a ridgeline with guylines that connect it to the ground. This creates more usable space underneath the tarp. There’s plenty of space for sitting, cooking, and otherwise hanging out at camp.

With a tent, you not only have to pack the tent rainfly, but you also have to pack an additional tarp or canopy if you want to have a dry space to hang out outside of your tent. 

Personally, I prefer to kill two birds with one stone with my hammock and hammock rainfly since I’m something of a minimalist while camping and also regularly go hammock backpacking (if you only car camp, packing an extra tarp or canopy probably isn’t as big of a deal).

It’s also nice that you can cook underneath your hammock tarp shelter – which you can’t exactly safely do inside of your tent.

The hammock can also double as a chair if you’re a truly minimal camper.

Stay Dryer In a Hammock

Now, let’s talk about the benefits of sleeping in a hammock while camping in the rain.

First and foremost, your hammock is suspended up off the ground – this keeps you out of puddles and wet mud.

It’s also easy to take off wet clothing or put on rain gear underneath your hammock tarp before entering the hammock and your sleeping bag. 

You can even take off your boots and leave them under the tarp without tracking mud into the hammock at night.

Finally, the fact that the rainfly isn’t attached to the hammock means that you can change its positioning based on the demands of the weather.

You can easily change the angle of the rainfly depending on which way the rain is falling or the wind is blowing.

How to Stay Dry Hammock Camping in Rain

Hanging a Hammock in the Trees

The right gear is essential when hammock camping in the rain.

Not only do you need a quality hammock (here are the best camping hammocks available now), you also need the right accessories. 

A tarp or rainfly is chief among the most important hammock accessories for rainy weather camping.

Most camping-specific hammocks either come with a dedicated rainfly or one can be sold separately.

For those that don’t, almost any hammock rainfly will do the job on any hammock as long as its large enough to offer adequate protection. 

I personally like an extra-large rainfly for hammocking. This allows me to rig it up in a variety of different fashions to better block wind, rain, and snow. You can even create a full-coverage shelter of sorts with the right rainfly.

For camping in the rain, I typically bring a diamond-shaped tarp that extends several feet past each of the ends of my hammock.

For more serious conditions, like snow, however, full-coverage four-season tarps are available that even have storm doors for the utmost protection.

When it boils down to it, the most important component of hammock camping in the rain is a quality rainfly.

How to Stay Warm Hammock Camping in Rain

hammock camping in the rain

Staying dry is actually the most important part of staying warm while camping.

It’s far more difficult to warm up when wet – or even moist – than when you’re dry, leading to a much greater risk of hypothermia

In addition to a rainfly and a quality hammock, the right cold weather clothing will also help keep you warm around camp.

In particular, make sure to layer your clothing, so that it’s easy to remove a layer when you’re too warm or to add a layer when you’re too cold.

A warm sleeping bag is also a must. Make sure that yours is rated at least 10 to 15 degrees (Fahrenheit) below the coldest temperature you expect to encounter.

Or guide to the best winter sleeping bags will help point you in the right direction.

A hammock underquilt is another useful accessory for camping in the rain and the cold. It simply attaches to the underside of your hammock to promote insulation and therefore keep you warmer.

Finally, a portable heater (like, my favorite, the Mr. Heater Little Buddy) is a great addition if you’re hammock camping in seriously cold weather, although it’s a bit too heavy if you’re not camped near your vehicle.

Gear You Need for Rainy Hammock Camping

camping in the hennessy hammock

Obviously, rain can occur all year round, although it’s typically most common in spring and fall (as well as winter).

When hammocking when rain is likely, it’s essential to pack the right gear, including your hammock, hammock straps, a large rainfly, and an underquilt.

Additional gear includes your sleeping bag, warm clothing, and camp cook wear. If you expect very cold weather, add a portable heater to the mix as well. 

In short, start with our simply camping checklist or our backpacking checklist and swap out the tent for your hammock and accessories to help you get started packing.

Learn more about our favorite hammock camping gear and accessories.

Other Rainy Hammock Camping Tips 

hammock camping

Here are 5 additional tips that will help you stay dry while hammock camping in the rain:

  • Large Tarp – The larger your tarp, the better. A larger, asymmetrical tarp provides the most coverage from rain and wind.
  • Covered Site – Look for a campsite with a lot of tree cover (avoid widow makers). This lets the trees do some of the work at shielding water from your hammock setup.
  • Twist Straps – Twist the ends of your hammock straps around the strap after hanging to prevent water for traveling down the strap into your hammock.
  • Drip Lines – Use guylines, paracord, or cotton shoelaces as a drip line to run from your hammock to the ground (keep away from your tent) to direct dripping water away from your sleep setup.
  • Hang Higher – Hang your hammock a little higher off the ground than normal to prevent rain from splashing water and mud up onto your hammock at night.

Here are 21 additional hammock camping tips, tricks, and hacks plus an in-depth guide on how to hang a hammock for camping.

Final Thoughts on Hammock Camping in the Rain

Hammock camping in the rain is a heck of a lot of fun if you’re properly prepared.

A quality camping hammock (the Hennessy Hammock Explorer Deluxe is my current go-to), the right hammock camping accessories, and a little know-how are all it takes to stay warm and dry hammock camping on a rainy day.

If you’re a hammock camping beginner, make sure to reference back to our ultimate hammock camping beginner’s guide.

And, don’t forget to read up on all our top tips for camping in the rain for even more expert info, such as how to start a campfire in the rain and how to stay warm if you do get wet, among much else.

Still have questions? Let us know in the comments below! We’re more than happy to provide additional advice.