Figuring out how to hang a hammock isn’t always easy.
Hanging a hammock between two trees or two posts is easy enough – but what about when there’s only one tree or no trees at all. And what do you do when you want to hang a hammock indoors?
Today, I’m going to show you exactly how to hang a hammock outdoors or indoors, with one tree or two trees or no trees, with a hammock stand, or even from your ceiling.
How to Hang a Hammock Outdoors
Hammock camping is one of my favorite ways to enjoy the great outdoors.
But the success of your trip hinges on one thing: knowing how to set up your hammock.
Of course, bringing the proper hammock camping gear and supplies is also important, but even the best equipment doesn’t do much good if you don’t know how to set it up.
Luckily, it’s very easy to hang a hammock outdoors while camping, no matter your campsite.
Hang a Hammock Between Two Trees
The easiest way how to hang a hammock while camping is between two trees.
Select two sturdy trees. Depending on your hammock model (I typically use a ENO portable hammock), these two trees must be about 10 to 20 feet apart.
I usually shoot for right around 12 feet. With my camping hammock, this gives the hammock the perfect natural curve for sleeping and relaxing.
Next up is attaching the anchor points.
There are a few different ways to do this, but the easiest is with hammock straps or a hammock suspension system.
My suspension system of choice is the Atlas Suspension System. It makes it simple to hang a hammock between two trees.
Just wrap one strap around the first tree, looping the side with a lot of loops through the end with just one loop.
Adjust the strap to your desired height up the tree. Around 5 or 6 feet up the tree usually works best for me. Pull firmly to tighten it at your preferred height.
Repeat this step with the second strap on the second tree.
Now, hook one carabiner (these are built-in on the ENO hammock) to one of the many loops on one of the straps. It doesn’t really matter which one (you can adjust it later).
Unfurl the hammock and attach the second carabiner to any loop on the second strap.
Adjust the carabiners on the straps as needed to achieve a comfortable hang angle. You’ll quickly learn your preferred position, but somewhere around 30 degrees is typically most comfortable.
A hammock hang calculator, like this one from The Ultimate Hang, is helpful, but you’ll figure it out just fine by yourself after a couple of tries.
Of course, every model of a hammock is a little different. So, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help if you’re struggling to hang your hammock!
Hang a Hammock With One Tree
Hanging a hammock with only one tree is slightly more difficult, but it’s not really all that hard with just a little know-how.
Here are two ways how to hang a hammock with one tree.
Method 1: Stick or Pole
My preferred method is to use a large stick or similar object at one end of the hammock.
The stick must be at least 6 feet long. It will act as an anchor point for your hammock, so it needs to be sturdy enough to hold your weight.
The first step is to anchor the stick in the ground about 10 to 15 feet from the tree you will use.
I typically dig a small hole, maybe one foot deep, to add more stability to the stick. Sharpening the end of the stick helps you push it even deeper into the ground.
You want the stick to stand upright on its own, even though it will be wobbly.
Next, use rope or paracord to attach at least two anchor lines to the stick.
I typically use ground screws (I like Orange Screw) or tent stakes to secure these in the ground. Alternatively, you can tie the ends of the rope to a horizontal log or similar object.
The anchor lines need to be facing the opposite direction from where the hammock will be attached (the hammock actually acts as another anchor line).
The anchor lines should have an approximately 90-degree angle between them.
You can now attach the hammock between the stick and the tree using the steps we outlined above (in our two-tree hammock hanging method).
This hammock camping setup is undeniably wobbly, but I promise you that you won’t fall down at night (if you do it right!).
The Survival Tracker has an excellent video for you to better visualize how to hang a hammock with one tree.
Method 2: Long Rope
Another way to hang a hammock from one tree is with a long rope (at least 30 feet long).
No support object is needed on the other side. You’ll still need a ground screw to anchor the long rope.
Attach one end of the rope to the tree about 10 feet up its trunk (or around a branch at about the same height).
Now, attach the other end of the rope to the ground screw, about 20 feet away from the tree.
The ground screw acts as the second anchor point in place of a second tree (or stick/pole).
The rope is now secured at an angle from the tree to the ground. The best angle is right around 30 degrees. You don’t want to go over 60 degrees, otherwise, the tension might pull out the ground screw.
The rope needs to be pulled very tight between the tree and the ground screw anchor.
The best way to tighten the rope is with a butterfly knot. Tie a butterfly knot about 2 feet up from the end of the rope then pass the end of the rope through the ground screw.
Now, pass the end of the rope through the loop created by the butterfly knot. Pull as hard as you can to create as much tension on the rope as possible.
Finish it off with a half hitch knot around the rope to hold the tension. This setup (butterfly knot with half hitch) is commonly called a trucker’s hitch.
The next step is to attach one end of the hammock to the tree (using the steps outlined above).
Attach the other end to the long rope with a loop of rope. Tie a prusik knot to ensure that the hammock doesn’t slip along the rope.
Instructables provides a detailed walk-through (with lots of pictures) of this one-tree hammock system.
Hang a Hammock Without Trees
When you go hammock camping somewhere without trees, two things can happen:
You can either sleep on the ground…
…or you can set up your hammock without trees.
Sounds impossible, right? Well, it’s not. Here’s how to hang a hammock without trees.
Method 1: Get Creative
I’ll be honest – hanging a hammock without trees takes some creative thinking.
You can hang a hammock between two cars, between one car and a tree, with one tree and a rope, from the side of a cliff or large rock – really, the options are endless.
Others prefer to rig up a basic set up with two strong poles or sticks. Prop these solidly into the ground with support ropes and guy lines before you hang your hammock in between.
Sure, this setup is a little wiggly, but it’s stable enough for a night or two of good rest.
This video shows you how to hang a Hennessey hammock without trees – the method uses two hiking poles, although the same technique can easily be adapted for use with two sticks or similar objects.
Method 2: Hammock Stand
You just can’t beat a hammock stand when it comes to the best way to hang a hammock without trees.
Hammock stands, also known as hammock frames, are perfect for car camping as well as use in the backyard or even inside your home.
The downside is that they’re heavy. Even “portable” hammock stands, like the ENO Nomad Hammock Stand, weigh more than 15 pounds.
Their weight makes them a bad option to hang a hammock while backpacking.
Though each hammock stand model is slightly different, the basics pretty much always work the same.
After setting the hammock stand up (here’s a video guide about how to set up the Nomad Hammock Stand), you simply hang the hammock between the two attachment points.
Most hammock stands have built-in attachment points (usually steel carabiners). Simply clip the ends of your hammock to these and you’re good to go.
You typically don’t need straps or a suspension system to hang a hammock from a stand.
A quick word of advice – buy a hammock frame from a reputable brand.
Sure, there are a lot of budget models available on Amazon, but most of these have a reputation for breaking easily. And, trust me, you don’t want your hammock stand to break in the middle of the night!
In addition to the ENO Nomad, I like the ENO SoloPod Hammock Stand.
Both models are designed specifically for ENO hammocks but work well with most camping hammocks made by other brands.
Method 3: DIY Hammock Stand
Don’t want to dish out a couple hundred dollars for a top-notch hammock stand?
Then our DIY hammock stand is for you.
This hammock hang method utilizes two poles (I prefer 5×5-inch fence posts) set in a concrete base.
The fence posts should each be about 6 feet long.
Dig two 18-inch deep holes where you’d like the fence posts to go.
The fence posts should be roughly 10 to 20 feet apart depending on your hammock and your personal hang preferences.
Use ready-mix concrete, Quikrete is always a good bet, to solidly set the fence posts into the holes.
Follow the manufacturer instructions to mix the concrete and pour it into the two holes to hold the fence posts solid.
Once the concrete has cured, you can hang your hammock between the fence posts and enjoy your new life of leisure.
This is my personal backyard hammock setup.
There are dozens of other ways to build a DIY hammock stand Ã¢â‚¬â€œ just get creative.
For example, this video shows you how to build a DIY wooden hammock stand.
Where to Hang Your Hammock While Camping
Let’s say you’re going hammock camping…
…you don’t want to just hang a hammock from any old trees. You need to select trees that are sturdy and in a safe location.
Keep these tips in mind (and check out our other hammock camping tips) to safely hang your hammock while camping:
Take a good look up when you hang a hammock in the woods. Scan the branches above your hammock for any loose or dead limbs.
Large dead limbs hanging precariously from trees are known as widow makers – and rightfully so. They are very dangerous when they fall. Make sure that no such objects are above your hammock.
Also, check the branches you hang your hammock from while you’re at it. These must also be healthy and strong to provide the proper support.
Protected from the Weather
Hammock camping is awesome, but it can leave you more exposed than tent camping.
That’s why finding the perfect location is so important. I prefer a campsite with plenty of shelter from wind and rain.
In the warmer months, any spot with a few trees usually does the trick. In the winter, the right location is even more important.
When I go hammock camping in winter, I try to hang my hammock somewhere with a natural wind barrier, such as near a large boulder or rock face.
I also avoid any low basins as cold air typically pools here.
The great outdoors is awesome – so you need to treat it as such.
This means adhering to wilderness ethics, especially the leave no trace principle.
For hammock camping, this means ensuring that your campsite does as little damage to nearby plant and animal life as possible.
Take special care to hang your hammock from strong, healthy trees. Use hammock straps that are made from polyester/nylon webbing to further reduce the potential of damage.
Designated hammock tree straps are generally much better for trees than rope.
If possible, set up your hammock in a preexisting campsite. Chances are someone else has gone hammock camping there before.
How to Hang a Hammock Indoors
Hammock camping outdoors is awesome, but hammocks are just as fun to use indoors.
There are a couple of different ways to do this, including hanging a hammock from the ceiling or from the walls. Some methods require drilling and others don’t.
I’m going to show you all the best ways how to hang a hammock indoors.
Hang a Hammock From the Ceiling
I’ll start by telling you how to hang a hammock from the ceiling.
The easiest way to do this is by drilling two heavy-duty hooks into a ceiling beam or ceiling joists. You can then hang a hammock between these with carabiners and rope.
You must make sure the attachment points are properly spaced about 10 to 20 feet apart depending on your hammock.
Even more important is ensuring that you use strong hardware and attach it to the joists. A stud finder will help you locate the joists.
Failing to do either of these things (strong hardware and joists) can result in serious injury as well as expensive damage to your home if the anchor points collapse under your weight.
Though this method takes up the least amount of space, I’m personally not a fan of it because the hang angle typically isn’t as flat as I prefer.
Hunker has an excellent guide about how to hang a hammock from the ceiling.
Hang a Hammock From the Walls
Another option for how to hang a hammock indoors is to attach it to the walls.
Like the ceiling method, this utilizes heavy-duty hardware. You must also ensure this hardware is installed in wall studs.
Locate two studs (using your stud finder) between 10 and 20 feet apart.
I prefer to install the attachment points on perpendicular walls. This means the hammock hangs sideways between the two walls in the corner of the room.
You can also hang a hammock straight between two opposing walls, depending on the size of the room.
After locating the studs and installing the hardware, all you have to do now is hang your hammock with the help of carabiners or rope.
My personal suggestion for hanging hardware is the ENO Indoor Hammock Hanging Kit from REI. It’s under $15 and is rated to hold up to 400 pounds.
SFGate has a detailed guide on how to hang a hammock from walls.
Hang a Hammock From a Stand
A stand is undoubtedly the easiest way to hang a hammock indoors without drilling or damaging walls.
A number of different hammock stands and hammock frames are available. I prefer the ENO Nomad Hammock Stand or ENO SoloPod Hammock Stand, but these are far from the only options.
All it takes to utilize this hammock hanging method is to set up the stand (by following the manufacturer instructions) and attach the hammock with carabiners or rope.
How to Hang a Hammock Chair
Another great way to enjoy the benefits of hammocks is with a hammock chair.
A hammock chair is a lot like a hammock, except it gives you a place to sit rather than a place to lie down.
The best way to hang a hammock chair is typically from a built-in hook. Most models have some sort of frame or system of ropes that extends over the top of the chair.
For example, the Sorbus Hammock Chair features a sturdy rope hook that you can hang from a tree branch, a heavy-duty hook in a ceiling stud, or a sturdy hammock frame.
The Sorbus Hammock Chair Frame is a durable option for those that prefer a designated indoor hammock stand over a tree branch or ceiling setup.
Personally, my favorite way to hang a hammock chair is from a tree branch outside. I use a rope around an overhead tree branch with a strong hammock knot.
I then attach my hammock chair to this rope with a strong steel carabiner.
How to Hang a Hammock Shelter
Just as important as knowing how to hang a hammock while camping is knowing how to hang a hammock shelter.
This includes rainflies, bug nets, and tarps. These hammock camping accessories are pivotal to an enjoyable hammock camping trip.
Here’s exactly how to hang your hammock accessories:
Hang a Hammock Rainfly
Don’t let rain ruin your next hammock camping trip.
Invest in a hammock rainfly and learn how to use it to stay warm and dry while camping in the rain.
Know that every model works slightly differently. However, most utilize a ridgeline that runs through the middle of the rainfly.
You attach each end of this ridgeline to the trees your hammock is attached to. Most ridgelines have a built-in tie or attachment system. Or you can use a taught line hitch.
The key is to ensure that the rainfly is centered over your hammock to provide adequate rain protection.
The next step is to stake down each of the guy lines. Most hammock rainflies have four to eight of these, typically at least one at each corner.
The stakes keep the rainfly taught so that water rolls off it and wind doesn’t buffet it. They also keep the hammock up and off your body to create a more comfortable sleeping space.
The height of the rainfly compared to your hammock is a matter of personal preference as well as weather conditions.
Another adjustable factor is pitch (angle of the rainfly’s sides). Move the guy lines further in or out to create a steeper or more mellow pitch.
A higher pitch is better for decent weather while a lower pitch provides more coverage in heavy rain, snow, or wind.
The three main pitches when you hang a hammock rainfly are:
- Regular Pitch – The rainfly extends equally on each side of the hammock.
- Storm Pitch – The rainfly is as close as possible to the hammock with the sides extending well past the hammock.
- Fair-Weather Pitch – One side of the rainfly extends past the hammock while the other is attached at a horizontal angle for a better view.
Make sure to practice hanging your hammock rainfly before you set out on a camping trip.
Hennessy Hammock has a detailed guide that shows you how to set up a Hennessy rainfly.
ENO also has a step-by-step guide that shows you how to set up the ENO DryFly Rainfly.
This video from ENO gives an even closer look at how to hang the ENO ProFly Rain Tarp.
Hang a Hammock Bug Net
A hammock bug net provides an extra layer of protection between you and bugs.
Most are constructed from superfine mesh bug netting. This allows for plenty of ventilation while still warding off even the smallest insects.
The best way to hang a hammock bug net depends on the type.
My favorite type is a stand-alone bug net, like the ENO Guardian Bug Net. It’s separate from the hammock and is actually set up to enclose the entire hammock.
You set up a bug net much in the same way as a rainfly. They typically have a built-in ridgeline you can attach to your anchor points, or even to the hammock itself.
Simply attach each end of the ridgeline to the anchor points (with clips or a taught line hitch), zip the bug net around the hammock, and pull everything tight.
Some camping hammocks come with a built-in bug net, so you don’t have to worry about setting it up separately.
HighCarbonSteel Love has an excellent video that details how to set up the ENO Guardian Bug Net.
Hang a Hammock Tarp
The purpose of a hammock tarp is much the same as a hammock rainfly.
They keep you dry when it’s raining and provide shade when it’s sunny. Though I personally prefer a hammock-specific rainfly, there’s no denying a tarp is more versatile.
For starters, you can use a tarp for both hammock camping and tent camping, as well as just hanging out on the beach or the backyard.
You can also configure them in a few different ways when hammock camping to create the exact setup you desire.
The three main types of tarps to use with your hammock are rectangular tarps, hexagonal tarps, and diamond tarps.
The shape you choose is largely a matter of personal preference. They each offer shelter in a slightly different way.
Another option is a catenary tarp. These have a curved design to reduce weight. They’re a good option for backpacking with a hammock.
There are dozens of different ways to hang a hammock tarp. You can typically utilize the same three pitches (regular, storm, and fair-weather) as a hammock rainfly.
My favorite tarps for hammock camping are actually tarp shelters, such as the Kelty Noah’s Tarp Shelter. They come with a set of poles and guy lines, so you can pitch the tarp anywhere.
You simply set up these tarp shelters as a separate structure from your hammock. I tend to hang my hammock first and then set up the tarp shelter over it.
The setup process is much the same for a standard tarp. You’ll need to provide your own guy lines (usually one for each corner and one for each tree, so six in total) and stakes.
Simply hang your hammock tarp in a similar fashion to a hammock rainfly and you’re good to go.
Serac Hammocks has an awesome guide on how to hang a hammock tarp shelter.
How to Hang a Hammock Calculator
Honestly, the best way to learn how to hang a hammock is by messing around with your hammock at home or a local park.
You will learn how to set your hammock up as well as your preferred hang angle, hammock height, and the distance between trees.
Those that need a little extra help can use a hammock hang calculator, like this one from The Ultimate Hang.
Simply enter in the distance between the trees, the ridgeline length, preferred sit height, hammock weight, and hang angle into the hammock hang calculator to find your perfect setup specifications.
How to Tie a Hammock Knot
Do you want to go hammock camping without learning how to tie a hammock knot?
Then buy a set of hammock tree straps, like the ENO Atlas Straps. These make hanging a hammock super easy and knot-free.
But if you’re hammock camping using ropes for hanging, then you need to know how to tie a few basic knots for hammock camping.
1. Bowline Knot
The bowline knot is the best knot for hammock camping.
It’s easy to tie and extremely versatile. You can use it to hang a hammock by simply wrapping the rope once or twice around the tree and then tying the bowline knot.
The bowline knot helps you adjust the tension of the hammock. It’s also easy to untie to make taking down a hammock simple.
Here’s how to tie a bowline knot.
2. Alpine Butterfly Knot
The alpine butterfly knot, or butterfly knot, enables you to tie a fixed loop in the middle of a rope.
You can then pass the end of the rope through this knot to create a tension system. This is useful when you hang a hammock with one tree.
The alpine butterfly knot is also useful because it’s a component of several other hammock knots, including the trucker’s hitch.
Here’s how to tie an alpine butterfly knot.
3. Half Hitch Knot
The half hitch know is another extremely useful hammock camping knot.
It’s typically not safe to use by itself but is an important step in creating more elaborate knots and hitches.
The half hitch knot is also effective for securing guy lines, ridgelines, and stability ropes.
Here’s how to tie a half hitch knot.
4. Trucker’s Hitch Knot
The trucker’s hitch is basically a combination of the alpine butterfly knot and the half hitch knot.
It was traditionally used for securing heavy loads to trucks and trailers. It works just as well for hanging a hammock with one tree.
The trucker’s hitch is another tension knot. It enables you to adjust the tension of your hammock camping setup.
Here’s how to tie a trucker’s hitch knot.
5. Prusik Knot
The prusik knot is another knot with hammock camping benefits.
It’s most often used to hang a hammock from one tree. It’s basically a knot used to attach a small loop of rope around another length of rope.
The prusik knot is also beneficial for other outdoor uses, especially climbing and mountaineering.
Here’s how to tie a prusik knot.
What You Need to Hang a Hammock
Our Complete Hammock Camping Gear Setup Checklist explains all of the equipment you need for hammock camping.
Here’s a brief rundown of the gear you need specifically for hanging a hammock:
- Tree Straps – Hang your hammock to two trees without a rope.
- Rope – Hang your hammock to two objects without a suspension system. Can also be used for extra stability.
- Paracord – You can actually hang a hammock with paracord, though I typically use paracord for extra stability or for my hammock rainfly.
- Carabiners – These serve as solid attachment points between your hammock and suspension system or rope.
- Guy Lines – A length of thin rope or cord used to restrain the motion of your hammock or tarp shelter.
- Stakes – Firmly holds your guy lines, rope, or paracord into the ground to add tension to your hammock camping setup.
- Ground Screw – Another method of attaching your guy lines or rope firmly to the ground.
Rather not buy all these hammock hang accessories separately?
Then check out the ENO OneLink Hammock Shelter System. It’s the ultimate hammock hanging kit.
It comes with everything you need for the ultimate hammock camping experience, including a DoubleNest Hammock, ProFly Rain Tarp, Guardian Bug Net, Atlas Suspension System, steel carabiners, and set of tent stakes.
Now that you know the best ways how to hang a hammock indoors or outdoors, I’m curious about your preferred technique.
How do you hang a hammock while camping or at home?
And please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any hammock camping questions!