How to put up a hammock like a bushcraft pro

Bushcraft expert Jonny Crockett on the art of hanging a hammock

There is nothing better than a good night’s sleep, so when I’m in the woods overnight, I pack a hammock! A lot of people knock them, but that’s simply because they haven’t put them up right. Follow these simple steps for a restful slumber, even on a rainy British evening… 

1. Find a site

Step 1

Find a site for your hammock. Look for somewhere big enough to set up your tarp. You need trees that are far enough apart to stop the tarp from sagging, which will lead to leakage, but close enough to be stable. They should be fairly thick too – thin trees will lead to sagging issues when you get in the hammock.

2. Set up your tarp

Step 2

 After clearing the ground between your chosen trees, set up your tarp. Attach it to your selected trees, preferably with a quick release knot — see box-out, below.

3. Get the shape

Step 5

Next, put out the corners with pegs. If the weather is wet or windy than the sides should be steep for added protection. If weather is good, get the sides nice and high so that you get a breeze coming through (and a fine view of the woods…). Attach the middle lines – these help keep the tarp’s shape and prevent flapping.

4. Fine adjustments

Step 4

Time for fine adjustments: Your hammock will come with webbing straps, but these get waterlogged. Instead, cut all but a foot off each side and tie it in a simple overhand knot, and attach a climbing carabiner. Connect the carabiner to a 5m roof rack strap (medium strength). It’s much easier to adjust and eliminates the need for tricky knots.

5. Line it up

Step 5

 Line the hammock up below the middle of your tarp to prevent one end getting wet. The hammock should be just low enough to climb into, but high enough to stop it touching the ground. Attach it to the tree using the roof rack strap. Then attach your mosquito net, put in your sleeping mat, bag and pillow and climb into your bed for the night. Sleep tight!