Backpacking Gear for Hammock Camping – Which Items to Buy First?

A discussion on deciding which backpacking gear items to buy / upgrade first when first getting started with hammock camping.

A viewer, Chuck C., recently sent me the following question:

“I have been buying my gear spread out so the wife won’t kill me. Rank these in the order you would buy:

  • Cuben Fiber Tarp
  • Down Under Quilt
  • Down Top Quilt
  • Hammock
  • Backpack

In the video I try to answer this question as well as get some discussion going on the topic of hammock camping gear in general.  Which items would you upgrade or buy first?

Two Hammocks, One Bug Net – Double Dutch and Birds Nest Bugnet Systems

Checking out two bugnet options for double hammock camping – The Bird’s Nest (for use with any two hammocks), and the Double Dutch Bugnet (for use with the Chameleon Hammock), both made by Dutchware Gear.

Both of these bugnet systems are designed specifically for use with double hammock, spreader bar systems.  i.e. Putting two hammocks on a single pair of trees for use with the same tarp. While I showed the Beetle buckle suspension (stock suspension that came with my Chameleon Hammock) for use with the spreader bar, there are several suspension options that would work with this setup as well (links below.

Gear Seen and Links for More Info

Two other suspension options (not shown) that would work with the spreader bar

Tarp mentioned in the video for use with the double hammock setups

Investing in a Cuben Fiber Tarp – Thoughts & Considerations for Hammock Camping

A discussion on Cuben Fiber Tarps for Hammock Camping (specifically, the Hammock Gear Cuben Hex Tarp models, both with & without doors).

I recently received a message from a viewer asking for feedback / advice regarding the potential purchase of an ultralight cuben fiber tarp for hammock camping and backpacking, as well as the pros and cons related to some of the options available for these tarps.

Below are his two main questions, which Mike and I used as a jumping off point for our discussion on these tarps.  While our reference point throughout the video is HG Cuben Hex Tarp line of tarps (also know as Dyneema Tarps), this discussion is pretty much applicable to cuben tarps in general as well as cuben fiber’s properties as a backpacking gear material.

Lyle’s Questions & Talking Points

  • I’m considering purchasing the Hammock Gear Cuban Fiber Tarp, but given the price I thought I’d ask some people who own it a couple of questions.
  • 1) 11ft vs 12ft
    I have an 11ft hammock (Warbonnet – Blackbird XLX)… I’m leaning towards the 12ft length, only because I like the idea of greater coverage.
  • 2) Doors vs no-doors
    This is my biggest question … if I should order it with doors…or can get away without them?I’m primarily a 3 season camper…BUT, I would like to do more winter camping. When would you have preferred a “door” version of this tarp vs. a “non-door” version?
  • I’ve seen you use this tarp in several of your videos.  Is there anything you’d do/choose differently if you were purchasing this tarp again?

Other Topics Discussed

  • Cuben Fiber Cost
  • The advantage of cuben fiber’s lower volume in addition to the more obvious weight savings.
  • Cuben fiber strength & durability considerations for hammock camping.
  • Tarp ridgeline length and finding the right trees.
  • Tarp ridgeline length vs doors for rain and snow camping situations.

Tarps Seen in the Video (all weights are tarp only, no lines etc)

Hammocks Seen in the Video

Day Hiking w/ the Amok Segl Hammock & General Discussion on Hammock Camping, Set-up, Tips, etc

Day Hiking and trying out the Amok Segl hammock, as well as some general talk about Hammock Setup and Camping vs Lounging on the trail.

Topics Discussed on this Episode

  • A detailed look at the features and setup of my new Amok Segl Hammock.
  • Proper hang angle for hanging a hammock (ideally, 30°) and why you should avoid hanging your hammock suspension too tight / flat.
  • Proper strap position when using carabiners or Dutch Clips.
  • Nylon vs Polyester tree straps
  • Hammock length and how it relates to diagonal lay.
  • What I look for in a camping hammock compared to an on-the-go lounging / sitting hammock.
  • Hammock strap length and why you may or may not pack longer or shorter straps.
  • Fabric differences for hammocks (stretch, texture, water resistance)

Specs and Features of the Amok Segl Hammock, as per the Manufacturer

  • Plug and play suspension system included.
  • Ultralight weight: 15 oz (total)
  • Weight Breakdown – Hammock (7 oz), Suspension straps (5 oz), Carabiners and buckles (3 oz)
  • 20D Robic Nylon (30% stronger than regular nylon)
  • Capacity: 330 lbs

Other gear seen in the video: ULA Ohm 2.0 Pack, Dutchware Half-Wit Hammock, Amok Draumr 3.0 Hammock.

Hiking Big South Fork Pt 1 – Tennessee Hammock Camping & Backpacking Trip

Join me for 3 days of hiking & hammock camping on a backpacking trip in Tennessee’s Big South Fork Nat’l Rec Area.

For this backpacking adventure, I’ll be breaking the hiking trip into two parts. Part 1 is mostly in the woods and at camp and is more of a hanging in the woods, conversational type video. In Part 2 we will traverse into the higher regions of Big South Fork, hitting the ridges for views of the Cumberland Plateau’s sandstone bluffs and Big South Fork River.

GPS Data for this trip will be released with Part 2.

Trailhead and Parking Location

Bandy Creek Visitor Center, 151 Stable Rd, Oneida, TN 37841
N36° 29.275′ W84° 41.837′

Topics discussed and things that happen in this episode

  • Feeling like a lost idiot on the trail.
  • Camp setup priorities when arriving at camp.
  • Setup / breaking camp in the rain.
  • Continuous Ridgeline usage and setup for quick and easy tarp deployment.
  • Low carb backpacking food options for carb conscious or ketogenic diets.
  • Starting a campfire in the rain.
  • Campfire cooking some meat on a stick.

Trails Used Day 1

  • Parked at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center
  • Started on the Oscar Blevins Farm Loop Trail (located in the corner of the parking lot on the opposite side of the road from the visitor’s center)
  • At the Intersection, turn right onto the Collier Ridge Bike Loop. This is where I mistakenly continued straight, which would have taken in a circle. Luckily, I realized earlier enough to turn around and head back to the intersection.
  • Turn left (north) on the gravel road. From looking at the map, I could have avoided the short road hike by hopping on the access Jack Ridge trail, which appears to be found either right near where I popped out on the road, or a little ways down that road to the right.  Continuing on the road seems to have saved me a decent amount of hiking though, which made up for my wrong turn earlier,
  • Turn right (east) onto the next, smaller gravel road.
  • Arrived at the sign for Jack Ridge Loop Trail and headed left onto
  • Black House Branch Trail
  • Right on Laurel Fork Creek Trail
  • Setup camp by the waterfall pool along the Laurel Fork Creek Trail.

Big South Fork Day 1 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 1 Total Mileage: 7.25 miles
Day 1 Gross Elevation Gain: 860 feet
Day 1 Gross Elevation Loss: 1,256 feet

The gear list used for this trip along with discussion on each item can be found in my accompanying 2017 Ultralight Backpacking Gear List Blog Post and Video.

Hammock Camping with my Dog – Seneca Creek Hiking & Backpacking Trip

Join my dog Denali and I for some Hiking, Backpacking, and Hammock Camping in the Seneca Creek Backcountry.

For this hiking adventure, my pup and I will be visiting the Spruce Knob-Seneca Creek National Recreation area, within West Virginia’s greater Monongahela National Forest. Our route will be a “lollipop”style hike – meaning we’ll use an “out and back” section of trail from the Spruce Knob trailhead parking area to connect with a series of other trails that form a loop. After completing the loop portion of the hike, we’ll backtrack out using the same section of trail from day one.

The Spruce Knob-Seneca Creek Backcountry offers around 60 miles of trails (marked with blue blazes) with an elevation range of 3,000 to 4,800 feet above sea level. The beginning of this particular loop is actually the highest point in all of West Virginia – Spruce Knob – standing at and elevation of 4,861 feet. Below is a list of trails for each day, along with stats for elevation gain and mileage.

Trailhead Parking: Spruce Knob Parking area (right by the observation tower).

Parking Notes:  No parking fees or overnight permits are required.  There are restrooms and bear-proof trash bins available for use.

GPS Track Data for this trip can be found on my Trip Data Page.

Trails used, Day 1

  • Huckleberry Trail
  • Hornton Trail (just for a short bit)
  • Judy Springs Trail
  • Seneca Creek Trail
  • Hammock Camp along Seneca Creek.

Day 1 – Seneca Creek Loop elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 1 Mileage: 6.5 miles
Day 1 Gross Elevation Gain:  221 feet (pretty much down hill all day)

Trails used, Day 2

  • Seneca Creek Trail
  • High Meadows Trail
  • Lumberjack Trail
  • Join back up with Huckleberry Trail
  • Arrive back at Spruce Knob Parking Lot

Day 2 – Seneca Creek Loop elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 2 Mileage: 10 miles
Day 2 Gross Elevation Gain:  2,173 feet (pretty much up hill all day)

Notable Gear Seen in the Video

Denali’s Hammock – 2T’s Hammock Chair from Dutchware
Denali’s Dog Backpack – “One Tigris Cotton Canvas Dog Pack”
Denali’s Collapsible Dog Dish – Doggone Dish
Dutchware Chameleon Hammock
Hammock Gear Burrow 40 Top Quilt

Hammock Gear Phoenix 30 Underquilt
Hammock Gear Cuben Hex Tarp
Katadyn BeFree Water Filter
Toaks 750ml Titanium Pot
Vargo Windscreen
Esbit Solid Fuel Cubes
ULA Ohm 2.0 Backpack

Aerial Photography – DJI Mavic Pro
Primary Camera – Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera