How To Make Sure You Stay Dry In A Hammock

By adminpro | June 23rd, 2017 | Camping, Travel

A major turn off for many campers considering going fully hammock is the fact that weather is unpredictable and staying dry. Many people have nightmares of setting up a hammock and then watching in horror as all their hard work is ruined due to rain.

The good news is that this is not a common problem if you’re prepared. All you need is a rainfly. You can make one or you can buy one. There are different types and shapes for different situations so you have a variety of rainflies to choose from when making your choice.

Staying Dry In A Hammock Tarp

Traditional vs Specialized

Everest Active Gear rain tarp

If you enjoy the simple approach, then you could just buy an ordinary blue tarp from your local hardware store. The issue with this is that these tarps are heavy and will weigh down your pack. This is a bad idea for hikers.

Specialized rainflies are made from a material called silnylon or polyurethane treated nylon which is much more lightweight and waterproof. They are also cut into different shapes which are suitable for different preferences. They are basically the upgrade of blue tarp.

Some people prefer full coverage while others prefer less. There is no right answer since it is a matter of opinion, however versatility, height, weight etc. must be factored into your decision.

Most people prefer “winter” tarps, these tarps are perfect for all season camping and come with added doors or flaps. They provide full coverage and protect you from any sort of weather. These are usually just hexagonal tarps with added flaps or doors. Some manufacturers sell winter tarps with added doors for convenience.

People also generally prefer larger tarps since they afford you more privacy and add protection against the elements. However, larger tarps are heavier and require more hardware such as stakes, guy lines etc.

Square and rectangular shaped tarps with tie lines allow for better pitching options than other tarps.

Tarps

Everest Active Gear rain tarp

Some people prefer full coverage while others prefer less. There is no right answer since it is a matter of opinion, however versatility, height, weight etc. must be factored into your decision.

Most people prefer “winter” tarps, these tarps are perfect for all season camping and come with added doors or flaps. They provide full coverage and protect you from any sort of weather. These are usually just hexagonal tarps with added flaps or doors. Some manufacturers sell winter tarps with added doors for convenience.

People also generally prefer larger tarps since they afford you more privacy and add protection against the elements. However, larger tarps are heavier and require more hardware such as stakes, guy lines etc.

Square and rectangular shaped tarps with tie lines allow for better pitching options than other tarps.

What Size Tarp

hammock-tarp-size1

Despite whichever tarp you choose, the rule of thumb is that the tarp should extend 6-12 inches beyond each end of your hammock. An 8 by 10-foot tarp turned at about 39 degrees provides a ridge line of about 13 feet. This is ample space for most tarps and should suit all your needs.

Common Hammock Tarps

Common-Hammock-Tarps

A-sym

Asymmetric tarps need you to sleep in line with the tarp to receive maximum coverage.

Diamond

This is formed using a square tarp turned at an angle. Quick to pitch and super light, these tarps are great to carry around but provide the least amount of coverage.

Hex/Cat-cut

Catenary-cut edges keep the edges taut. These types of tarps usually have better ventilation but are generally the more expensive type of tarp. They are also very lightweight since they require less material to construct.

Rectangle

This tarp provides a large amount of coverage but no protection at the end. They are set up parallel to your hammock and use four anchor points. The tarp is draped lengthwise and the anchor points will be staked down to provide maximum coverage, however, ventilation will be limited.

Winter

Has flaps or doors and provides the most coverage

Considerations

Knowing the type of conditions that you’re heading into will also help you make the decision of what type of tarp to buy. Factors to consider are naturally, The season, weather conditions or if you’re hiking how quickly you need to set up your hammock.

Ridge Lines

Pitching-A-Hammock-Tarp

The thing with hammock camping is that you need to set the tarp up as soon as your hammock has been hung up, since bad weather can catch you anytime and when you’re prepared, your gear and sleeping place will be bone dry when you’re ready to turn in.

The most important part of setting up a tarp is knowing ridge lines. They mostly fall under two different categories: full length or end-only. End-only lines can reduce the weight due to the elimination of rope between tarp tie-outs.

Full-length ridge-lines can be tied under or over the tarp since they run the entire length of the hammock. It is easier to centre a tarp with a full-length ridge line since you can set the line and then adjust the tarp accordingly.

Guy Lines

vid-screen-dripline

Now that the ridge has been set, you can now set the guy lines. Some tarps only have two anchor points and are easy to set up, others have a few more and will take longer. Guy lines of about 6 feet are the ideal length and will be the most versatile and user friendly length.

Put the tarp low during bad weather conditions to provide the best protection. Pull the tarp wide open using sticks or trekking poles to open for ventilation or to enjoy the view. You could also guy down one side if you know in which direction the wind or rain is coming from for full protection or to turn it into porch mode.

Remember to also tie a drip line, water drips down from the lowest point. If you do not set up a drip line, then you will wake up soaking wet and all your hard work will have been undone due to this one simple mistake that many people seem to neglect.

Setup

B071P3F7HM ADFpck1-27D 2

Setup can be a little difficult. Remember your stakes or trekking poles and always ensure that you have enough gear to set up your tarp. Different types of tarps come with different ways to set it up. There will always be anchor points, a little logic and imagination will get you far.

If you’re still nervous, then it is worth keeping in mind that many tarps come with a guide to help you.

Conclusion

Tents are out and all the cool kids know that hammocks are in. There is an astounding amount of advantages to camping in a hammock that will leave you wondering how you ever survived in a tent in the first place. Don’t let the weather hinder you, take out a tarp!

Illustrations by Derek Hansen of theultimatehang.com

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