How to pitch a Camping Hammock Tarp

How to pitch a Camping Hammock Tarp with a full length ridgeline, or from tie outs.

Updated May, 2015:

Below are two great illustration by Derek Hanson of and They are must-read material for any hiker, backpacker, scout, etc. that plans to do any hammock camping. In hammock camping, the Tarp is your shelter and weather protection that blocks wind and rain, provides shade, and even gives you a bit of privacy. You’ll notice that the drawings are very similar. I’m posting both because there are a thing or two that are not represented on both, and want to be sure that all available info is available and easy to find.

If you are looking to purchase hammock stuff we recommend respected merchants like

Hammock projects you might like:

Originally posted in April, 2010 A key point in these drawings is that the tarp ridgeline is split in a “V” so that the hammock ridgeline does not interfere with the tarp ridgeline. This is a problem that I have had quite often, and is quite annoying. So, I am eager to try the “V” method and see how it works.  It will mean carrying a few feet more of tarp line, but I’m currently using a very light, yet strong Amsteel Blue 7/64 line for my ridgeline, so the additional weight will be minimal. I also have an old parachute that a friend gave me as a source of material for hammock DIY / MYOG projects. The suspension line is even lighter and smaller than the 7/64 Amsteel. I’ll liberate (cut) some of the parachute line soon and test it as a hammock tarp ridgeline. [update 17Oct12: the parachute suspension line works great as a tarp ridgeline] Many folks have used paracord (550 line) with success, although it can be pretty stretchy. Others like Lash-It, Zing-it, or various Dyneema line products.

Also of note is that the illustrations show both a full length tarp ridgeline or just tying out the tarp from the ends. I have been very pleased with using a full length ridgeline, as it keeps the middle of the tarp… the part right over my head as I get in and out of the hammock, from sagging much. However, I opted for a no ridgeline configurations on the Ogee tarp that I made and have been happy with it. [Click illustration to see full size]

How to pitch a camping hammock tarp

How to pitch a camping hammock tarp

The “Cannibal” version of the illustration shows what I suspect is the member “Cannibal” going about his hammocking duties. 🙂 The non-Cannibal version of the illustration highlights the adjustable prusik method that I really like. [Click illustration to see full size]

How to set up a camping hammock Tarp: illustration

How to set up a camping hammock Tarp: illustration

Illustration by Derek Hanson at

Originally posted 2011-01-18 09:45:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits. A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management. Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.