The Ultimate Hang


Illustrated guide to hammock camping

Derek Hansen’s guide to hammock camping revolutionized — and possibly saved — camping for me. Hansen’s friendly prose and clear, entertaining illustrations unlocked all the secrets of hammock camping.

As I’ve gotten older, sleeping on the ground has gotten more and more uncomfortable, despite the ever-growing thickness of my sleeping pads, and getting down on my hands and knees to crawl into my tent has also lost its charm. I had just about given up on camping, despite my love of spending time in the outdoors when a friend who had similar problems but who now sleeps in a hammock when he camps recommended that I read Hansen’s book.

Hammock camping is a tinkerer’s dream — there are lots of bits to DIY and customize — but can be somewhat of a beginner’s nightmare. There are a dizzying array of different hammock types and accessories.

Hansen covers every aspect of camping with a hammock, from a brief history of hammocks to camping site selection to how hammock camping enhances your use of Leave No Trace techniques while in the woods. He breaks the book down into chapters about each of the major components of a hammock camping rig: the hammock itself, the suspension (what you use to attach the hammock to trees), and the tarp (your “roof” above your hammock that keeps the rain and snow off of you. The book is full of solid advice and numerous little tips that make a huge difference in your hang.

The book would be useful and entertaining with just the text, but Hansen’s illustrations are what make the book really entertaining and easy to understand. The illustrations throughout the book started as a series of posts on (one of the other resources he recommends in the book) and that eventually grew into the book. Hansen also has a great website at with more illustrations and advice on hammock camping.

-- Steven Jarvis 07/18/13



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