Storm Set Up
Most hammocks are like a tarp in one way: they can be set up in more than one
way. For light rains and warm weather, setting the fly up high with lots of
ventilation is only logical. But if the weather ever turns nasty you will need
to "batten down the hatches" so to speak. Even though a good hammock gives good
foul weather coverage, you will need to take precautions or end up wet.
1. Select the proper site. The best location is on the back side of a
hill, preferably in a draw with some vegetation in the direction of the wind to
help wind block, get the wind to hit at an angle to the side, with the foot
downwind. Get the wide spot by your head into the wind. Hard compacted ground
can cause a lot of splash and pooling of water, so look for a site over forest
2. Choose the right trees. Don't get the biggest, oldest trees around. Try to
find some smaller trees that do not have heavy old or dead branches over you.
Lightning is a remote possibility even though you are attached to trees, you are
not the shortest route to ground and are in an object that will offer resistance
to electricity even if the tree were struck. The main threat is from falling
braches in high winds. Another slightly more remote danger is falling trees when
they become water logged and the ground supporting them gets soft in the rain.
3. Tie the hammock so that there is 9"-12" between the bottom of the hammock
and the ground and the support ropes are as tight as possible. Make sure you
don't go too tight, but you don't want to get blown around. Check the hammock
for stretch. For the Hennessy, fold the hammock over to make a seat (see
Tips) and sit in it to check for
stretch, then tighten again.
4. Put the fly as loose between the support ropes as possible. Then pull the
side guys down as far as possible until you cant get them down any further. The
fly should be pulling the centerline down in the middle with a good deal of
tension. Stake the hammock and the fly with the separate stakes on the head
side, ensuring they are both centered up on each other. On the foot side, put
the hammock and the fly on separate stakes so you can use the fly as a vestibule
(see Tips) during the storm if
you need to. Another thing you should do with the two
stake method is ensure you leave some air space between the hammock fly and the
net, if they are right on top of each other it will cause some condensation
problems in humid conditions. The moisture from your breathe will condense on
the cooler tarp and then form drop into your sleeping area if the net and fly
touch in any place other than the ridgeline, otherwise the condensation will
simply run down the sides to the ground. Then after that is all done,
pull tension into the ends that are along the support rope. Once your done,
there will probably still be some fly folded over on itself on the center
support line, but everything will be under tension.
5. If possible, put something over the top of the stakes, under heavy saturation
they may try to pull out.
I am often asked how to get into the hammock, and the
Hennessy Hammock web site does discuss it. My technique is slightly
|1. Start by laying in your pad at an angle inside your
||2. Then lay your bag or blanket on top centered where you
||3. Stick your head in and turn to face towards the floor
|4. Sit down on the hammock and pad like a chair.
||5. Bring your feet in and lie on the pad. Use a clothing bag
as a pillow.
||6. Cover up or zip up your bag.
|7. If your a side sleeper, you can do that, just turn on
your side. I sleep this way the most. Very comfortable!
||8. Can you sleep on your stomach? Yes. I don't like to, and
it isn't as comfortable as on your back or side. But it can be done.
||9. My camp with a food bag hung (not shown) and all my gear
inside. Ultralight hiking makes it possible! Check out