How to Set Up a Hammock

At first glance, a hammock seems like one of the more simple pieces of outdoor gear. No digital or electrical components, no hefty instructions booklet, no complex hooks or straps. The concept is simple enough: tie each end of a hammock to a tree, then take a nap.

But don’t be fooled. I can tell you from personal experience that’s it’s easy to get it wrong and end up on the ground (which may or may not be covered in rocks). Beyond that, there are plenty of outdoor situations where trees aren’t available or tying hammocks around them is against the rules.

First things first: Buy a hammock. The more popular ones on the market today are somewhat similar but it’s still worth doing research. To find the right one for you, check out our recommendations here.

Once you have a hammock, here are the most common ways to set it up.

How to Set Up a Hammock Between Two Trees

  1. Make sure that it’s ok to hang hammocks from trees where you plan to set up. (Some state and city parks have passed ordinances against hammocks in order to protect the trees. That said, if you hang a hammock correctly with the right equipment, it shouldn’t harm the tree.)
  2. Find two trees that are about between 10-15 feet apart. For your own safety, make sure the trees are still alive and that there aren’t any dead branches that could fall on you.
  3. Start with your “tree straps.” These are two 1-inch wide straps made of polyester webbing that should be about 2-3 yards long and have a loop on each end. If your hammock didn’t come with these straps, you can purchase them (like these ) or even make your own. Loop one tree strap around a tree trunk at eye-level and pull tight.
  4. Make a marlinspike hitch near the end of your tree strap (see the video below) and clip in the carabiner that’s attached to one end of your hammock.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the other end of the hammock. Then check the hammock’s height. With someone sitting in it, the bottom of the hammock should be no more than 18 inches off the ground. To adjust this height, adjust the placement of one (or both) of your marlinspike hitches. Now you’re set!

How to Set Up a Hammock Without Trees

how to set up a hammock

Setting up a hammock without two trees is more challenging but still possible if you’re willing to consider creative solutions. A hammock requires two incredibly strong anchor points and there’s no shortcuts when it comes to physics. That said, many people have had success attaching their hammock to a tree on one end and a roof rack or car door frame on the other. There are also stands that work with camping hammocks like this 

And when all else fails, there’s always the scout method for making your own hammock anchors out of concrete.


How to Set Up a Hammock Indoors

Of course, hammocks aren’t just for the outdoors. With the right equipment, you can hang a camping hammock indoors too. The best way to do it is to buy a kit that will provide all the materials you need.  includes hardware and set-up instructions. All that’s missing is the campfire! (Judging furry friend not included)

>>> Click here to see our picks of this year’s BEST camping hammocks! <<<