START SMARTFollow these tips to ensure that your hammock setup is safe, comfortable, and low-impact.
DOCheck local regulations. Some protected areas (Joshua Tree, for example) have rules against hammock use.
DOUse an established campsite, rather then creating a new one and disturbing more of the environment.
DOSeek out trees with trunks at least as thick as your thigh. Smaller trees can snap under your weight.
DOFind trees that are 13 to 16 feet apart, then adjust the tension of your straps so that they form a 30-degree angle for the perfect hang.
DOTie a piece of string or attach a carabiner to your rigging to create a drip line, preventing water from running down the straps and into the hammock.
DON’T Hang the low point of your hammock more than 18 inches off the ground. Any higher and you risk injury if you fall out.
DON’T Anchor your hammock from dead trees. Your weight can pull the tree down on top of you.
DON’T Use regular rope as rigging. Flat, hammock-specific straps minimize impact on trees. (See ENO straps, above.)
DON’T Park your hammock near a water source. Leave No Trace applies even when you’re off the ground.
DON’T Forget to bring a tarp if you plan on sleeping in an uncovered hammock and rain is in the forecast.