Hammock camping safety camper falling out

Hammock Camping Safety: Guide to Hanging Safe and Sound

Hammock camping safety is often neglected by beginner hammock campers, yet it is probably the first thing you should know before starting with hammocking.

After all, you don’t drive a car before you know how to drive it safely.

Look no further, with this guide you’ll be hammocking safe and sound in no time.

Then you should check out my Hammock Camping Guide for Beginners, with lots of good stuff to get you going.

Table of Contents

Safety Guide for Hammock Camping

In this safety guide for hammock camping, I take you through the considerations you should take before heading out, so you can hammock camp safely and focus on enjoying yourself.

You will get tips and knowledge that can help you camp more safely. However, you should always prepare for your specific hammock camping trip, acquire the necessary knowledge, and test your gear beforehand.

Is Hammock Camping Safe?

Hammock camping is as safe as any other form of camping when following some general guidelines, and taking some precautions. There are some risks, however, and the risks are different than for other types of camping.

For one, you are suspended in the air, so there is always the possibility of falling. An inexperienced hammock camper might hang from unfit anchor points, or hang above unsafe terrain.

With hammock camping safety in mind, how do you stay safe in a hammock?

How Do You Stay Safe in a Hammock?

Never hang your hammock higher than you’re willing to fall. Among happy hammockers, this is hammock camping safety 101.

Do a safety check of your campsite

Check above, around, and below you. Look at the tree’s bark and condition. Is it rotten, dead, or cracked? Look for dead branches or knocked-over trees nearby.

Avoid setting up over sharp rocks, poisonous plants, and such.

Are there any animal tracks, scratches, poop or fur around? Try to avoid waterholes, hot spots, or animal trails when choosing your hammock campsite, unless you want a family of hogs around your hammock in the middle of the night.

Up near our cabin, swallows sometimes make their nest nearby. When we go outside they dive bomb us to scare us away from their nest and offspring. Make sure you don’t camp near bird nests and disturb them, and also, you know … don’t get dive-bombed.


  • Don’t hang from poor anchor points
  • Don’t hang over sharp rocks, cliffs, or even water
  • Look out for bird nests, wasp nests, etc.
  • Avoid widowmakers – big dead branches
  • If there are clear signs of animals, find another spot
  • Make sure you don’t hang over or near poisonous plants or pointy sticks

How to hang your hammock safely

As there are many different types of hammocks, you should follow the setup instructions of your specific hammock.

Generally speaking though, find some trees spaced about 10-16 feet (3-4,8 meters) apart, depending on your hammock length and type. As a guideline, aim to hang your hammock straps around 6 feet or 183 cm, but you have to adjust this depending on your hammock and terrain. Aim for about a 30-degree hang angle to get the right sag in your hammock.

A safe hammock hang is no higher than sitting height

Your hammock sag should be about 2 feet or 60 cm above ground, about sitting height in your hammock. Adjust this to match your height. This also makes it easier to get in and out of your hammock, as well as sit and chill out safely.

And IF you fall, it won’t be as hard or dramatic.

Remember that hammocks can break

Don’t hang over sharp rocks, cliffs, or water as suspensions can break and hammocks can tear. Be on the safe side.

For the same reason, don’t partake in hammock stacking. It makes for a cool picture, but a dangerous fall.

Using a hammock stand is another option to hang your hammock safely.

Anything heavy and hard that can buckle in over you, is dangerous to hang from. Several people have died from hanging their hammocks to brick pillars.

How do you safely get in and out of a hammock?

In my experience, the key to getting safely in and out of your hammock – consistently – is all about hanging it at the right height. So about sitting height. Then put your butt in first.

Always check the ground under your hammock before stepping out, as you never know if a snake, or something else for that matter, has crawled under there.

How do you sleep in a hammock without falling out?

A hammock is kind of hard to fall out of when sleeping. However, in my bridge hammock, I have an integrated hammock bug net, which helps keep me inside of my hammock if I turn over.

What type of hammock is safest?

Which type of hammock is safest to hang in depends on how you look at it. In my opinion, a bridge hammock is safer than a gathered-end hammock. From what I’ve heard, a lot of hammock accidents are from tipping or falling in a gathered-end hammock. Another risk about the end-gathered hammock is the fabric cocooning around you.

For adults, it is hard to see this as a big risk, but for younger children, getting trapped in the fabric can be a danger. In addition, in my Haven Tent Hammock, I have my air-filled sleeping pad underneath me. Maybe it is a false sense of security, but I always feel that if I fall, the pad will dampen the blow. Peace of mind, if nothing else.

That being said, both types of camping hammocks are safe for adults when following hammock camping safety guidelines, in my opinion.

Camping Safety: Hammock Camping vs. Tent Camping

Many campers considering hammock camping and its safety issues have a background from tent camping. What are the differences between the two, when it comes to camping safety?

Here are some of the differences:

  • While tent camping can provide a feeling of safety inside the walls of a tent, a hammock provides you with an overview of your surroundings while also feeling more exposed.
  • Hammocks always risk falling with you inside them, while tents, on the other hand, are more prone to flooding on the ground.
  • Snakes can hide under your tent, or even sneak into it. With a hammock, you just have to be careful where you step in the morning.
  • Hammocks need sturdy trees, and have the risk of branches falling on them.

Wildlife Safety When Hammock Camping

It is important to prepare for the wildlife you potentially will encounter on your hammock camping trip and know how to act accordingly.

Make sure you choose a camping location with little signs of wildlife, and follow food storing and cooking best practices.

When you get to where you plan to camp, secure your food and garbage so you don’t leave the delicious smells all around your campsite.

It is smart to separate your cooking area from your hammock. That way you keep the scents away from where you will be sleeping.

According to the National Park Service, in bear country, food should be stored 100 yards (let’s just say 100 meters) away from your shelter – in containers and food sacks – hung up away from the trunk of a tree.

Do not bring scents into your hammock

If you hammock camp in places where there can be bears and other wildlife you need to keep away, do not store food in your backpack or hammock. Bring containers to seal and lock your food and scraps. It is also better to bring food types that don’t have a strong odor.

Remember, other things than food can bring a scent as well. Cherry chapstick, toothpaste, sunscreen, or even bug repellant. Bears can be attracted to these smells as well.

Even though you might be worried about bears or snakes, squirrels are sometimes the menace of the campsite, so make sure you keep an open eye for little bandits!

Not all hammock camping trips demand all these precautions, but you should prepare for your specific camping trip, whether that is a national park, backyard, park, camping grounds, car camping, or whatever. Make sure to read up on the area!

Hammock bug net

Take some bug safety precautions

Bugs may pose a threat when camping as well. Ticks and mosquitoes can transmit some nasty stuff.

If you learn how to keep bugs away when hammock camping, you will get fewer bites from the little buggers.

Hot tip: I was watching a show on National Geographic where the guy was camping in a hammock in the middle of the jungle, surrounded by ants. He put menthol rub on the suspension straps of the hammock, which apparently both ants and mosquitoes hate. In addition, he cut a squash ball in two, slit it, and put one on each side with menthol.

He didn’t get any ant or mosquito bites, so it should work like a charm!

Hammock camping safety camper falling out

Hammock Camping Safety Tips

In this part of the hammock camping safety guide, you’ll get some smart safety tips that every hammock camper should follow.

  1. Prepare for your particular hammock camping trip
    Make sure you have the knowledge, gear, and fitness for your particular camping trip. Talk to an expert or a local.
  2. Check the weather
    The weather can make or break a trip. Having the right gear to handle the weather is important.
  3. Check park information or location
    Check if hammocks are allowed. Check the local guidelines, rules, and recommendations.
  4. Bring first aid and know how to use it
    Do a run-through of your first aid kit, and know how to use it.
  5. Inspect your gear
    Go over your hammock, tarp, bug net, suspension, ridgeline, carabiners, underquilts. Check for tears, fading, holes, or seams ripping. Go over your backpack and the rest of your gear as well.
  6. Bring a repair kit for gear
    Inspecting your gear beforehand is smart, but that doesn’t mean something can’t break when you are out. Bring a repair kit to fix up your gear in a pinch.
  7. Don’t assume cell service or Wi-Fi
    Some happy hammock campers assume they will have cell service or WIFI when they go camping. That is not always the case. Make sure you have a backup solution, which brings us to our next point.
  8. Bring a communication tool
    Bring your cell phone even if you don’t plan on using it. Having something like a Garmin InReach Mini 2 as a backup device would be smart if you are going off the grid.
  9. Tell someone where you are going
    For safety, it is better to travel in a group, or at least with another person. The bare minimum is telling someone where you are going before going hammock camping.
  10. Don’t swing in a hammock
    A hammock is not a swing, yet it invites the challenge. Resist the temptation and use your hammock as intended – be safe.
  11. Turn back in time
    In Norway, we have something we call the Norwegian mountain code. One of the guidelines is “Turn back in time, there is no shame in turning back”. While this is meant for hiking the mountains, it is good to remember that you can always turn back on your camping trip.
  12. Be careful with fire around your hammock
    Camping hammocks are often made of materials that can easily take damage from campfire cinders, making holes in your precious equipment and potentially catching fire as well. Be careful with fire around your hammock. There are stoves you can use, or you can always opt for gas.


When it comes to hammock camping safety and getting the safe hang, the most important parts are to prepare before your trip, try stuff out before you go, and follow hammock hanging guidelines. So watch out for big boy branches, use solid anchor points, and don’t hang your hammock too high.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *