hanging backpack next to hammock camping

Where Do You Put Your Gear While Hammock Camping?

The first time I tried hammock camping, I remember setting everything up and being excited to spend my first night out in a hammock. I was about to jump into my hammock when I realized: What about my gear? I can’t just put it on the ground, nor can I sleep with my backpack on top of me. A tent usually has a natural compartment for keeping your gear, but a hammock – not so much. So, where do you put your gear while hammock camping?

Check out: Hammock Camping 101: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

There are several ways to handle your gear while hammock camping. It’s important to keep your stuff dry and protected. You can hang your gear, put it under a tarp, or use a garbage bag and rain cover to make your pack more waterproof. 

Related: What Is Hammock Camping?

Where Do You Put Your Gear While Hammock Camping?

Hammock camping is a lot like normal camping in the sense that we buy a lot of expensive gear to camp and be outdoors. We don’t have to, but we usually end up buying more upgrades as we get into it. Camping also involves several camping items which tend to add up costs.

In fact, consumers spent about 3 Billion USD on camping equipment in 2017. A large proportion of that was spent on backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags.

When we are out hammock camping, we need dry clothes, food, and water. That means that our backpack needs to stay dry, so our clothes are dry. The food you bring needs to be safe from animals or bug invasions. I’ve also heard about people losing their boots or shoes at night, from curious animals running off with them.

No boots – no fun camping, or walking home.

So, how do we protect our precious gear from the elements, animals, and bugs?

In essence, there are two main parts you need to handle. Where to put your backpack, and how to keep your boots dry and protected.

Next, we will talk about the two, how to keep your gear dry, and some additional tips.

Related: How To Start Hammock Camping

Where Do You Put Your Backpack While Sleeping In Your Hammock?

Your backpack contains most of your stuff when you are hammock camping. If it gets wet, you lose it, or it gets raided by animals – you are probably in trouble.

In other words, we should do what we can to protect it.

Here are some of the ways to keep your backpack at camp:

  • Hang it
  • Put it in your hammock
  • Under your hammock

Furthermore, some pros and cons of each:

Hanging Your Backpack

When you hang your backpack up, you escape moisture on the ground and possible flooding. It is better protected against animals and insects. A con of this method is accessibility, as you are probably further away from your pack.

Put Your Backpack In Your Hammock

By putting your backpack in your hammock, either as a pillow or between your legs, you keep it close, protected, and handy. You, on the other hand, are competing for space in your hammock. Not the most comfortable option, although dependent on your backpack.

Lay Your Backpack Under Your Hammock

You can place your backpack under your hammock, preferably on a piece of fabric/tarp to keep it more protected from the rain, and have it accessible just beneath you. 

As previously mentioned, this carries a bigger risk of animal raiding or bug invasions in your pack.

Of the three options, my preferred method is hanging my backpack up, away from animals and bugs, while having the entire hammock to myself. You could always try to place your backpack in your hammock camping chair, although I prefer that for shorter trips.

Ways to Hang Your Backpack While Hammock Camping

As this is my preferred method, I talk a bit more about your options when it comes to hanging your backpack.

The easiest one is hanging your backpack from a dead branch on a tree. Just hook it up on there, and you’re done.

You should inspect the tree first, to make sure you don’t hang it on a weak branch, straight into bug city, or get sap all over your pack.

If you bring a carabiner you have some more options. You can strap your pack around a tree, even though there are no dead branches. You can also attach your pack to your suspension or ridgeline. That way you can keep your hiking gloves handy if you need them during the night, or any other gear for that matter.

Make sure to hang it at the end, and not the middle, though. That might cause your hammock to sag more.

My current camping hammock setup, the Haven Tent Hammock, gives me the option to hang my backpack inside my hammock with two carabiners to the ridgeline.

Keeping Your Boots Dry And Protected While Hammock Camping

It’s important to watch your boots. They make a snug, warm hideout for many small animals. They can also disappear in the night if you are really unlucky.

For your boots, there are a couple of methods you can try when starting out.

  • Tie your boot laces together and hang them over your suspension or ridgeline
  • Seal off your boots with a sock over each opening

Hanging up your boots obviously makes it harder for anything to grab them or get into them. You would have to get up to go grab them, however. A couple of less important camping shoes might come in handy here. Like a pair of crocs or slippers.

Sealing off the opening of your boots prevents anything from getting into them. They can still be stolen by an inquisitive raccoon or a clever fox. To prevent that, you can anchor your boots to the ground with a spare peg, or attach a cord from your boots to something on your hammock, to wake you up.

How Do You Keep All Your Gear Dry?

A lot of backpacks today come with a rain cover. If you hang your backpack up, you should put on the rain cover first, to make it stay as dry as possible through the night. I always try to place my backpack underneath as much foliage as possible if I hang it from a tree, to get the maximum amount of natural cover.

However, if you opt to hang it under your tarp, that won’t be necessary.

Additionally, lining your pack with a garbage bag, and zip lock bags for electronics and other small items, makes it even more waterproof. I find that dry bags are expensive, can weigh more than necessary, and are not always as dry as they should be. Rain cover and garbage bag = good to go.

Your boots should be kept under your tarp. If you need additional protection, you can always keep a spare trash bag to put over them.

What Gear Should You Keep Inside Your Hammock?

Essential gear usually comes inside the hammock with you. A lot of hammocks have pockets to store small items. 

I like to bring:

  • Headlight
  • Phone
  • Power bank
  • Knife
  • Water
  • Bug spray
  • Sleep mask (when you wake up at 4 AM and it’s bright as day outside, you’ll know)

Adjust according to which items you can comfortably place, and which are important to you. These are the items I find most useful for me, however.

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