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I'm contemplating using a hammock for my next trip, usually I'd keep my backpack and boots with me inside when I sleep to keep them dry.

Is there room in a hammock for a backpack and boots? Or is it uncomfortable being pulled into them all night? Can I instead hang them beneath a hammock, and is access an issue in that case?

I don't need to worry about predators where I'm camping so there's no problem with keeping the pack (and food) with me.

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    I've never used a hammock, but on keeping a pack dry: use two large plastic garbage bags, put the pack in one and pull the other over the top of the pack, and prop the assembly fairly upright against a rock or tree. If you expect a lot of wind, tie a rope around the upper bag. No need to take the pack in the hammock. – ab2 ReinstateMonicaNow May 24 '16 at 18:06
  • How do you keep your backpack dry when you're wearing it? It seems odd to want to keep dry something whose job is to be the barrier between the wet "outside" and the dry "inside". – Toby Speight Feb 23 '17 at 21:19
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Having been in the same situation and tried various scenarios, I've found the best way for hanging my boots is to keep a carabiner with me. I hook it on the loops on the back of my boots and hang that from the straps that I'm using to suspend my hammock. Depending on the weather I also do the same thing with my pack. The straps I use have loops in them. If they don't, you can just tie a loop in and use another carabiner to hang your pack from the rope.

If there is inclement whether, I have tried cuddling with my pack in a double hammock. That's unbearably uncomfortable. In fact, that time I ended up hooking my pack with a carabiner to the end of my hammock and just propped my feet up. In future hikes, I ended up draping my tarp over me under my hammock on the uphill and setting my pack on top of that which kept it off the ground and kept it dry.

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It depends largely on the hammock size and personal preference. My friend's hammock has mesh gear pockets on the underside for storage, but he doesn't mind sleeping with the boots on or inside the hammock. The backpack can pose a bigger issue, because there usually isn't enough room with it filled up. If you empty it out and it compresses easily, give that a shot.

Most likely you'll use an overhead tarp for protection from rain. The easiest way (and the way we've been doing it for years) would be to leave it protected underneath the hammock as well (perhaps with a rain cover for redundancy).

If your rain tarp setup allows for it, you might also consider setting up a line to hang gear from.

  • Thanks! Really well thought out answer - didn't realise a rain tarp was needed as well – Chris J May 24 '16 at 18:47
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    No problem - waking up to rain in your sleeping bag isn't ideal! – Quinto May 24 '16 at 21:18
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    i don't know the correct name, but i have seen kind of gear-hammocks, which you set up right below your sleeping hammock. you can easily put your backpack in there, so it is protected underneath your hammock - just as you said - but it's also kept off the ground. those "storage hammocks" are very light, and you can put loose items in there too, like shoes, clothes and other gear. – Peter1807 May 25 '16 at 9:24
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    @Peter1807 maybe you should post that as a answer. I sounds like an excellent tip. – Paul Paulsen Jun 2 '16 at 11:50
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How about if you hang the hammock so that there is 3' of space below it, then run a "clothesline" below it? then hang the boots and pack of the line.

As long as they are below the hammock they shouldn't get wet. And I'd think it's fine to have the outside touching the ground.

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I know it's fashionable to store as much stuff as you can in your hammock and hang it underneath, but there are plenty of good reasons not to, most of which depend on your environment and sleeping preferences. In swamps and jungles, for instance, there are a lot of creeping and crawling things that like to attach themselves to spaces that...I don't know, seem interesting. If sleeping in an open hammock or with just a tarp/rain fly over it, I tend to store boots and packs away from the hammock.

If you have a screened/enclosed type hammock, you might skirt that issue.

But, for a few reasons, my preferred method of pack stowage is just dropping a short line from one of the trees you're tied into, or an overhanging branch, and hooking a Bachmann knot/carabiner on and to the pack. Everything in a pack should be in dry sacks anyway, and if you have a rain cover for it, you're mostly good to go.

Even if you sleep with your boots in the hammock with you, stuff socks in them to keep things out. I've built platforms to store gear on under my hammock, it works too, but has its own issues. Woke up in a rain storm once and leaned out of my hammock to shine the light down and check on my boots, on a platform about 6-9 inches above the standing water...they were covered with a couple dozen baby scorpions trying to evade the rising water. There was already about about a foot of water in that part of the Mojinga Swamp (Panama), so I don't know, they were either driven off leaning and rotting wood or came floating by. I just went back to sleep (I had sprayed the suspension lines on my hammock with enough DEET to choke Godzilla) and they were gone in the morning.

Another consideration is having to bail out of your hammock. Easier to do without stuff hanging underneath you sometimes (especially if you're in an elevated hammock many feet off the ground). Lastly, should your hammock become detached for any reason at one end or the other, and this chance goes up the more weight you have on your hammock, you really don't want to land on the ground or slap against a tree with a pack to bend your spine backwards against. Better in either case to take it flat. It's usually more handy to have your pack at or above hammock level anyway, if you plan on taking stuff out or putting stuff in while in your hammock.

If there's any gear that gets kept in a hammock I'm sleeping in, it's going to be something that goes bang, anyway. I know, most hammock hangers aren't worrying about how and how fast they can bring a weapon to bear from a sound sleep, but then, Jaguars aren't the only apex predators that sleep among the trees.

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