On my next vacation, I will be camping in a tent on a designated campsite. I saw somebody use a hammock for lounging during the day last time, so quickly got a cheap hammock from eBay, with a "let's see if that works for me" attitude.

The hammock came, and it is a piece of silk with a spread of ropes on each short end. The ropes are braided together into a loop. I think this might be intended for a specialized hammock stand, but I won't have one, I'm hoping there will be a usable pair of trees in or around the campsite. It is roughly this style:

hammock type

How do I attach it to the trees? Can I use any old cord and wrap it around a tree trunk? Won't it slide down? What cord thickness do I need? Are there special knots I should learn? Is there something more convenient than a cord, e.g. some kind of short belt with clasp? (I've seen long ones for fastening kayaks to car roofs, for example). If I want to buy something for this purpose, 1) how is it called, 2) which shop has it, and 3) how do I use it?

  • If your leaving them on the tree for a long time you likely want to make sure you use suitably wide cored or pad the cord that wraps around the tree. Otherwise you may damage or kill the tree.
    – user2766
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 7:50

2 Answers 2


I hang my hammocks using the same slings I use for anchors while climbing, a girth hitch around the the tree is more than sufficient, but wrapping the sling around the tree twice, then tying it with a water knot is best. It holds well, it's easy to adjust the height, and it doesn't slip when weighted. The wide surface area of the webbing is better for the tree than cord too, because it doesn't cut into the tree.

You can attach the hammock directly to the anchor using carabiners if the trees are just the right distance apart, or you can use a length of cord to attach the hammock to the anchors by tying a bowline or figure eight follow through to the hammock, and a clove hitch onto a carabiner clipped to the anchor. Clove hitches are nice because they're quick to tie, and easy to adjust length.

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  • 1
    A faster way to set this up is to already have two loops tied on either end of your sling (just an overhand knot on a bight), clip one loop to the biner, then wrap the webbing around the tree twice before clipping into the loop on the other end. It holds just about the same, but it's quicker to set up and take down than tying and untying your knots each time. The disadvantage is it rubs on the tree more, because your attachment point doesn't self equalize, and it can slowly slip down the tree if you're rocking in you hammock.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 19:56

I use two short lengths of rope, each with loops tied at both end. Put a rope around the tree and pass one end through the loop (so you have a slip knot on the tree, one end of the rope with a loop will be free). Repeat on other tree. This is very adjustable to any size of tree that is sturdy enough to support you, and you can wrap it around more than once if you want it to be more taught.

To attach the loop of the hammock to the loop on the end of the rope, I use a S shaped metal hook on each end. The slip-knot rope tightens around the tree (even more so from your weight in the hammock) and the tension holds the S hook tight. It is very easy to take down whenever you need to (like if it's going to rain).

I leave the ropes up for the most part, but they would be easy to take down and move to a new tree. I've never had this system come lose and dump me, even with lots of roughhousing in the hammock that you might think would loosen the S hooks. Another thing I am planning to use this year is a metal part I purchased which I am not sure of the name of that fits inside the loop on the end of the hammock (it looks like this, but I just got mine at the hardware store, it wasn't labeled for hammocks: https://hammockleisure.com/hammock-accessories/34-metal-loop-protectors-2-pieces.html).

The purpose is to prevent the S hook from rubbing through the hammock fibers over time (I know from past experience that hammock fibers can eventually wear this way if you swing in the hammock a lot). However, for short term use this wouldn't be a requirement.

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