Hammock camping is an awesome experience! To help you get into the great outdoors and enjoy this experience, we are giving you the three easiest ways to tie a hammock knot.
Once you read the directions and watch the videos (and practice!) you will be able to know how to tie hammock knots and the best knots for hammocks.
Where To Hang Your Hammock
Before you set your hammock up, there are some basics that apply to where you +choose to hang your hammock. That is probably equally as important as knowing knots for hammocks.
If you don’t have a hammock yet, or need additional ones, you will find some of the best hammocks for camping here: Everest Active Gear Hammocks
First: Choose trees that are about 12 to 15 feet apart.
Depending on the size of your hammock (single or double), how high you want it off the ground, and how much slack you would like, you might need more distance between the trees.
Second: Make sure that the trees you have chosen are healthy, sturdy trees that will be able to support your weight.
You will want both trees to be at least six inches in diameter. An ideal diameter is 12 inches.
A good rule of thumb is, if you can shake a tree, you shouldn’t hang from it.
Third: Look up! You will want to check out the upper branches of the tree for “widow makers.”
Those are the dead branches on a tree or stuck in the uppermost part of a tree that could come down at inopportune moments and end the party.
Fourth: Look down! Anytime you venture into the great outdoors, you want to avoid the things out there that are not so great about it.
That would be the foliage that could make life miserable. It would hold you in good stead to learn about Identifying Poisonous Plants.
Some of these plants like to climb trees, which is where being able to identify them comes in handy.
Poison Ivy and the Virginia creeper look similar, but only one of them will make you wish you could peel your skin off for a week or so.
Fifth: The trees you have chosen should be between five and six paces apart.
And what is a pace? When you walk as you normally would and count every time your right foot hits the ground, that is a pace.
Once you have picked out the trees that will suit the purpose, hang your hammock using one of the three knots we have described below.
Learn The Lingo
As with most skills, there are terms for description. It is no different with knots and here are some handy words and phrases to know.
Standing end: The part of the rope not being used to tie a knot.
Working end: The part of the rope being used to tie a knot.
Tail: The short end of the rope being knotted.
Eye: The loop created with a rope and a knot
Bight: A semicircle of rope bent into a U-shaped section
Crossing point: The place where ropes cross in the making of a loop
Elbow: Two or more loops in close proximity to each other
How To Make A Hammock Knot
Tying the right knot is essential to being able to secure your hammock to a tree safely.
Before you head out into the great beyond to spend the night, know how to hang a hammock and the best hammock knots.
You can use a bowline knot to each tree for a non-adjustable way to secure your hammock
Besides knots for hammock hanging, you can also use a hitch, or you could use a combination of bowline and a taut-line hitch.
The taut-line hitch allows for adjustment.
The falconer’s knot is the third choice of knot when hanging a hammock.
We will explain the bowline knot first
#1 Bowline Knot
If you are a visual learner, like I am, there is a video showing how to tie this knot at the end of this explanation.
The bowline knot is also known as the king’s knot. It creates a fixed eye loop and is able to hold heavy loads without slipping or loosening.
Many experienced campers feel that a bowline knot is essential to know as it has many applications besides the hanging of a hammock.
A bowline knot will easily come undone after holding a heavy load, which is an advantage when breaking up camp and packing up your hammock.
However, this knot will also loosen up when it is not under tension, so be aware of that aspect. Even so, the bowline is one basic knot that you should know.
Step One: It is best to hold the end of the rope in your dominant hand and make a loop. Leave enough excess rope on end to wrap around the hammocks anchor two or three times. Make the loop large enough to enable your fist to pass through the loop.
Step Two: Wrap the end of the rope around the tree two or three times, keeping the loop in your dominant hand.
Pass the rope around the anchor and pull it tight after each wrap. Doing this will help to keep your hammock at the desired height.
Step Three: Put the end of the rope through the first loop made. If you have inadvertently made the rope too short, start over again.
This time, give yourself more slack. It is best to have about two feet of rope to work with. When finished, make the ropes parallel to each other.
Step Four: Pull the end of the rope under the long strand and then back through the loop again. You will want to hold the short end of the rope so that it is pointing toward the anchor. The two strands will no longer be parallel to each other.
Step Five: Pull your rope tight to form the bowline hitch. To make sure that the knot stays in place, give it a firm tug. If you do not need the line to be adjustable, tie another bowline hitch at the other end.
Step Six: You will want to attach your bowline knot to your hammock. Use a carabiner to do this last step.
Just thread the carabiner through the bowline knot. Then connect the carabiner to the hammock.
Your hammock will either have a grommet made for this purpose, or it will have a loop at the end of the hammock for this purpose.
Press on the hinged part of the carabiner and loop it through the end of the hammock, making sure that the hinged portion secures back to the carabiner.
Watch the Ways to Tie a Bowline Knot
#2 Taut Line Hitch (5 step image below)
The main advantage of using a taut-line hitch to secure one end of your hammock, is that you can then adjust the hammock whenever needed.
This can help when you are determining the height of the hammock and how it will hang once you are in it.
Step One: Begin by wrapping the rope around the tree two or three times. Make sure to leave enough rope on the working end so that you have plenty to create your knot. Leave about one to two feet free for the knot.
Step Two: You will now cross the end of the rope over the long strand and make three loops.
With the shorter rope pointing toward the tree rather than your body, you will want to thread the loops around the long strand.
Do this so that they are enclosed in a big loop. Next, pull the loops tight. You will see that these three loops create a tube that enables the rest of the rope to slide back and forth. This is what will make the rope adjustable.
Step Three: Take the short rope's end under the long strand of rope and then up through the lower loop.
Make a “Q” with the rope, making sure that this part of the knot is closer to your body than the previous loops.
If you get to this point and are running out of rope, you will need to start over and give yourself more rope this time.
Step Four: Pull the rope to tighten the knot. You will want to check at this point to see if the rope slides up and down easily. This is the action that will allow you to adjust your hammock.
It is not advisable to use two taut-line hitches on both ends of your hammock. The point of a taut-line hitch is to be adjustable, and having one on both ends will not lend to your hammock's stability.
Step Five: You will want to hook your carabiner through the taut-line hitch. Hook the carabiner through the end on your hammock that provides for this.
Watch this video to see How to Tie a Taut Line Hitch.
#3 Falconer’s Knot
The falconer's knot originates from falconry use. Used by a falconer, you tether a bird of prey to a perch, as the name suggests.
It's another strong knot to tie your hammock to a tree. It is not the easiest nor the most intuitive one to tie but is an excellent knot to know.
Step One: Pass the rope counter-clockwise around the tree with the tail end to the left.
Step Two: Move your right hand with your palm up under both pieces of rope and grab the tailpiece between using your index finger and your middle finger as if you were cutting the rope with scissors.
Step Three: Place your thumb through the two pieces (over the “scissors”) and under the second, bringing it to the right as if you were hitchhiking.
Step Four: Keep your thumb in the same position and rotate your wrist to the right so that the back of your hand is facing upwards.
Step Five: Your thumb will have made a loop. Use the “scissors” to put that part of the rope through the loop.
Step Six: Pass the free end through the new loop to secure it.
Rather than reading about the knot, it is so much easier to watch this lady demonstrate how to tie a Falconer's Knot.
I Don’t Know Why Knot
Why in the world should you bother to learn how to tie a knot? Just used as a rudimentary skill, tying knots improves your hand-eye coordination.
It can also be pretty impressive when you can display a prowess no one else in your group has.
Be Ready For The Unexpected
The world that we live in today has taught us that you can never know what tomorrow will bring.
While that concept of an unknown tomorrow is not new, its reality was brought home in ways that no one imagined at the beginning of 2020.
More than ever, you need to have a level of self-sufficiency and elementary skills.
You should, in your adult life, be able to tie a kite for your kid, tighten a clothesline with an adjustable grip hitch, tie a tourniquet knot or a sling in an emergency, use a bundle knot when carrying items, knot a rope to hoist items, and use knots to secure items to the roof of a car or the bed of a trailer.
Tying a decorative bow on a package, or even tying your necktie should be skills that come to you naturally.
Sure, you can go through life without knowing every knot, but knowing the basics makes you a more versatile person, more self-sufficient, and just plain cool.
Besides being able to help you out in a pinch, learning how to tie knots is fun!
Once you know and practice, tying becomes part of your muscle memory and you can amaze and delight your unskilled friends with your impressive abilities!
One Knot To Know
If you learn just one knot, make it the bowline knot described earlier. It is the most useful knot for a wide variety of applications.
It is a secure knot for objects and won't slip when placed under a load (like a hammock).
You can use it to tie two ropes together, and it can be tied one-handed. It is also easy to untie.
The bowline knot has a wide variety of applications. It is secure; it won't slip when placed under a load and use it to tie two ropes together and be tied one hand.
It is also easy to untie, no matter how much weight is on it. The bowline’s often used by sailors, anglers, mountaineers, and first responders.
If there is only one knot that you learn, make it the bowline knot.
A Few More Knots That You Should Know How To Tie
As was mentioned, if you only know one knot, make it the bowline. But being the smart, clever person you are, you have the skill needed to handle learning more than one knot.
There are two more knots, with a third thrown in for good measure, that will make you a more versatile person than the average American.
Earlier, we talked about the first handy knot, the bowline. The next knot is the square knot.
The square knot is one of the most basic knots there is. It is useful for tying up bundles or packages.
More importantly, use the square knot for first aid. Use it to tie a bandage around a wound to stop bleeding.
Also known as the reef knot, sailors used this knot to tie down part of the sail in high winds.
Step One: Hold and end of the rope in each hand.
Step Two: Pass the rope's right end over and under the rope in your left hand.
Step Three: Pass the rope end now in your left hand over and under the one currently in your right hand.
Step Four: Tighten the knot by pulling both running ends at the same time.
How to Tie a Square Knot shows you how to tie this easy knot.
If you need to tie down something to your car, like a kayak or canoe, the trucker's hitch is the knot to help. It works for long lengths of ropes like guy-lines or clotheslines.
Step One: Tie a slippery half-hitch in the middle of the rope to make a loop
Step Two: Hold and pull to tighten the loop
Step Three: Secure with one or two half-hitches around one or both lines
You can tell that this guy has tied some knots in his time by the calluses on his hands.
Very patiently presented, this video is worth watching: Handed Truckers Hitch: Beginners Guide.
And here is one for the fun of it from the makers of “What does the fox say?” Ylvis - Trucker's Hitch [Official music video HD]
Last But Not Least! A Windsor Knot
Ah, yes, here is one knot that you should have in your arsenal. You never know when you might need it for a special occasion, job interview, or when you dress to impress.
This guy takes it nice and slow so that with practice, you will be able to tie a perfect Windsor knot, too.
Watch: How to Tie a Tie
That Is Knot The Only Way
Again, it is a practical and easy skill to acquire when you learn to tie various knots.
There are plenty of everyday situations that would benefit from you having that knowledge.
While we have focused on knowing knots to tie up a hammock, there is actually another, and better, way to suspend your sleeping platform.
Do No Harm And Leave No Trace
Here at Everest Active Gear, we aspire to the “leave no trace” method of enjoying Mother Nature.
If you are like us, you are aware that there is only one of her and want to protect Mother Nature.
Ropes are abrasive to whatever surface they come in contact with. When you use rope to tie a hammock to a tree, it rubs against the bark of the tree like sandpaper.
The tree’s vascular system is just below the bark. It transports water and nutrients between the roots and the leaves through this system.
If the bark gets damaged and the underlying wood is exposed, especially all the way around the tree (called girdling) then the tree will eventually die.
Using rope to hang a hammock can damage the bark and harm the tree.
Easy, Breezy, Suspension Straps
The easiest way to hang a hammock is also the best way to do no harm. Suspension straps are lightweight at just a pound, but strong.
When you use straps to suspend your hammock between two trees, you don't need to know how to tie a knot and it does not harm the trees.
EverestActiveGear Straps includes a daisy-chain loop system that makes it a cinch to adjust the height of your hammock.
They come in a handy carrying pouch and with the no-harm straps, you can have your hammock set up in about 90 seconds.
You Will Knot Believe It!
Here are a few fun facts about knots.
Knots predate the ax and the wheel.
There is speculation that the first knotters were Gorillas and weaver birds who interlaced branches to make nests.
The Inca’s only “written” language was a series of knots. They were tied into necklaces.
The Chinese Book of Changes is about 2,500 years old and associates knots with contracts and agreements.
Doctors use knots to bind wounds.
The weakest point in a rope is where the knot is created.
The cables that support suspension bridges use principles of cordage and knotting to the “ropes” of galvanized steel wire.
Even in our technologically advanced society, knots are still indispensable: just ask the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Mars rover Curiosity has cables bundled and tied on its deck with a variation of the reef knot used by sailors thousands of years ago to trim their sails.
In Your Spare Time, Why Knot?
There is a gentleman in England who has been tying knots since he was 7, which is over 60 years ago. The New York Times did an article on him and his knot museum.
If you really get interested in everything knotty, you could also join the International Guild of Knot Tyers and learn from fellow enthusiasts.
It is wise to practice these knots at home so that you get proficient with how to tie them.
It is never a good idea to get to the camping site and then try to learn.
Practice tying the knots with just the rope. Knowing how to tie various knots is a life skill that everyone should know.
Your goal should be to be able to tie a knot without having to think much about the steps involved.
Getting out in nature is rewarding and impactful. While you can use rope, Everest Active Gear strongly advocates using straps to keep from harming trees.
Learning how to make yourself comfortable in the great outdoors will expand your horizons and make you glad you took the time to learn how to hang your hammock.
How much rope do you need to tie up a hammock?
The length of rope between the hammock ends and the tree should be the same length on either end. Center your hammock between the trees.
You will need to go around the tree two to three times on each end and attach it to the hammock itself. You should have about 10 feet of rope for each end of the hammock.
What ropes could I use to suspend a hammock?
Ropes from natural fibers can be used and tend to weigh less.
Ropes made from polypropylene or nylon are popular because they prevent abrasion, but nylon will stretch.
Hammock straps are versatile and will not abrade or stretch.
How high should I hang my hammock?
The easy answer is not to hang your hammock higher than you would want to fall.
Since you know more than one knot for hammock hanging, you will be able to safely hang your hammock, and your hammock will be secure.
If the distance between the trees is anywhere from 10 feet to 15 feet, and your hammock is between 9 feet and 14 feet long, you should start your strap at a height between 48 and 54 inches.
It will depend on your weight too, but you are trying to achieve a sitting height of 18 inches.