View Full Version : Hammock camping with no trees/in desert

08-16-2012, 17:46
In a few weeks I will be heading out to Colorado to spend a couple months hitchhiking from there out to California, SF, with a good friend of mine. Since were saving all our for the trip, he doesn't have money to get a hammock and thus will be stuck in a tent. Either way, we will be heading across the desert and I was wondering what solutions or suggestions anybody has for hammocking without a place to hang (as I am only bringing my hammock, no tent). I have seen the hiking pole solution, but i don't typically use hiking poles and have limited room in my pack...I am also not taking a bike, just thumbing my way. Are there any cheap/DIY/lightweight solutions to this, as I will only be using it when stuck in a flat place, would love to hear any ideas. perhaps something like a collapsible pole? Thanks!

08-16-2012, 18:17
If all you want is a way to prop up your bugnet and hold a tarp, when you camp on the ground, there are lots of options in lightweight, collapsible tent poles.

08-16-2012, 18:53
Walmart has hiking poles for about twenty bucks. Ive used mine all summer for porch mode for my tarp, they work great.

08-16-2012, 19:17
What hammock are you using? You could get sew some loops on it and get spreader or bow bars to make it live a bivy and just put the tarp right on top if it and weigh down the tarp in the edges with gear if your really wanted to go light.

08-16-2012, 19:49
I've done a lot of hitchin' in my day. So I'm going to give you a different piece of info.
Best way to do pond distant hitches are to use truckers, best way to get a ride from a trucker is from a truck stop
Go into a truck stop early 4amish get some coffee. Talk a lot with your waitress and let her know y'all are trying to find a ride. They are key to this
Once you find the guy ( and traveling in pairs you might need to split up ) be cool and conversational.if he isn't going all the way and he thinks your a all right guy, he will most likely get on the cb and get your connection ride.
Always keep a knife hidden on your right hand side, just cause. With a lanyard for quick use if need be.
I have made it from Cali to FL. In 3days this way. So this should let you blow right threw the deserts and find some trees
Be cool, and keep your guard up
Hope this helps, and y'all have a great trip

08-16-2012, 19:57
Oh yeah don't be surprise if you get dropped of in the middle of nowhere waiting for a connection
This happened one time to me in bum phuct Iowa it was a bit creepy. No lights for as far as the eye could see. I was out there for a couple hours waiting for phyco killer ( in my head ) but lone behold a big rig showed up, said my name, and got me across three more states :)

08-18-2012, 01:05
This is not recommended, but from London Homesick Blues "If a Texan thinks that there's a chance, then chances will be taken."

Many roads in the West are fenced on both sides to keep cattle off of the road.

Where two fences meet at a corner, both fence posts before the one corner post are reinforced to reduce the sideways pull on the corner post. I've hung across the diagonal using those two next-to-the-corner posts.

While hiking on a two track road in a remote area, after checking to see if the adjacent field was occupied (didn't see any fresh cow droppings), I opened a barbed wire gate and hung across the opening. I set up late, then got up early, so no one saw me.

08-18-2012, 01:40
Take an extra bit of amsteel, rope, or webbing. These can be used around larger objects like boulders and stuff. Most terrain has all kinds of stuff you can hang from. Hunt for sticks you can use for tripods. If theres a will there's a way. Don't be afraid to be creative. I was able to successfully hang from two nail heads that were nearly flush to the walls of a shed. Test the weight before you jump in so you don't end up being dumped.

08-23-2012, 10:57
Awesome, thank you for all the responses. I can't wait to get creative and see all the ways to hang! Though as a more permanent light weight solution, I've decided to take a strong, heavy duty tent pole from an old busted up tent, drill a small hole in one end it to thread my tarp and suspension through and then tie to off or knot it. Haven't tested though yet, though am hoping i'll have some success. I'll shoot some pics when i get the thing set up!

08-23-2012, 11:40
easy does it!, youre depending on the kindness of strangers----how you look is important ...a tent pole sticking out of a back pack, might suggest a weapon of some kind. a hank of rope, inside of that backpac to rig an acceptable hang might be a better choice..just saying

08-23-2012, 12:22
Another option: bivy bags are realitively inexpensive.Watch out-this is the monsoon season out west

09-01-2012, 15:17
If your going to hitchhike, first, wear a shirt. If you want me to pick you up and your not wearing a shirt, well, I don't want your sweat all over my upholstery so you'll see me, pass you by. I, don't care how hot it is outside, you won't be getting in my car or truck.

Have your pack all secured, nothing dangling from it if you can help it. Why? Because getting in and out of a car / truck may ding / rip something when your putting it in or taking it out. 2nd pair of shoes should go into a nylon sack so your not going to leave dirt behind in the person that just gave you a 200 mile ride. It's just common courtesy.

Keep yourself neat, clean and presentable on the road. First impressions make a BIG DEAL of difference in getting a ride.

Carry a BIG, Mark-a-lot with you. It will help you get Rides, when you also use a Large piece of card board box to write on, telling the Direction of Travel that your headed to. NO FANCY writing. Just plain Large LETTERS. Make it easy for folks to read. Remember, they may be doing 40 miles an hour or more. Big Bold LETTERS.

Appreciates, that someone has stopped to pick you up and converse a little if they try and engage you with conversation. Makes the time go a bit faster. And when being dropped off, say "Thank you" or "appreciate the ride". It's just the descent thing to do and will garner you more rides to your final destination.

A smile, looking clean and together, with some simple conversation will get you to most spots anywhere around the world.

Aloha ....

09-02-2012, 23:55
Stay Safe although Colorado to Cali should be good.
I hitch hiked with a friend all the way around the USA from Florida, Texas, NM, Cali, up the west coast to Washington, back across, Yellowstone and slowly back home.
Back in the 70's.
Actually we split up half way through.

Dont think I would do it now, but one thing I will say is it was an experience I will never forget, drifting around and meeting people of all sorts, and I mean all sorts.

As far as Hammocking, that's tricky. Your going from 110d+ in that shade, to colder temps if you go into the mountains. If I were hitching and hammocking, I would take a setup so that I could go to the ground. There are times you could get stuck with no place to hang.

Like we did. Stuck in the middle of BFE in south Texas under an overpass for 2 days with no water. Another thing to take, a good water filter and some chlorine in case you have to drink out of a mud puddle.

Basically just take a pad in case you have to go to the ground.
It will happen sooner or later.

I could say a lot of other things, but I will end with check your shoes in the morning.

Always read it and being paranoid we were out in the desert, woke up 1st morning, crawled out of the tent and I shook my boots out and a scorpion fell out.

One more. My friend had all his gear stolen by a trucker. HE dropped him off and his pack was in the back and he took off. IT was high dollar Kelty gear
and left him stuck int he middle of nowhere with nothing. He had to make it from the Colorado back to Fla with nothing, so make sure you have a back up plan and make sure you keep your gear close.

09-03-2012, 01:01
I pick up people whenever I can, a few things that will stop me from giving you a ride. Be alone, I'm not giving two guys a ride. NO DOG!!! No dog is getting in my super clean truck. Shave, the cleaner the better. Smile and wave. I've stopped when I wouldn't have for a wave. Be careful and have a good trip.

09-03-2012, 06:26
I talked to a guy from REI about this.
Hanging from boulders and rocks.
off the record, he told me to get a couple of pro nut stoppers.
you can slide them between the cracks of the boulders and hang from those.

(hope I did that right)

or you could use some small climbing rope, tie a knot the ends, stick that in the boulders and hang your hammock from there.

09-03-2012, 08:42
I talked to a guy from REI about this.
Hanging from boulders and rocks.
off the record, he told me to get a couple of pro nut stoppers.
you can slide them between the cracks of the boulders and hang from those.

(hope I did that right)

or you could use some small climbing rope, tie a knot the ends, stick that in the boulders and hang your hammock from there.

If you are going to buy climbing pro to hang from boulders, a set of Tricams would be far more versatile than a set of nuts. Tricams can be placed in two different ways - an "active" mode that uses torque to cam into the rock, which works in placements which flare outward, and a "passive" mode that will work pretty much the same way as those nuts, and is good for constricting placements like cracks and the like.

For the weight, I'd gladly go with the tricams. That said, I do carry my tricams when I go hammock camping sometimes, and so far I've never actually had an opportunity where using them made much sense.

09-03-2012, 12:22
good reason not to buy anything. rei is a great resorce, but face it- they're there to sell product!. money that's probably better spent on a good meal or ten! you could buy every possible chock,nut to cover any possible crack that you might encounter. and still hit that one situation where a simple peice of fire wood jamed into a crack will save the nights hang. found materials...what a concept! extra rope(cheap enought so that cutting it up won't be painfil) will serve better than most anything else a person could drag along in the pack

09-10-2012, 19:09
I think tht getting two sticks in the dessert will have to suffice. I don't know much about dessert camping but if this dessert you're talking about is basically sand dunes, then I would go with the $20 Walmart trekking pole option that another HF member suggested. If the poles are collapsable, I would take them apart and stow them in my pack so that they wouldn't stick out.

09-18-2012, 18:42
I have seen people stake one end of the hammock tarp w/ doors directly into the ground, and then use one tall trekking pole at the head end.