Hammock Ridgeline Length Explained

Last Updated on 28/07/2023

Hammock Ridgeline Length

Knowing your hammock ridgeline length can stop you from carrying excess cord with you. Your hammock ridgeline is essential for setting up a rain tarp or a bug net over the top of your hammock. A structural hammock ridgeline is used to keep your hammock at the right sag, so you can sleep comfortably.

This article is going to explore how long your hammock ridgeline needs to be so that you can pack the right length of cord.

What is a Hammock Ridgeline?

A hammock ridgeline is the length of cord or rope that runs above your hammock and provides support for your rain tarp and bug netting. You can of course, get hammocks that have bug netting sewn in. The hammock ridgeline length can also be used to hang your hammock from in cases where your hammock doesn’t reach the two tie-off points (or you’re a rock climber sleeping halfway up a cliff). You can also hang your gear from it using something like a hammock ridgeline organizer or toiletry bag.

How Long Should my Hammock Ridgeline be?

Your hammock ridgeline rope will need to be somewhere between 18 – 24 ft. This gives you between 9 – 12 ft. on either side of your hammock.

Having this length at either end of your hammock is essential for securing your ridgeline to trees with enough tension. It also gives you enough rope to attach your rain tarp or bug net securely.

If you plan on camping somewhere without many trees like up a mountain, then you should take a much longer ridgeline rope or consider taking a tent instead of a hammock.

What is the Standard Length of a Hammock?

The first place to start when setting up your ridgeline is knowing how long your hammock is. Most lightweight hammocks are between 9 – 12 feet long.

Longer hammocks are usually more comfortable. This is because they allow you greater freedom to sleep at an angle across the hammock. Sleeping at around a 20 – 30 degree angle stops you from being in a banana shape and lets you sleep flatter and more comfortably.

Shorter hammocks are lighter, though. Some hikers may choose a shorter, lighter hammock if they’re trying to limit weight.

Structural Hammock Ridgeline Length Guide

In order for you to use a structural ridgeline to hang your hammock from, you should make sure you have an abundance of rope to make finding a spot to set up much easier.

A structural hammock ridgeline is used to keep your hammock sag at around 30 degrees. The sag of your hammock is essential to sleep diagonally across your hammock. This is recognized as the most comfortable way to sleep.

A structural hammock ridgeline length should be around 83% of your hammock’s total length. For example, on a 9 ft. hammock, your ridgeline will be roughly 7 ft. 6 in. If you have a 12 ft. hammock, your ridgeline will need to be around 9 ft. 11 in.

How do you Measure a Structural Hammock Ridgeline?

To get your structural hammock ridgeline length, you need to start by measuring your hammock end to end. Once you have this measurement, divide the length by 100. Multiply your resulting number by 83 for your ridgeline length.

To avoid carrying measuring paraphernalia around with you or having to do any math in camp, we have two top tips. One option is to make a fixed-length ridgeline for your hammock. The other is to make a mark on your ridgeline with a permanent pen at the right length.

Bear Butts Rain Fly - Hammock Tarp

How to Store 30 Feet of Ridgeline Rope?

Storing up to 30 feet of ridgeline rope can be difficult. You should tie your ridgeline cord into a bundle, or wrap it around a spool, to prevent it from tangling. This can then be placed into a pocket or tied inside or on the outside of your trekking pack.

How Far Should Hammock Posts Be Apart?

The more time you spend hammock camping, the more refined you will become at picking your perfect spot. Your hammock camping posts should be at least two feet on either end of your hammock. This allows you to create a properly tensioned system at either end of your hammock.

As a general rule, look for trees that are 16 feet apart. This may be a little excessive for some shorter hammocks, but the space will give you plenty of possibilities for rigging tarps and ridgelines.

Remember, you will need around 3 feet of cord to tie off your ridgeline properly. If your trees are 16 feet apart, this means you need a ridgeline of at least 22 feet.

Gear Assistant
Gear Assistant

This article has been written and/or edited by Andrew N. 20+ years of hiking, mountaineering, and camping experience, with access to all the latest outdoor gear.

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