A hammock ground cloth is a clean and dry landing zone where you can put your feet down at night when you need to get up for a bio break so you don’t track moisture or debris back into your hammock. It also serves as a dry place to store your gear, especially stuff that you might need at night like extra warm clothing since hammocks have so little storage space inside.
You don’t necessarily need a dedicated groundsheet for hammock camping, but it can be a nice convenience. Hammock Gear sells a 2 oz Dyneema hammock ground cloth which is ultralight but pricey as well as a waterproof ripstop nylon ground cloth with rock sleeves (as anchors) which is heavier but inexpensive. The rocks aren’t included. But any tarp, tent footprint, sheet of Tyvek, polycryo plastic, or even window wrap will do too.
I’ve also used my rain jacket as a hammock ground cloth on occasion, my pack liner, and a cut-down foam sleeping pad I carry when it gets colder as a sit pad and if I experience cold butt syndrome. You can also use a pack cover if you use one. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
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