Do You Need a Hammock Ground Cloth?

Do You Need a Hammock Ground Cloth

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.

If you hammock camp, what do you use?

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20 comments

  1. I have used everything you have mentioned with the exception of my rain jacket, but I saw a product by Go! Outfitters called a Landing pad and tried it. It is the only thing I take now and in fact it comes backpacking, on bike trips and canoeing every time now. It is large enough to function at night under the hammock for setting stuff on and getting out for those nature calls. It is a great place to dump out a backpack or portage pack and it has cord/cord locks on the perimeter to cinch it up, to keep stuff together or provide some extra protection. If you are handy you probably can make one, but my sewing skills are limited to back-country repairs when needed.

  2. My daughter and I use pieces of Tyvex. Light and nearly indestructible!

  3. I’ve used a sit pad in the past. I’m thinking a pack cover might be my next choice since I already have one but rarely bring it along, but may start doing so since I’m getting more into hammock camping on AT section hikes.

    My hammock is a Warbonnet Blackbird, so I already have some storage inside and i hang my pack from the suspension. All I really need a ground cloth for is my shoes and a place to stand.

    All that being said, the Go! Outfitters Landing Pad is really tempting.

  4. In 2015 I purchased 1 sq yd of 1.43 DCF for this purpose, and have used it ever since. Absolutely no signs of wear. I paid ~$30 and at 1.5 oz it does everything I need. I like the simplicity of it.

  5. I picked up a clear plastic shower curtain liner from the dollar store and cut it in half. At that price, I don’t feel bag about driving stakes straight through it to keep in place. It’s not as light as other options, but not that heavy either.

    • John Hickinbotham

      Lol, I use the Dollar Tree plastic table cloths for both my tent footprint and a hammock ground cloth. They work well for me and are a real value at $1 each.

  6. I’ve used a couple different bits of gear that have worked out well. The Kammock Joey is a great gear sling for underneath the hammock, and keeps it all off the ground. For on the ground, the Matador Pocket Blanket folds up insanely small, but unfolds large enough to hold some gear, and gives you a clean spot to put on your flip flops. Has built-in stakes as well.

    https://kammok.com/products/joey-hammock-gear
    https://www.rei.com/product/190845/matador-pocket-blanket

  7. I’ve used a piece of Tyvek in the past and recently switched to using my rain kilt, dual-use! No longer need to bring the Tyvek.

  8. Sure, there’s a weight & bulk penalty but I use Exped’s doublemat evazote (or whatever the heck it’s called). The bulk is probably the big bummer as the weight is more than compensated for by its fantastic functionality. So, my tarping setup is: 1. Tarp (Hilleberg UL 10 or Integral Designs 2. The aforementioned Exped mat 3. A down quilt (Cumulus, in my case) 4. Rab/Integral Design bivvy sac with Event top and waterproof basin/bottom. 5. Therm-a-Rest mat
    Yes, I could go lighter but this set up covers everything from snow, rain in high winds…and I weigh in at a fit-enuff 95 kg so percentage-wise the weight of the Exped mat is relatively miniscule. Too boot, the Exped protects my inflatable Therm-a-Rest giving my the peace of mind of resiliency on longer treks

  9. A scrap piece of Tyvek cut down to about 3×3 feet works well and lasts, so far, for years. I’m also partial to my 1/8 inch foam pad from Mountain Laurel Designs which serves so many different purposes that I can no longer imagine backpacking without it.

  10. Small Tyvek as a ‘door step’ for me and a black plastic trash bag for my backpack and boots.

  11. Started out with tyvek but have been bringing a big green trash bag lately. I stick my pack in it at night and there’s still room to plant the feet for those 3am covert missions. I did just slurge on a HG groundsheet on the way this week, so we will see about that soon…. hopefully.

  12. You can use a rock climbers rope bag. these are like a stuff sack, but open out fully to a square so the climber can “flake the line” and keep the climbing rope out of the dirt. For take-down in the morning, you can just drop you hammock, straps, and tarp onto the rope bag and zip it all up and tighten some compression straps. These give you just enough space to step out of the hammock. there are usually a sturdy nylon (my is cordura) so they wont get punctured from stepping on them and provide some protection from sharp objects underneath.

  13. I have been using a small piece of Tyvek under my hammock for all the uses that you mentioned. Works great and is both cheap and nearly indestructible..

    • I use my Leki Sub 1 chair for this. I put my boots and hat on it and hang my water bottle from my straps. I also hang my pack from my straps as well. I use a Mantis so everything is nice and light. Might pick up one of those Landing Pads though. Looks neat.

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