The Ultimate Hang: An Illustrated Guide to Hammock Camping…

Over the years, in my back country adventures, I’ve tried hammock camping several times.  I have two hammocks I hang in my backyard when the weather is nice.  I have a hammock that picked up specifically for my (formerly) annual trips to Mexico.  I have tried many hammocks in a variety of locations and I’ve always had a great experience, even when it wasn’t ideal.

Cascade at Havasupai…Imagine hiking 12 miles into a picturesque oasis of fantastic waterfalls and crystal-blue creeks.  High red-rock cliffs rise on all sides dripping with verdant greenery creating welcome shade in the normally warm temperatures of Northern Arizona in late Spring.  After the long, hot hike in to camp you set up a luxurious hammock under the canopy of group of shade trees next to the cool creek water…  This was the setting of my first hammock camping trip, a nine-day hang in the heart of Havasupai just above Mooney Falls.

On that trip, I packed in a very heavy cloth hammock.  It was warm in late May and I did not bring a sleeping bag.  Nor did I bother with a tarp, bug net, or any of the other fun accessories available for hammock camping these days.  I was a little cold the first night there, but was otherwise comfortable the entire time in the canyon…and I was hooked!

Since then, I’ve hiked in to various locations around the state with a hammock and have even taken it on some whitewater trips.  Hammock camping, in general, has always been a warm weather adventure for me but as I work to get out in the wilderness more often I’ve looked for ways to make my hammock a more year-round setup.

The Ultimate Hang BookI recently mentioned getting to use the ENO Double Nest Hammock I won last year to do some camping up near Flagstaff.  One of the comments left on that post was from Derek Hansen.  I soon discovered that Derek was the author of a new book called The Ultimate Hang: An Illustrated Guide to Hammock Camping.  After a quick back-and-forth, Derek offered to send me a copy of the book to check out and I happily accepted.

Derek was introduced to hammock camping at the age of 14 at a Scouting event in Utah.  Later, volunteering as a Scout Master himself in Virginia he began experimenting with hammocks again.  He became a very active voice at the worldwide hammock community,  Here, his talent and skill as an illustrator played a major roll in his ability to share his experiences and techniques with the Forum.  Eventually, Derek decided to parlay his talent, skills and experience into a concise, self-illustrated guide to the art of Hammock Camping.

Page samples from The Ultimate HangAs soon as I received my copy of Derek’s book, I leafed through it to get a feel for the presentation, expecting it to be a dry read of knots and gear lists.  I was pleasantly surprised to see a fun, well organized, beautifully illustrated, interactive book that reveals a real passion for the subject.  Derek’s writing style is easy and informal offering a fun read.  It’s organized such that you could read it cover to cover, or jump in to any chapter you want.  The illustrations are a fun mix of diagrams and comic-strip style cartoons, making the book entertaining and informative.

Illustration from The Ultimate HangAs a former freelance illustrator myself, I was very impressed with the consistency and continuity created with the illustrations.  The book has a great, relaxed look and feel but presents you with an amazing amount if information.

Another fantastic feature of this book takes advantage of a fairly new innovation just recently finding popularity in marketing circles.  The book is sprinkled with QR codes, allowing you to scan them with your smartphone for more detailed information, a custom “Hang” calculator, links to web pages mentioned in the text, among other things.  This feature I found to be great fun and a beautiful use of the QR code technology.

How to Layer your Hammock from The Ultimate HangThe best part about this book is that it walks you through many of the basics of hammock camping as well as technical knots and DIY projects, making the book relevant for beginners and experienced hangers alike.  Whether you’ve never owned a hammock before in your life, or you are a regular weekend Hang Champ, this book is bound to teach you something that will make your hammock camping experience more comfortable and enjoyable.

Have you been out hammock camping, or thought about hammock camping, but just don’t feel confident in trying it on your own?  Well, here’s your chance…not only will this book help, but I’ve got a copy to give away!  Derek was gracious enough to send me an extra, autographed copy of his book to give away to one of YOU!

Check out the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions for your chance to WIN your own copy of this book.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Dave Creech is a successful business owner and entrepreneur based in Phoenix, Arizona. He shares his personal story and lifelong passion for travel and rugged outdoor adventure through his blog at David’s focus has been on trip stories, gear reviews, Wilderness Medicine and a series of articles aimed at introducing Yoga to hikers and backpackers as a path to staying fit, healthy and injury free.



  1. I’m definitely intrigued by the idea of hammock camping and would want to do a bit more research before making a purchase and/or doing a backpacking trip with a hammock so the book looks like a great start. Also, love the illustrations, who knew so many outdoorsy people could draw cartoons?

    • Nathan,

      The book would be a perfect start for you. Derek actually has a full index in the back of all the hammock manufacturers and the features of each type of hammock they produce. He also discusses the different styles of hammocks and the pros and cons of each making it easy to decide which hammock might be best for you.

  2. Of COURSE you had to mention Havasupai. Sigh.

    • hehehe…totally coincidental! My third trip in to Havasupai was my first hammock camping trip. Imagine spending NINE DAYS down there to explore!

  3. This book seems like an excellent and in-depth look at the art of hammock camping. For me, it seems as simple as finding two trees, settin’ up, and enjoying the slow swaying of my hammock as it cradles me to sleep – but if there’s even more bliss to it than that, count me in! :)

    • It can be as simple as that, especially when the weather is perfect. But I like to enjoy the slow sway of a good hang year-round…and that’s a little trickier. Plus, I love a good rain storm…I would love to spend a cold, rainy morning snuggled up warm in my hammock with some camp coffee and listen to the rain dance against my tarp. Staying dry and cozy and comfy in my hammock!

  4. I honestly know nothing about the art of hammocking but I hear lots of awesome things about it. Thanks for a chance to win what is to be a great book and a great addition to any outdoor geek’s library. Thanks Dave.

    • You hit the nail on the head there, Adam…even if you don’t hammock much, this is a great addition to anyone’s outdoor library!

  5. I really want to try the comfort of hanging as opposed to the closed cell foam mat that I currently use.

    • Once you learn to hang, you’ll never want to go back. It takes some time to get used to, but it’s well worth the investment.

  6. Great opportunity for all the hammock campers to get together! We will be giving trying out gear, offering various seminars, gear swap/ silent auction,and more!
    Guided hikes and a pot luck campers family style dinner Saturday night!
    June 22-24. Reserve your spot by calling Crowley at (941) 322-1000 Camping fee $8 per adult – $4 per child -per night – reservation required

    Would love to have Dave come out and play with us!

    • Jeanene,

      I don’t think I can swing a trip to Florida by this weekend, but it sounds like a fun event! Maybe I can try to organize something like that out here in AZ…

  7. Looks like an interesting read, I hope someone that wants it wins!


  1. […]  That’s one of the reasons I was lucky enough to review a copy of Derek Hansen’s book, The Ultimate Hang: An Illustrated Guide to Hammock Camping.  Hammock camping is something I dabbled in years ago, without really knowing what I was doing, […]

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