What Is Extreme Hammocking?

 * Extreme hammocking is extremely dangerous. This post is purely informational – not a how-to guide.

Extreme hammocking is not for the faint of heart.

As shown in this video, this video, and this video, extreme hammocking is all about hanging in a hammock at extreme heights – even several hundred feet off the ground.

While this high-adrenaline activity certainly isn’t for everyone, especially those that prefer a hammock for backyard relaxation, it’s so interesting that we decided to do a deep dive into what it’s all about, why anyone does it in the first place, and what type of special equipment is required.

Here’s everything you need to know about extreme hammocking.

What is Extreme Hammocking?

Extreme hammocking is all about the adventure.

Although a search for the term on Google shows hammocks attached to slacklines hanging hundreds – or even thousands – of feet off the ground, usually off bridges or over canyons, extreme hammocking can be as simple as hanging your hammock high between two trees or even low over a river or another body of water.

Simply put, this adventure activity is all about the thrill and the adrenaline. It’s about hanging a hammock where no one else has ever done so before. And it’s definitely more than a little bit about the seeming danger and risk involved.

Extreme hammocking shares much in common with slacklining and highlining. In fact, these techniques are often needed to hang a hammock at such extreme heights in the first place and to then enter and exit the hammock.

To help reduce risk, extreme hammockers use ample safety protection, including harnesses and multiple layers of protection. In case one layer fails, there’s always at least one backup safety method that’s automatically employed. In this sense, it also has a connection to rock climbing.

In fact, the idea of sleeping in a hammock strung high up along a cliff or canyon stems from big wall climbing. During this type of climbing, climbers use portaledges to safely sleep hundreds or thousands of feet in the air on multi-night big wall climbs.

According to a BYU article, “Extreme Hammocking: How One Man Revolutionized ‘Hanging’ Out,” some extreme hammockers are now combining extreme hammocking with other extreme sports like BASE jumping for even more of a high-stakes thrill.

What Gear Do You Need for Extreme Hammocking?

A simple list of the gear required for extreme hammocking includes:

  • Hammock – A high-quality hammock is essential. It must be strong, durable, and reliable. It must also be easy to use.
  • Hammock Straps – Strong and reliable straps are also a must. The more versatile, the better as extreme hammocking often comes with its own unique hanging challenges.
  • High-Quality Components – All of the components of your hammock and straps must be very strong and reliable. It’s often best to swap out components, like carabiners, with heavy-duty versions like those used for rock climbing.
  • Slackline – Extreme hammocking often requires a slackline, especially when hanging over a canyon or from a cliff. A very long, extremely strong and durable slackline is a must for highlining.
  • Safety Equipment – Top-quality climbing rope is used for several things, including setting the slackline up and acting as safety protection. Super strong carabiners, a climbing harness, and rope brakes are likewise essential. Remember that safety is the most important part of extreme hammocking.

The gear required differs on the nature of your trip – more specifically, where you plan to string up your hammock.

Remember that you must know exactly what you’re doing and have exactly the right gear before extreme hammocking. As we’ve mentioned time and time again, it’s very dangerous. We’re just giving you a basic overview. Only experts should actually attempt these daring feats.

So, You Want to Go Extreme Hammocking?

Most people build up to extreme hammocking little by little.

They start with a normal camping hammock and hang their hammock normally from trees. From here, they might start hanging their hammock higher and higher in the trees. Sometimes, you’ll even see several hammocks hanging from the same trees, each a little higher than the next.

Also remember that extreme means very different things to different people. Hanging 10 feet up in a tree is extreme for some while anything lower than 1,000 feet up in a canyon isn’t extreme enough for others.

If you’re seriously interested in extreme hammocking, the best way to learn more is to look for extreme hammocking groups or meetups.

Familiar yourself with hammocking, slacklining, and highlining. Rock climbing skills and experience is also useful.

Know that extreme hammocking is inherently dangerous. Deaths are more than possible. And injuries are common.

As exciting as it might seem, we do not recommend extreme hammocking to anyone. It’s for highly-trained expert professionals only.

Simply put, if you’re looking for online info about how to get into extreme hammocking, you’re not ready. Those that partake in this adventure sport only do so after joining a community of like-minded individuals, honing their skills, and working up to it slowly.

Just stick to watching amazing extreme hammocking videos like us!

Extreme Hammocking FAQ

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about extreme hammocking.

Q: Is extreme hammocking safe?

A: The very nature of extreme hammocking means it’s very dangerous. Not only does it require extensive experience using hammocks, but it also demands an advanced knowledge of slacklining, highlining, rock climbing, and more. An utmost attention to detail, the right gear, and following all safety precautions somewhat minimize the risk, although the activity is still inherently dangerous.

Q: How did extreme hammocking start?

A: Hammocks have been around for at least hundreds of years. There’s no telling exactly when the activity was taken to extreme levels, although extreme hammocking has boomed in popularity over the past few years. It likely started high up in trees and across rivers before moving to death-defying canyon hangs.  

Q: What gear do you need for extreme hammocking?

A: Extreme hammocking depends top-quality gear. Never leave anything up to chance by using lackluster gear. Only use the best. A hammock, hammock straps, slackline, safety harness, and safety ropes are just a tip of the iceberg as far as gear is concerned.

Q: Where to go extreme hammocking?

A: You can go extreme hammocking just about anywhere. Some simply hang their hammocks much higher in a tree than normal for an extra thrill. Others string their hammock over a creek or river for a unique vantage point. Still others seek out towering canyons, cliffs, and bridges from which to hang their hammocks (although hammocking, or even exploring, these locations is often illegal).

Q: Has anyone died while extreme hammocking?

A: Extreme hammocking is very dangerous. Without the right equipment and extensive experience, death is 100% a possibility. In fact, normal hammocks are dangerous if used improperly. Always hang a hammock correctly from a sturdy tree or similar object (we recommend a hang about 18 inches off the ground) and test the hold before entering.  

Final Thoughts

Extreme hammocking is only for the extremely adventurous.

If you’re anything like me, you prefer to hang your hammock much closer to the ground. I go hammock camping for the gentle sway, cocoon-like comfort, and overall relaxation – not to get a thrill!

For others that like hammocking for relaxation, a portable folding hammock with a built-in hammock stand, like the Mock One, might just be for you.