How To Protect Your Hammock From Rain

Written By Matthew Cordero

Rainfall is never ideal for hammock camping, but that hasn’t stopped people from enjoying the great outdoors with the right gear. So how do you prevent your hammock from getting wet in the rain?

Using a few simple hammock accessories are all you need to stay dry even when it rains. A waterproof rainfly, or various kinds of tarp, are the simplest and most effective methods for sheltering your hammock from the elements. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to use.

Read on below to learn more about hammock camping in the rain.

How To Keep a Hammock Dry in Rain

Hammock camping enthusiasts always want to make the most out of the outdoors, no matter what the season.

But rain may be inevitable depending on the season or location you camp in. Thankfully, there are ways you can still enjoy your hammock even if it’s raining.

A hammock tarp, also known as a rainfly, is the most popular and effective solution for protecting your hammock from the rain. These act as a separate shelter set up on top of your hammock, preventing water from seeping in.

What You’ll Need

There are many different kinds of hammock tarps. They are made from a variety of materials and come in a range of shapes as well as sizes to suit campers of all kinds. Hammock tarps usually come with a ridge line in the center, with the exception of polyurethane tarps that you can buy in hardware stores if you prefer to DIY it.

Examples of hammock tarps include the diamond or square tarp, catenary tarp, hexagonal tarp, and rectangular tarp. Be sure to choose a tarp of the correct size to prevent rain from pooling in one corner or seeping through.

Generally speaking, it’s safe to choose a tarp that is at least 8 inches longer than each end of your hammock. Tarps that are 12 to 14 inches long are usually large enough for most camping hammocks. You will also need a few other camping accessories to set up your hammock tarp.

Below are some recommendations, with links to Amazon (note: we earn a small commission if you decide to buy any of these tarps):

-   A tarp in your preferred shape and the correct size

-   4 guy lines, which keep the rainfly away from the hammock while minimizing leaks

-   4 pegs to secure the rain fly and keep its shape. Use your hands to push them into the ground.


The procedure for setting up a hammock tarp may vary depending on the tarp you choose as well as the location. Below are general guidelines for setting up a rain fly in A-frame configuration after your hammock has been set up, but do check the manufacturer’s directions as well.

  1. Toss the tarp over the ridgeline and allow it to hang. There should be equal rainfly coverage on either side of the ridgeline.
  2. Attach the guylines on the corners of the tarp. If the tarp has grommet holes, you may need to tie a slip knot on them (here is a link to a video with instructions for tying a slip knot).
  3. When the knots have been secured, place the pegs on the ground on the opposite side of the guy line. Link them up together using a clove hitch (click this link for a video instruction for tying clove hitches)
  4. Adjust the pegs so that they are loose. Slowly position it so that the tarps are symmetrical over the hammock, creating an A-frame over it.

For those who are new to setting up tarps, practicing is always a good idea even when it’s on a sunny day.

It can take some time to learn how to get the rainfly set up correctly. When you’re caught with an incoming storm and only have a few minutes to spare, it helps to have had some practice beforehand.

Other than that, remember that the kind of tarp that’s best for you will be a matter of personal preference though it’s also wise to consult the weather conditions.

Other Tips To Keep Your Hammock Dry

It’s critical to scout for the right location to set up your hammock in especially when rainfall is expected. Here are other helpful tips to keep your hammock dry:

  • Set up your hammock as close to the tarp as you possibly can so that all sides are completely covered.
  • Analyze the direction of the rain and wind before you set up camp. Don’t install your tarp parallel to the direction rain and wind will be traveling to because the rain will blow right into your hammock.
  • Twist your hammock straps a few times to prevent water from flowing into the hammock through the straps.
  • Check for dead branches above the trees before you set up camp. Dead branches can travel down during rainfall – this isn’t only a nuisance, it can be dangerous and fatal.


Using hammock tarps is a simple way to protect your hammock while out camping. The correct installation and choosing a proper location will further reduce your risk of getting wet.