Extreme Hammocking: Is This Outdoor Adventure For You?

hammocks off mountaineering lines

That is some pretty extreme hammocking.

Important disclaimer: While this should be obvious, we have to make sure that we see all of us here at amazingoutdooradventures.com are not advocating any risky or unsafe practices. We believe that extreme hammocking is is an awesome topic, a really cool part of the outdoor enthusiast space, and we wanted to talk about it. This article is informational purposes only. If this seems interesting to you do it right: join communities, always be safe, and take responsibility for your safety. We are not legally liable.

My brother and I have a wide and eclectic love of the outdoors. Sometimes what we cover is because it’s something we have always loved (barbecue, fire, hiking, etc), sometimes it’s because of something really new or interesting, and sometimes it’s interesting and yet a great big NOPE!

Look, I know my limits. As one friend put it “You’re a ridiculously agile and fit keg with two tree trunks for legs.” That’s not conducive to swimming, although I’m very good at floating sinking. I’m not huge on heights. Hike up a mountain for a great view? Sure. Extreme hammocking?

I admire and salute all of you outdoor adventurers who are into this. But the vertigo…dear Lord man. This is one of those high adrenaline, high adventure activities that isn’t going to be for everyone (and I can openly admit I’m one of those people) but it’s interesting and definitely worth looking at…if for no other reason than some absolutely amazing pictures.

How To Get Started Hammocking

There’s obviously a big difference between your conventional hammock camping and generally speaking even if you are really into extreme adventures and the type of outdoor activities that you might find in the X-Games, you’ll want to start with becoming comfortable with hammocks much closer to the ground before scaling cliffs, hanging off the bottoms of old iron bridges far above the river below, or specifically set up on high lines that are there just to give the adventure junkies a way to really hang around and get absolutely breath taking pictures, as well.

The feature image for this article is a great example of one of those lines, but there are many other examples. Whether finding a great place around a bridge, stacking them up between two trees like all the guys in this picture, or hanging way out there, there are many different ways to enjoy a hammock out in nature, and finding a local community of outdoor adventure enthusiasts into the same type of thing will help further increase those ideas.

It’s also worth noting that “extreme” hammocking means different things to different people. For some hanging the hammock 20 feet off the ground or around bear bag height qualifies. Other people don’t consider the hanging in hammocks to be extreme unless they’re 100 feet up handing from a bridge’s underside, hundreds of feet in the air over a valley, or somewhere similar hanging from amazing heights way out there.

Then you have others who knit their own hammocks and places, like this BYU article talks about when exploring one aspect of this remarkable outdoor activity as pushed forward by Andy Lewis, aka “Sketchy Andy” (great nickname, btw). Weaving your own “space nets” for hammocking in extreme heights over the canyons, anyone?

How Did Extreme Hammocking Start?

woman climber on portaledge

Well she looks confident and comfy. Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Depends on which story you believe or how exactly you look at it. There are definitely some big names within this community, but different groups are doing very different things and that’s just with modern hammocks and parachute camping hammocks.

If you’re going the original route similar to what the great BYU article we linked to earlier was about, then the number of options continue to open up.

The truth is that hammocks have been around for centuries, and chances are that this isn’t the first generation of thrill seekers who had ideas about hanging out where the views were amazing and most annoying (and sometimes dangerous) ground animals couldn’t reach.

That being said the idea of extreme hammocking as a practice in and of itself is a relatively new phenomenon. The idea, however, is not.

Serious rock climbers understand how this works

As anyone who has spent two or three days climbing a sheer rockface can tell you, hanging around is sort of a way of life if you are going to challenge the big climbs. Whether stopping for a meal, a rest, or sleeping for the night, you’re going to be looking at rock face camping or “Port A Ledge” sleeping arrangements, as you can see from the last picture that was posted.

While this isn’t the same thing as extreme hammock camping, it does precede it with the tradition of hanging, camping, and sleeping from huge heights and very unusual places. While this might not be a mainstream practice for many outdoor enthusiasts, it goes to show that resting or sleeping on the side of a cliff face has been around for a while, so it should be no surprise that the idea of putting up a hammock 400 feet over a valley would hit some groups as a fantastic way to spend at least part of the day.

Find An Extreme Hammocking Community

There’s no question that finding a high quality community makes any outdoor activity in your area a lot more fun, and makes it much easier to consistently get out there. There are several places online where you can find a local extreme hammock community, and it’s worth checking them out.

Just a few good places to start include:

This Facebook Page for Extreme Hammockers

Extreme Hammock Forums

Take A Look At This Extreme Hammocking YouTube Video

In Conclusion

Hey, this definitely isn’t going to be for everyone, especially those outdoor individuals who aren’t particularly that type of adventurous or those who hate heights and suffer from vertigo. While this isn’t going to be the biggest pull for me (and it’s probably a safe bet it won’t be a big pull for my brother, either) we know there are plenty of our readers who are going to love it and what to learn everything they can to get involved and get moving with their own hammock based outdoor adventures.

And as a final note I just have to say, it was insanely hard for me to go this entire article without making multiple bad puns and references to the Counting Crows song Hanging Around. But I am going to link it. There’s only so much self control you can expect from me in any given post.

Just Hanging Around?