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It’s midnight and it’s been raining for 6 hours already.
You fell asleep for a couple hours just to wake up now.
And you’re colder than ever.
There’s a puddle in the bottom of your hammock that your back is sitting in.
But it’s too late now. You’re already soaked.
You have to make it through the night somehow.
The rain picks up more.
This is the exact situation that I found myself in this past trip.
Learn from my mistakes, use a drip line.
Because there’s nothing worse than being soaked in the middle of the night during the rain with nothing to do to make it better.
It’s just a piece of paracord, rope or anything that you tie to where your suspension meets your hammock so the water has somewhere to flow other than into your hammock.
I recommend just using a larkshead or prussik knot.
But for some types of suspension it might be easier to buy one specifically designed for it.
Like with the Slapstraps and Atlas Straps since they’re an inch wide all the way down to the hammock.
For those I recommend the Drip Strips from Eno.
But if you have a more traditional suspension system with a whoopie sling you can just use a piece of paracord, rope, or shoelace like mentioned above.
Again tie your drip line using a larkshead or prussik knot.
If you don’t get yourself a drip line you’ll end up like me.
Sleepless in the middle of a hike.
Cold and everything you own is soaked.
The short answer is it depends.
First off make sure you have a tarp that’s long enough for your hammock so you stay dry.
But after my lovely experience in the rain that night I highly recommend using a drip line for your tarp too.
It’s not going to hurt anything and a small piece of paracord is nearly weightless.
But if you tie your tarp tight so that it’s perfectly horizontal between the two trees then you probably don’t need a drip line for your tarp.
Again though, I’d rather be safe than sorry.
You don’t want to be stuck laying in your hammock in the rain with a pool of water inside it with you.
Shiverring through the night not being able to sleep.
Wondering when it will end.
Then in the morning hiking another 9 miles or more to get to your car and you’re still soaked.
So do everything you can to stay dry in your hammock.
Drip lines are essential to this.
And so is having a tarp that’s the right size for your hammock.