Hammocks, are they legal?

A recent post on hammocks has me very interested in getting one, but I am wondering if the Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario parks I would be in would not allow them. I imagine each park may have its own rules. Does anyone know if there are parks that will not allow you to tie a hammock to a tree? Straps or not. Thanks for the help. Bill

At Manatee SP in Florida
they were very insistent that we not tie anything to a tree. We even asked if we could wrap the tree with towel or other protection. They said it did not matter. The were not allowing any rope on a tree. We had a lot of wet gear hanging off the end of yaks and roof racks since we could not put up a clothes line.

I have not had a problem in Texas SP’s. I am usually just putting up clothes line so most of the time I can use something man-made like a picnic shelter. I have seen lots of other people with tarps tied to trees in the Texas state parks.


If using hammocks is illegal in Michigan,Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ontario then I’ve been doing a lot of illegal camping.

Fine in Ontario
Hammocks are good in Ontario including Provincial Parks. They are likely better then tent camping as it leaves less of a foot print.

Recently I tied my hammock in a Cypress swamp and it left and awful mark on the tree. It was in an area where it is unlikely that anyone will every actually paddle and walk to see that tree, but next time I’ll find a strap or some other way to tie up in a cypress swamp.

In Michigan… Only some parks…
(Notice I didn’t say “state parks”) Like KOA’s and some private parks do NOT allow tying ANYTHING to trees.

Otherwise, you are good to go! Have been using hammocks & tying things off to trees for years & years.

Paddle easy,


BC Provincial Parks
I’ve been asked to take hammocks down in provincial parks here in British Columbia and been told you’re not allowed to tie anything to the trees. This may be more of a rule in the drive in campgrounds though.

carry a hammock stand
I have a good friend who has a bad back and insists she cannot sleep on the ground. She always carries a “breakdown” freestanding tubular frame with her on river trips. She camps out of a Mohawk Solo 13 and has no problems fitting in the gear. Her system works great for her. Of course we do mostly river trips without portages . . . I’m sure portaging the frame might be a bit of a pain but she has a nice compact custom sewn bagging system to keep up with her frame parts.

Coffee, will michigan state parks give
me a hassle? Do you have any experiences with Ohio and Ontario? Thanks, Bill

Florida State Parks
don’t allow anything tied to trees. And they do enforce that rule.

carrying a frame-excellent idea
and the Walmart garden shop frame will fit in most cars for those state parks that frown on hammocking…last week I hammocked 3 nights in the Ocala Nat.For. in the Juniper Springs area with not a word from the rangers there.

I believe the main reason for the “do not attach any ropes to trees” is due to teh nitwits who drive nails into trees at their campdites. And a single rope around the trunk will probably damage the bark on many species of trees.

All the more reason to use wide straps for padding. I originally had the HH Tree Huggers, but bought a set of ENO Slap Straps because of their easy adjustability. Been feeling guilty though, and plan on making my own 2" wide straps with multiple carabiner loops.

I wonder if some rangers might be gently talked down from a rigid position on the “no ropes” issue…

And I am considering a frame consisting of a pair of inverted “V"s made of i” aluminum tube, some self-fabricated intersection fixtures, and about three big stakes for each end to handle the tension. This would only be used in developed campgrounds (drive-in) where the issue might arise.


I always take one and have never had the question come up.

I’d use it until someone asks you to take it down.

Shouldn’t… I don’t know about…
Ohio or Canada? But I have never had a problem in MI. Although, I just started camping in state parks with the family this past spring. Normally, I go to the woods.

Paddle easy,


An alternative to hammocks

– Last Updated: Dec-15-08 1:04 PM EST –

in areas that you can't tie to trees, but want to get up off the ground:


A bit bulkier than a jungle hammock, unfortunately, but provides a similar sleeping experience. If it's a matter of carrying this or following the suggestions of carrying a hammock frame, this might be more manageable.

nails in trees
Who really needs to put nails in trees anyways? Every campsite I’ve car camped in there’s already multiple nails there already. I never really need to figure out how to put up the tarp, I just look for the nails and copy what someone else has done before.

Cross Sticks
I have ginned up some 6’long cross sticks using closet pole. I placed an eye-bolt through the sticks 1’ from the top. To keep the sticks from splaying out I used some webbing a couple of feet from the botton. I just screwed the webbing to the pole. 2 substantial anchor ropes and some mongo stakes are reqiured. This rig provides a second anchor point for your hammock to use if there isn’t a second convenient tree or it can be used with the vehicle. Most SP campgrounds have substantial lantern post that works well as a primary anchor.

Another reason that hammocks are not allowed in some areas is the same reason that clotheslines are not allowed – and that is the danger of having lines stretched across trails and other areas where people may walk through at night, children may run, etc. Different parks (county, state, federal) may have different rules.

Sounds like my idea
would work then. I was going to use 8’ aluminum poles, but I am sure that I could substiture wood closet rods instead.