–ultralight tree camping

The goal: Build an overnight treecamping kit that has a summer base weight under 10 lbs! This page will be the home to all my ideas for going as light as possible into the tree canopy. I have been dreaming and doodling about this system for the past two years and I have finally built it!

My Idea Doodles

The decision to post this page was a tough one because this is a gear list NOT for beginners. You need to be fully competent in understanding your body and regulating heat so you don’t DIE. If you choose the wrong night to bring this kit you better have the experience to know how to get out of danger.

This gear list was created for the hottest time of the summer where night temps do not dip below 90°. I built this list with the purpose of riding fast and far on my roadbike with the goal of staying under a 10 lbs base weight (excluding food, water, and bike tools). This is the list:

[13] Hammock- DIY “Monster Proof” hammock (click here to see it in action!) – 16.3 + 2.3 for sack
[13] Tarp- DIY “Monster Proof” Tarp – 11.2
[13] Bug Net- included with tarp – 0
[8] Pad/U.Q.- REI Flash L – 16.0 + .6 for sack
[2] Sleeping Bag/T.Q.- Columbia Shimmer Me Timbers puffy jacket – 22.6 + 1.1 for drysack

[14] Rope- 30′ of PMI ez Bend – 26.1
[6] Harness- 14′ of climb spec webbing (build “hasty harness”) – 5.8
[11] Extra Biners- Metolius FS Mini x 3 – 2.7
—–RADS System…
[10] Auto Locker- Petzl – 2.8
[4] Screwgate- Black Diamond – 1.8
[9] Ascender- 40″ of 8mm cord (build a prusik) – 1.1
[5] Descender- ATC Guide – 3.5
[-] Throwline & Pull Line- 60′ of 2mm – 1.6
[-] Throw Weight – a stick – 0
[3] Biner For Prusik- Metolius FS Mini – .9
[7] Foot Loop – 5′ of 6mm cord with webbing loop – 2.9

[18] Wind Jacket- Merrel (hooded micro ripstop nylon) – 4.5
[18] Fleece Pants- Kenyon microgrid (need these for sleeping since sleeping bag only covers torso) – 9.2

[20] Water Bottle- Platy Bottle – 4.0
[-] Filter- This is for road bike camping so I can refill at gas stations. If you are hiking you need a filter! – 0

[12] Headlamp- Black Diamond Storm (not UL but you need good light when climbing in the dark) – 3.9
[15] Emergency Kit- 6.6

[1] Backpack- M.H. Srambler 30L – 26.7
[16] Pillow- Exped Air (I NEED MY PILLOW!) – 2.9
[19] Peebottle- 1.2
[15] Sunscreen- 1.0
[17] TP- 0.2

TOTAL – 179.5 ounces

That is 11 pounds and 3.5 ounces for my entire summer tree camping kit. I did not meet my goal of 10 pounds but I now know that my goal is very attainable. I just don’t want to spend an extra $500 to buy a bunch of slightly lighter gear just to meet my goal. 179.5 ounces is perfectly fine with me!

So why would I want a tree camping kit if I can’t climb higher than 30 feet? Because I can still climb to 30 feet!!! Camping in a tree is always better than camping on the ground ;). In reality, after tying knots, I will likely only have ~22-24 feet of rope left but still better than sleeping on the ground! Annnnd as requested, here is a video demonstrating the gear and techniques:


QUESTION: How do you remove the rope after the climb?

ANSWER: I apologize for not including this in the video! Between cutting my finger and having to hide my camera gear from three more young children who showed up at the end of the climb (and had no respect for my electronics) I pulled the rope without filming it. BUT it is a simple technique: Tie your throwline directly to the figure-8-loop which is cinched to the tree branch. Rappel out of the tree and disconnect your gear. Pull down on your throwline which will pull down the figure-8-loop while the tail end of your rope will feed up through the loop, over the branch, until it falls to the ground.

EXTRA TIP: Bring a seperate “pull line” (same size as your throwline) and attach this to the figure-8-loop on your climbing line prior to rigging it in the tree. That way you can pull your rope in an emergency without the need to ascend it first.

8 thoughts on “–ultralight tree camping”

  1. Hey there,
    Great climb!
    I am looking to do this for the first time in about a month (not as high for sure).
    I noticed you cut your hand descending. Would you have any suggestions for descenders to prevent this? Looks like it may have happened because you were worried about the first graders and the camera equipment so you had to rush, lol. I am concerned it will happen to me on account of just being uncoordinated. I am not looking for anything overly minimalist, just not looking to pay too much. Thanks,

    1. Buy a grigri and you never have to worry about this. Yes, it is pricey but you can use it for a million different techniques. And if you ever change your mind they sell on ebay for a significant portion of the original price. (Or just buy a used one from ebay yourself!).

  2. Hey! Are you hiking in the woods?
    I’m a 16 year old boy from Finland and I am interested in Climbing. I indulged Climbing in Finland. here are very few enthusiasts.

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