Going to Ground

Going to Ground

Derek Tillotson
3 minute read

What if I can't find trees? This fear has kept many people from discovering the joys of hammock camping and is one of the key differences between the Haven Tent and other hammock systems... we can go to ground.

Light blue hammock tent set up on the ground as a bivy tent

This comes in handy when trees are sparse, too small, or you find yourself above the treeline. I wanted to plan a trip where I could really showcase the Haven's bivy capability and put the whole system to the test. So I went to Iceland... 

Not known for trees, Iceland has plenty of wind, rain, and cold. We encountered all of this and more on our overnight by the Hoffell Glacier. Check it out!

Although the Haven Tent is more at home in the air, it’s nice to have the flexibility to go to ground. Here on an unprotected knoll in the clouds, our bivy tents performed well. Considering the 8+ hours of constant rain and wind from all directions. 

I am using a standard-sized Haven Tent and my friend Ross brought the Haven XL. Both tents have a bottom cap of 70d polyester with 3000hh waterproofing, and the moss was so thick we probably could have left our pads at home!

Bivy Tent Setup:

From the video you'll see that I secure each end of the tent with a trekking pole supported by 3 guy lines extending away from the tent. (Highlighted in red below) The lack of actual soil made it a bit hard for the tent stakes to find purchase, but we made it work by anchoring the stakes further with rocks. 

Setting up a bivy tent

This is repeated on both sides of the tent to hold the ridgeline and rainfly tight. The stronger the anchors, the tighter you can stretch the canopy above the bivy, and the more room you'll have inside the tent. In the past I have been able to anchor to big rocks or really get my stakes into good ground. 

Adjustable trekking poles are nice because after attaching the carabiners to the guy lines I was able to extend the poles slightly to raise the canopy further. Like anything it takes some figuring out, I recommend getting some practice before you pitch the Haven Tent as a bivy in the field.

Once secured, the bug net, pockets, and spreader bars work like normal. The view might not be as good, but welcome to bivy mode!

Having designed the system, I was still impressed to wake up and find that everything inside the tent was completely dry. And after that wild night, now I know where all those big waterfalls in Iceland come from. 😂🌧

Derek Tillotson
Haven Tents Founder


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