Spending quiet time in the great outdoors is a great way to get in a little more rest and relaxation. One of the easiest ways to put your feet up and relax outside is with a hammock. They are affordable, comfortable, portable and ultra-light. This makes a hammock an ideal choice for backpacking, camping, or even just a backyard patio. As the hammock continues to grow in popularity, the question of how to hang a hammock demands to be answered. There are so many options when looking into how to hang a hammock. It's completely up to you!
Three Basic Steps
When you are deciding how to hang a hammock, the possibilities are literally endless. A little planning and decision making will make the process that much easier. Here are the three basic steps you need to consider when learning how to hang a hammock.
Find out the distance and height you want for your hammock.
Choose where you want to hang a hammock.
Decide which method you want to use to hang your hammock
Finding the Distance and Height
Although hammocks are the epitome of rest and relaxation, there is a little science and math involved when hanging your hammock. A hammock should be suspended by 30 degree angles. This allows for the proper amount of force to be applied to your hammock. Check how long your hammock measures, it should be somewhere between the realm of 10 and 15 feet. You may need to add 2-3 extra feet between trees to achieve the 30 degree angle of suspension. Ideally your hammock should about 18 inches off the ground. This is the height of an average chair, so it makes it easy to climb in and out of your hammock. In order to get that height you should consider anchoring your hammock at least 48 inches high. Fortunately, for those of us who don’t enjoy doing math to figure out how to hang your hammock there are handy helpers. You can use a hammock hanging calculator online to give you height and distance requirements for your hammock.
Choose Your Hammock's Location
Choosing how to hang your hammock is not nearly as important as choosing where to hang your hammock. Here are some of the most common options where you can string up your little piece of paradise.
Between Two Trees
This is probably the most common scenario. This is a great option for ultralight camping or for setting up a hammock in your shady spot in your backyard. There are a few things to consider, the first is to insure that you have adequate distance between the two trees. The second, is to choose trees that are strong enough to handle the weight of your hammock. If the trees are too young they could bend or break under the weight of a hammock. So choose your trees wisely!
From a Car
If you are taking a day trip to the beach or up the mountains hanging a hammock from your car is useful. First you need to insure that your roof rack is capable of supporting your weight. Check your owner’s manual for weight restrictions before attaching your ropes or chains. Once you are sure your roof rack can support your weight simply park your car the appropriate distance from a tree.
From a Porch
If you are looking for a relaxing place to hangout close to home, consider hanging it from your porch. Look for overhead beams that are structurally sound. This insures that it will securely hold the weight of your hammock.
Decide on a Hanging Method
There are a few different methods you can use to when learning how to hang your hammock. There are pros and cons to each method. Which method you use will largely depend on where you are hanging your hammock.
When learning how to hang a hammock, a good method to use is hardware. There are a bunch of different options and can be purchased at any home store. Usually hardware includes 2 wall anchors (such as a j-hook), 2 chains, and 2 s-hooks. You can drill a hole into your tree or beam and screw in a j-hook then use the s-hooks to loop through the eye of the hammock. To change the suspension of the hammock you simply adjust the s-hooks higher or lower on the chain. This type of hardware is great for hammocks that you plan on being a permanent fixture.
Pros of Hanging Hardware
- Easy to install
- Easy to adjust
Cons of Hanging Hardware
- Requires tools to install
- Heavy materials make it difficult to pack for backpacking
- Can cause permanent damage to some trees
Another way you can hang your hammock is with a rope. You will need two lengths of sturdy rope or strong cording. This is a low-tech, but efficient option. You will, however, need to brush up on your knot tying skills if you plan on going this route.
Pros of Rope
- No additional tools needed
- Lightweight and easy to pack for backpacking or camping
- Won’t harm trees
Cons of Rope
- Need to tie a secure knot for the hammock to hold
- Hard to adjust the suspension quickly
If you are planning on using your hammock in a backyard or patio, you may want to consider a hammock stand. A hammock stand is a self contained structure to string your hammock between. They can be made of wood, bamboo, or metal. Many hammock stands have a hammock included with them, but you can string up a different hammock if you wish. These stands are easily moved around the yard. They can also be set-up and taken down quickly.
Pros of Hammock Stands
- Easy to set-up
- Aesthetically pleasing
- No additional tools needed
Cons of Hammock Stands
- Heavy, not suitable for camping or backpacking
- Some initial assembly required
- Not compact
Tree straps are very similar to ropes. They are the quickest and easiest way to hang a hammock. They are designed to not damage the trees they are suspended from. Although they are called tree straps, these straps can be secured from any post as long as they can wrap around it.
Pros of Tree Straps
- Ultralight weight makes them ideal for backpacking
- Does not harm trees
- Easily adjustable
Cons of Tree Straps
- Cannot be used on walls
Knowing how to hang a hammock is an essential skill to have for your outdoor summer adventures. Set up your hammock while you are backpacking, at the beach, or on your patio. You can find a nice shady spot to read a book, or a patch of sunshine to take a nap. Hanging a hammock is just the beginning of your fun!
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