How To Hang a Hammock - Hammocks 101

How to hang a hammock top

Are you dreaming of relaxing in the sunshine in your backyard, or replacing your cumbersome tent with the freedom of a lightweight backpacking hammock? Whether you’re not sure how to hang a hammock or you’re seeking advice on which hammocks are best for your specific needs, we’ve done the research for you.

As outdoor equipment goes, hammocks are quite simple, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice quality or ignore your individual preferences when making your selection. Our Hammocks 101 post will answer your questions on, how to use a hammock, whether a hammock is right for you, and which is the best hammock if you decide you want one.

How do I hang a hammock?

Knowing how to properly hang a hammock will help make sure you’re both safe and comfortable. When it comes to securing your hammock, you have several options.

You can use either rope or special tree straps to tie it to trees or posts. Alternatively, if you’re primarily planning to use your hammock at home, you can use hanging hardware or a hammock stand to avoid knots altogether.

How far apart should my posts or trees be?

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Ideally, look for trees that are between 13 and 16 feet apart. Distances as close as 10 feet can work, and up to 25 feet can work if you have the proper tree straps.

Measure the length of your hammock, and then add a few feet if possible to allow you to adjust the tension to your liking. This is especially important for hammocks with a spreader bar, such as rope hammocks.

How high should my hammock be off the ground?

When hanging your hammock, keep in mind that it will sag lower once you’re in it. The ideal height depends on the length of your hammock and the distance between the trees or posts you’re using.

For instance, if your hammock is 13 feet long and the two trees are 14 feet apart, you should ideally secure the ends of your hammock at about 72 inches. However, this does not need to be precise – experiment and see what feels comfortable to you.

If you’re looking for an exact answer, try using this hammock hanging calculator.

Should I use rope, straps, hanging hardware, or a hammock stand?

  • Straps: Many find straps to be the easiest method for camping or backpacking. They also will not damage tree trunks.
    Straps are also lightweight and relatively inexpensive. One of their biggest advantages is that the length is easily adjusted, giving you a broader array of options when choosing which two trees to use.
  • Rope: If you know the proper knots, you can simply use two pieces of rope to secure your hammock to two trees. Many people find this method more difficult, particularly to adjust, and it can also cause damage to tree trunks as the rope digs into the tree bark.
  • Hanging Hardware: This involves the use of chains, wall anchors, and S hooks. This is obviously a more permanent method of securing your hammock and is popular for indoor use, such as if you are planning to use a hammock rather than a bed.
  • Hammock Stand: This may be the easiest method if you plan to primarily use your hammock at home, especially if you do not have trees the ideal distance apart. This is a ready-made stand that fits your hammock – no knots or S hooks needed.

Are hammocks bad for your back?

The short answer is no. However, just like with a bad mattress, a poorly made hammock, or one that is not hung well, can cause you back pain, so make sure to choose wisely and spend a little time adjusting it for maximum comfort and support.

It is well worth the effort though, as hammocks have been shown to help people fall asleep more quickly, as well as encourage deep sleep. Hammocks also encourage you to sleep on your back, rather than your side or stomach, which is the ideal position for people with back pain.

Are hammocks a good alternative to tents for camping?

If you like to camp, there are several reasons you should try swapping out your tent for a camping hammock:

  • Cost: Purchasing a high quality hammock is considerably less expensive than a high quality tent. You can get a quality camping hammock for under $20, so there’s very little reason not to give it a try.
  • Time: If you’ve practiced and suitable trees are around, setting up a hammock can take you less than five minutes – more time to enjoy the hiking trails or start building that campfire. If you’re not sure if there will be trees where you’re camping, you can use posts.
  • Weight: Some camping hammocks weigh only one pound and fold up quite compact, making them especially great for backpacking or hike-in campsites.
  • Comfort: Many find sleeping in a hammock to be far more comfortable to sleeping on the ground. This offers a much less expensive, less cumbersome, and less time consuming option than using a quality camping mattress.

Which hammock should I buy?

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The best hammock for you depends on your purpose. Are you an explorer at heart looking to carry a bed with you wherever you go? Or are you gearing up for long summer evenings enjoying a good book or a cold beer in your backyard?

Either way, we’ve got you covered.

Lounging / Backyard: The Vivere Double Hammock is a great choice if you’re primarily planning to use your hammock at home. It costs just over $100, but comes with a quality hammock stand, making it a good value.

One thing we like about this option is that both the hammock and stand fit into an included carry case. So while you won’t be taking it backpacking, you could easily bring this hammock on a road trip to the beach.

Camping: We recommend the Wise Owl Outfitters camping hammock. Available as either a single ($26) or a double ($36), it is a good value and quite lightweight at just 16 ounces for the single.

Easy to pack up into its attached compact pouch, this option would be great for a backpacking trip where you want to avoid pitching and taking down a tent at a different campsite each night. It’s extremely durable and available in a variety of unique colors.

Should you try a hammock?

Our verdict: YES!

Hammocks are great for sleeping, lounging, or camping – pretty much everyone enjoys at least one of those activities. No matter how you like to spend your time, a hammock is a low cost and low maintenance addition to your outdoor gear.

Some people even find them so comfortable, that they use them indoors as a fun seating option or even as their primary bed. However you plan to use it, our Hammocks 101 guide can help you choose the best option for you and show you how to hang a hammock so that you’re staring up at the sky in no time.

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