One of the first things that scare newcomers is the thought of hanging a hammock. To show just how simple it is, we’ve put together a quick guide to putting up your hammock and a few considerations to keep in mind.
Once you get to know hammocks, you cannot get enough of them. Long-time campers prefer hammocks, and usually people start out just getting them to relax in. But after just one night, they switch over and become avid hammock campers.
Gather your Materials
You will need your hammock, your straps and two trees about 10-15 feet apart. Any less than 10 feet and your hammock will be too loose. Applying body weight will make the hammock touch the ground. Any further and the hammock will be too tight and it will be uncomfortable and unstable.
It is a good idea to use straps instead of ropes, since rope will cut into the bark of the trees and will affect their health and even cause them to die in serious cases. Keep in mind that these trees are like your hosts, they are keeping you safe for the night and you don’t want to repay them by damaging them.
Straps are also much easier and safer, all you have to do is attach the straps to the trees and you’re good to go. Our Tree Saver Straps are incredibly durable and less complicated than rope, Use of rope requires extensive knowledge of knots and damages trees.
You will be saving trees and also saving yourself a lot of time, energy and frustration. The process will also go much quicker if you and a friend each grab an end and put up the hammock together.
Check the Terrain
Check your trees. Are they alive and well? A reliable way to check if a tree is alive is to scratch under the bark, not a big piece, if the flesh underneath is green or moist, then your tree is alive. Or you could aim a light kick at the bottom of the tree, if the bark comes away dry and in pieces then the tree is dead.
If you hang your hammock on a dead tree, then the results will be disastrous. The tree could break during the night, there might be strange creatures living around or in the tree. On the other side of the spectrum, you need to be sure that your tree is not too young.
A sapling is unsteady, this could lead to a number of untold problems when hanging your hammock. What you will need to do is just test to see if your hands fit around the trunk of the tree. If the tree is bigger than your hands then you are good to go and your tree is old enough.
Now, you will need to check the canopy and make sure that there aren’t any loose branches up there. These nasty pieces of work have fallen off of their respective trees and have gotten stuck in the canopy. They can be shaken by a slight gust of wind and will come crashing down without any warning. These dangerous branches have earned the ominous nickname of ‘widow makers’.
Keep in mind that those posts on the internet of hammocks hung over scary cliffs or at impossible heights, they are not advisable. Never, ever hang your hammock higher than you are willing to fall, and also check that the ground is flat and not covered in rocks. You can just imagine the repercussions of failing to recognize these two lifesaving principles.
Park Rules & Regulations
So, you’re all set and ready to have a hammock adventure. You’ve checked all the safety regulations, you found the perfect spot with the perfect view, and you cannot wait to jump into your hammock and just relax.
Then it happens, the park ranger storms over with an annoyed look on his face. You try and explain that your tree saver straps won’t damage the tree, but the ranger wants nothing to do with it. He has you pack up your gear and sent home in disgrace.
What went wrong? The fact is, that parks have rules and regulations. You need to make sure that your hammock is allowed in the park. The ranger will not turn a blind eye and it doesn’t matter how pure your intentions are. If it is against park rules and regulations, there is nothing that anyone can do to plead your case. Be prepared and check these things beforehand.
Hammock Hang Calculator
Ensure that your hammock is hanging at the perfect angle, or else you could be facing all sorts of problems. Thankfully, there have been a whole lot of hammock campers before you. Derek Hansen (credit for the images) has an innovative idea for perfect hammock hang. Hammock Calculator
You can also get the Hammock Hang Calculator App by Dan Wilson on your iphone or ipad for easy quick measurement calculations.
There are apps that you can download and websites you can visit. All from the palm of your hand and even on site if you’re desperate. A hammock hang calculator factors in the distance between trees, ridgeline length, preferred sit height, weight in hammock and hang angle then calculates how high you should put hammock anchor points for hanging your hammock.
And estimates the horizontal and gravitational forces applied to your hammock. Some mobile apps even include a clinometer to estimate the angle of your suspension. What used to take hours of charts, or just a vague guess, can now enhance your experience and simplify the process of hanging your hammock in no time at all.
Don’t let anything put you off of the idea of hammock camping. Most objections are usually baseless fears, and you should let nothing stop you from enjoying this incredible form of camping. You will experience the joys of nature in so much better detail, and your backpacking trips will forever be improved.
What are you waiting for? Go out and have your hammock adventure!