If you have just gotten your hammock and you had to ask this question, don’t be embarrassed, you aren’t the only one. When it comes to deciding how high to hang your hammock, I am here to give you some advice that was given to me; hopefully, it helps you out!
Most people like their hammock to sink to the height of a comfortable chair when they sit down in it. This means that for many people the hammock will be resting around their waste when it is hanging freely, and the point where the suspension meets the anchor will be slightly over their head, this is not always the case of course.
It goes without saying that most people like to get into their hammock easily so having it sit higher than the waist is not all that common. There are; however, some adventurous folk out there who have set up hammocks in all kinds of interesting situations. Effort and adventure are not the only things you need to be concerned about when it comes to hammock height.
Things to Consider
There are a few different things to consider when it comes to choosing your hammock’s height. I already mentioned a couple of things but I feel safety should always be your number one concern. On top of effort, adventure, and safety; I think that your purpose and the environment are other factors that you should take into consideration when deciding how high to hang your hammock. Most manufacturers also have recommendations on how high you should hang, this is because they don’t want people to be hurt using their products.
For most of the hammocks I own, the manufacturer’s recommendation is not to hang it so that you sag more than 18 inches off of the ground. If you are new to hammocking then this can be hard to judge while you are setting it up.
As I’ve said before, when it comes to choosing the height for your hammock, safety should always be your number one concern. This does not always mean that you need to set your hammock low, it all depends on your situation. I trust that you are to be able to determine a safe hammock height, but most people would say that if you are hanging higher than your head, then you are too high.
There are some situations where you may have to hang high in order to sleep safely. If you are in a swamp or bog and it was raining at night, it would be smart to hang higher than usual. It really just comes down to common sense
A lot of people who buy hammocks do so to relax, so setting up a hammock that takes a lot of effort to climb into kind of defeats the purpose. Perhaps “effort” isn’t as big of a factor for hammock camping, where you are only using your current setup for a few nights, but for a backyard hammock, this is huge.
If you are looking for the hammock height that takes the least amount of effort, then you want to be able to just sit right down on it. In this situation, even having to stand on your tiptoes is wasted energy.
I’ve already mentioned that some say that you shouldn’t hang higher than your head, and I’ve given you one exception to that rule too. Another exception is when you have the proper personal protective equipment and know how to use it. Just to make things clear, if you try anything adventurous with a hammock you are doing so at your own risk.
There are many people who are professionally trained to use hammocks at insane heights. Sometimes you even see rock climbers using hammocks on the sides of cliffs. Most of the times these people are looking out for their safety by wearing an anchored harness.
When you are using a hammock you do have to remember that it is important to be up off the ground. You want to keep other reasons that you are using it in mind as well. Many people who use a hammock when they camp will also use it a chair during the day. It would be annoying if you were trying to eat while sitting in your hammock and your feet weren’t able to touch the ground.
Try to keep alternate uses for your hammock in mind when you are setting it up. If you are camping in the winter and just using your hammock to keep your gear out of the snow, then you might want your hammock up higher than normal; it would make digging through your bag easier.
I believe in taking care of the environment. It’s not often but once in a blue moon you may have to consider environmental awareness when choosing your hammock’s height. I have already talked about how hammocks can damage trees, but sometimes you have campsites so worn down that the trees are already damaged.
Try not to do any further damage to trees that have already been harmed. If you absolutely must hang from a damaged tree try to do so where the bark is still healthy. I have also seen campsites in which the only option for setting up a hammock was over some saplings. In situations like this, I recommend setting up higher than normal if it is safe to do so.
Thankfully with the increase in popularity of hammock camping, campgrounds are becoming more and more accommodating to hammock users. If you are concerned about whether or not you should bring a hammock to your campground, you should give them a call and see what they say!
Children on the hammock
One thing that some people are going to have to consider is whether or not their child will be on the hammock. Most of the things you are going to need to worry about depends on the age of the children.
If you are setting up a hammock and expect a very young child to use it, then you really need to think about hanging it low to the ground. Another thing you may also need to worry about with school-aged kids is them playing in the yard and on the hammock. With kids it is always possible for injuries to happen.
Height vs Sag
Sometimes people confuse the hammock’s sag with height and they are often correlated, however, they are not the same thing. Although you can set up a hammock properly at any height, if you set it up too tight it will be too high and if it’s too loose then it will sag too low.
If you are using a ridgeline, as I have recommended in the past, then you don’t need to worry about the sag of the hammock. You will know your straps are not at the right angle by the tension of the ridgeline being too tight or too loose.
Without going into too much detail in this post, a hammocks suspension should be sitting at between 30 and 40 degrees. Many people may have a number that they like to use as the “perfect” number but it’s really up to you and how comfortable you find yourself.
Are You Nervous About Setting Up Your Hammock?
Sometimes I see people who are nervous about setting up their hammock, and this is natural. We’ve found that a lot of the time this nervousness stems from a lack of confidence either in the equipment or in the person’s own ability to set it up properly. In order to get over this fear, you need to face it but you don’t have to jump into the deep end right away!
Try slowly sitting in a hammock that was set up by a more experienced hammock user or perhaps try setting up yours an inch or two off the ground. From there try working your way up higher every time you set it up. The point is, you should find a way that you can slowly gain confidence in your hammock and in yourself. Now you will finally be able to relax in your very own hammock.
At the End of The Day
There really is no such thing as proper hammock height. Some manufacturers may give a number in which they feel it is safe to hang under but the height that is most comfortable for you is the height you should use. There are a few factors that I think you could think about in order to decide what your preference is.
We do think that you should always think of your safety and the safety of your children first and foremost. In some cases, this could mean using safety equipment such as a harness when hanging at significant heights.
Most people, however, seem to like their hammock to hang just under their waist so they can sit down easily and sink into the hammock as if it was a comfortable chair. How do you like your hammock? Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear it!