how to hang a hammock

How to Hang a Hammock (and the different methods)

In Hammock How-To by Adam

how to hang a hammock

If you want to relax and eliminate stress/anxiety, then then hang a hammock and just cherish your free time. The great thing about owning a hammock is that you can use it inside or outside your house. Hanging a hammock can be a challenge for those who have never done it before. It takes time to figure out exactly how you will need to hang the hammock properly and not have it fall. With that in mind, here’s a quick list of things you may want to keep in mind.

Places where you can set up your hammock

There are many options and places available to setup a hammock. The most popular option is between two trees. But there are people that set up a hammock at home between two poles or sources that give you enough structure and value. 

Before you learn how to hang a hammock, it’s important to be sure that local land managers agree with this type of thing. That’s especially true when it comes to parks, not all of them will be ok with that. And then there’s also the personal safety aspect. It might be nice to have the hammock right near a lake or a river, but that’s where most reptiles and animals tend to be. Not only that, but those locations are not that suitable for hammocking due to high humidity levels. If anything, you will end up damaging those places quickly and it will be a problem to think about.

If you find two trees where you can learn how to hang a hammock from a tree, make sure that they are suitable for this process. Ideally you want to avoid any type of poisonous plants or insects, sometimes you will encounter this type of situation and it’s obviously not something ideal. Making sure that the trees are clean and free of any insects is a priority. Stay clear of any pathways used by people or animals too, that can be a dangerous place to set up your hammock.

Selecting the best trees for your hammock and the right straps you can use

When you want to find the best trees, the distance between them will be dictated by the hammock design and length. Know your hammock’s measurements and make sure that you have enough space between the trees. When you try to find the right trees, make sure that those don’t have dead branches. Unhealthy trees will be a problem and that’s certainly something you want to keep in mind. We recommend you to go with some robust trees. If they have at least 6 inches in diameter that would be great, but the more they have, the better it will be. You want to avoid any falling tree branches too, so as we said we recommend you to check for any dead branches beforehand.

It’s a good idea to opt for the tree saver straps as that will help keep the tree safe. We recommend you to go with the wide nylon/polyester straps. These are not damaging the tree as much as regular cord or rope. The thinner the cord is, the more damage it can do to the tree. Not only do you want to avoid tree damage, but in this case a plastic wire or cord is also unsafe for you. These tend to be thin, so you won’t have enough support from them. Wider options are always the best one. In case you are in a group, don’t try to attach more than a hammock to a tree, just to be safe. The more strain you place on a tree, the more challenging it will be for you in the end.

Distance between trees

This is a topic for debate more often than not. A lot of people tend to believe that the ideal distance between trees will be anywhere from 10 to 15 feet. Those that have a spreader bar hammock will have to consider the hammock length when they choose the distance. That will be exactly the hammock length, and not anything else.

However, for regular hammocks you will also have to take into consideration the attachments, hardware and other tools. That’s why you may need a feet or two. As we mentioned earlier, you don’t want to add too much pressure. You want to keep it simple, as that’s what will give you the better value and quality in the end.

What is the best height and angle for your hammock?

Every hammock will come with its own set of setup instructions, which is what you want to keep in mind. Usually the recommended option is to have around 30-degrees as a strap angle. This is the angle between the ground and your strap. Some people tend to pull the hammock in order to get a higher angle. But this is more than enough and it’s also very safe. What you want to do is to create a pretty flat sleeping platform. However if you want to achieve too much flatness, you will end up with tensions on the sides. The last thing you want is to be constricted like that, so this approach will be a whole lot better.

Another thing you should consider is how high in the air you want to place your hammock. It’s very easy to think about hanging the hammock very high in the air. For safety reasons, you should never have your hammock more than 18” off the ground. Sure, it sounds great at first to have it up in the air, but you do want to get in and get out of it with ease. Plus, in case there are any issues and you end up falling, it’s better to have it very close to the ground. When it comes to sleeping in the hammock, we encourage you to angle the body at roughly 10-15 degrees related to the center. It will help a lot more and the approach itself will shine because of it.

adjusting a hammock

Adjusting the hammock so it will fit perfectly

When you learn how to hang a hammock from a tree, the main focus is to know how tight you pull it. The main rule here is that the tighter you are pulling the hammock, the more force will be on both the anchor points and the suspension. That’s why the 30-degree angle is good, because you can still hang the hammock loose and get the reliability you want.

If you want to hang a compact hammock, rideline length will be 8’, for the double or single hammocks that length will be 9’. It might not seem that much of a difference, but it’s definitely important to keep all of this in mind as you try to get the best results. 

There’s a dedicated hammock hang calculator that will help you figure out how high you will need to install the anchor points. You will have to share the distance between the trees, rideline length, hang angle, the weight in the hammock, sit height and so on. All the information you change in one of the cases and then go from there. This calculator is very simple to use and you will know where you can add the suspension points to have the best experience.

Hanging a hammock indoors

When you are hanging a hammock indoors the primary focal point has to be a combination of two beams close to one another. You will still need to take the hammock length into consideration. But ideally you want to have 2 very powerful and sturdy beams. Otherwise you will have issues hanging your hammock on them, so try to avoid any problems and take your time to install everything the right way. If you can actually use an overhead beam for the weight support, that would be very helpful.

The way you start hanging a hammock indoors is very easy to understand. You can wrap the straps or ropes around the beam/post. Use the carabiner or a knot to attach your suspension to the hammock. And that’s all there is to it. The results can be great, and you will have no problem hanging the hammock indoors because of it. Granted, this approach does take a little bit of time to get used to. 

Hanging the hammock from your car

You can totally do that, but the trick here is that you need to focus a lot more on safety. That’s why you need to have a very good roof rack which will actually support your weight. Not all car roofs will be able to sustain your weight, so you need to make sure that your car actually supports you and the hammock. Normally the roof rack manual will help you with that. 

Once you have that all figured out, bring your vehicle close to a tree. Tie the cord or rope to the tree and then do the same for the roof rack. You want to secure the hammock to straps. The trick is to be at a very safe distance. The hammock itself should be very comfortable and not super long. It will take a bit of getting used to but it’s certainly worth the effort.

Hammock hanging methods you can use

  • Using hammock hardware is a very good idea because you get a really good hold and the distance adjustment is very impressive too. On the other hand, the hardware installations are immobile and that will be an issue. Not to mention you will end up damaging trees with hammock hardware.
  • Ropes are very popular because they are inexpensive and you get a pretty good grip. Used adequately, they won’t harm trees and they aren’t a permanent solution. Instead, you get a lot of portability and value this way. On the other hand, they are not as good as straps and the knots have to be secured. If you don’t pay attention to that, you will end up dealing with damage and injuries.
  • Hammock stands are good if you want to start hanging a hammock indoors. The stand is portable, setting it up or moving it will be a breeze. The styles and designs are very nice and you also have your own support here. Despite being easy to move within the same yard, this is not a portable unit. It will also eat up a lot of space, which is not exactly the best option to focus on.
  • Tree straps are helpful because they don’t harm trees and you can use them for just about any distance. Some even consider them to be the best possible option for camping. These are very light too, which is always a plus. The downside for this is that you can’t use them on walls, which might be an issue for some people.

Other important hammock hanging tips

  • It’s a very good idea to hang the hammock with a good sag. The sag will help you lower the center of gravity, which means it will be hard to fall from it.
  • When you sit in the hammock, a good idea is to sit diagonally, as it gives more comfort and it raises safety. Some people also recommend using a knee pillow, you may want to take that into account. And while there, it’s also a good idea to raise the foot end higher. The reason why you want to do that is because you can prevent sliding. The food side of the hammock can be 8-10 inches higher, as it will be ok.
  • Keep in mind that you are in the wilderness, so bugs and insects can roam there all the time. Which is why it makes a lot of sense to invest in a good bug net. This way you can prevent any insects from disturbing your sleep.

Learning how to hang a hammock from a tree or how to start hanging a hammock inside is a great idea and it does bring in front amazing opportunities. The great thing about learning how to hang a hammock is that it’s an amazing survival skill. It will make it easy for you to sleep comfortably and away from any dangers.

Of course, it will take a little while to get used to the process and how you can do it right. Most of the time it’s up to you to experiment and try out new stuff as you try to get the best results, and it will be an enjoyable experience. We recommend you to give these tips a try and learn how to hang your hammock today. It’s a wonderful skill to have and the entire process of learning how to hang a hammock is very fun!