How To Hammock

By Jordan Stowe

Lone Peak High School student have been taking on the adventure of hammocking. As summer approaches here is a guide on how to hammock.

The Wrong Hammock

While rope hammocks are the perfect paradise hammocks they can be quite uncomfortable to stay in for a long period of time, and are not the most hiking friendly. Rope hammock spreader bars disrupt the natural center of gravity that prevents your weight from collecting at the lowest point, which can lead to back pain. These hammocks can also be shaky and unbalanced. You might have even been a victim of the hammock flipping.  

The brands do not really matter but the fabric does. The best fabric for your hammock would be nylon. Brands that use nylon are ENO, Grand Trunk Nano, Kammok, or Hennessy. There are many brands out there to search to find the one you are looking for. When looking for a hammock it would be best to get a double, so for the pad and sleeping bag to go in (if camping) it will be more comfortable.

Straps or Cords

Another common source of confusion is attaching the hammocks to the trees. Many hammocks come with a set of paracords with it. Using a bare rope on the trees dig into the bark, which hurts the trees. The paracords come with different loops so your hammock can be sa tight or as loose, and can reach from a distant.  You can find paracords or straps from different brands such as ENO, Grand Trunk, or most other companies.

How to get a Flat Lay

How can sleeping in such a curvy cradle be comfortable? When setting up the hammock, the first mistake many people make is hanging it up too tight. Most people think that the tighter the flatter, but a few things that happen: when doing this your body weight pulls the hammock so tight the sides won't cocoon around your, leading to falling off. If the ropes too tight it can squeeze your shoulders being uncomfortable to lay in. It can also damage to your hammock and the trees.

To prevent this loosen the straps up. Give your hammock a good amount of slack to work with. Take advantage of the loose material to stretch out and use the full width of the hammock. By lying at an angle, you can get a flat lay even when your hammock looks like a loose curvy sling. Get your hammock set up with plenty of slack.

It’s important to lie at an angle to get comfortable. All you are doing is shifting your body from the midline of the hammock 30 degrees so that you are lying at a diagonal. What you’ll notice is that the center of the hammock is the tightest, while the sides remain loose. By adjusting the angle of your body, you’ll be cutting across the curve of the hammock. The hammock will flatten out underneath you and give you a flat lay without pressure points. Your neck and feet will maintain a slight elevation and the hammock will conform to your  back and won't be restricting.

Staying Warm

If you are going camping in the cold, this is important. The traditional sleeping bag and pad combo works just as well suspended in the area. This is why it is more important to get a double hammock. Hammocks allows the cold night air to pass through. A bag will cover your top insulation, but it is less effective underneath, leading to the pad as insulation. Since the weather is warming up you will soon be able to go hammocking with just your hammock and and if camping, a light jacket with a blanket.

The Environment

Just because a hammock is best enjoyed in sunny weather, doesn't mean that you can't use them in all weather conditions. You can bring a rain fly or a tarp to relax in your hammock while you enjoy the pitter patter of raindrops on your lightweight roof.  Bug nets are designed for a hammock. One of the best ways to defeat the insects is to stay away from camping near large pools of stagnant water where insects breed.

Safety

Like any activity outdoors, be aware of your surroundings. Before you set up your hammock check your gear. Make sure you hammock has no holes in the fabric, that can lead the whole hammock to rip in half. Make sure to pick sturdy trees that can bear your weight. Thick trees are usually best. Don't hang above rocks, just in case your hammock falls. Hang as high as you're willing to fall.

Leave No Trace

Most important is to remember that you are in nature. Its our responsibility it nice for future generations to discover and enjoy. No matter if it's camping, hiking, or just a picnic, it's up to each of us to leave no trace that we were there. The impact that we have on our natural spaces is huge. Even when we have the best intentions, it's easy to overlook how we may be affecting the ecosystem. Ways to do so are, dispose of waste properly,leave what you find except for trash, minimize campfires, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others around you.