Photo: Gabriel Pahontu (Shutterstock)
Now that summer’s almost here, it’s time to enjoy the great outdoors. Instead of relaxing inside on the couch, you can relax outside, slowly rocking in a hammock. But if you’ve never put up a hammock before, you may find the process a bit intimidating—which is totally understandable, given that it’s basically a net or a piece of fabric that’s supposed to support the weight of a human adult.
Fortunately, when you buy a new hammock, it typically comes with a detailed set of instructions, written with hammock novices in mind. While you should definitely follow those directions, here are a few general pointers to make the process as quick and simple as possible.
Find the right location
If the plan is to hang your hammock from trees in your yard, you can’t just pick two semi-close together and start hanging. Ideally, you want a trunk-to-trunk distance of between 13 to 16 feet.
And make sure the trees are sturdy, mature, and healthy enough to support the hammock and the person in it without bending. In other words, avoid young trees, or those that might be diseased or rotting.
If trees aren’t an option and you’re using metal poles or wooden posts, the same rules apply regarding distance and sturdiness.
Do the math
For something that’s supposed to be relaxing, hammocks—or at least hanging them properly—can involve a bit of homework. There are a few factors to keep in mind when putting one up, including the hammock length, hang angle, and how high off the ground you’d like the hammock to hang.
Luckily, there are handy hammock calculators like this one that do all the work for you—all you need to do is enter the numbers.
Fasten the hammock
When it comes to fastening the hammock to trees, poles, or posts, you have a few options:
Keep in mind that because you’ll be drilling into the trees to attach the hardware, it’s possible that this method can damage the trees. But if it’s the best option for your setup, you can buy a hammock-hanging kit with everything you need.
Otherwise, screw heavy-duty eye bolts into each tree, and then attach a short chain to each eye bolt with an S-hook, which connects with the hardware on the end of the hammock.
This is probably the easiest way to hang a hammock—plus they’re removable, and don’t damage the tree. One side of the tree strap has a metal ring, while the other has a loop of fabric. Simply wrap the fabric part around the trunk of the tree, then thread the end with the ring through the loop, aligning it with the ring on the end of the hammock. Connect the hammock with an S-hook, then adjust the tree straps to get it to your desired height.
Chain or rope
Another no-drilling option would be to tightly wrap a length of chain or strong rope around each tree at least twice. Then either secure the chain with an S-hook, or tie a hammock knot with the rope to attach it to the trees.