How Tight Should My Hammock be? Expert Tips
Believe it or not, a hammock is not supposed to be too tight or too loose. Experts suggest a hammock must be a little bit curved in the middle. Some say it must have a banana shape. The recommended hanging position is that there must be a 30 degrees angle between the straps and the ground. And the lowest point on your hammock must be 18 inches off the ground.
The 30 degrees angle and the 18 inches height show that the hammock is not too tight or too loose. The 18 inches height makes it easy for you to get in and out of the hammock. And your back will be in a very comfortable position. The high hammock walls and squeezed shoulders are signs of a very tight hammock. You will also see stress lines on the hammock fabric.
Reasons a Hammock Can be Too Tight
- You tied the hammock too tight
Most hammock users pull the hammock straps until the fabric is flat in the middle. This is the wrong way to hang a hammock because it forces the fabric to be too tight and uncomfortable to lay in it. Look for a 30-degree angle between the straps and the ground. This angle allows the hammock to hang appropriately.
- Wrong suspension angle
This point interrelates with the first point above. Do not pull so hard the straps of the hammock and also look for a 30 degrees suspension angle. The suspension must not be too steep or too flat because it can cause tension in the middle of the hammock making it tighten. You can use a ridgeline if you want to get the perfect and consistent suspension angle.
- An extra-long hammock
Your body height and the length of the hammock must correlate. Research says that the hammock must be 3 feet longer than your body height. The middle will be tight when you lay in an extra-long hammock. This is because the fabric will squeeze making the sides tight. Also, avoid a very short hammock because it will be uncomfortable to lay in it.
- Type of hammock
Some types of hammocks are manufactured with tighter fabric than others. This is because the manufacturers make tight hammocks to be used to store camping tools and equipment. Some people get misinformed by retailers and sleep in such hammocks. Take note that the tight fabric allows the camper to store heavy camping gear.
Outcomes of a Too Tight Hammock
You will be cocooned in the hammock. This is because the side walls are tall and high around you. You can use your hands to pull down the walls but it will make you sleep in a very uncomfortable position. Some people even get claustrophobic because of the tight side frames.
Another thing is that you will find yourself forced to sleep in the middle of the hammock. And no space for you to move around, stretch out, and change positions. The comfort of a hammock is when you can lay at any position with enough room to do other things. A tight hammock does not allow you to do so.
The last outcome is that a tight hammock adds pressure on the objects it is suspended from. It increases the chances of great damage on the trees or the patio ceiling. It can weaken the suspension hooks. Or the straps can over-brush the tree trunk.
Common Hammock Mistakes That People Make
- Ignoring the straps
This can sound dramatic, but do not use ropes or paracord to suspend a hammock. A strap is the best accessory to hang a hammock. Ropes and paracord can damage the object you are hanging from. In addition, some ropes are not strong enough to hold the bodyweight of an adult human being. Paracord tends to slide when it gets wet hence not suitable for the rainy season.
Straps have a width of almost one inch, making it hard to hurt the trees. Also, the huge width increases the grip making straps safer than ropes and paracord which can slide.
- Selecting wrong trees
Don’t just hang a hammock between two trees. There are some factors you must consider about the trees before you hang the hammock. The health of the trees is an important factor you must consider. Look for a tree whose bark does not have any peelings. If you see any exposed wood on the tree trunk move on to the next one.
The spacing between the trees is another factor. The space between the trees must be three feet longer than the length of the hammock. This gives you good room for you to tie the hammock straps. Also, consider the age of the trees. Look for mature trees that have a good diameter that can hold your body weight.
Also, watch out for the canopy of the trees. Do not hang a hammock under trees that have dangerous insects. Also, be careful with dead branches that can fall on you leading to injuries. Still, avoid poisonous trees.
- Unbalanced suspension
You will hear a hammock user complaining about sliding while lying in the hammock. This is because one side of the hammock is higher than the other. This is why it is good to carry a tape measure that will help you to balance both sides. But according to physics, hanging the feet side slightly higher than the head side will also prevent sliding because of your center mass position.
- Lying parallel to the trees
You will see videos and pictures of people sleeping in a hammock parallel to the trees which is a very uncomfortable position. The best position is lying at an angle. At an angle, the body will be flatter, reducing the tension on your back. The parallel position makes you curve and exert a lot of pressure on your back and neck.
The hammock straps need to be at 30 degrees angle with the ground and the lowest point (the middle of the hammock) is 18 inches off the ground. When these two dimensions are considered, then the hammock will be hanging at a tight enough suspension. A too-tight hammock is flat in the middle while a too loose hammock is sagging in the middle. Both are very uncomfortable to use.