How to Sleep in a Hammock: Essential Tips

how to sleep in a hammock
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Have you ever wondered how to sleep in a hammock? As peaceful as hammocks look, they are also incredibly intimidating for people who have never used one before. Much like the movies, there’s a deep-rooted fear of getting into the hammock and spinning endlessly only to be thrown on the ground.

Luckily, more often than not, getting into the best hammock can be just as easy and comfortable as getting into your bed. This point is especially true after you’ve done it a couple of times and have it set up correctly. If you’re looking for the best hammocks but also need to learn how to set them up, this guide will surely help.

How to Avoid Setup Mistakes

Before we get into how you can get a good night’s rest in your hammock, you first need how to set one up properly. You’ve likely seen people who have their hammocks dropping low to the ground in almost a v-formation. Even though it might look cool, you might not want to sleep with your body contorted all night.

It’s far too often that first-time hammock owners hang it too low or have one end affixed higher than the other. This event can cause you to nearly be touching the floor when sleeping or be at an odd angle to where all of the blood rushes to your head. Ideally, you’ll want a fairly flat surface, as this will help you to avoid back pain.

It’s also incredibly common for people to pull their hammocks too tight to make them lie as flat as possible. When in reality, you should be taking advantage of the natural curve of the device instead of trying to make a board-level sleeping surface. The tighter you pull your hammock, the more likely it will be to cocoon you on the sides, and the more it will get damaged.

How to Perfectly Hang a Hammock

It’s quite simple to hang your hammock correctly for a good night’s rest. All you need to remember is not to be afraid of the natural curve of the device, as it’s there for a reason. Your job is to find the perfect medium between too loose and too tight.

Step #1: Find Hardware

Since you’ll be setting your hammock up outdoors, you’ll want to make sure your hanging hardware won’t cause any damage to trees. Plenty of people prefer to use j-hooks, anchors, and other penetrating equipment for the longest lasting support. However, this takes away the mobility of your hammock.

A better alternative would be to either use hardware in conjunction with tree straps, as this avoids damage to trees. You can also test your skills at using rope, as it’s incredibly easy to pack and is one of the most portable options.

For this guide, we’ll use tree straps as most hammocks come with a tree-friendly suspension system that you can put to good use.

Step #2: Prepare the Hammock

Using the instructions included with the tree straps or your hammock, affix a strap to both ends of the hammock. You can then lay it out flat in preparation for hanging.

Step #3: Measure Distance

On average, you would need between 10 and 15 feet of space between trees, depending on how long your hammock is and the amount of tension you’ll want. The more tension you need, you’ll want to add two to three feet to the average distance. You may also find that some trees are spaced out too far and not to worry.

Using multiple tree straps or chains, you can bridge the gap between trees. This feature is essential for people camping or backpacking in a less dense part of the forest.

Step #4: Hang One Side

The next step is to hang one side of the hammock since this will help you figure out how high or low the other half should be. Ideally, you’ll want the shelter to be at least 18 inches off the ground, which should make it easy to get in and out of the hammock. You’ll also want to ensure the suspension system for the hammock is at a 30-degree angle.

Secure your tree straps at least 48 inches up the trunk of the tree. You will then want to use your suspension rope around a second tree trunk and use a carabiner or knot to attach the suspension rope to the hammock. Follow this process for the other side of the hammock.

Step #5: Test the Hammock

Once you have everything ready to sleep in, you’re going to want to test it out to make sure the hammock is secure and comfortable. Remember, you shouldn’t feel too much tension, but you also shouldn’t be too close to the ground. If there are any adjustments to be made, you can quickly fix the tension by working with your suspension ropes on either side.

How to Sleep in a Hammock

Now that you are well aware of how to set up a hammock for sleep, let’s go over the best tips for staying comfortable at night.

Tip #1: Use Bedding

Although you won’t be able to put a pair of sheets on your hammock, we highly recommend having some type of bedding available to keep you warm. You’ll want to opt for a blanket and a pillow, as it can help you to feel more comfortable, especially if it’s your first time.

Your hammock may also have unique features for you to take advantage of. For example, some hammocks have sides that come up and over your body to create a cocoon.

This process is a fantastic way to shield yourself from the elements as well as any bugs and pests. The material will be incredibly breathable and allow for optimal ventilation while you are asleep.

Tip #2: Adjust Your Legs

Did you know that your feet and legs have a lot to do with how you sleep in a hammock? By merely adjusting them, you can change the comfort level drastically. Consider adjusting your body to where you’re lying at a 30-degree angle instead of lying horizontally straight down the center of the hammock.

This step will help you to experience the most comfortable part of the device that will lull you to sleep in a matter of minutes. By capitalizing on this method, you’ll be cutting across the hammock, which keeps your body away from where most of the tension is. There aren’t any pressure points for you to worry about and you’ll be able to sleep nearly flat.

Tip #3: Invest in a Double Hammock

If you’re a solo camper or backpacker, you might be wondering why you need a double hammock. Having more space to sleep in isn’t a bad thing, especially if you like to move around a lot. Not to mention, with a double hammock, bringing a friend along will help you to avoid having to buy a second hammock.

With a double hammock, you’ll have more versatility in terms of your sleeping position, and it can also give you far more space for using a sleeping bag, blanket, and multiple pillows. Also, you’ll be able to pull the sides up even further over your body for a warmer night’s rest.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to sleep in a hammock is mostly knowing how to set it up for the most comfortable sleep possible. Millions of people love spending their summer afternoons relaxing in the sun with a glass of lemonade in their hammock. Among the other cool things for camping that you’ll find, shelter is by far the most important.

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