How to hang a hammock

Hammock

All you want to do is lie in your hammock with a cold drink—sounds easy enough. But it turns out, hanging a hammock is a little trickier that you may think. There’s actually a whole bunch of physics involved in getting your hammock strung up correctly. There are calculations, measurements, and angles to work out. Here are a few things you’ll need to think about before grabbing that beverage and your favourite book.

Choosing a location

This is the key decision you’ll need to make before hanging a hammock. Obviously, the availability of trees or posts to attach the hammock to will definitely dictate where it goes. If you’re attaching it to a tree, make sure that you don’t tie the rope too tight, or use one that will scar the tree. (To prevent tree scarring, you could invest in something like this Leather Cambium Friction Saver or change the location of the rope each year.) Once you’ve decided on a spot, you’ll need to figure out how high to attach it.

Calculating the angle

Thankfully, exactly where to attach it is easy with the Hammock Hang Calculator. Available as an app for $0.99 or online for free, the calculator explains terms like the ridgeline, shear force, and suspension length in one easy-to-understand diagram. Simply take a few measurements, punch them into the calculator, and it will do the rest for you.

Depending on how sophisticated your hammock is, the optimal ridgeline length may be indicated on the package. This is a good guide for hanging your hammock with the right amount of tension.

Of course, this is all up to personal preference, so don’t be afraid to try a bunch of combinations to find your perfect set up.