Sometimes a long weekend at the lake can be overwhelming. With the packing and meal planning, the endless commute north, and the never-ending list of cottage projects, it can all be a bit much. If that sounds familiar, the best way to de-stress is to focus on the activities that drew you to the lake in the first place. And perhaps the most relaxing of all is the classic cottage nap in an expertly hung hammock. If you’re in need of a good nap this season, here are our expert tips on how to create the perfect snoozing spot, straight from our very own Cottage Coach.
And of course, before you hunker down with your next summer read, be sure to apply some DEET-free Off! Gentle Insect Repellent. The last thing you want is a scourge of pesky mosquitoes interrupting your slumber. Pretection is the best prevention from mosquitoes.
Choose the right type
Rope hammocks (either comfy cotton or more durable polyester) have long been favourites at the cottage, because they won’t collect as much debris if you leave them hanging when not in use. No one wants to clear away sticky pine needles and helicopter seeds before nuzzling in for a snooze.
If you’ll be removing it between naps, a cotton or quilted hammock is one of the most comfortable options. Cottagers and campers alike have also taken a shine to parachute-style hammocks. But while they can be quite cozy, they have more of a tendency to envelop you when you lie in them, so you’ll be less likely to feel the breeze off the lake.
Whichever type you choose, remember that lying end-to-end isn’t ideal. For maximum comfort, you actually want to lie slightly diagonally. That way, you’ll fully expand the hammock, and it won’t wrap around you like a cocoon.
Respect your trees
Ropes that are too tight can strip trees of their bark, and the loss of that protective layer can leave them susceptible to fungus, pests, and the elements. To keep your trees healthy, you might want to use thicker hammock-hanging straps. But if you still want to use ropes, don’t over tighten them, and be sure to move them slightly each summer so you’re not wearing away the same part of each trunk.
Choose the right spot
Depending on your property, you might be limited by the number of perfectly spaced trees when you’re choosing where to hang your hammock. But if you’re facing a wealth of options, keep four factors in mind.
Even if you doze off quickly, the view should be a priority. Closer to the lake is ideal, especially if you want to feel the breeze on a hot day.
Shade is less of an issue if you’re hanging your hammock between tall, sturdy trees. But if you’re using a hammock stand, pick a spot that’s out of the sun. You don’t want to oversleep and ruin your cottage weekend with a sunburn.
If you have constant cottage company—especially guests with kids—you might want to pick an out-of-the-way spot that’s removed from the noise, whether it’s conversations on the deck or the shouts of dock jumpers.
Finally, don’t overlook the safety of your napping spot. Even a well-hung hammock can cast you out, so watch out for jagged rocks or stumps beneath you, and never hang it over outdoor stairs, even if it’s just a couple of steps leading down from your deck.
Find your angle
One of the biggest hammock blunders is hanging it too taut between the trees. That said, too much slack won’t be great for your back. For a just-right amount of droop, hang your hammock so that it resembles a smile. And don’t hang both ends at the same height—the foot end should actually be about eight inches higher to keep you from sliding down while you doze.
Want to embrace all of the classic cottage activities this summer? Make the most of your time outside with DEET-free Off! Gentle Insect Repellent. Pretection is the best prevention from mosquitoes.
Photo credit: Alessandro Cancian / Shutterstock