If you read our articles, then you probably already know that I’m a huge hammock fan!
It can be used in bivouac, in bushcraft, in the garden, on the balcony and even directly in the house or the apartment.
The hammock is perfect for sleeping or chilling by the fire, reading or simply contemplating the nature around you.
Provided, of course, that your hammock is properly hung.
Installing a hammock involves following a few basic rules to enjoy optimal comfort, whether or not you have trees available.
So here are my tips:
How to properly install your hammock?
Hanging your hammock is not done randomly and requires following a few rules and various techniques.
The goal is that you don’t wake up with terrible back pain after spending a night in the banana position.
How high to hang your hammock?
Generally, we recommend a height of 80cm to 1m50.
Personally, I like to adjust the height so that, once seated in my hammock, I am in the chair position, so feet on the ground.
So, about 50cm, once the hammock is stretched. Without tension, we are around 75-80cm… but it depends on your hammock and your weight.
If there are two of you clinging to the same trees (bunk bed atmosphere), you will obviously have to adjust the height accordingly.
Also watch out if you are in an area with frequent passages of wild boars and other critters: I advise you to hang your hammock at the highest point.
Important advice: do not hang both sides of your hammock at the same height. A higher attachment point for the feet will prevent you from slipping during the night, as your upper body is heavier than your lower body.
What is the ideal distance between the two fixing points?
We recommend a distance of 2.50m to 4.00m between the two support points of the hammock.
That’s the theory.
In practice, we often do with the spacing we find on the ground… and the maximum length of its straps.
If you know a few knots, the distance can also be easily extended.
Should you stretch your hammock or not?
There are two schools here…
The first school is what I will call “the Brazilian”.
The idea is not to stretch the hammock, but rather to install it in the shape of a “smile”. In other words, you end up with 30 cm between the high points of the hammock (at the hooks) and the low point (at the centre of the hammock).
This layout allows you to sleep diagonally in the hammock, and puts less strain on the seams and “lines”.
On the other hand, this forces you to have a larger hammock (therefore heavier) and this position is not necessarily the most suitable for accessories (tarp, mosquito net, under the blanket, etc.).
The second school, mine, is “maximum tension”!
Indeed, the tighter a hammock is, the closer you will get to the sleeping position of a traditional bed.
Tight, you can sleep on your back, on your side and even on your stomach.
On the other hand, it is important in this configuration that the hammock is adjusted “equidistant strands”; that is to say that the hammock is well centred between its two attachment points and therefore that the length of the straps is identical.
Otherwise, you will quickly find yourself “compressed”.
Comfort advice: you can put a piece of clothing (or a cushion, inflatable for example) under your knees to avoid having your legs stretched all night, or under your head as a pillow.
What knots to tie to hang your hammock?
No need to be a sailor to successfully tie the knots to hang your hammock!
To fix this one, you just have to make a loop.
Fold the rope into two equal sections. Then go around the trunk or the support, keeping your loop closed at the chosen height. Slide the ends of the rope through your loop. Finally, squeeze hard!
The weight of the hammock, as well as your own, should hold your fixation.
Otherwise, if the support is a little smooth or you want a “real” knot, just to be sure not to end up on the ground during the night (it happened to a friend, I assure you that woke us up… and it made us laugh), I advise you:
- The fist knot
- The chair knot
- Hangman’s knot
- fisherman’s knot
How to install a knotless hanging system?
The advantage of cordless systems allows you to quickly install and uninstall your hammock, but also to adjust it (much) more easily.
You also limit your ecological impact since these methods generally allow less damage to the trees.
There are quite a few different systems, with or without carabiners, with ropes, with fixing straps… each having its advantages and disadvantages.
How to also plan the installation of the tarp, the mosquito net and/or the under a blanket?
When you hang a hammock, you also have to think about accessories and additional equipment:
It is therefore necessary to anticipate the place or the height… but also to think about the characteristics of your other materials (length of the tarp, means of hanging the underquilt, etc.).
Can you hang several hammocks on the same trees?
It is possible to hang several hammocks on “common” trees.
We talked about it earlier, it is for example possible to position two hammocks on top of each other: The first must be installed low enough to be able to guarantee easy access to the second hammock, located higher up.
Be careful, however, on the lower floor, the bedding should not be too low so that you do not touch the ground once installed in it.
Also, allow enough space in height between the two devices so that the user at the top does not crush the one at the bottom (and remember that the lighter of the two is at the top!).
If you are two or more hammocks, it is also possible to position them in a triangle.
In other words, two or three hammocks on only three trees.
Very practical if you only have one tarp (and/or want to travel lighter)… and so much more user-friendly!
Where to hang a hammock in the middle of nature?
We are going to talk here about the attachment areas of the hammock attachments.
Nevertheless, I would like to remind you of the importance of also choosing the location of your bivouac carefully: not too exposed, not too close to a path or a road, not on a bed of animals or a track, etc.
Also prefer flat, dry land (less risk of ticks and mosquitoes) and cleared (no brush and co., otherwise you may regret it when you go to take a piss at 3:00 a.m. on a dark night… ).
And also check that there is no rotten branch above your head, especially if the night promises to be windy.
The obvious and easiest solution: on two trees
Regardless of the species of the tree… however, it is essential to select adult trees with a vigorous trunk.
They must be able to support a fairly heavy weight without bending. It is therefore quite natural that you must exclude young trees.
Harder: hanging a hammock with a single tree
If the distance between two trees does not allow you to install your hammock, or if you only have one tree available, know that there are solutions!
You can use one or more walking sticks, or tree branches!
All you have to do is put them upright and stretch them with ropes and hang them on the ground… or make a tripod with them.
It gets complicated: hanging a hammock without a tree
More complicated, but not impossible!
What you need isn’t a tree…it’s a hanging point.
It can therefore be a rock, scree, a GR pole, an electric pole, a car, dead wood, driftwood…
In short, we will have to be inventive.
For example, if you’re in a rocky area, you can stick sticks into cracks to attach your tether strap to. Without a piece of wood, tie a big knot in your rope and wedge it in a crack.
The rope can then be attached to spoilers; planting pieces of wood in cracks to fix the rope there; or tie a knot in the rope, a knot that is stuck in a constriction in the rock.
You can also succumb to a special hammock stand, but that means extra weight to carry. Well…
I invite you to go to the Light Hiking forum from which the images below are taken, for other ideas.
Where to hang a hammock at home?
Any other atmosphere, we leave the woods to return to the cosy comfort of your home.
What could be better than a good hammock to enjoy a book, take a nap or simply enjoy your garden?
It has the enormous advantage of settling anywhere, and I’m going to prove it to you right now…
How to hang a hammock in your garden?
Setting up a hammock in your garden is easy and shouldn’t be a problem. :
- between two trees: the rules I was able to tell you about previously apply in the same way.
- between two posts: plant them solidly and plan them high enough. If they are made of wood, treat them against humidity. You can also stretch the hammock between a tree and a garden shed, provided that the structure of the latter is strong enough.
- with a self-supporting structure: in wood or metal, they are easy to assemble, move and store for the winter.
How to hang a hammock on your balcony?
To hang your hammock on a terrace or balcony, first, make sure that the walls (or railings) are strong enough.
It is better if they are made of concrete, stones or bricks.
Install hooks using dowels suitable for your wall material.
For example, attach one side of the hammock to the wall of your home and the other to the railing of your balcony, using a system of carabiners/hooks or knots.
How to hang a hammock from the ceiling or on a beam?
If you want to install a hammock on a ceiling or beam, I recommend a chair hammock instead.
Otherwise, the angle will probably not allow you to be comfortable…
Make a hole in the ceiling or in the beam with the drill that goes well. Drive in the peg, the eye screw then attaches the carabiner. Install the attachment chain or rope to connect the hammock.
And there is more than to send you in the air!
How to hang a hammock between two walls, in your house?
Having had a hammock in my studio, I can assure you that it is absolutely brilliant.
Probably my best naps…
Choose walls that are obviously opposite, ideally load-bearing (hollow concrete block, solid concrete, even hollow red brick) and use suitable fixing kits… or even, if necessary, chemical sealants.