What You Should Know About Backyard Hammocks

What You Should Know About Backyard Hammocks

Hammocks are great for resting, swinging, and sleeping. Basically, these hammocks are hanging beds of rope or canvas suspended between two positions. Hammocks not only improve your sleeping posture and reduce the pressure on your back, hammocks have also proven helpful in treating insomnia.

Your hammock must be suspended at a safe height. You should also lie on the hammock properly to avoid flipping. Also, the hammock shouldn’t hold more than its maximum weight recommended by the manufacturer. If you wash your hammock appropriately and store it well, you can expect your hammock to last long. 

Hammocks are great alternatives to beds. Nonetheless, there are some dangers like falling from your hammock or your kids getting entwined in the hammock’s netting. These are not all you should know. How should you wash the hammock safely? Should you put in a dryer? Do hammocks hurt trees? Let us learn the answers to these popularly asked questions and many more.

Which is Better Cotton or Polyester Rope Hammock?

Polyester and cotton are the two commonly used hammock materials. It is thus regularly asked which is better between the two. The choice of going for polyester or cotton material for your hammock depends on some factors.

The location of your hammock

If you are going to locate your hammock outdoors, then it is not wise to use cotton hammocks. This is because, upon sustained exposure to direct sunlight, cotton hammocks are prone to fading. Nonetheless, if you have a pergola or a nice shade that can protect them from direct sunlight, you can still use cotton hammocks outdoors.

Overall, for outdoor purposes, polyester hammocks are better. This is because of their impressive resistance to the UV rays of the sun. This resilience to sunlight (without fading) is significantly higher than you get from cotton hammocks. Therefore based on sunlight resistance, if you are going to use your hammock outside, go for polyester. If indoors, go for cotton.

Resistance to rain

Here is another consideration. Indeed, you wouldn’t have to bother about rain if your hammock is going to be majorly indoors. Cotton hammocks are susceptible to rotting. This is especially when it is continuously interacting with wetness from the rain in the form of mildew and mold. Yes, there are waterproof cotton hammocks, but they are scarce.

Polyester hammocks can resist moisture more without rotting. The only disadvantage is that cotton hammocks are far more comfortable than polyester hammocks. It is all now left to you to decide. If you want premium comfort, cotton hammocks are the better choice, but if you want longevity, polyester is better.

Can You Sleep in a Hammock Every Night?

If you want to sleep in your hammock every night, that is fine! The primary consideration is if you are sustainably comfortable on the hammock. That said, hammocks have proven to offer better sleeping experiences that your conventional beds.

For those who battle sleeping problems like sore limbs, stiff backs, it is recommended they try sleeping on hammocks. This is because hammocks will allow them to relax and recline better, hanging out on their hammocks for enhanced comfort.

Is Sleeping in a Hammock Bad for You?

No, sleeping in a hammock is not necessarily bad for you, so long the hammock is well positioned and at a safe height from the ground. Hammocks have a way of rocking you gently and helping you drift to sleep easily.

Most notably, sleeping on a hammock relieves spine pressure. The swaying and rocking improve your balance, relaxing you significantly.

No concentrated pressure

Unlike the generality of beds, hammocks give you that zero-pressure point rest. There are no significant contact points between the body (of the person lying on it) and the sleep surface. If you were sleeping on harder surfaces like your typical bed, you see that your body mandatorily adjusts to the shape of the surface. This is not always convenient.

It is the other way round when you sleep on a hammock. The hammock instead adjusts to your body shape. By conforming to your body shape, the hammock districts equal pressure across your body area.

This way, you wouldn’t suffer concentrated pressure in specific areas of your body (otherwise known as pressure points), which usually results in the pains of stiff backs and sore limbs when you wake up from a bed.

Enhances your brain

Do you know that the rocking and swaying effect when you sleep on hammocks help your brain? Studies have shown that the gentle rocking you get from hammocks improves your brain’s sleep-associated oscillations.

These oscillations are snuck between the memory consolidation and deep sleep stages. Such sleep-associated waves are called sleep spindles. Thus, we see that a slight elevation of your head when you are on a hammock enhances the circulation around your brain. This makes it much easier to unwind after a hectic day.

What Size Hammock Do I Need?

If you are not very tall, the length of your hammock is not too consequential. It is advisable nonetheless to go for hammock lengths that are longer than your height by a minimum of 2 feet.

Such a hammock is perfect for lounging or your next camping trip. As regards your weight, you may have to decide between single or double hammocks. We will touch emphatically on this later on in this module.

Do Hammocks Hurt or Help Your Back?

If you sleep the right way on a hammock, it shouldn’t hurt your back. Rather, hammocks are famed for helping your back by improving your sleeping posture. For those who struggle to get true rest, hammocks are excellent alternatives to your beds if you want to avoid disruptive movements like turning and tossing in your sleep.

The great thing about hammocks is that they eliminate pressure points on your body. This enables you to sleep with a curved spine, which is more ideal.

When you sleep on beds, there is the tendency to turn in your sleep and lie on your stomach. This often leads to spine issues and waking up with discomfort and pains. With hammocks, you enjoy better rest making your sleep more comfortable, especially when you are already struggling with back pains.

Nonetheless, we recommend that you consult your health provider about the suitability of a hammock bed for you if you are already struggling with spinal issues like scoliosis.

Do You Need a Pillow in a Hammock?

You don’t necessarily need a pillow in your hammock. But if you have a pillow, it will be a great addition. A pillow helps improve the overall comfort you experience with your hammock.

Particularly, when you sleep with a pillow on your hammock, it improves the position or posture of your neck. This makes it healthier and more relaxable lying on your hammock.

What is the Best Height to Hang a Hammock?

The suspension height of your hammock, to a large extent, determines the safety of your hammock. You don’t want to fall off your hammock fatally. The typical suspension height should be somewhere around 4 feet off the ground. Many manufacturers will state the sag height for their hammocks.

Commonly, manufacturers prescribe a suspension height of 18 inches off the ground. You must not always keep to the manufacturer’s specifications. It is common sense that your hammock should hang at a height you can afford to fall from without sustaining injuries. Many will tell you that you shouldn’t hang your hammock above your head when you are standing.

How Do I Keep My Hammock from Flipping?

Flipping is an infamous issue with hammocks. One reason why hammocks flip regularly is because of the intensity of the leap on your hammock. To avoid flipping, don’t just jump on the hammock.

You need to introduce your whole weight on the hammock gradually. Start by carefully sitting in the middle after you pull it gently to you. To carry your legs up on the hammock, it helps to hold the sides.

How Do You Lie in a Hammock?

Before you lie on the hammock, ensure the tension and the suspension is right. As we said, the hammock shouldn’t be taut else there is a strong chance it will flip. The hammock should have a reasonably sag or depression to accommodate your weight.

Now it is time to get on the hammock. You must get slowly on the hammock. Don’t rush into lying on it immediately. It is better to sit first, so it acclimatizes to a portion of your weight before you get fully on it.

It would be helpful to steady yourself on the hammock by holding one side of it. When sitting, try to position your bottom in the mid-region of the hammock. Now you can swing your legs over and fully lie on the hammock.

Your center of gravity doesn’t need to be in the midpoint of the hammock. For example, if you are uphill, your center of balance would be to the sides rather than the center. Nonetheless, when on the hammock, try out the posture that gives you maximum comfort.

For some, it is lying on their backs, while others prefer lying on their sides. Generally, many are not convenient lying on their stomachs.

Make sure there is abundant space in the hammock for you to prevent an unnecessary buildup of pressure at specific points. With the right space and support, you shouldn’t feel back pains lying on your hammock.

Are Nylon Hammocks Comfortable?

Yes, nylon hammocks are very comfortable for sleeping. Many backpackers prefer going with nylon hammocks because of their flexibility and ease of packing.

One great thing about nylon hammocks is their resistance to mildew. Nylon hammocks are very breathable and dry even quicker. The lightweight nature of nylon hammocks is impressive given that most nylon hammocks are heavy duty to attain improved tenacity.

How Much Weight Can a Hammock Hold?

Your hammock anchor, material design, and suspension are the significant determinants of the maximum weight your hammock can accommodate. In most cases, hammocks can comfortably handle a weight of 300 pounds to 450 pounds.

Most hammocks struggle (with an increased tendency for dislodging) when the weight is more than 450 pounds. While 300-450 pounds is the general margin, you should necessarily watch out for the manufacturer’s rating.

The generality of nylon camping hammocks has a rating of 400 pounds. Many ultra-light hammocks have a weight rating of 250 pounds.

Are Hammocks Dangerous?

No hammocks are not that dangerous, provided the necessary safety precautions are observed. For example, if you have a string hammock, then you have to equip it with a spreader to keep it open.

If this precaution is not observed, the possibility is high for your little kids to get entangled in the hammock. This can, unfortunately, cause strangulation.

Also, if you are using hammocks around kids, then you have to keep an attentive watch on your kids when they play on the hammock. Kids tend to fall off the hammock a lot. So, it would be wise to procure soft padding under the hammock to reduce the direct impact of your kids’ possible fall.

Adults can fall out of hammocks as well. This explains why your hammock should be moderately suspended above the ground. Ideally, hang your hammock at a height you wouldn’t suffer injuries falling from.

Also, there are cases when the hammock falls to the ground after dislodging. You can prevent this by making sure the anchors are strong and secured. Generally, flipping is lesser with sagging hammocks than taut hammocks. Lastly, avoid hanging your hammock on dead trees as they will not be able to hold your weight for long.

What Kind of Rope is Used for Hammocks?

The nature of your hammock suspension is determined by the type of rope you use. Artificial and natural ropes are commonly used for hammocks. These ropes are produced from synthetic fibers (including the likes of nylon) or natural fiber (including the likes of manila).

Depending on the weight saddled on the hammock, nylon ropes can expand by more than 38% of their original length. The implication is that as your weight triggers the expansion of the rope, sagging will occur if the hammock is taut.

Do You Need a Sleeping Bag with a Hammock?

Sleeping bags are useful when the weather is notably cold. In circumstances when the temperature is 71 degrees Fahrenheit or above, you don’t need a sleeping bag as there is obviously no need for additional warming.

When the temperature drops to the regions of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (or even lower), then a sleeping bag becomes needed to improve your insulation (and body heat retention) when you lie on your hammock.

How Do You Sleep in a Hammock in Cold Weather?

Many struggle to enjoy their time on their hammock during the cold weather. This is peculiar to winter when you need more insulation and increased body heat conservation.

You will need sleeping bags during such cold weather. Sleeping bags are helpful to increase insulation and reduce heat loss. These sleeping bags are wrapped around your hammock for increased warmth.

While blankets can be helpful to limit body heat, they wouldn’t do much when it gets very cold. This is especially when the temperature falls below 40°F. The ideal sleeping bag should be rated 13°F with a synthetic filler.

Locating the right position for your hammock also helps during the cold weather. If possible, avoid situating your hammock in the open, where the cold breeze blows directly against you. Locate your hammock around dense vegetation or even behind a rock. These natural barriers can act as vital windbreakers.

You can also use a screen like the Grand Trunk multi-function flywheel (which is specially dedicated to hammocks) to retain heat and keep off the snow and cold wind.

Another thing to consider when using your hammock in the cold is your body tends to suppress the insulation. This is mostly when you are lying on your back.

This makes it challenging to maintain the warmth of your back. Such is why you would need sleeping pads to keep you warmer when you lie on your back.

Can Wall Studs Hold a Hammock?

Drilling into metal studs may not give the appropriate anchorage for your hammock. The support could fail unless this is enhanced with chains and other hardware like eyebolt. Eyebolts are prevalently deployed in the suspension of hammocks inside the house.

Should I Get a Double or Single Hammock?

Many are caught between the option of going for single hammocks or double hammocks. The major difference single hammocks and double hammocks is their width. In most cases, both types of hammocks have the same length. For example, a Singlenest has a width of 4’7 ″, while Doublenests have a width of 6’2″. Both have an equal length of 9’4″.

Typically, single hammocks are ideal for just one person who wants to have his space to himself. If you want to share your hammock with a fellow occupant, you can buy a double hammock. Double hammocks are more befitting for families and lovers who can snug up together in one wide hammock.

Double hammocks — consequent of their increased width — are more spacious than single hammocks. If you are not using your hammock in your background, but are going solo camping, then you may want to get a single hammock. Should you want maximum comfort and more spaciousness, you can go for double hammocks.

Your weight and body size matters as well when choosing between single and double hammocks. If you are built heavily with a weight of over 200 lbs, it is better to go for double hammocks that can be sufficiently accommodating without restricting your movement. If you are lesser than 200 lbs and under 6′, you can buy single hammocks.

Can You Leave a Hammock Outside?

It is not very advisable to leave your hammock permanently outside. Depending on the material of your hammock, direct exposure to the sun can cause the UV rays from the sun to deteriorate the fabric. Very few like the weatherproof EllTex hammocks can withstand the rain and sun too.

Leaving your hammock permanently outside is also discouraged during the winter. It is best to take off your hammock when you are done using it. Wash it and dry properly, after which you can store it in a cool, dry place.

Can You Wash Hammocks?

Yes, you can wash your hammock. The durability of your hammocks depends on how well you maintain it. The washing procedure must, therefore, be done right. Before you start washing your hammock, you should take off the carabiners and clean them independently.

Should you choose to machine wash your hammock, don’t use an excessively harsh detergent. We advise against the addition of additional cleaning agents like fabric softeners when machine washing your hammock. Cool water is best so that the hammock has sufficient space to wriggle off the dirt particles.

In the circumstance when you want to wash it manually as opposed to using a washing machine, you have to spread the hammock extensively on a flat surface – preferably a deck.

After that, you will soak it with a garden hose. Don’t use a brush as it could damage the fabric of the hammock. Use your hands instead. Pouring soapy water (remember the detergent shouldn’t be harsh), you can scrub away at the fabrics of the hammock with your hands.

How Do You Store a Hammock?

To store a hammock well, you have to take off the surface dirt. After the washing, the hammock must dry adequately. As we said, mild detergent (instead of harsh detergent) is befitting for the washing process – simply dilute the soap in two water gallons. This should be preferably warm water.

After drying, you can now properly fold your hammock to store it properly. If the hammock doesn’t dry thoroughly, it is more vulnerable to deterioration when you keep it. If you are storing non-spreader bar hammocks, then you should fold it from one end to another just once.

Make sure to tuck in the cords as well. If you are storing spreader-bar hammocks, roll the hammock up gently. Here is how to do it. Spread the hammock on an extended surface – possibly a deck. The deck should be clean. Now fold the ropes and the ring of your hammock to the bed at one terminal. At the opposite end, you have to roll the hammock up via the bar.

The storage temperature is crucial as we don’t want our hammock to be subjected to mold and mildew in storage. The storage location shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight as well.

This is mainly for cotton hammocks. It is best to store it in a cool container. If you are storing your hammock inside your home, you can keep it in a breathable bag.

If you are going to store this bag containing your hammock in your basement, ensure the basement is reasonably ventilated, dry, and clean. If you are going to store the hammock in your garage, then you must make provision against pest attack.

Rodents can chew at your hammock and destroy it. We don’t even recommend storing your hammock in your garage or shed. If you insist on storing your hammock outside (which is extensively discouraged), make sure to store it in a well-sealed dry bag.

How Do You Clean a Rope Hammock?

If your rope hammock is machine washable, clean it with cold water with a gentle detergent as advised. If you want to clean it manually yourself, then you have to wash it with warm water (two gallons) filling up a tub, diluting two ounces of gentle detergent.

If your hammock has a notable stain you want to get off, you may need to pour some quantity of white vinegar on the stain. Then leave the hammock in the sun for about 12 minutes. After this, scrub the areas with the stain on your hammock.

Do Hammocks Hurt Trees?

Yes, hammocks hurt trees if they are not anchored properly. Normally, when something is tied tightly around a tree sustainably, it is going to severely hamper the fluent nutrient circulation in that area of the tree in the long run.

Also, if the tree size matters. If a hammock (for an adult body size) is anchored around small trees or even saplings, you expect it will hurt the tree. The damage to trees happens most times via the abrasion of the tree bark. Generally, we will advise that for grownups, your hammocks should be anchored to trees of minimum 6′ in diameter.

Rather than tying ropes and cords to trees that will surely damage the tree, we advise you to use the right hammock straps. These straps are adjustable and will not wear the bark of the tree. The adjustability of the strap ensures girdling (which is very injurious to the tree) is avoided.

Can I Put My Hammock in the Dryer?

It is not advisable to put your hammock in a dryer. Natural drying is the best option for your dryer. Lay your hammock on a flat surface or hang it out in the sunlight to dry.

If it is a bright day or a day that is breezy, it shouldn’t take more than forty minutes for your hammock to sufficiently dry out. Dryers are frowned at because they can destroy the integrity of your hammock.

founder

Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare

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