[This blog post is part of Trek Light Gear’s Sleeping In A Hammock series. If you came here first, do yourself a favor and check out what you’ve missed by starting at the beginning. Click the link above or right here!]

If you’ve gotten this far, it means you now know how to choose the right hammock to avoid the dreaded Human Waffle Effect and of course that the spreader bar just might be the devil that makes you spend more time trying to stay balanced in the hammock than actually relaxing and enjoying yourself.

You’ve hopefully already got yourself a Trek Light Hammock or at least one which meets the criteria for a comfortable and healthy hammock experience.

Which means that we’ve now arrived at the next most important question I get asked on a regular basis:

“How do I lie in this thing?”

Before I share with you everything I’ve learned about the best way to setup and lie in your hammock, I’ll be quick to point that there really can never be a right way and a wrong way to enjoy your hammock.

If the hammock you use and how you use it works for you and you’re as comfortable as you’ve ever been and sleeping perfectly then keep on doing it.

But, what you’ll read in this post (and the entire series) is advice based on my years of experience sleeping in a hammock, learning about the history of the hammock and talking to literally thousands of people from around the world about their hammock experiences. 

I’m about to share with you a small bit of technique and knowledge that, if new to you, can change your entire hammock experience forever.

Let’s Beat The (Hammock) Curve

Everything is set and ready to go: you’ve got your hammock setup, a comfortable pillow, maybe a nice margarita or a cold beer and you’re planning on taking a nap or getting a full night’s sleep in your hammock.

You take one look at the hammock and suddenly you’re staring at something that doesn’t make any sense at all - it’s curved!

How can you possibly sleep comfortably in something shaped like a banana?

Please don’t confuse it with a banana hammock though, that’s something else entirely (unless you're talking about our cancer-fightin' Double Banana Hammock).

Hammock bedroom bed

As we learned in Part I, this reaction to the traditional hammock design is exactly why the spreader bar came into existence.

When the hammock was introduced to European culture, the curve of the hammock was considered unacceptable and they did what was necessary to make the hammock appear as flat as possible (at the sacrifice of both stability and portability). But, the hammock had existed, not as a recreational backyard gadget but as a fully functional bed, for hundreds of years before the spreader bar was added.

Sleeping in a giant curve can’t be good, so did all of these early hammock users sleep horribly every night? Did they wake up every morning shaped like a boomerang but continue to use the hammock because they just couldn’t think of any way to fix the problem - like, say with a simple spreader bar? 

(Go ahead and say it with me, “Noooooo!”)

Step 1: How to Avoid The Most Common Hammock Setup Mistake

When it comes to setting up a hammock, especially one that’s as quick and easy to setup as Trek Light Gear’s, there’s honestly very little that you need to know in order to do it properly. 

That’s because there’s so few things that you can really do wrong  - hang it too low and you’ll obviously be dragging on the ground, hang one end much higher than the other and you’re going to be sloped at an odd angle.

There is really only one aspect to the setup where you’re forced to make an extremely important and not-so-obvious choice – how tight or how loose should you hang the hammock?

As we’ve learned from our hammock history, the first instinct most people have is to do anything they can to eliminate the big curve of the hammock. You know you want a flat (or fairly flat) surface to sleep on and just looking at the strong curve of the hammock is already giving you back pain. 

So, you decide to just pull it as tight as possible to get the surface nice and flat. You’ve just made a mistake.

Believe it or not, the natural curve of the hammock is crucial to getting the flat, zero pressure point surface that makes hammocks such a healthy way to relax, meditate or sleep.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to try to pull your hammock as tight as possible in an attempt to make it flat. When you pull the hammock tight it’s certainly going to appear flatter and more like something you want to sleep on.  But, no matter how tight you pull it, the hammock will still dip down in the center when you get in it. 

Here’s what else will happen if you pull the hammock tight:

  1. You’ll find yourself tightly ‘cocooned’ by the sides of the hammock.  When you’re lying down you’ll likely have high hammock walls around you (unless you use your arms to hold them down like you’ll see in some of the pictures below). The tight frame of the hammock can even make some feel claustrophobic, a feeling you should never have to worry about in a hammock.

  2. The tight side ‘walls’ of the hammock will force you to stay pretty much right in the center of the hammock with little room or ability to stretch out or change positions (you’ll learn why this is such a problem coming up).

  3. A hammock pulled as tightly as possible also greatly increases the amount of pressure and force being put on the objects you’re hanging it from.  This can lead to a greater chance of causing damage, whether it’s a tree or your front porch.

The following are some pictures showing how a Trek Light hammock looks and functions when it’s pulled tight:

 

Hammock Pulled Too Tight Hammock Pulling Too TightTight Hammock

 

The first picture is our Single Hammock while the next two are actually our Double Hammock

You can immediately see how pulling the hammock tight causes the edges to tighten, narrow and constrict the amount of space and movement available in the hammock.

Our Single is 5 feet wide and our Double is 6.5 feet wide - yet, in all the pictures it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the two! The hammock appears to be just wide enough for one (skinny) person to lie straight up and down in the hammock.  Either getting a larger hammock is a waste of money or something isn’t right here. (Hint: something isn’t right here)

Keep in mind, I’m not saying that pulling the hammock tight makes it immediately uncomfortable or will always lead to a bad experience.  Far from it, you still get the amazing feeling of being elevated off the ground, no rope tattoo on your back and, if you’re only spending a short period of time in the hammock, I’m sure you’ll still walk away happy and refreshed (those are some genuinely happy people pictured above!).

But this blog series is about getting the most from your hammock experience and, most importantly, learning how to turn your next hammock nap or full night’s sleep into the best and healthiest rest you’ve ever had. 

Let’s take the leap forward from what to avoid to what to do…

Step 2: Loosen Up And Hang Loose

As you saw in the pictures above, the tighter you pull the hammock the narrower it gets.

Now, take a look at how much more room the same hammocks provide when the material is kept loose:

Hammock Hung Properly Hammock Time Sand Hang Loose Hammock Double Hammock Hang Loose

Seth’s Hammock Wisdom: If the material of your hammock feels loose and relaxed, you soon will too.

As you can see, keeping the material loose gives you a lot more space to stretch out and take advantage of the full width of the hammock.  

Without even applying the Hammock Angle trick you’re about to learn (no, that’s not it in the first picture), I think you’ll immediately find that any time you spend in the hammock is much more comfortable, liberating and relaxing - all thanks to the looseness of the material itself.

Step 3: The Hammock Angle Changes Everything

To sum up what I’ve told you so far:

1.)  Sleeping in a big curve sucks.  Don’t do it.

2.)  Hang your hammock loose.  Don’t fear the curve.

Am I just messing with you here?

If sleeping in a C-shape is bad for your body and I’m telling you to hang your hammock with a good curve to it, how the heck are you supposed to lie flat and get a good night’s sleep?

The answer is the Hammock Angle. (The Hangle if you will).

And it changes everything.

The reason I’ve spent so much of this post telling you what happens when you pull your hammock really tight and why you should hang it loose is because you’re going to need to use the width of the hammock to your advantage to execute the Hammock Angle.

The Hammock Angle is best described and executed for the first time like this:

Begin by lying in the hammock directly down the center as you normally would.  Now, take your feet and legs and move them about 8-12 inches to one side. Do it until you notice that they are suddenly sitting much lower and flatter than they were.  Now, do the exact same thing with your head and the upper part of your body, except towards the opposite side.

If you did it correctly, you’re now lying almost completely flat in a curved hammock.

Hammock Angle NedI break it down into two separate movements to explain it better, but all you’re really doing is shifting your entire body so you’re at about a 30 degree angle across the hammock instead of being straight down the center.

It’s of course one of those things that is much easier to experience than to explain, but what you’ll notice right away is that when you hang your hammock correctly the center of the hammock tends to be the tightest section while the sides remain loose (the exact opposite of what happens when you stretch the hammock tight). 

If you place your body in the center, it’s going to follow the rigid shape of the hammock curve precisely.   But, by just shifting your body a small amount you’re actually cutting across the curve of the hammock. The hammock responds by flattening out underneath you, gently cradling your body in what just so turns out to be an absolutely ideal sleeping position with zero pressure points. 

You’re not going to be perfectly flat, but your body doesn’t need to be perfectly flat – your head and feet will be slightly elevated as they should and the material will conform to the natural curve of your spine.

Hammock Angle Lake

Think You Can’t Sleep On Your Side In A Hammock? Think Again!

Using the Hammock Angle to create a nearly flat hammock surface opens up a wide range of sleeping positions that just aren’t possible in a hammock otherwise (not comfortably anyways).

I’m a side sleeper myself when I sleep in my bed.  By using the Hammock Angle, I’m able to comfortably sleep on my side in the hammock the same as I would in any bed.  You can even still easily curl your legs up if you’re more of a fetal position sleeper.

And don’t forget, Trek Light Gear’s hammocks are designed to never spin or flip you out so you’ve got nothing to fear when moving around or shifting positions in the hammock.  In 5+ years I have yet to hear from a single customer who has ever managed to roll up and out of the hammock while sleeping.

Here’s something else I find really interesting: it’s almost impossible for me to sleep on my back when I’m sleeping in a normal bed but I can do it every night in a hammock.

It’s supposed to be a healthier way to sleep and I’ve tried but I just can’t sleep on my back in a bed.  If I somehow manage to fall asleep on my back I’ll always wake up a few minutes later and shift over to my side. 

But, strangely enough, when I’m sleeping in a hammock I often wake up and realize that I’ve been comfortably sleeping on my back for hours.  If I initially fall asleep on my back I also tend to stay that way throughout the night and feel amazing when I wake up!

What makes that major change in my sleeping habits possible?

The answer lies in the fact that the reason we shift around at night and prefer one sleeping position to another is primarily rooted in pressure points.  Remove those pressure points and sleep on a surface that conforms to your body’s natural curves and you’ll be amazed at the difference. 

 I’ll leave you again with a quote from the sleep study I referenced in the Sleeping In A Hammock Is Good For You post:

So what is considered the all-round healthiest sleep position? Many doctors say it’s lying on one’s back, with the head slightly elevated, about 10 – 30 percent. This is postulated to give the brain optimal blood circulation rather than congestion and also allows for more un-obstructed breathing, says Dr. Steven Park, a head and neck surgeon and member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.You see many native cultures sleeping this way, via hammock and other devices, rather than on flat surfaces as in the West.

hammock_angle_flat

Hammocks & Whiskey: Make Mine A Double

When I wrote the previous chapter of this series, I initially hinted that this post would be titled “The Hammock Angle: Make Mine a Double”.  But, after starting to write this chapter I realized that what I wanted to say about the Single vs. Double wasn’t really the focus of the article and probably even merits its own separate post at some point down the road.  

So, now you’re instead getting it as a short sub-section at the end the post, but with an even better title if you ask me….

Since we just learned that the width of the hammock is what gives you the room to achieve a good Hammock Angle and sleep flat, a Double Hammock is what I recommend if you plan on sleeping in your hammock.  It’s what I prefer to sleep in and fits me with plenty of room to spare (I’m 5’11). 

 But, there’s also a caveat: how much width you need is ultimately dependent on your size.  In other words, if you’re pretty short not that tall a Single Hammock can wind up feeling like a Double to you when you stretch out.

Apply the same rule of thumb the next time you order or pour yourself a whiskey and life will be grand! 

I said the same rule of thumb, so if you’re pretty small you should probably stick with a single – trust me, it’ll work just like a double for you. 

 

 

And we’re done! I really wanted to do this topic justice by giving you a true guide to hammock comfort and not just a quick outline, so thanks for reading along and allowing me to share what I’ve learned with you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the entire Sleeping In A Hammock series and I sincerely appreciate all the great comments, emails and phone calls we’ve received in response to it already.

Even though I’m wrapping it up I’m sure there will be plenty of more posts down the road which will extend this theme even further. I love helping people get the most out of their hammock experience so please let me know what questions you still have about getting comfortable in a hammock, or what other hammock or non-hammock topics you’d like to see explored on the Trek Life blog!

Seth Haber - Founder, CEO
Seth Haber - Founder, CEO

Over 15 years ago I started a small business with the goal of making the world a better place one hammock at a time. Thanks for reading and being part of this incredible community - never stop paying it forward.


100 Responses

Tweets that mention The Hammock Angle: How To Relax And Sleep Comfortably In A Hammock, Even If You’re A Side Sleeper -- Topsy.com
Tweets that mention The Hammock Angle: How To Relax And Sleep Comfortably In A Hammock, Even If You’re A Side Sleeper -- Topsy.com

April 12, 2017

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Seth Haber, Seth Haber. Seth Haber said: {NEW} Blog: The Hammock Angle: How To Relax And Sleep Comfortably In A Hammock, Even If You’re A Side Sleeper http://bit.ly/dvWi2d […]

Aikidoka21
Aikidoka21

April 12, 2017

I’m guessing the married couples down south don’t sleep apart? Any good/different tips for married couple that wanna try nightly sleeping in a hammock? :)

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Thanks Ben, glad you liked it!

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

You brought up a great point Adam. I intended to go over it in the post but the longer it got the more I decided some things might be better off as a separate spin-off post. The answer though is that there really doesn’t seem to be an appropriate tension or an exact curve that works best – so many people I’ve spoken to have completely different preferences.

There is an average number though that gets tossed around in the hammock world and that’s 101" (a little over 8ft). That’s a measurement from one end of the hammock to the other when it’s setup, so imagine drawing a straight line end-to-end above the curve of your hammock. It’s just a guideline, so you may find that you like it a bit tighter or a bit looser and the best you can do is experiment to see what feels best. The first picture in the post showing the hammock hanging in a bedroom looks a bit shy of the 101", but the customer loves it so it all boils down to what works for you.

Pillows fall into the same category of personal preference (if you haven’t guessed, whenever you start talking about sleep or sleep products it’s nearly impossible to find anything that works for everyone). A full sized pillow works great for me when it’s available and a camp-sized pillow also works if I’m on the trail. I’m sure we’ll look into a TLG travel pillow in the future, but for now the same rule applies – try out some different options and see what you like best!

Thanks for the comment and the push to get this post finished. :) Enjoy your hammock and keep us posted with photos and stories! If you’re the writing type, I’d love to have you do some guest posts about your experience switching from a bed to a hammock – let me know if you’re interested!

Ben
Ben

April 12, 2017

This was an incredibly informative blog post. I must get one of these hammocks asap so I can try it.

Adam
Adam

April 12, 2017

Glad to see you finally got it done Seth, was totally worth the wait. Was toying with the idea all summer, then my bed actually broke at the end(fate!), so I’ve been attempting this since September. Now that my Trek Light Double is on it’s way, and I’ve read these tips, I’m ready to give it a real shot.

Any chance that we can get a shot (picture) of what a Trek Light hammock should look like while hanging empty, at the appropriate tension? Still not sure exactly how much of an angle/curve it should be at while empty. (My temporary solution, a Mayan with the dreaded “Hammock Leprosy”/rope tattoo, has a nice dip in it, but after reading this I’m thinking it might still be not enough / too tight).

Also any recommendations for Hammock pillows? I’d imagine that regular bed pillows are a bit too big/bulky, so something smaller is preferable? Could be an idea for another product ;)

Again, thanks a ton for the awesome post. I can’t wait for mine to arrive to put all this info to the test!

-Adam

You’ve Been Hammock Brainwashed – Part II: The Human Waffle Effect
You’ve Been Hammock Brainwashed – Part II: The Human Waffle Effect

April 12, 2017

[…] The Hammock Angle: How To Relax And Sleep Comfortably, Even If You’re A Side Sleeper If you liked this, please share it! […]

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Thanks Caleb – that’s exactly why I’m sharing it. I had the same reaction when I first began learning that there was a lot more to the simple hammock than I realized.

Congrats on the upcoming wedding – drop the hint to your friends and hopefully you’ll get a Trek Light wedding gift!!!

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Great question, the answer is that it probably boils down to the current sleeping habits of you and your hammock partner. Our Double is big enough that you’ll be able to comfortably lie side by side in the hammock. But, you will literally be lying side by side and that’s where your own sleeping habits enter the mix.

If you and your partner are both good sleepers and both love to cuddle up during the night you should have no problems. If it’s not working out, you can also try the classic ‘head to feet’ method and see if that works for you.

I’ve met lots of couples over the years who sleep great in the hammock together and I’ve also spoken to plenty who tell me they just need too much of their own space when they sleep and in that case they’ll setup hammocks side by side so when it comes time to sleep you’ve each got your own space to stretch out. Best thing I can say is to evaluate your current sleeping habits and then give it a try and see how it works for you. And don’t forget to let us know!

CalebSimpson
CalebSimpson

April 12, 2017

Wow, very detailed post! I’m even more excited to get a hammock now. I’ve always wanted one but never splurged. Maybe my fiance will let me get one once we settle down and things get more stable, we get married in 16 days! Man, I never knew there was so much science behind hanging a hammock! It makes sense though.

Daniel
Daniel

April 12, 2017

I must buy a hammock!

Amy
Amy

April 12, 2017

Thanks for the series! My husband and I just bought two doubles (a different brand for now, though). I will have to try the angle thing. We have just lounged, haven’t really tried to sleep yet. I am still afraid that I’m going to flip out when I’m trying to get out. Being slightly overweight with short legs, it’s been a bit of a challenge! But so far, it’s been okay. Planning to get a TLG one for the hike we’re aiming for.

Share Your Hang Ups: The Loft Bed Hammock
Share Your Hang Ups: The Loft Bed Hammock

April 12, 2017

[…] According to Nick, the desk under the bed got in the way a bit but he was able to remedy it just by laying at an angle (which we recommend anyways): […]

Sleeping In A Hammock: Your Complete Guide to Going From Hammock Fear to Hammock Love
Sleeping In A Hammock: Your Complete Guide to Going From Hammock Fear to Hammock Love

April 12, 2017

[…] II: The Hammock Angle: How To Relax And Sleep Comfortably In A Hammock, Even If You’re A Side Slee… If you liked this, please share […]

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Glad you go the info you needed Tim! Have fun with your new hammock and let me know if there’s ever anything I can help with.

Tim
Tim

April 12, 2017

Thanks for the blog, man, this was all super helpful! I’ve been searching for a way to save space in my new apt I’ll be getting, and I’m not even sure how I thought of it,  but hammocks popped into my head, and I immediately thought, “Yeah, my back is NOT going to appreciate that.” But I did a little searching anyways and discovered your site. You have pretty successfully taken away every qualm I had about getting a hammock, I’ll be for sure ordering a double from you in the near future. Thanks, bro.

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Thanks for reading! Let me know if there’s anything else I can help with and enjoy the hammock on the porch this summer!

Nhlandscape
Nhlandscape

April 12, 2017

great blog! I live in new england and have a nice summer sleeping porch and wanted to do something different this year. I have never slept in a hammock before and I thank you for supplying so much wisdom. Can’t wait to try one, thanks

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Agreed! Let me know if I can help!

David Morales
David Morales

April 12, 2017

Just got my Trek Light Double in the mail a couple of days ago!  Shipping was SUPER FAST!  Only took 2 days.  I made a trip to Central Park with some friends and I did a test set up of the hammock so I could get a feel for what setting it up would be like.  After we set it up I sat in it and wanted to just nap right there!  But I did feel like we had set it up too tight and so I found just the advice I was looking for with this post.  But I had another question.  Does the width of the tree matter at all when you’re setting up the hammock?  The trees in Central Park had quite a bit of girth to them and they might have been a little too far from each other.  Should I look for thinner trees that are closer together (within that 8 foot average you mentioned) and just place the rope higher on the tree?  Thanks so much for this product!  I can’t wait to get out to the Hawaiian Islands with this.

David Morales
David Morales

April 12, 2017

Just got my Trek Light Double in the mail a couple of days ago!  Shipping was SUPER FAST!  Only took 2 days.  I made a trip to Central Park with some friends and I did a test set up of the hammock so I could get a feel for what setting it up would be like.  After we set it up I sat in it and wanted to just nap right there!  But I did feel like we had set it up too tight and so I found just the advice I was looking for with this post.  But I had another question.  Does the width of the tree matter at all when you’re setting up the hammock?  The trees in Central Park had quite a bit of girth to them and they might have been a little too far from each other.  Should I look for thinner trees that are closer together (within that 8 foot average you mentioned) and just place the rope higher on the tree?  Thanks so much for this product!  I can’t wait to get out to the Hawaiian Islands with this.

David Morales
David Morales

April 12, 2017

Just got my Trek Light Double in the mail a couple of days ago!  Shipping was SUPER FAST!  Only took 2 days.  I made a trip to Central Park with some friends and I did a test set up of the hammock so I could get a feel for what setting it up would be like.  After we set it up I sat in it and wanted to just nap right there!  But I did feel like we had set it up too tight and so I found just the advice I was looking for with this post.  But I had another question.  Does the width of the tree matter at all when you’re setting up the hammock?  The trees in Central Park had quite a bit of girth to them and they might have been a little too far from each other.  Should I look for thinner trees that are closer together (within that 8 foot average you mentioned) and just place the rope higher on the tree?  Thanks so much for this product!  I can’t wait to get out to the Hawaiian Islands with this.

John
John

April 12, 2017

Slept in a hammock on a scout camp out last night- it worked great! Any recommendations for a rain fly?

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Hi Luis – Unfortunately I can’t speak to sleeping in a ‘Triple’ design at this point. I have yet to personally try sleeping in a hammock larger than our Double design so someone else would have to provide feedback. There’s a good possibility we’ll have a Triple hammock at some point down the road, but at this point the Double appears to be the perfect size for sleeping in so we haven’t produced larger options yet.

Luis Ospina
Luis Ospina

April 12, 2017

Do you think a triple is excessive? Will the extra space cause a non-ideal position? Meaning that the extra space shifts the body into a deeper curve of some sort.

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Hi David – Glad to hear you’re loving the hammock so far. If the trees are really far apart you usually need to compensate by hanging the rope higher up on the tree, the angle will help reduce some of the tension that’s pulling the hammock tight. The width of the trees won’t have any direct impact on how the hammock hangs, the only difference you’ll notice is that it uses up more rope to get around the tree so you’ll have less space to work with overall. Keep us posted on how things go and don’t forget to take some pictures and post them to our Facebook page!

Pops
Pops

April 12, 2017

hi seth, you should mention about a hammock ridgeline and how to use it makes setting up the angle easy. we sure did like this blog. thank you! pops

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Good catch, updated – thanks!

captain
captain

April 12, 2017

edit:  …rather than on flat SURFACES, as in the West.   

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Our V9 Strong Tarp! http://www.treklightgear.com/catalog/pc/The-V9-Strong-Tarp-7p218.htm

Nik
Nik

April 12, 2017

Hey Seth.
I’m glad to hear i’m not missing anything major after all these years! There is one thing I did find out though. Well, ever since I got mine it I thought it was the double, when I bought it in Denver the salesman convinced me to get the double as opposed to the single. At least, that’s how I remembered it; but now after seeing all the size specs on here I found out its not a double :( I don’t know if I got a single and just  remember it wrong or if i grabbed the wrong one off of where they were all hanging on the kiosk.  
Kind of a bummer since I’ve been thinking it was a double for so long and i’m trying out using it for sleeping regularly and it’s doable but just not quite big enough. Now that i know it’s a single I really want to get a double eventually ha ha! I prefer to take the extra weight in exchange for the size and comfort (especially since its so light with either one!) 
Got the email too and i’m gonna be keeping my eyes open like you said. Thanks a ton for the heads up and I appreciate the help and offer too!  

Nik Rasmussen

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Good to hear from you Nik and thanks for the great comment and feedback.

No major functional changes to our hammock design that you’re missing out on – some aesthetic changes and quality improvements here and there but nothing crazy. We’ve got some great new accessories as you’ve seen and we’ll also be introducing a new hammock size in the coming weeks – it’s more compact than the Single. It’s going to fill a great niche for our customers but it’s really only an upgrade if you’re looking for the lightest and most compact hammock you can get. If you love your Double, keep on using it!

Glad to hear you’ve been having fun with your hammock and thanks for keeping in touch after all these years. Let me know if I can ever help with anything!

Brian Oanes
Brian Oanes

April 12, 2017

Seth,
Even after this has been up for a year, I’ve read it like 3 times. Each time I get something new out of it. 

As a side note and just general information to other users who are considering getting a Hammock… There have been many instances where I was just über tired.. For some reason or another. When I’ve put up my hammock, slept in for 30 minutes, It had felt like I’ve slept in it for 4 hours… It’s just that relaxing…

I’m not sure if anybody else has had this same sensation but it’s just so refreshing and rejuvenating.

Nik
Nik

April 12, 2017

Hey Seth! 
I’ve had my Trek Light double hammock since June of 2007 and I love it! I got it from your kiosk at the People’s Fair in Denver, CO. I just wanted to share my opinions on all your info on here: it’s GREAT! I love how personal it is, informative, funny, and really well written too! This “how to” series is really entertaining (to the point of staying up way past a good time to go to bed before class  in the morn, whoops!). I’ve had the hammock for 4 1/2 years and have used it quite a bit; but not as much as I plan to. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on how to use it but your writing has really given me the juicy details and I can’t wait to try them out now! 
One question for ya: I got mine in June of 07, over 4 1/2 years ago. have there been any changes in design since then? Any changes in weight, durability, etc? I love mine but if a newer version is out, i’d be more than ready to jump on it! I’m planning on getting all the works to compliment it as well (tarp, bug shield, versa trek, and carabiners) and being a poor college student…it’ll take me some time to get the funds ha ha. So hopefully my hammock is still as great as ever and im not missing out on toooo many new benefits. Thanks a ton and I can’t wait to hear what you’ve got to say. 

Nik Rasmussen

Mark
Mark

April 12, 2017

Just learned I’ve been hanging my TLG hammocks too tightly!  All three parts were great—excellent information and fun, too. Thanks for the article (and the awesome hammocks)!

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Glad you were able to find this resource Kate – enjoy your time in Mexico and get some great hammock sleep!

Kate
Kate

April 12, 2017

Thanks for that clear info, don’t know much about Hammocks, but am in Mexico right now and been told by locals that sleeping in a hammock is better, wasn’t sure they were just winding me up, but now reading all this I see they are serious!

Leslie
Leslie

April 12, 2017

I read this post after putting up a hammock in my bedroom last Saturday.  It does not have stretcher bars and I love it.  But! I really wanted to know the science of how to position myself in it so that I get the maximum benefit.  Thanks so much for this extremely well-written article.  I plan to implement your suggestions this evening.  Good night!

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Thanks Carol, glad you enjoyed the article. Just let me know if there’s anything I can help with!

Carol
Carol

April 12, 2017

Stumbled onto your web-site & am so glad I did!  I had no idea hammocks could be so comfortable.  Unfortunately I was only familiar with the bar kind & being flipped on the ground like you said.   Thanks for sharing, I can’t wait to try one of yours.

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Glad you liked it Mark!

LJ
LJ

April 12, 2017

Terrific blog. Incredibly insightful and informative. I recently received a beautiful woven cotton hammock from Gyana, S.A. Strung it up in my backyard and experienced the cocoon effect. Was about to make my own spreader bars when I came across your article. You saved me a lot wrong-headed action energy and expense. I just need to loosen it up a bit. Answered all my questions and then some. Thanks so much. Really appreciate your writing style as well. Kudos to you.-LJ

How To Hang Your Hammock: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need
How To Hang Your Hammock: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need

April 12, 2017

[…] you’ve read our post on The Hammock Angle (part of our Sleeping In A Hammock Guide) you know that you should be hanging your non-spreader bar […]

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Thanks for the note Leslie and thanks for reading – let us know how it goes!

pscap
pscap

April 12, 2017

I would love to try sleeping in a hammock but weigh 250 pounds and don’t have anywhere in my room that I can hang it from (plaster and brick walls not studs and drywall),
You didn’t talk about hammock stands and whether they were good or bad.
Any you would recommend with your double hammock?

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Thanks for the note – we’d love to see a photo of your hammock setup and share it with everyone!

Swisskid
Swisskid

April 12, 2017

Got my treklight double set up in my haus in Switzerland. Nothing to say except its boss and I love it. Defs worth getting a double!!

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Glad you found the help you needed LJ -thanks for reading and happy hammocking!

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Hammock stands are great when you want to use your hammock indoors or out and don’t have any other options to hang it from. The stand we’ve used the most and recommend is called the Byer Vario Stand – it’s extremely adjustable in both length and height which allows you to hang the hammock exactly how you like it. You can find it from a number of online retailers so just do a search and look for the best price.

Sam
Sam

April 12, 2017

My husband has tried to sleep his hammock (same one you sell) and he wakes up bc his knees hurt from feeling hyperextended. He also mentioned without a pillow he feels like his head isn’t supported if he moves a little, but a pillow makes his neck hurt. He really wants the hammock to replace our beds. Any tips?

Red
Red

April 12, 2017

It’s a shame that hammocks need to be hung. I’m a student renting a small apartment, so I could certainly use the good sleep and collapsible bed, but screwing into a wall is simply not an option and I lack a yard.

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Hi Grace -

Definitely check out our blog post “Hammock Camping in Cold Weather: A Hammock Lover’s Guide To Staying Warm”: http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/hammock-camping-cold-weather/

There are a number of companies out there that make ‘underquilts’ that work great with our hammocks and I highly recommend Arrowhead Equipment (http://www.arrowhead-equipment.com/store.html). They’re capable of custom making all insulation gear so you can definitely get what you need for the hammock you have, without having to settle for the flying trapeze experience!

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Hi Sam -

Hard to say exactly what’s going on for your husband. When the hammock is set up properly and you’re lying at the angle described the issue with your knees being hyper-extended shouldn’t be a problem at all. Hyper-extension happens when your legs are still in the curve of the hammock, when you lie flat the material should be cradling your legs with no hyper-extension at all.

The neck/pillow situation is similar, most people find that the hammock itself cradles their neck comfortably without any need for a pillow but that can ultimately be more of a personal preference, just as people all have different preferences for their pillow size and density. I generally don’t use a pillow when sleeping in a hammock, but he may want to experiment with different size and thickness pillows (not just using the same one that he likes best on a mattress) to see if there’s one that feels right.

It can be a tough thing to give advice on from afar but hopefully some of that helps!

grace
grace

April 12, 2017

Hi I learned about hammocks years ago to save me the bother of opening/closing a sofa bed in a tiny bedsit. I got to use some string hammock (very comfy) in south America and had great fun in adequat company in them. The hammocks there tend to be as long as wide and are the favoured playground of children. They don’t take long in finding out about ur famous angle and could demonstrate very eloquently the “bigger is better” idea. I came across ur blog searching for insulation tricks for the underside so as to be warm in colder climes (Ireland). most products I came across only work if you accept a broken back and a flying trapeze experience. Any suggestions?

Marc
Marc

April 12, 2017

Thank you so much for posting! really helped me out, just had one sorta quick question:

Im looking to purchase a collapsible hammock stand for my apartment soon, and I was trying to look up different hammock angles with the Trek Light double Hammock I am purchasing and a decent stand that will last. I am about 5’10" to 5’11" and I weigh about 135 140lb. (I know i don’t NEED the double for myself but I often have friends over). do you have any suggestions on either a decent stand or a hammock angle that I should shoot for?

I did a little math and with the Trek Light double and this stand (http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Gear-Portable-Folding-Hammock/dp/B003DQ2YIY/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1367901975&sr=8-6&keywords=hammock+with+stand) the angle came out to around 31 degrees on each side. do you think that will be to much / potentially lead to back problems?

Rosemary
Rosemary

April 12, 2017

Very thoughtful blog on hammocks. I will purchase one of yours, I have been researching them. Thanks for the information.

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Hi Red – In a situation like yours a hammock stand is definitely the way to go. No need to install anything on the walls and most models will break down easily to put away when desired or transport. The stand we’ve used the most is called the Byer Vario Stand – do an search for it and you can find it from a number of online sellers. It’s incredibly adjustable and works great with our hammock models.

yamadini
yamadini

April 12, 2017

I’ve got some problems with my parachute hammock. I’ve tried to sleep in the hammock something like 3 months. Sometimes i have slept very well but sometimes i wake up in pains. The reason of my pains is that hammock’s fabric gets too tight under me, and i am very skinny person, thus it hurts my body. I’d need something soft under me but what should i do?

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

We’ve been using a stand like the Byer Vario Stand for our hammocks for a number of years and it works great. It’s adjustable in both length and height which makes it great for getting just the right hang and angle that works best for you.

The portable stand you linked to isn’t intended for full-size hammocks like ours. It only works well with the cot-like ‘hammock’ you see in the picture, a real hammock will hang too low for a stand like that.

Karen
Karen

April 12, 2017

I received an email about Hammock Camping 101 and imagine my surprise when I read your whole blog, only to find out that “you” reside in the same wonderful city, Boulder, as I do. We have land in New Mexico with lots of trees and I think one of your hammocks would work beautifully there. Will definitely be in to see you and test drive one. We also have one of those roly poly rope tattoo hammocks, but that one will be just for fun, now that I know the difference!

Jeff Gardner
Jeff Gardner

April 12, 2017

I need some honest advice. I just got a hammock made by one of your competitors before I came across this site. Double sized, large, seems well made. Somewhat expensive, but just can’t return it now. I’m 6’4, and while I’ve tried the angle thing and hanging it loosely, there’s still a little curve. Haven’t tried sleeping overnight and it’s fine for a nap, so is a little curve normal? Seems like it’d be impossible to get totally flat. Also, can your accessories like a rain fly and such go with other hammocks?

Hammock Camping 101: 5 Reasons Why You Should Switch From A Tent To A Hammock
Hammock Camping 101: 5 Reasons Why You Should Switch From A Tent To A Hammock

April 12, 2017

[…] bottom line is that once you know how to setup your hammock and sleep in it properly you’re going to sleep better than you ever have camping and likely even get a better night’s […]

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Is it a TLG hammock or another brand? This is a complaint I’ve never heard with our hammocks so I’m not sure I can speak to the problem you’re having. All parachute hammocks are not made with the same material even if they look similar, there are many different grades and quality levels which will impact the comfort level. The hammock should conform to your body and be quite comfortable to lie on no matter how skinny you are!

Summertime | Tokeloshe
Summertime | Tokeloshe

April 12, 2017

[…] hammock is 11 foot long and 7 1/2 foot wide, so that you can lay across it. Read here about the hammock angle.  Hubby made our hammocks from Taffeta material (banquet table-cloths.) […]

Camping USA 2013 | Tokeloshe
Camping USA 2013 | Tokeloshe

April 12, 2017

[…] hammock is 11 foot long and 7 1/2 foot wide, so that I can lay across it. Read here about the hammock angle. Hubby made our hammocks from taffeta material (banquet table cloths.) […]

Sleeping with the Animals | I hope this works....
Sleeping with the Animals | I hope this works....

April 12, 2017

[…] […]

just me
just me

April 12, 2017

I wish there was an article on how to sleep with another person in the hammock if there is a way to do so. I have been debating on getting a hammock to sleep in in the house but I do not want to sleep seprate of my husband. Is there any way to achive this?

You’ve Been Hammock Brainwashed – Part II: The Human Waffle Effect
You’ve Been Hammock Brainwashed – Part II: The Human Waffle Effect

April 12, 2017

[…] The Hammock Angle: How To Relax And Sleep Comfortably, Even If You’re A Side Sleeper […]

maria :)
maria :)

April 12, 2017

Re: amorous activities: I was thinking the same thing. But, then I remembered that certain specialty shops sell a “sex swing” and then I read about Hammock Sutra and was “enlightened”. There’s a NSFW video on YouTube with suggestions. After decades of intuitively yearning to sleep in a hammock, I found the TLG double and all the great reviews and posts and found affirmation that it’s safe and comfy to sleep in a hammock, so now I’m awaiting deliveries of my TLG Double & vivere universal stand and am excited to try the whole thing out. Honestly, despite my own anxieties about “how”; it looks to me like physical intimacy would be better in a hammock, due to the “adjustability” of the fabric and more variety in positions. And, the rocking movement, of course! Bonus: it’s washable.

Allan Bott
Allan Bott

April 12, 2017

I switched to sleeping in a hammock out of space needs and portablility due to my new traveling life and then found your article that made me switch semi permanently. The only downside from this behaviour is that in often urban experiences there is often nowhere to tie up in a room. I’m sure there are some creative door jam options, but that is one problem. The other is sex. While it’s “possible” it’s limiting and not that conducive to creativity. I didn’t want to get a bed after saving all that space in my apartment so the solution was a nice sofa bed or futon that gives me the option on more amourous nights. I would love to sleep permanently in a hammock but know that’s prob the life of a bachelor speeking.

Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear
Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Thanks for the note Patrick – enjoy your new hammock sleep and don’t hesitate to keep me posted on your experience.

patrick dique
patrick dique

April 12, 2017

Your article has been a definitive learning guide for me and sleeping in a hammock. I started looking at hammocks with an intention of using one as a bed, having no idea what to look for or how to go about it. Naturally, I was looking at those “flat” style hammocks thinking they would suite me the best. I now know what to do and how to go about it. Thank you very much for your love and passion for the hammock, my sleep will never be the same. Goodbye Yoga Mat, Hello Hammock!

just me
just me

April 12, 2017

Thankyou. I want to try a hammock because I have a LOT of health problems and it makes it very painful when I wake up. I am 28 and can barley walk first thing in the morning. I do toss and turn alot which is what worries be with the hammock.

Trek Light Gear
Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Thanks for the feedback, we’ll try to get a separate post published on the topic soon. It’s a tough question to answer because what I’ve learned over the last 10 years is that it simply boils down to personal preference and individual sleep habits.

it’s definitely possible and definitely can be done comfortably. We hear from customers frequently who sleep as a couple in their hammocks and love it – including both those who share a hammock on the trail while camping as well as at home on a full-time basis. At the same time though we hear from customers who say they’ve tried it and didn’t like it and couldn’t make it work as a couple.

The difference simply boils down to how you sleep – individually, and as a couple. I had an ex-girlfriend who I could not seem to sleep comfortably with in the hammock, yet my current girlfriend and I sleep great in the hammock together and it just works.

The most important thing to understand is that it’s not something you’ll be able to really answer until you try it. When I sleep in a bed I’m a side sleeper, but I sleep on my back in the hammock – a hammock has a big impact on how you sleep (in a very good way) and that means you can’t really make any assumptions on how you’ll transition until you give it a try. If you have a tough first night as a couple, don’t give up – adjust the hammock if necessary, try some different sleeping positions together and you should still be able to enjoy the benefits of sleeping in a hammock with your husband by your side.

Robert Kimball
Robert Kimball

April 12, 2017

I am 6’2 290 lbs and own a ENO double deluxe and find it to be more comfortable than my friends double. Im a big guy so find that the more room the better!

Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear
Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Hi Bill – The important thing to remember is that camping with a hammock doesn’t imply using a hammock on its own exposed to all of the elements. By setting up a proper tarp over your hammock (we sell one designed for exactly that) you’re able to enjoy the hammock completely protected from the elements. Wind, rain or snow won’t bother you anymore than it does in your tent.

When it comes to adverse weather you also have the added benefit of being off the ground – many times I’ve been warm and dry in my hammock during a rain storm watching water puddling up or flowing beneath me. I’ll never miss the days of trying to avoid the wet spots in my tent when water would accidentally leak through no matter how new my tent was or how much money I had spent on it.

Staying warm is solved in the same way – just like in a tent you simply need to have the right gear with you to stay warm. A tarp, properly rated sleeping bag, sleeping pad and what’s called a hammock underquilt will keep you as warm and toasty as any tent but comfortably off the ground and sleeping well. I live in the Rockies as well and it’s simply a matter of having the right gear for the season just like you already do with your tent.

Here are some links to check out:
http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/hammock-camping-cold-weather/
http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/tent-to-hammock/
http://www.treklightgear.com/catalog/pc/The-Ultimate-Hang-An-Illustrated-Guide-To-Hammock-Camping-7p877.htm

Bill Metek
Bill Metek

April 12, 2017

Seth, i live in the rockies in high elevation where nights are cold and weather can get extreme any time of the year. i have been in howling wind, driving rain, or had more than a couple inches of snow on my tent when i woke up. how can a hammock possibly keep you warm and dry in extreme conditions ?

Ticket to the Moon Hammock Review - Travel Gear
Ticket to the Moon Hammock Review - Travel Gear

April 12, 2017

[…] lightweight, big, small, fancy, cheap and a study has even come out that sleeping in a hammock, the proper way, could be better for you than sleeping in a bed. One of the best hammocks that I’ve come […]

Corinne
Corinne

April 12, 2017

Thank you SO much for this article. I have a hammock in the garden which I love and today we visited a place with hammocks and I spent a happy half an hour in one. My husband and I are about to buy a canal boat to live on with our small children and it occurred to us that hammocks would be a great way for us all to sleep on the boat, I found this article doing my research about whether it’s a practical idea. You’ve given me more confidence to go with this idea!

Amber
Amber

April 12, 2017

Rather off-topic, I just wanted to say how wonderful it is that you correctly used the umlaut when writing über! :)

La Dolce Vita | Tokeloshe
La Dolce Vita | Tokeloshe

April 12, 2017

[…] hammock is 11 foot long and 7 1/2 foot wide, so that you can lay across it. Read here about the hammock angle. Hubby made our hammocks from Taffeta material (banquet table-cloths.) […]

Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear
Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Hi Mom2many – The stand we’re partial to is called the Byer Vario Stand. It’s extremely adjustable in both length and height, which makes it well suited for our hammocks (or others) – especially for getting the hammock to hang how you like it for sleeping, or for being used by different people who have different preferences. Just do an online search for it – a number of large retailers sell it and some offer free shipping so just look around for the best deal.

Thanks for reading and if you grab a Trek Light hammock don’t hesitate to share your story/photos with us – the kids will love it!

Mom2many
Mom2many

April 12, 2017

Do these work with any hammock frame on the market? Or do you recommend a particular one? We see strongly contemplating this for two children—one because she wants it, and would work well in her room. The other child is special needs, and this seems like it would be an excellent option for him.

We are also in a house with poor ceilings-hanging weight would damage them.

Thanks!

Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear
Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Glad you enjoyed it Corinne – hammocks are a perfect way to sleep on a boat, consider me jealous!

Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear
Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Sounds awesome and glad I could help Teresa – thanks for reading!

Teresa Fawkes
Teresa Fawkes

April 12, 2017

Thanks Seth! I’m moving into a vandwelling situation. Now that I understand hammocks, I’ve solved one large problem. Can’t wait.

Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear
Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

The title/description on Amazon says that it’s been discontinued, but from everything I can tell that’s not correct. It’s been that way for over a year and the model is still listed on Byer’s website and being sold by other vendors so I think it’s a mistake in the description of the product. That’s the only one I can recommend from personal experience using it, the Byer Ceara model does look similar but I haven’t compared the specs too closely.

Mom2many
Mom2many

April 12, 2017

That particular model—the Vario—has been discontinued. Do you have another suggestion from that manufacturer?

Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear
Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

I dig it Bartjan!! Thanks for sharing and reading!

Bartjan
Bartjan

April 12, 2017

I have an idea: let’s call the ‘Hammock Angle’ the “10 O’Clock” position. Because you’re sort of pointing towards the ‘10’ if your hammock were a clock in which you’d normally point to 12. And because 10 O’Clock is a nice sleeping time. And because Hammock Angle suggests the 30 degrees hanging position. Comfy sleeping in your hammock at 10 O’Clock. Rock yo’ ‘mock at 10 o’clock. PS: Thanks for this article!! The banana sleeping shape issue is what kept me from being able to spend a longer time in hammocks so far, so I’m very curious how my life will change with this newfound wisdom and guidance.

Best camping modifications/ideas - Page 3 - JeepForum.com
Best camping modifications/ideas - Page 3 - JeepForum.com

April 12, 2017

[…] This is another thing that I have learned during my recent investigation of hammock sleeping. We have been doing it wrong! The link I found is below. A good read if interested in using a hammock for camping, in general. Basically, you pivot on your butt either way until your body is flat. Then side sleeping is possible.. http://www.treklightgear.com/treklif…tably-hammock/ […]

Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear
Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Hi Chauce – The answer to that is definitely Yes, but it certainly depends on the two people involved and how you sleep – you will be in close quarters. I’m able to sleep comfortably as a couple in my hammock and I’ve heard from countless customers over the years who comfortably sleep full time and camp, backpack, etc. sharing the same hammock. However, everyone sleeps differently as a couple and some people require more space, and even differences in height can mean you don’t ‘spoon’ together as easily as others. Based on the success rate it’s definitely worth giving it a try yourself!

Chauce Coxon
Chauce Coxon

April 12, 2017

Is a double hammock really able to fit two people comfortably for a nights sleep?

Bartjan
Bartjan

April 12, 2017

No problem! Just giving back. The idea is everyones now, so feel free to share it however (and if) you like.

Colleen Winters
Colleen Winters

April 12, 2017

Thanks! I’ll keep that in mind when I get one. :)

Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear
Seth Haber | Trek Light Gear

April 12, 2017

Hi Colleen! Many people I’ve spoken with find that the hammock itself cradles their neck comfortably without any need for a pillow but I’ve talked with plenty who do use a pillow so it’s obvious that it’s a personal preference, just as people all have different preferences for their pillow size and density when sleeping in a bed. I generally don’t use a pillow under my head myself when sleeping in a hammock, but I almost always bring one in the hammock with me (or keep it nearby)- sometimes I find myself wanting it and other times I just keep it by my side.

Colleen Winters
Colleen Winters

April 12, 2017

I know some of the ones with crossbars have little pillows on them.

Does sleeping in a hammock require a pillow, or is the elevation from the curve enough to support your head?

Chauce Coxon
Chauce Coxon

April 12, 2017

Thanks Seth! Appreciate the response. I wanted to ask just to make sure because it is not talked about a lot. You’re right, it’s definitely worth a try since it really does depend on how you would cuddle with your partner in a normal bed too, it seems like. Thanks again :)

Smitty Smithsonian
Smitty Smithsonian

April 12, 2017

Are there pro’s and cons to a solid nylon hammock verses a rope or Mayan style hammock when it comes to support and the quality of sleep you get? Or is that to general a question left up to personal preferences usually? I’m thinking about just going to a hammock to save some space in my tiny 1 bedroom and I’m not sure what kind to get.

lokey
lokey

April 12, 2017

how about the ‘2 oclock’ position, because 2am is a nice sleeping time :D

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