Safe and Responsible Hammocking
Hammocks provide a fun and relaxing experience, but precautions should always be taken whether using them in the backyard or on an overnight hike. Wherever your spot - these important tips can help provide a safe and responsible hammock experience.
Good campsites are found, not made. Avoid creating your own spot for the sake of convenience. Use pre-existing campsites to protect wildlife and undisturbed areas. Setting up your site at least 200 feet away from water sources helps prevent possible pollution of the water and protects the riparian areas along the river banks.
If you’re camping or hiking in a state park be sure to do your research. Some state parks and local rangers will not allow hammocks to be hung. Call ahead and ask if hammocking is allowed.
Finding the right distance and height is key to a comfortable setup. If the trees are too far apart your hammock will become tight and uncomfortable; Too close and you’ll have an arched lay and possible back pain. Adjustable straps work well in situations like these because you can modify your setup for the perfect distance with minimal effort. It may take a few tries to get the desired setup and feel for your hammock. Test out different distances and heights to find what fits you best.
Tip: Lay diagonally in your hammock because angle is important for the coziest setup. The diagonal lay gives you a flatter surface and distributes your weight more evenly.
Confirm the trees you’re using are capable for hammock hanging. Pick strong and healthy trees making sure to only use your straps around the trunk and never the branches. Even if a tree looks durable, look for dead and loose branches before you hang your setup.The last thing you want is a fallen tree limb landing on you.
Follow proper instructions on getting in and out of your hammock. Practice with the help of a friend before attempting alone. It’s common to flip over in a hammock with lack of experience so avoid hanging over water or significant heights.
Never use rope or paracord to hang your hammock. Ropes may work just fine for your situation, but aren’t good for the health of the tree. They have less surface area which cuts into the tree and puts more strain on the bark. The decreased surface area also provides less friction and a greater possibility of slipping.It’s best to use premium straps with flat, wide webbing for your hammock setup. A wider strap has more surface area which will increase friction and put less strain on a tree. Never screw/hammer anything into trees.