Discover the best method for setting up a hammock and take advantage of warm weather to enjoy a well-deserved nap outdoors with our guide to hanging a hammock.
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One of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors when the weather is nice is lounging in a hammock. But before you can lie back and enjoy the peace and quiet of the great outdoors in your hanging seat, you need to learn how to hang that hammock—and you're going to want to learn how to hang it properly. Otherwise, the hammock may slip or break during use, putting you at risk. Even if the hammock does not break, improper setup can cause damage to the trees or support posts you use.

To truly enjoy it, you want to be confident that the hammock is secure. To establish this peace of mind, invest in reliable hammock hardware, rope, or tree straps for support and follow these steps to hang your hammock properly.

deck tree hammock
Credit: Jay Wilde

Hammock Hanging Options

There are many different ways to hang a hammock from trees or posts using hammock hardware, ropes, and tree straps, and you can also use a hammock stand if sturdy supports aren't already available.

Hammock Hardware

Hammock hardware includes ring buckles, finger nines, eye hooks, large S-hooks, and long chains that are easy to install and provide a solid, reliable hold. The metal hardware can damage trees, though, so it's best to use hammock hardware with tree straps to help protect the trees.

Ropes

Ropes are a good option for hanging a hammock without damaging tree trunks, though you'll need to know how to tie a reliable knot for secure support. While ropes are easy to pack and very mobile, if you don't know how to tie a strong knot, the hammock can be difficult to hang reliably.

Tree Straps

Tree straps are typically made with durable nylon that can be wrapped around the tree and looped back through an opening in the strap to create a secure slip knot. An alternate style of tree strap wraps completely around a tree and has multiple loops to connect to metal hammock hardware. These straps support the hammock while protecting the trees.

Hammock Stands

Hammock stands are a great way to set up a hammock when you don't have access to sturdy trees, posts, or reliable wall hooks. These stands have a firm base to counter the weight of the user and allow for the swing of the hammock, though the stand can still tip over if you aren't careful. Poles extend up diagonally from the base to provide a hanging hook for the hammock at each end of the stand.

Tips for Assessing Hammock Supports

You shouldn't hang a hammock between just any vertical posts or trees: If the hammock supports aren't strong enough, the force applied by the hammock can bend or even break the supports. Not only does this damage the trees or posts, but it also puts the hammock user at risk. So, before hanging a hammock, it's necessary to assess the strength and durability of the hammock supports.

Look for two healthy trees that are about 10 to 15 feet apart. Don't choose young trees that will bend when someone sits in the hammock. Instead, rely on older, sturdier trees that can support the additional weight without a problem. If there aren't any suitable trees, consider hanging the hammock between two posts that are strong and durable enough to support the hammock. Avoid lightweight support posts, like temporary gazebo poles, which can bend and collapse under the weight.

If you want a semi-permanent location to set up the hammock, consider installing two new posts for this exact purpose. Then you can be certain that they are at the right distance for your hammock's length and can support the weight of the user. Consider using metal posts instead of wooden posts for this project because wood is susceptible to water damage, which can lead to swelling, cracking, and rotting.

How to Hang a Hammock

Setting up a hammock is relatively straightforward, though it's important to take your time to ensure the hammock is hung up in an appropriate location, at the right height, and properly secured to the supports. Only when you can sit in the hammock without worrying about it shifting or slipping will you be able to truly enjoy it.

What You'll Need

  • Hammock
  • Hammock hardware, rope, or tree straps, depending on your method
  • S-hooks
  • Eye hooks

Step 1: Choose a Suitable Location

Look around to find two strong, healthy trees that are about 10 to 15 feet apart and can support the weight of the hammock and hammock user without bending or breaking. Consider hanging the hammock between two sturdy posts if there aren't any available trees that can support the hammock. Avoid young, thin trees and any supports that show signs of significant wear or corrosion, like rust build-up, cracks, dents, or bulging.

Step 2: Secure Hammock Hardware, Rope, or Tree Straps

Decide on a method for attaching the hammock to the trees or posts.

Hammock Hardware: Screw heavy-duty eye bolts into each tree and attach a length of chain to each eye bolt with an S-hook. Alternately, you can wrap a length of chain around each tree and secure it with an S-hook. Keep in mind that both methods can damage the trees.

Rope: If you know how to tie strong, reliable knots, then rope may be your best option. Wrap a length of rope around each tree twice to help prevent the rope from shifting. Tie a hammock knot to secure the rope to the trees. Another method is to screw heavy-duty eye bolts into each tree and tie the rope to the eye bolts for support.

Tree Straps: Using tree straps is the easier option for most people. Simply wrap a tree strap around each tree and pass the strap back through the loop to create a simple slipknot that can attach directly to the hammock. You can also use tree straps with hammock hardware if the distance between the trees is too great to connect the hammock directly.

Step 3: Connect the Hammock

With the hammock hardware, rope, or tree straps secured, you can connect the hammock to your hanging implement.

Hammock Hardware: Connect each end of the hammock to the chain with an S-hook or a heavy-duty carabiner and inspect the setup to ensure that the hammock is properly attached and supported.

Rope: Tie a hammock knot to attach each end of the hammock to the trees, then inspect each knot and eye bolt (if applicable) to verify that the hammock is secured.

Tree Straps: Attach the hammock to the metal ring on the tree strap with an S-hook or a heavy-duty carabiner. Double-check that the hammock is securely connected on both ends and properly supported.

Step 4: Make Height Adjustments

Ideally the hammock will hang about 4 feet off the ground when it isn't in use and about 2 feet off the ground when it's occupied. If this isn't the case, adjust the height by sliding the chain, rope, or tree straps up or down the base of the trees or support posts. If you decided to attach the hammock with eye bolts, the height can also be adjusted by shortening or lengthening the chain, rope, or tree straps between the ends of the hammock and the trees or support posts.

Step 5: Climb in to Test the Hammock

Carefully climb into the hammock, taking care to maintain your balance in order to avoid falling off the other side. Place one knee in the middle of the hammock and use both hands to prevent the hammock from shifting as you lower yourself into the hammock. Turn to sit up in the hammock or lie facedown, then turn over to face up. If the hammock remains off the ground and the hammock's supports appear sturdy and resilient, lie back and reap the rewards of your hard work.

Hanging Hammocks Without Trees or Posts

The most common method for hanging a hammock is to secure it between two trees or two sturdy posts. If you don't have access to trees or posts, you can still hang your hammock indoors between two walls. Use a stud finder tool to locate two wall studs spaced far enough apart to hang the hammock without it dragging on the floor when someone sits in it. Screw heavy-duty eye bolts into the wall studs, then secure either end of the hammock to an eye bolt with an S-hook to complete the setup.

Similarly, you can hang a hammock on the porch if you have two sturdy support posts or even secure one between two vehicles using commercially available hammock supports that attach to the trailer hitches. (Just make sure to check the weight restrictions on the hitch before trying this method.) Alternately, you can invest in a freestanding hammock stand that can be set up indoors or out to hang your hammock from.

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