Hammocks make it easy to relax in the great outdoors, which comes in handy when you’re camping or traveling. But to make the most out of your hammock, you simple and easy way to hang your hammock. There are many kinds of suspension systems out there, which make people wonder: which is best?
The best suspension system for a hammock is webbing because it’s user friendly. It’s also durable and can support more weight. However, some people prefer ropes, whoopie slings, hardware, or ridgelines, depending on your skill or experience with hammocks.
Let’s go over these different types of hammock read on to find out everything you need to know.
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Choosing the Best Hammock Suspension System
If you love hammocks or want to learn about using them, then you’ve probably already heard about suspension systems. It’s what you’ll need to give your hammock steady support in order to be suspended as you relax on it. But there are many different types of suspension systems, each of them with their own unique benefits.
Most hammock suspension systems fall into one of these major categories:
Ropes are the first and original type of suspension systems. They’ve been around for as long as hammocks have. Ropes are usually made from natural fibers and can vary from beige to light brown in color. Cords are a type of rope suspension that is made out of nylon or polypropylene; nylon can stretch to around 40% of its total length, depending on the weight imposed on it.
Ropes and cords work similarly; it all boils down to what you prefer. Using a rope is pretty straightforward and effective, and many backpackers appreciate that it’s lightweight, portable, and versatile. The disadvantage with using ropes or cords is that it hurts the trees they are used on.
The disadvantages of using rope or cords is that they dig into the outer bark of a tree, which affects its inner bark especially when there is more weight on the hammock. Many users also find that they are not as easy to use compared to webbing. The knots you make with rope or cord should also be extra secure for a stronger hold.
Webbing refers to woven strap-style suspension systems. The daisy chain is the most popular of all webbings, and is lauded for being so user-friendly as well as its ability to support much more weight than others. Tree straps are another popular type of webbing. Most webbing straps are already designed with a built-in loop and other loops found on the other end so that you can adjust where you place the carabiner.
Webbing is versatile and can be used to suspend your hammock on many locations: from trees to boulders as well as just about anywhere else in nature. Best of all, webbing doesn’t damage trees. They can be lightweight or not, depending on the webbing style you go with. They are also the easiest of all suspension systems to setup.
Whoopie slings are ropes that come with an adjustable loop. They are ideal for people looking for lightweight suspension systems. Many of them weigh just around 4 ounces, and it’s customizable and adjustable. They also make it easy to find the perfect angle since you can change the loop placement. However, whoopie slings can also be more slippery.
Whoopie slings are recommended for people who already have some understanding of how hammocks work. They do take some time to master but are fairly easy once you’ve gotten the hang of it. You can also choose from making your own whoopie sling or buying a ready-made model.
Hardware type suspension systems make use of ring buckles, cinch buckles, finger nines, tri-glides, and other kinds of hardware. These tools make it easier to install a suspension system without having to worry about tying a perfect knot, though the opinions vary among people depending on their skill level or experience. While some find it simpler, others find it more difficult and still prefer to use ropes or webbing.
Hardware based suspension systems can also be combined with webbing as this will prevent damage to trees. The main benefit of using hardware is that when used correctly, it will give you a solid hold. They also make it easier to adjust the distance. On the other hand, when used incorrectly, they can cause damage to trees.
Ridgelines use a cord to connect each end of the hammock, running from each end and is placed on top of the hammock. Some hammock models already come with an integrated ridgeline, though you’ll have to provide your own for others. Creating your own ridgeline is easy if you have Amsteel or paracord.
Ridgeline suspensions also have other uses, such as being able to prop up your bug net or a tarp on top of the hammock. It can even change the overall shape of the hammock so that you can sleep at a more comfortable angle. You can also hang small bags on the ridgeline while you sleep, for extra storage.
Hammock suspension systems are varied, and come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Even hammock stands are available, though these are heavy and not portable, thus not recommended for camping or backpacking. Hammock stands are best used indoors or in your patio.
Though the daisy chain webbing system is popular and widely used, you can try other types to see if you like them better. Before you choose one, there are some things you should think about. Going with a cheaper option may not always be the best idea because you want to invest in a suspension system of good quality instead of risking falling to the ground easily for just a few dollars.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose the right hammock straps?
Here’s what to consider when shopping for hammock straps:
Durability: Durability is the most important aspect of a suspension system because you need one that’s strong enough to withstand your weight especially if you intend to sleep on it. Durable straps should be able to withstand the wear and tear that comes with using it in the outdoors while ensuring you don’t fall down on the ground.
Length: Longer straps that are at least 14 feet are ideal if you aren’t sure about the destination you’re going to. On the other hand, if you know that you can hang your hammock from 2 of several trees, than you may be confident enough to buy shorter straps.
Weight: If you are going to use your hammock during outdoor activities such as backpacking, hiking, skiing, or traveling, you’re going to need a lightweight hammock so that it doesn’t take up much room in your travel gear. You also don’t want it to weigh you down. But lightweight doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s weak and won’t be able to support you; many reputable manufacturers make top-quality suspension systems that are lightweight too.
Another important weight consideration is your own. Certain types and makes can support more weight than others.
Versatility: For individuals who intend to use their hammock in a variety of environments (indoor and outdoor, camping and traveling, etc), then it’s important to use a suspension system that’s versatile. For example, you’ll want to be able to hang your hammock as easily in your backyard as you would when you spend an evening outdoors. Suspension systems that can be used on various locations is ideal for your needs.
How far apart should a hammock be when suspended?
Generally speaking, hammocks should be spaced with an additional 24 feet on each side from the actual length of the hammock, though it can also range from 18-24 inches. It would depend on the kind of hammock you’re using, the suspension system, and your own personal preferences. Just remember that the closer the distance, the more curved your hammock will be.
How high should a hammock be when suspended?
The ideal height between your hammock and the ground should be 18 inches once you are sitting or lying down on it. This is how high the average chair is, so it’s easy to get in and out of the hammock while ensuring that in case you do fall over, you’ll reduce the chances of getting a serious injury.