Camping Hammocks, Hiking Hammocks, Styles of Hammocks

Hammocks as a healthy addition to your life

Hammocks are good for your back and spine

Spinal Disc Decompression:

Sleeping in a hammock is good for spinal disc compressions. Laying in a hammock causes the body to be in a V formation which gently stretches the discs in the lower back apart. It's similar to the weightlessness state induced in the zero gravity chairs developed for back pain sufferers.

There are several other benefits of laying in a hammock. The gentle cradling and swinging feeling induces a peaceful feeling. Total relaxation is easily accomplished in a soft, swinging hammock. Relaxing your back muscles are good for back problems. Got stress? Get rid of it with hammock time.

Hammocks are esthetically pleasing. They brighten up a back yard patio or deck. They are beautiful when slung between two shade trees. A hammock is a perfect place to lounge around and read a good book.

Several types of hammocks exist and there are advantages and disadvantages of each. Try out the different styles before deciding which type is best for your needs.

Relaxing in a Hammock:

Mayan style woven hammock by L.A. Cargill
Woven style hammock
How to hang a hammock by L.A. Cargill
How to hang a hammock

Spinal decompression in a hammock.

Therapists discovered that hammocks are very good for spinal decompression. Standing and sitting require your spine to compress with gravity. Lying flat forces your spine into unnatural configurations. When your spinal discs are compressed, they bulge out between the harder spinal bones. This is called herniation.

A herniated spinal disc will press on whatever nerve is closest causing severe pain and discomfort. The only treatments are to reduce the size of the disc herniation, a discectomy, or open up the spaces between the vertebrae, decompression, allowing the disc to return to its normal position.

A good hammock will gently stretch the disc spaces open relieving the pressure on the nerves in the spinal column. Hammocks should be hung with the ends higher than the middle causing the torso and legs to be in a V (or wedge) shape when lying in them.

How to choose a hammock

What to look for in a hammock:

  • String or Mayan style hammocks are usually hand made. They are the most comfortable hammocks in the world. Although, not as durable as rope or fabric hammocks, with proper care they can last many years. Mayan hammocks are quite colorful and do not have spreader bars which means they are well ventilated and comfortable. This style is best for aching backs. They look good indoors and can be hung on hooks set in wall studs. To clean the room, all you need to do is remove one loop off of one hook and put the two loops of the hammock on the same hook - instant floor space!
  • Rope hammocks are great for a classic look. In my opinion, they are not very comfortable. They can be hung between trees or on stands. The are more comfortable if you choose one that has small spaces between the rope weave. Rope hammocks are quite durable and are great for the outdoors.
  • Fabric hammocks are made from a canvas like fabric that has a solid weave. This is a very comfortable hammock if the spreader bars are removable. The fabric hammock does not 'breathe' as well as the Mayan style or rope hammock, but it is durable and suitable for indoors or outdoors. Look for a fabric that will wick away moisture.
  • Light Weight or Parachute fabric hammocks are extremely lightweight, durable and comfortable. These hammocks are best for camping trips. You generally don't have to worry about snakes crawling in bed with you if you are hanging in one of these. Plus they are water resistant and fold up to a very small size so you can carry a comfortable bed with you!

How to hang a hammock.

There are several ways to hang a hammock. The preferred way is between two shade trees about ten to 12 feet apart. The trees give a natural feel to the hammock. The wind blowing through the trees will naturally soothe you and swing the hammock at the same time.

Never screw a hook directly into a tree trunk. Use enough rope to wrap ounce around the trunk and then tie a square know on the side of the trunk closest to the hammock loop. Use about 6 to 8 feet of strong weatherproof rope. You will need two pieces and two carabiners to hook the hammock loop into. See photo.

If the tree trunk is too large, a single loop around the tree will work or you can get a longer piece of rope.

Inside hanging for Bedrooms:

A large, heavy duty screw hook should be sunk into a load bearing stud in the wall. Then the hammock can be hung on the hooks. This really works very well. The height of the hooks should be high enough to suspend the hammock with the sleeper in it. This might take some experimentation with hanging a hammock. I would definitely start with a height of 5 feet or even a bit more. It will also depend on the width of the room and the width of the hammock.

Using a metal or wooden hammock stand:

Special stands are also used for hanging hammocks and they can be used indoors or outdoors. The wooden stands are best for indoor or screened patio use. The metal stands are best for outdoor use.

Caring for your hammock

Never leave hammocks exposed to the weather. Even moisture and mold resistant hammocks will suffer from sun damage. Always take your hammock inside when not in use. Either store it in a waterproof outdoor bin or put it away with your other bedding. A large pillowcase or laundry bag works well for storing and transporting a hammock.

  • Most hammocks will last for many, many years if stored properly.
  • Avoid getting tangles in the woven string hammocks.
  • Avoid using sharp objects in and around a hammock.
  • Keep hammocks away from chemicals like bleach or gasoline
  • Keep hammocks away from fire
  • Be sure to keep a close eye on children in and around a hammock, they could get tangled in the weave or fall out.

Best Hammocks for Camping - Top 10 Portable Camping Hammocks - Video

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