Hammocking Tips: The Skalar Way
Just in time for the summer holidays.
One of our Sr. developers at Skalar, Kjell-Magne, has many passions. The one he has become most famous for around the office is his passion for hammocking. At our internal show-and-tell sessions called “Ice Cream & Talks” he revealed to all of us his level of proficiency and knowledge. We wanted to share it with you, so that you know everything you need to start hammocking right in time for the summer holidays.
Tip 1: Practice hammocking at home first.
If you’re just starting out, you should practice at home. Try out the first nights either in your garden or close by so that it’s easy to evacuate if something goes wrong. If there’s an unpredicted rain storm, treacherous gusts of wind, or a sudden drop in temperature, it’ll be easy to escape. It’s always good to know that a warm bed is close by (just in case).
Tip 2: Respect Nature
Be kind to the trees, as the bark is their skin, and they don’t want it to be ripped or scratched. So when you put up your hammock, try to use straps.
Tip 3: It’s all about that angle.
The “slack” of the hammock should be at about 30 degrees. But here we say, do not be afraid to challenge the consensus, new ideas lead to new discoveries — so don’t be afraid to experiment. When it comes to a particular angle that’s best for you, it’s important to try a few positions. Some people like it more or less tightly hung up. Others like to hang the foot end considerably higher than the head end. Find what’s most comfortable and go with it.
Tip 4: Make it social.
If you happen to be two people looking to hammock and want to be social, you can look for trees that stand near each other so that it is possible to have the head end of the hammock tied to the same trunk, while the foot end is attached to its own tree. This makes for what is known as the “V” formation — it’s a classic. That way, you and your friend (or lover) can enjoy your time together in the comfort of your own hammock.
Tip 5: Hammocking with the kids.
When it comes to children there are small hammocks available for all shapes and sizes. They might perhaps be scared of hanging in their own tree and want to be close to their parents or trusted guardian. For the kids, you can think about tying their hammock above your own, that way they’ll feel safer knowing you’re right below them.
Tip 6: No need to be afraid of heights.
Remember to always be mindful of the height of your hammock. The sweet spot is to put the hammock at a comfortable sitting height, that way if you do fall out of your hammock, you won’t hit the ground too hard or from feeling the strong breeze at lofty heights.
Tip 7: There’s a science to the length of your hammock (but don’t worry, it’s not complicated).
The larger the hammock, the more comfortable it becomes. Length and width must be placed in relation to each other. It does not make it any more comfortable to simply increase one of them. But the larger the hammock is, the more difficult it is to find trees that are at a suitable distance.
It is also more difficult to get the hammock attached high enough to the tree. It also ends up making things heavier and takes up more space in your backpack, as well as needing a bigger tarp to cover it in case of poor weather conditions. Therefore, the hammock you are going to take out into nature to sleep on should be about 335 cm (11 feet) in length. For the shorter individuals amongst us, you can sleep well in a shorter hammock of 9 or 10 feet, but the taller you are, the more you should consider 12 feet in length.
Tip 8: It’s time to tie some knots.
Some people like to use knots, others use gadgets to tie up their hammocks. Kjell-Magne personally likes knots, they are fun to learn and there is a huge variety to choose from. Here are some of the knots he likes to use when he goes hammocking:
Tip 9: Protect Yourself from the Weather
In most cases you would need to add a tarp to your setup to stay comfortably protected from bad weather. The biggest tarp can give you as much coverage as a tent, with “doors” at both ends of the hammock. At the other end of the spectrum you have tarps that barely cover the hammock. Something in between is a good choice for most. It is mostly a tradeoff between weight and bulk versus coverage. Usually you would pitch the tarp high and wide, so that you can comfortably stand underneath it and have a good view of your surroundings. If the weather turns bad, and you have a small tarp, you can compensate for the lack of coverage by pitching it lower, right above the hammock, and with the sides at steeper angles.
That’s it! You’re a hammock-pro.
So now you’re ready to go into the wild. But, before you run along Kjell-Magne has some additional tips for you to be mindful of. Don’t start with the most challenging task the first time, find a place with equipment that matches your skill. Remember: you do not know what you do not know.
Also, be mindful of the trees, and do not hang your hammock from anything but healthy, solid trees. It can also be smart to look up! If you don’t, you might find yourself underneath dead branches. And Kjell-Magne warns us, these fall, and they might fall on you leading to death at the worst. Also, keep in mind the danger of a tree that can be uprooted; if the soil is very shallow or the soil becomes loose due to large amounts of rain, it can cause you harm. How is the ground under the hammock? It is not likely that you would fall out, but be mindful to avoid sleeping above hard and pointy objects.