A hammock is the perfect place to relax on a warm summer afternoon. It offers a chance to lie back in comfort, surrounded by the beauty of nature while enjoying a gentle summer breeze. Hammocks come in a variety of sizes. They can be designed for a child, one adult or for two people. They must be hung either from a frame, sturdy posts or conveniently located trees. The supports must be strong enough to support the anticipated weight, and the distance between them must be appropriate for the hammock being used.
One type of hammock that is popular for use indoors and for people with limited outdoor space is the hammock chair, a small net seat that is typically suspended from above rather than being hung between two supports. Another hammock type is the single hammock, made from rope, netting, fabric or some other material. This hammock is usually about 5 feet long and is designed for one person. The double hammock is designed either to hold one large person or two smaller ones. These may be the same length as a regular hammock or longer, but they are always wider.
Hammocks need to be hung securely to be safe. The specific hardware used should be appropriate for the size and weight of the occupants. The most secure way to hang the hammock is to drill completely through the tree and run large eye bolts through the hole, securing them on the other side with nuts and washers. For those who prefer not to drill into their trees, rope can be used around the trunk and the hammock attached to that, but it is not as stable as using bolts.
Since there is no single size for a hammock, there is no single answer to the question of how far apart trees should be for hanging a hammock. There is an easy way to determine the distance, though, by measuring the hammock to be hung. Unroll it completely, making sure it is laid out flat, and measure the distance from end to end, including the rings used for hanging it. Add 1 foot to this measurement and you have the distance you need between your trees.
Hammocks were first used on ships by Christopher Columbus, who had seen them in use on islands in the Caribbean. Hammocks on board ships were made of canvas and, when not in use, were rolled up with blankets inside and lashed to the sides of the ship, where they, offered some protection from incoming cannon balls. They were also used as flotation devices, since when it was rolled and tied properly, a hammock could support a man in the ocean for quite some time.