With the arrival of sunny weather and warmer temperatures, many people are looking for opportunities to relax and enjoy their outdoor spaces. One great way to do this is by kicking back in a hammock to read, listen to music or just take a nap. For those who are looking at adding a hammock to their deck, backyard, or home for the first time, the hardest decision is often how to hang your hammock so that it both looks good and can be used safely.
I use a hammock outdoors daily and it’s my favorite place to kick back and relax. If you’re not sure where to hang your hammock, we’ve put together a list of creative ideas and recommendations for every space and situation. This includes temporary solutions for when you’re on the go, permanent solutions for your dream indoor hammock, as well as damage-free solutions for those who want to avoid drilling or marking up their space.
How to Hang a Hammock Outdoors
Read through these options, try out the ones that interest you the most and find the perfect solution for your lifestyle.
Without Trees Using a Hammock Stand
Whether you are hanging out on your back deck or lounging in the yard, the easiest option for hanging a hammock is to use a hammock stand. With options ranging from large wooden or steel fixtures to small, portable stands for travel, there is an option for every lifestyle and budget.
There are a few things to consider when selecting your perfect hammock stand. First, consider where and when you plan on using your hammock. If you are going to be solely using it outdoors in your backyard, you may prefer a larger and more ornate stand to add to the aesthetic of your outdoor space. However, if you want to take your hammock with you to the beach or campsite, you need to be sure that you are choosing something portable.
To choose the correct size, start by measuring the length of your hammock. You need a stand that is 2’ longer than that measurement. For example, if your hammock is 11’ long, you would need a 13’ stand. If you are using a double hammock and plan on lounging with your spouse, friend, or pet, make sure to double-check the maximum weight requirement on the stand.
From A Tree with Rope
The most traditional way to hang a hammock is from a tree, and for good reason. They’re strong enough to support our weight, free to use and readily available in many areas. However, there are ‘right’ ways to hang your hammock from a tree and ‘wrong’ ways. The key is to do so while avoiding damage to the tree, allowing it to remain strong and healthy for the next time (or the next person). This means that you should never affix hardware to a tree. This will cause unnecessary damage and stress to the tree that can cause long-term damage.
One way you can safely hang a hammock from a tree is by using a rope. This is the most traditional method and nearly everyone has rope available. It’s easy to pack and carry for camping and hiking, and costs little, making it accessible to just about everyone. However, you’ll first need to master the skill of tying a decent knot.
First, check to make sure you’ve chosen a tree that’s strong and healthy enough to support your weight. Take hold of the tree and give it a shake. If it moves, it shouldn’t be used to hang a hammock. You also want to look up and make sure that there aren’t any large, dead branches that could come crashing down on top of you causing injury.
There are many different knots that will work to hold your hammock securely including the mooring hitch, gathering knot, falconer’s knot or the taut-line hitch. Many outdoor travellers prefer the taut-line hitch for hanging a hammock because it’s easy to tie, secure to use, adjustable and easily untied when you’re finished.
From A Tree with Tree Straps
Another easy way to hang a hammock from a tree securely is to use tree straps. Depending on the type of hammock you have purchased and the brand you have purchased it from, your hammock may have even come with tree straps for you to use. If not, they can be purchased separately and are a low-cost investment.
There are two common types of tree straps on the market. The first, and more traditional style is a straight nylon strap with a loop on one end. Wrap the strap around the tree pulling the end of the tree strap through the loop to secure it. Tie the strap to your hammock using a knot like the ones mentioned above for ropes, the most popular being the aptly named ‘hammock knot’.
The newest style of hammock straps that are now on the market includes a series of loops along the strap for securing your hammock. You attach the strap to the tree in the same way. When it comes time to attach your hammock, use a carabineer to hook into one of the loops depending on how much distance you need between your hammock and the tree for your desired height and tension. If you notice that the hammock isn’t quite hanging the way that you’d like, you can easily adjust it.
Proper Distance Between Two Trees
To hang your hammock at the right tension level to prevent unnecessary back pain or injury, you need to choose trees that are the right distance apart for your hammock. As with the hammock stand, you need to look at the length of your hammock and add 2’ for the optimal distance. If you are hanging a 13’ hammock, you want to try to find two trees that are approximately 15’ apart. With trees, this is an approximate measurement as you can adjust height and tension by changing the length of your rope/strap, or the height on the tree.
Your hammock should be tied at the right height to make it easy for you to comfortably sit in your hammock. Your hammock’s suspension (rope or strap) should rest at a 30-degree angle to the tree. Test your hammock after securing it and make adjustments as needed to create a comfortable place to relax.
Without Trees Using Poles
There are a variety of different poles that may already be available on your property including flag poles, gazebo poles and fence posts. Each of these offers great support to hang your hammock from.
First, be sure to select a pole that’s secure and strong enough to hold your weight. Temporary gazebo poles, for example, are often too flimsy and will give way when even the slightest amount of additional weight is added. This can cause injury, both physically and to your ego as your hammock comes crashing down to the ground. If you are committed to hanging your hammock year after year in one location of the yard, you may even choose to have a pole added specifically for the purpose of hanging your hammock. This guarantees you’ll always have the perfect hammock support waiting and ready.
After you’ve found (or created) the perfect post, simply follow the instructions above for hanging your hammock using either rope or tree straps.
On a Porch or Balcony with Hanging Hardware
If your porch or balcony has sturdy railings that could support your body weight, you may be able to create a hammock hanging area using heavy-duty eyebolts. The easiest way to do this is to hang your hammock in a corner, giving you two anchor points to work with. However, you could also use your deck and a tree, or your deck and another post somewhere in your outdoor space. Just be sure that you’ve enough distance between the two anchor points for proper tension.
When selecting your eyebolts, make sure that they’re long enough for approximately 2” of the bolt to be secured in the desk post or railing so that it’ll hold firmly over time. If this means that your bolt will go right through a post, but that post is still strong enough to support your weight, you may choose to secure it further with a nut on the other side. Once your anchor points are secure, use rope or chains to hang your hammock from the eyebolts and test your hammock. Make adjustments to tension and height as needed by adjusting your suspension length (the length of your rope/chain). This is a great option for many different hammock varieties including the more aesthetically pleasing rope and handwoven hammocks.
On a Porch or Balcony with Rope or Tree Straps
Using the same knots and techniques described above for hanging your hammock using a tree, you can also hang your hammock on a porch railing or post on your balcony. The benefits to hanging your hammock with rope or tree straps, as opposed to hardware, include the ability to change the location easily as desired, as well as the fact that this is a temporary solution with no long-term damage to your deck.
You can secure your hammock using a vertical post or column, or by tying it to the horizontal railing. Just be sure to check for the strength of the anchor point that you’re securing to be sure that it can support the weight of the hammock and anyone that plans on lounging in it (including pets and children) without leading to unintentional injuries or damage to the deck.
From A Vehicle or Between Vehicles
One innovative way that people have been suspending their hammocks when camping or outdoors, if they are unable to find trees at the right distance apart, is through using their vehicles. If you have a yard that allows you to back your vehicle up into the desired space to hang out, this may also work for you.
There are some commercially available supports that attach to the trailer hitch, allowing you to safely suspend a hammock chair, hang a hammock across the back of the vehicle or suspend one end of your hammock while the other end is tied to a tree or other anchor point. Alternatively, if you don’t have the support, you may also be able to tie your hammock to the roof rack on your vehicle if it’s solid enough and capable of supporting the weight. If you’re planning on hanging out somewhere where there are no available anchor points at all, you can use the roof racks of two vehicles.
Be aware however, that hanging a hammock from a roof rack that isn’t designed to withstand that weight could lead to damage to your vehicle or accidental injuries. Always put safety first and check the weight restrictions before trying this.
How to Hang a Hammock Indoors
From the Ceiling with Hanging Hardware
If you’re looking to hang a hammock or hammock chair indoors, the easiest approach may be to use heavy-duty hardware to secure anchor points in the ceiling. While this does require an investment of time and money, it’s a solution that will continue to serve you moving forward. When not in use, you can remove the hammock from the supports, freeing up your space. When it comes time to enjoy it once again, simply hook the chain into the support and you’re ready to go.
The first thing you will need to do is identify the location of the joists in your roof. This can be done with the aid of a stud finder. Mark the center of the joist, then repeat the process. You want to locate two joists that are far enough apart to accommodate the length of your hammock. Install heavy-duty eyebolts in both anchor points. Make sure that you’re using hardware that’s long enough to support your full body weight (and the weight of your spouse, kids, pets, or anyone else that may be joining you in the hammock).
With the ceiling anchors in place, you can use ropes or chains to hang your hammock. To adjust the height and tension of your hammock, simply change the length of the rope/chain that you’re using.
From the Wall with Hanging Hardware
Much like we discussed with the use of hanging hardware on your ceiling, porch, or deck, you can also suspend a hammock from the walls inside your home if you’re interested in a more permanent setup. To do so, you’ll have to locate the support beams within your wall using a stud finder to ensure that you create an anchor point that can support your weight.
As with the other solutions, you’ll be installing an eyebolt that’s long enough for approximately 2” of the bolt to be within the wall. This will help to create a solid anchor that isn’t going to pull free from the beam over time. Once this is installed, use rope or chains to hang your hammock at the desired height and tension. You can easily take the hammock down between uses, leaving nothing but the eyebolt in the wall to be seen by family and friends when visiting. You may also choose to leave it up permanently, using your hammock as a fun addition to your home décor.
From the Roof Beams or Vertical Posts
If you’re lucky enough to have exposed ceiling beams, columns, or vertical support beams in your home, you may be able to hang a hammock indoors without the need for any additional hardware. For posts and columns, you can hang the hammock following the same guidelines above for hanging from a tree using either rope or a hammock tree strap.
Be sure that you’re using a post or column that can safely support your weight, not something that’s solely for decoration. You should also check for signs of wear as this could compromise their ability to stand up to the additional weight. One struggle in using this approach indoors compared to outdoors on a tree is that columns and posts in our homes tend to be straight as a ruler. This means that there’s nothing to stop the hammock from sagging or losing its tension over time.
Like the columns and posts, you want to be sure that your ceiling beams will support your weight and that they’re in good condition before proceeding. Use a rope or tree strap to loop around the ceiling beam before securing it to your hammock. This is incredibly secure. However, it can be challenging in homes with a higher ceiling as you have to get the suspension up around the beam itself.
Both options eliminate the need for hardware, making them a great choice if your home has the posts, columns, or ceiling beams to support it.
Without Drilling or Damaging Walls
Whether you’re currently living in a rental unit or simply aren’t comfortable with putting holes in the walls of your home, you may be searching for options that avoids drilling or causing any damage. As discussed above, roof beams or vertical posts are a great solution, but not every home has access to these features.
The best alternative for most living spaces is to use a hammock stand suitable for the size of the space available. Choose a stand with rubber protectors on the legs to save your floors or add floor protectors to the bottom of the stand yourself. If you aren’t sure about having a hammock stand as a permanent fixture in your home, you can explore the portable options that fold up between use for easy storage.
A Few Notes of Caution
As we’ve pointed out in many of the above suggestions, safety should always be your primary concern. This means ensuring that your hammock is secured in a way that’ll prevent injury regardless of which solution you’re choosing. If you’re unsure whether a ceiling beam, post, tree, or railing will hold the weight of those that are planning on using your hammock, we recommend that you play it safe and choose another option.
Furthermore, it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and the potential risks that come with them. Before kicking back in your hammock, look all around for possible risks including branches or items that could fall on top of you, possible fire hazards, or items below you that could cause an injury if your hammock were to fall. As the old saying goes, better safe than sorry!