Choosing Your Hammock

Choosing the best camping hammock for you is no easy task. There’s no one “perfect” hammock for everybody because we all have slightly different needs. To help you identify some of these needs and choose the right hammock for you, please take a peek through the information in the links below.


Lay

The “Lay” of a hammock refers to the position of your body in the hammock. Different hammocks will lay differently depending on shape, size and materials used. The goal here, of course, is to find the most comfortable position possible. To maximize comfort and allow you to get a “good lay”, it’s usually best to lay slightly diagonal or “Asym”.

Straight Lay
Laying straight down the center of the hammock. Notice in this photo how the sides of the hammock are loose and draped over the user. Also notice how the user is bent into an uncomfortable “banana shaped” position. Ignore the bikini-clad young ladies shown in glamorous photos laying in their hammocks like this. This just isn’t a comfortable position for sleeping.

Asym Lay
Laying diagonal to achieve a flatter and more comfortable lay. Can be right lay or left lay. Even though this is a much smaller hammock, it has a good lay. Notice how the sides of the hammock tighten up and the user is in a much more comfortable position.

Right Lay
Laying with your head near the left edge of the hammock and your feet near the right edge.

Left Lay
Just the opposite, head right and feet left.
Choosing right or left lay is mostly a personal preference and there’s no good way to predict which way may be more comfortable for you, but approx 90% of the hammocks we build are right lay. We can build your hammock either Right Lay or Left Lay. Just be sure to indicate your preference on your order.


Length
The length of your hammock is possibly one of the most important factors in determining a comfortable nights sleep. Our hammocks are available in 10ft or 11ft lengths.

The 10ft length is usually comfortable for a person up to 6ft tall. If you are taller than this, you should probably consider an 11ft hammock. Some shorter people prefer the feel of a longer hammock less “shoulder squeeze” and a slightly “flatter lay”. One thing to keep in mind is that the ridgeline and ridgeline organizer sit higher on an 11ft hammock. Also, the zipper sliders are farther away from a shorter person and can be more difficult to reach.

A good starting point…
5ft 7in or shorter? – consider a 10ft hammock in a width of 58-60″
5ft 8in to 6ft tall? – either an 11ft x 58-60″ or a 10ft with a few extra inches of width
Well over 6ft tall? – go with an 11ft and consider using a wider fabric for more room.


Width
Hammock width is an important contributor to the comfort of your hammock, but is secondary to length. There are many poorly sized “double” hammocks available that provide a huge amount of width that can’t be used because the hammocks length is too short to provide access to outside edges of the hammock. A sufficiently wide hammock will allow you to lay in a good diagonal position for best comfort.

The available width of our hammocks is largely dependent on the starting fabric width. Depending on the exact model, we will loose approx 1.5-2 inches of width when roll hemming the fabric’s edges and attaching zippers. Some fabrics also have a bit of ugliness along the selvage edge, which must be trimmed off prior to roll hemming.
EXAMPLE – Starting with a 60 inch wide fabric will yield a final hammock width of approx 58-58.5″ give or take.

Most of the time we try to use as much of the available width possible to make the hammock as wide as we can possibly get it. If you are using one our wider fabrics, we can certainly trim the fabric down to make your hammock narrower. Just indicate your desired width when placing your order. While we can always make your hammock narrower, we cannot make it wider than the fabric will allow.

A good starting point…
5ft 7in or shorter? – consider a 10ft hammock in a 60″ wide fabric.
5ft 8in to 6ft tall? – either an 11ft x 58-60″ or a 10ft with a few extra inches of width
Well over 6ft tall? – go with an 11ft and consider using a wider fabric for more room.

Too narrow? = impossible to get a good diagonal lay causing loss of comfort.
Too wide? = unused floppy fabric on the sides sagging down against you and/or insect netting too loose.


Fabric
The fabric used in the hammock body plays an important role in how the hammock lays. A very lightweight fabric will have more stretch and give you a “springy” feeling. It will also allow your body to sink further down into the hammock and tend to close up around you. A heavier fabric will not stretch quite as much and feel firmer under you. Your body will be held slightly higher and the fabric won’t tend to close in around you quite as much, giving you a flatter lay. The disadvantage in heavier fabrics obviously, is final weight and pack size of your hammock.

We offer many different weights, types and colors of fabric.

1.0oz ROBIC XL Ripstop Nylon- Stronger and more abrasion resistant than 1.1oz ripstop nylon. A great option for those looking for wider lightweight fabric for their inside layer. To reduce bias stretch and increase abrasion resistance, 1.0 oz ROBIC XL also uses a diamond hybrid ripstop grid. This makes it easier to sew, increases comfort for load bearing applications (e.g. hammocks), and extends the overall life of the fabric. Good for inside layers and overcovers. Not available for single layer hammocks and outside layers.

1.1oz Ripstop Nylon – Breathable, uncalendered 1.1 oz ripstop nylon with DWR finish (except where noted). A lighter, softer fabric that doesn’t give up too much strength/durability. Good for inside layers and overcovers. Not available for single layer hammocks and outside layers.

1.6oz HyperD Diamond Ripstop – Designed to both perform AND feel different than standard square grid ripstop nylon, HyperD® offers a superior strength-to-weight ratio combined with an incredibly soft hand feel and visual pop. At 1.6 oz, this fabric fills the void between 1.9 oz and 1.1 oz weights for those looking to save weight while retaining maximum strength/durability. The premium choice fabric for hammocks. Comfort rating of up to 280lbs.

1.6oz HyperD XL Diamond Ripstop – HyperD XL is the widebody version of our original HyperD line of diamond grid ripstop nylon. Custom woven to a non-standard width of 72″, HyperD XL is over a foot wider than most fabrics on the market today. The premium choice fabric for hammocks. Comfort rating of up to 280lbs.

1.9oz Ripstop Nylon – Breathable, uncalendered 1.9 oz ripstop nylon with DWR finish. Provides excellent strength and durability without being too heavy. Great for hammocks. Comfort rating of up to 250lbs.

2.2oz HEX70 XL Ripstop Nylon – A 70 denier high-tenacity ripstop nylon designed specifically for higher strength, durability, and abrasion resistance compared to standard 1.9 oz 70D ripstop fabrics. This fabric is 67.5″ wide and has a comfort rating of up to 350lbs.

Camouflage Fabrics – We also offer various weights and patterns of camo fabrics including Multicam, Woodland, & A-Tacs.

See our available fabrics here.

How heavy a fabric do I need?
Note – Due to durability concerns, we do not offer 1.0 & 1.1oz fabrics for single layer hammocks, nor for outside layers on our double layer hammocks.


Layers
We offer both single and double layer hammocks to suit your specific needs.
Here are a few of the things you should consider in choosing a single or double layer.

Body Weight – Depending on the fabrics used, a double layer will normally provide a more solid feeling and supportive hammock and minimize stretch. This is less of a consideration with many of the newer, stronger fabrics available. For a rough guide on comfort ratings, please check out our Comfort Rating Chart or our Hammock Calculator.

Bottom Insulation – Sleeping pads can be terribly frustrating in a single layer because they’re always trying to squirt out from under you. If you intend to use a sleeping pad, a double layer hammock works much better. If using an underquilt, a single layer hammock is usually sufficient.

Durability – A double layer hammock can provide you a little more safety margin against abrasion damage or snags. In some cases, a tear or snag in a single layer hammock can mean the end of a trip and/or a cold night on the ground. A minor snag or tear in a double layer hammock can often be repaired as long as the damage is contained to only one of the two layers.

Pack weight – Obviously, a single layer hammock is lighter than a double layer. See our Hammock Calculator for a rough idea of the difference.

Wind blocking – A double layer of fabric will block more wind and can potentially provide more warmth than a single layer hammock. This of course, is a good or bad thing depending on the season.

Insect Protection – Some people claim that a double layer hammock will provide more protection from insects getting to you from below your hammock. I’m not at all sure of this because I personally always use an underquilt or sleeping pad under me. Also, I treat my personal hammocks with permetherin to combat insects and I’ve never once had this issue.

Price – If you don’t need a double layer, you can save some bucks with a single layer.

Heavier layer on the outside or inside?
Definitely on the outside. This provides you the best durability against damage from brush, saplings, briers, etc. Also, this makes for a stronger hammock that will last longer if you are using a sleeping pad. Using a double layer hammock together with a sleeping pad of any substantial thickness places almost all the stress on the outside layer only until it stretches out and is “helped” by the inside layer. If the users weight greatly exceeds the capacity of the outside layer, damage or failure can easily occur.

Are the double layer hammocks sewn together?
Yes. The 2 layers are sewn together along the sides, leaving approx 24-26″ open on both ends. This gives you the ability to easily insert and adjust a sleeping pad or supplement your insulation between the layers.

Why leave the ends open instead of the middle?
• The middle edge is a high stress area when entering or exiting the hammock.
• The 2 layers don’t tend to shift around nearly as much.
• Easier access to the ends (and air valve) of your sleeping pad.


Suspension
We have changed our available suspension options to allow people the flexibility of choosing the exact components they want in their hammock suspensions.

We will update this page to show all the various components as soon as we get a chance.

Suspension add-ons –
Colored Amsteel – mix and match your suspension colors with this add-on.
MultiBuckle – a handy piece of hardware that can be used in several ways.
StrapBuckle – works great with our continuous loop suspension.
Carabiners – always handy to have a pair with your setup.


Insect Protection
During the warmer seasons, you’ll likely to need some sort of bug protection. Noseeum netting does add a little warm to your hammock by blocking some wind. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the temperature. The netting also keeps quilts and other items from falling out of your hammock onto the ground.

We offer several different styles of insect netting:
Removeable bug net using dual #5 seperating zippers. It stores in it’s own peak bag at the foot end and can be zipped onto the hammock when needed. Both the netting and peak bag are completely removeable and can be left at home during colder weather, if you desire.
Available in the ThunderBird and Sparrow.

Bug net attached to the end of the hammock. It stores in it’s own peak bag at the foot end and can be zipped onto the hammock when needed. The netting is attached to the hammock and cannot be taken off and left at home.
Available in the DangerBird.

Integrated netting sewn onto one side of the hammock. The net can be flipped over the back of the hammock when not needed.
Available in the Darien.


Wind & Rain Protection
Overcovers
An overcover can really be enhance your hammock camping experience by allowing you to camp more comfortably in colder weather. It works by blocking or slowing airflow that robs heat from your insulation. A properly vented WinterSock or overcover can add 10-15 degrees inside your hammock, depending on the conditions. It also blocks wind and moisture that finds it’s way under your tarp. Some people also use it for added privacy while changing and darkening the hammock when snoozing during the day.

We offer 3 different styles of overcover:
Removeable overcover using dual #5 seperating zippers. It stores in it’s own peak bag at the foot end and can be zipped onto the hammock when needed. Both the overcover and peak bag are completely removeable and can be left at home during warmer weather, if you desire.
Available in the ThunderBird and and Sparrow.

Overcover attached to the end of the hammock. It stores in it’s own peak bag at the foot end and can be zipped onto the hammock when needed. The overcover is attached to the hammock and cannot be taken off and left at home.
Available in the DangerBird.

Keep in mind that an overcover must be ventilated properly to avoid building up condensation inside your hammock.

Tarps
For rain protection, you will need to have a tarp that provides adequate protection.

It is generally agreed that your tarp should normally overhang your hammock around 12″ on each end. Some experienced hammock users choose to minimize tarp coverage in order to limit the weight of their gear while others own more than one tarp and choose one that will provide adequate coverage for the expected weather conditions. Choosing a tarp that has doors can provide a little more proctection and the overhang is not quite as important.

Which tarp is right for my hammock?


Zippers

1 Slider

A single zipper slider. The head end of the hammock would be on the left side of this photo. This is the standard zipper configuration on the RoamingGnome hammock.


2 Sliders

Having 2 sliders allow you to unzip from the center of the hammock.
This is the way that the Darien hammock is built.

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Darien Zipper

Two sliders facing each other on one side of the hammock. Sliders meet in the center when zipper is closed. Netting can be opened on one side and thrown over the back of the hammock.

DangerBird Zipper

Single zipper slider on net and overcover that share the same zipper half on the hammock body. Requires that you reach up to the head end of the hammock to completely zip up the netting or overcover.

ThunderBird Zipper

Seperating zippers with one slider on each side. Net and overcover can be completely removed from the hammock. Requires that you reach up to the head end of the hammock to completely zip up the netting or overcover.

Sparrow Zipper

Seperating zippers that start at each end of the hammock and zip toward the center of the hammock. Net and overcover can be completely removed from the hammock.

Adding extra zippers
You may choose to add extra zipper sliders to your DangerBird hammock for an additional charge.

We recomend that you add them either to the left or right side only.

Right side, left side? Picture yourself laying in your hammock, looking at your feet. Which side do you want to open? Remember that you switch ends in the DangerBird so you just need to decide left or right. Let us worry about how they go on.

If you do choose to add extra zipper sliders to both sides of the net and overcover on a DangerBird, you will have 12 total zippers sliders to keep you busy.