Happy National Hammock Day!
July 22, 2016 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Stressed out by politics, the news, family, or something else? String up a hammock, relax, and take a break from the world for a while: it's National Hammock Day today. July 22, 2016, is the day when we should all take a moment to pause, consider how we sit, sleep, lounge, or camp, and decide to make out lives better...in a hammock!

Hammocks can be made from rope netting or from a sheet of fabric. They can be elaborate gear with crazy technical options, or just a plain piece of cloth. You hang them outside with straps (because ropes cut up tree trunks), but you can use a stand, too: the Turtle Dog and Turtle Lady are two popular DIY choices. Some people even hang them up in their house, but use a calculator and pick the spot carefully to make sure you don't fall down or tear the hooks out of the walls.

Plenty of big companies are getting in on the act: you can pick up a hammock at REI or Target these days. And if you prefer to support small businesses, there are a great community of so-called "cottage vendors" who make hammocks, accessories, rain flies, tarps, and other hammock gear, like Dutchware, Arrowhead, the now-shuttered Hammeck, and so many more.

Hammocks have accreted a big body of specialized knowledge around knots (splices, Zing-It, whoopie slings, and static ridge lines); materials (cuban fiber and silnylon); accessories (snake skins, double-ended bishop bags, and asym tarps). Luckily hammock people are both DIY'ers and teachers so there are great communities like Hammock Forums to ask questions and get help when making your own gear, where people share designs, feedback, and ideas. From simple hammocks to special knots & splices, you can make so much of your own gear.

So get out there, hang out for a while, and take a load off!
posted by wenestvedt (30 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
And here's a cocktail to go with: The Banana Hammock.

In comments, the libation's innovator notes, "We have a good amount of German tourists here and they are all about the banana hammock!"
posted by notyou at 9:57 AM on July 22, 2016

Hank Scorpio: Hammocks? My goodness, what an idea. Why didn't I think of that? Hammocks! Homer, there's four places. There's the Hammock Hut, that's on third.

Homer: Uh-huh.

Hank Scorpio: There's Hammocks-R-Us, that's on third too. You got Put-Your-Butt-There.

Homer: Mm-Hmm.

Hank Scorpio: That's on third. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot... Matter of fact, they're all in the same complex; it's the Hammock Complex on third.

Homer: Oh, the Hammock District!

Hank Scorpio: That's right.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:59 AM on July 22, 2016 [9 favorites]

I finally fixed my portal so that I could fufill a dream I had since we bought our house… to put up a hammock and watch the stars. Ahhhhhhhhh…
posted by jabo at 10:04 AM on July 22, 2016

posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 10:20 AM on July 22, 2016

I was about to paint the ceiling, but I can't resist celebrating this particular holiday. Now. I can spackle and paint after lunch...my hammock is the physical manifestation of summer vacation/retirement.
posted by kozad at 10:20 AM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm an apartment dweller and I am here for this, I badly want a sky chair.
posted by clavicle at 10:23 AM on July 22, 2016

*checks thread for Hank Scorpio reference*
*sees Sangermaine's comment*
*nods approvingly*
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:33 AM on July 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail in my trusty Hennessy Hammock. Lighter and comfier than a tent, as long as there are some trees around (and there's almost always some trees around).
posted by frogmanjack at 10:35 AM on July 22, 2016

Hank Scorpio: Back to the hammocks, my friend. You know, there's a little place called Mary Ann's Hammocks. The nice thing about that place is Mary Ann gets in the hammock with you.


Hank Scorpio: I'm just kidding.

Homer: Oh.

Hank Scorpio: You know who invented the hammock, Homer?

Homer: No.

Hank Scorpio: There's something for you to do: find that out.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:39 AM on July 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hammock life hack:

Step 1: buy a hammock
Step 2: buy a set of suspension straps, or if you're in Canada just go to MEC and buy 2x5m of 1" webbing.
Step 3: go to a local park, somewhere with a fair number of mature trees. In Toronto, the grassy western bit of Woodbine Beach has some good spots, as do the Toronto Islands. Alternate hack: go camping.
Step 4: Tie hammock to trees (If you're using a set of suspension straps, follow their instructions)
Step 5: Enjoy hammock & occasional comments from passers-by about "how good an idea this is!"
posted by quaking fajita at 10:39 AM on July 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hank Scorpio: You know who invented the hammock, Homer?
Homer: No.
Hank Scorpio: There's something for you to do: find that out.

We already went through this, they came from tropical "New World" people, brought back to Europe by Chris Columbus and his crew, adopted by sailors and navies, used in prisons for a while, then used by the wealthy on their porches (at least in the US, for a while).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:01 AM on July 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

then used by the wealthy on their porches

Uhhh. Define "wealthy," he asked, knowing that owning a home with a porch in one of the most expensive cities in the country is already an answer…
posted by fedward at 11:09 AM on July 22, 2016

Also it's too dang hot to be outside today.
posted by fedward at 11:10 AM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

In the interests of PostMoarGlobal, it is utterly important on this day of celebration to point out the indigenous history and continued popularity of the hammock in the tropical regions of Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. El Salvador is one of the hotbeds of hammock-making and using, and it's not uncommon for Salvadoran immigrant households in the Washington DC suburbs to continue using hammocks for everyday sleeping, especially when space is tight. I have a friend of the younger generation who refused to get a relaxin' hammock for her new house because to her, hammocks are what poor people sleep in!
posted by drlith at 11:16 AM on July 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Or what filthy light thief said.
posted by drlith at 11:19 AM on July 22, 2016

Ahhh. That was nice. Sure, it's hotter out there, but the trees are greener, I noticed that the cicadas of summer have started warming up, and I read the first 35 pages of a book I bought more than a half a year ago (The Sellout, by Paul Beatty).
posted by kozad at 11:29 AM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

All right, Kozad! (My work here is done.)
posted by wenestvedt at 11:35 AM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wow, just yesterday I did a deep dive into the world of hammocks, specifically because I was looking into hanging a hammock indoors in my living room (not enough space for a stand, so I'd probably need to get some big fat eye bolts and locate my studs quite accurately...)
posted by btfreek at 12:07 PM on July 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Thanks filthy light thief and drlilith, I had totally missed that thread and didn't have any clue about who invented hammocks other than knowing they were originally for sleeping.
posted by quaking fajita at 12:39 PM on July 22, 2016

Slap straps. I know, it sounds like something out of an adult film. But slap straps are to hammocks what Milk is to coffee. If you have a hammock, you're going to want to get some slap straps to go with it!
posted by WalkerWestridge at 3:32 PM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, slap atraps are awesome. Atlas Straps from ENO aren't the lightest but they are totally slick -- I got them for my kids' hammocks.
posted by wenestvedt at 3:52 PM on July 22, 2016

I recently bought a hammock to relax outside the tent when I go camping. I got a double-wide one for just me, and it's been a revelation. The slap straps it came with are super sturdy, and swinging between trees at the camp site is so much nicer than a camping chair. I haven't taken it out to the park yet, but that's on the "to do" list for sure - just maybe on a weekend when it's not a heat wave...
posted by gemmy at 6:16 PM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Without any insulation between you and your hammock, the slightest breeze across your back will suck away a lot of your body heat -- which is trouble while sleeping on a cool night but a wonderful feature during a heatwave afternoon nap!
posted by wenestvedt at 7:26 PM on July 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

Moments ago I paused in the yard to stretch out in our hammock and enjoy the laser shooter filling our trees with tiny green lights. There's enough of a breeze that the lights shimmer. With the stars as a backdrop and plenty of fireflies this is one heck of an amazing place to enjoy a hammock, so I was delighted to learn that this is, in fact, Hammock Day. I plan on continuing my celebrations throughout the weekend.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:38 PM on July 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Big fan of my hammock, it was the first thing I setup after moving into the new house this month.

Has anyone cracked the beer problem? Like... where do I put my beer? I've been discussing this with a wide range of friends for years, and we have no real good solution. At least nothing that isn't plagued by cantilevers, gimbals, and a general overdose of engineers disease.

The current winner is a cup holder on a ski pole.
posted by butterstick at 9:05 PM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

This could not have been timed better. I took my hammock out for a five-day (car) camping trip a few weeks ago and will be going back out next week. Every time I come back from one of these things, I want to start tinkering with my setup. My hammock has a mosquito net built in, but it's completely unsupported. I'm in the middle of adding a structural ridgeline underneath the net to hold it off me. Also got some Amsteel coming in the mail so I can replace my huge, stiff polyester suspension lines. This will be my first time splicing amsteel. Good times!
posted by d. z. wang at 10:02 PM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

How can there be a hammock thread without Shug Emery?
And about adult beverages in the hammock, how about a) put the beverage in a Camelback, b) put the hydration bladder in a frosty ice chest on the ground, c) put the bite valve in your mouth, d) sway in the hammock and enjoy. Maybe I'm overthinking it.
posted by TrishaU at 11:08 PM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

This time of year I always have my hammock in my bag. It goes up in seconds and down just the same. I will throw it up in a park, in a football goal, between railings, anywhere I can get horizontal. The body-heat suck mentioned above is a real problem since I'm often in the shade of the trees and to counter this I usually pack a microfiber towel in the bag as well and can use it as an underblanket.
posted by Iteki at 4:45 AM on July 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

butter stick, equipment maker Sierra Designs makes a small fabric bag that hangs from your ridge line, as shown here:

If you're not using a ridge line then it's not much use -- but a ridge line will improve your comfort anyway.

(And I may have an extra I could send you to try out if you are curious.)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:23 AM on July 23, 2016

Update: I finally got around to installing my hammock indoors, but now I have a new problem: I want to spend 99% of my waking hours hanging out in my hammock. How the hell am I supposed to get anything done ever again?

sent from my hammock
posted by btfreek at 8:40 PM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

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