4 Tips To Choosing The Perfect-Sized Hammock For Your Gear Setup

I love sleeping in hammocks during my hiking trips because of the comfort and ease that a hammock provides. However, I have had nights where I could not sleep in my hammock, despite being exhausted from a long day on the trail. Through trial and error, I have found that it is important to choose the right size of hammock in order to fully enjoy its benefits.

There are 4 main criteria you should consider when choosing the proper size for your hammock. First, you should select the proper length hammock for your body. Second, you should test whether a single-wide or double-wide hammock is more comfortable for you. Third, you should consider the weight of the hammock and whether it will add unnecessary weight to your pack. Fourth, you should select a hammock that can comfortable bear your body weight.

If you can find the right setup for your hammock, including the right size hammock, you will love how you sleep at night after a long day on the trail. So, what size hammock should you choose?

Length Is A Key Consideration

Some hikers don’t really worry about the length of a hammock. They recommend a hammock that is only 2 feet longer than your body height.

However, I and other hikers have found that the length of your hammock can have a major impact on your level of comfort. If you have a hammock that is too short, your feet become too far elevated. This hyper-extends your knees and can lead to a restless night. I have also experienced sore heels when my feet are too elevated.

So, how long should your hammock be? A general rule of thumb is to choose a hammock that is at least 4 feet longer than your height. So, if you are 5′ 10″, you should choose a hammock that is at least 9′ 10″ inches. The extra length allows you to have a flatter lay for sleeping.

A longer hammock also provides more width, oddly enough. If you hang your hammock at the proper 30-degree angle, you will let the hammock hang naturally and not be too taut – which ultimately restricts your space.

Single- Or Double-Wide?

The width of a hammock is also an important consideration for your sleeping comfort. I have found a single-wide hammock to provide plenty of room, but because I do tend to move around when I sleep, I have found that the double-wide to be perfect for me.

Single-wide hammocks usually are between 4 to 5 feet in width, while the double-wide is between 5 and 6 feet. As noted above, even singles can provide adequate space when hung correctly, but even then, there is still a significant difference between singles and doubles.

Ultimately, this may come down to how you like to sleep. A double-wide hammock gives you the ability to move around more, but a single-wide can offer a more cocoon-like experience, which many people enjoy.

Consider The Weight

When considering the weight of the hammock, this admittedly has less to do with your sleeping comfort and more to do with how much weight you want to add to your gear.

While the difference in weight between longer and wider hammocks and shorter and narrower hammocks may not be dramatic, when you consider the added weight of a larger rain fly or tarp as well, it is something to be mindful of. If you are an ultralight hiker, or just looking to keep your gear weight to a minimum, every ounce counts!

Check Your Own Weight

You will want to sleep in a hammock and choose hammock straps that can support your weight over time. Most of the time, your hammock’s width will correspond to how much weight it can hold, but you should always be aware of weight capacities.

Likewise, you should check the your hammock’s fabric. Heavy-duty fabrics have higher “denier” numbers than ultralight material. Hammocks with a higher denier will be heavier and more durable than a low denier number. If you are heavier, you may want to consider a high denier number.

Other Considerations

As alluded to several times above, HOW you hang your hammock is as important as the size of the hammock itself.

Hang The Hammock At A 30-Degree Strap Angle: When you hang your hammock, there should be a 30-degree angle between your hammock straps and the ground.

This angle will provide enough give for you to nestle in your hammock, but not so much sag that you will be uncomfortable during the night. If you can’t achieve 30 degrees, go lower. More sag is better than less sag.

Sleep At An Angle In The Hammock Itself: Instead of laying in the same direction as the hammock, angle your body about 10 to 15 degrees off center. You can even get to a 30-degree angle. Especially if you have hung your hammock correctly, or you have a double-wide hammock, you will find you have plenty of room for this maneuver.

Sleeping at an angle allows the hammock to flatten correctly under you, and to gently cradle your body with no pressure points. It also gives you the ability to sleep on your side, if you prefer to sleep that way.

Recommendations For Hammocks Based On Your Body Size

For Above-Average Sizes (i.e., 6′, 200 lbs)

Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock

Length: 10 Feet

Width: 6.5 Feet

Weight: 28.5 Oz.

For Average to Smaller Sizes (5′ 6″, 150 lbs)

Eagles Nest Outfitters SingleNest

Length: 9 Feet

Width: 4.7 Feet

Weight: 16 Oz.

For Larger Sizes (6′ 6″, 250 lbs)

Grand Trunk Double Parachute Nylon Print Hammock

Length: 10.6 Feet

Width: 6.5 Feet

Weight: 28 Oz

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