Summer is made for relaxing. One of the best ways to relax is to lounge in a hammock. You simply lay back, swing in the breeze and enjoy nature. If you enjoy the great outdoors, a hammock is a great addition to a hike or camping trip. A hammock doesn't impact the environment as much as a tent or a camper as long as you use it correctly. Here are some tips for safe hammocking on National Hammock Day.
1. Get in and out safely. We've all seen someone do it: they try to enter the hammock, and the next thing you know, they're on the ground below it. Don't try to get into a hammock feet first. Instead, stand in the center of the hammock with your back to the fabric. Raise the back edge of the fabric up high behind you. Sit down in the center of the fabric, then stretch the remainder around your knees and calves. At that point, you can turn to recline lengthwise in the hammock. Get out by turning yourself perpendicular, keeping plenty of fabric above your head. Once your feet are out, swing to stand up.
2. Don't reach out. Hammock accidents often occur when you reach out of the hammock to grab something off of the ground. This shifts your weight and can dump you out of the hammock. Before you get in, make sure that you have everything you need in the hammock: a book, sunscreen, your phone and a pillow if necessary. Place a small table within reaching distance of the hammock so you can place any other necessities--like a cocktail--on it without having to reach too far.
3. Secure it safely. Hammocks can damage trees. Don't ever hammer a nail or anything else into a tree. Instead, buy dedicated nylon webbed hammock straps that are designed for this purpose. They'll be safer for you and the trees. Hang your hammock around the thickest part of a live tree. Hanging your hammock on dead trees can be dangerous. Hammocks should be hung no higher than 18 inches off the ground for safety.
4. Check the environment. You shouldn't hang a hammock on trees within 200 feet of water. This protects the delicate environment that provides essential soil stabilization near rivers and streams. In addition, if a tree is growing in a wet area, the weight of the hammock can uproot it. Make sure that there aren't any hornets nests on the tree trunk near the hammock, and check the ground cover. You don't want to hang your hammock above a bed of poison ivy.
5. Pick up after yourself. Whether you hang your hammock in a park or a campsite, leave no trace. Take your hammock home with you when you're finished, and don't leave litter around the area. Take out anything that you bring in.
Hammocks provide super simple places to kick your feet up. You can set up a hammock almost anywhere that has two trees about 12 feet apart. Make hammocking part of your summer vacation.