How Far Should A Hammock Be Off The Ground?

If you’ve ever slept in a hammock you’ll appreciate just how comfortable they are. But, like me, it may leave you wondering how far a hammock should be off the ground.

After all, you need to get into it easily but you don’t want to find your weight brings it down to ground level; that’s not going to be comfortable.

My experience has shown me that you need to hang your hammock at a height of approximately 6 feet or 1.8 meters (eyes height) from a tree or stand depending on the width between the two anchor points. 

how far should a hammock be off the ground

This should give you roughly 2 feet of clearance between the lowest point and the ground. That’s enough to ensure your comfort and allow you easy access.

How Much Space Do You Need?

Of course the question of how far should a hammock be off the ground is entwined with the amount of space you have available around you.

The average hammock ideally needs between 12 and 16 feet of space between two trees. This is to ensure you have enough room to erect your tarp over your hammock.

This also appears to be an adequate amount of room to ensure you’re able to relax with peace of mind; you won’t need to worry about what others are doing round you.

Of course the actual space required does depend slightly on the type of hammock you require. A free standing frame hammock will probably take up less room but may take a little longer to erect and is heavy.

How To Hang Your Hammock

Hanging the hammock is, in principle, easy. All you have to do is tie each end round a tree and jump in; right?

In theory this is right but in practice this can lead to disaster.

The first thing you need to be aware of is that the closer your poles or supports are together, the more your hammock will sag.

There are two consequences of this:

  1. Hammock Is Too Low

If you have your supports too close together then the angle of the hammock will be steeper and more weight will concentrate at one point. This makes it much more likely that the hammock will touch the ground while you’re sat or are laid in it. The perfect angle is 30° to the horizontal. This makes sure you have a flat diagonal lay. which i will talk about next.

  1. Comfort

It is likely that you’ll find it very difficult to get comfortable in a hammock where the support posts are too close together.

In short the angle of the hammock will not be supportive of your back; as it will create a steep curve. The result is simple; you’ll not use your new hammock anywhere near as much as you should; despite you secretly loving it. The problem is it just won’t feel comfortable for any length of time.

Ideally your trees should be slightly further apart than the length of the hammock. For example a 9 foot hammock can be hung between trees that are 10, 11, 12 or even 15 feet apart at a height of 6 feet. This will create a comfortable lay.

Fore more information on how to setup your hammock check out these post about hanging your hammock and tree straps.

My usual setup
My usual setup

Hanging Your Hammock Without Trees

You don’t need to buy a framed hammock to hang it when you have no trees in. Of course it is an option but you’ll never be able to take the hammock with you when you go out!

Fortunately it is possible to hang a hammock even where there are no trees. Here’s how:

Simply look for a post or solid structure that will take the weight of your hammock, you and your gear. There is sure to be a building or a solid post somewhere.  In fact you can use any object that is firmly mounted in the ground or even the side of your house and your car. It should be noted that this is a temporary solution if you ever want to use your vehicle.

If you have only one tree you can do this:

Is Sleeping In A Hammock Good For You?

Sleeping is a hammock is good for you. I know its comfortable lying in one for the afternoon but apparently the pressure-less lay helps you to relax and fall asleep.

Better sleep equates to being easier to concentrate on your daily tasks and an improved immune system. This will help you to stay healthy and focused without back pains.

In fact research (opens in new tab) appears to show that a hammock can improve blood flow round your body. This will improve the flow of blood and nutrients to your brain and can actually improve brain function.

The fact that the hammock puts you in the optimal position for sleep and helps you to fall to sleep quicker is simply a bonus!

It has also been suggested that you’ll sleep deeper in a hammock which will help to boost your mood and cognitive functions. Of course deeper sleep also allows your body to heal and recuperate better.

Can I Hang It Higher?

It is possible to hang your hammock higher but you’ll need to consider how far away your support posts are.

As a rule i setup my hammock between two trees that are around 16 foot apart from each other. Then i tie the hammock at eyes height to the tree. This setup is perfect for the length of my tarp and the height of my hammock.

If there are trees that are far from each other you need to increase the height of your tie points. This will lead to the same angle on your hammock.

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