Q: Your different hammock styles come in slightly different sizes. What are your actual hammock dimensions?
A: To answer that question, let's first familiarize you with a couple of terms we use in outlining hammock specs:
Bedsize refers to a hammock's length and width between its two wooden spreader bars. It's the part of the hammock you actually recline in, often referred to as the hammock body elsewhere on this site. Bedsize is listed in inches, first width and then length.
Overall means the total length of a hammock, from one metal O-ring to the other. Each hammock also comes with about 1 foot of chain on either end, attached to the O-rings; these chains allow for adjustments in hanging height. Chain lengths are not, however, included in the overall measurement.
Please note that because our hammocks are handcrafted, measurements are approximate, particularly for our rope models.
Small Rope Hammocks
Bedsize: 49½ inches wide x 83 inches long
Overall: 13-15 feet
Double Rope Hammocks
Bedsize: 55 inches wide x 83 inches long
Overall: 13-15 feet
Extra-Wide Rope Hammocks
Bedsize: 60 inches wide x 83 inches long
Overall: 13-15 feet
Admiral Rope Hammocks
Bedsize: 65 inches wide x 83 inches long
Overall: 13-15 feet
Quilted Hammocks and Pillowtop Hammocks
Bedsize: 55 inches wide x 82 inches long
Overall: 13-15 feet
Bedsize: 55 inches wide x 78 inches long
Overall: 13-15 feet
Q: I just took my new rope hammock out of the box, and the ropes look a little bunched-up. Is that something I should be concerned about?
A: Not at all! The rope in any new Nags Head Hammock has a tendency to look a bit rumpled or drawn-up when you first remove it from its packaging. Once you’ve reclined in the hammock a few times, the rope will stretch to its full length (up to an extra 2 feet!) and the weave will naturally begin to straighten out.
If a piece of rope ever does happen to get tugged a few inches out of its weave, no worries: simply work it, gently, back into place, and then shake the whole hammock vigorously. That typically takes care of it.
Q: How much space will I need to hang my hammock?
A: All of our hammocks require roughly 13-15 feet of hanging space, though we also recommend that you leave a few feet of open space to either side — you're going to want to sway a bit, after all!
A good general rule for hanging a hammock is to allow 18-24 inches more for the hanging space than the total length of the hammock. Be sure you measure the entire hammock, from O-ring to O-ring, and not just the rope (or fabric) bed. Also, be aware that most hammocks have about 1 foot of chain at either end, which is typically not included in the listed measurements.
For all sizes of hammock, the optimal hanging height up from ground-level is about 4 feet.
If you choose instead to use a stand for hanging your hammock, note that both styles of hammock stand we sell are 15 feet long, with the width for our Metal Hammock Stand at 46 inches, and for our Cypress Hammock Stand at about 5 feet. So you'll want a patch of flat, open space that can accommodate a combination of those two dimensions, plus maybe even a few extra inches to spare.
If you have a stand other than one of our own, be sure to measure it before attempting to choose an ideal location for setting it up.
Q: Do I need a hammock stand?
A: Well, maybe not need, but for the convenience that a quality hammock stand offers, we certainly wouldn't blame you for wanting one!
Hanging a hammock the old-fashioned way, between two shady trees, is certainly a charming way to go, but a free-standing hammock stand provides the greatest possibilities for setting up your hammock — with a quality hammock stand, you can set up pretty much anywhere you've got about 15 feet by 5 feet of open flat-surface space. We offer several top-quality hammock stands through this website.
Please note that if you already have a stand other than one of ours, you should check its length before ordering one of our hammocks, to be sure the two will work together.
Q: How do I hang my hammock if I'm not using a stand?
A: First, determine the hanging space you're going to need; plan on between 18-24 inches more than the total length of your hammock, from O-ring to O-ring. Keep in mind that the closer you make your hanging points, the more arc your hammock is going to have once it's hung.
You'll want open ground beneath your hammock, of course, and you should also plan on leaving at least a few feet of open space to either side as well.
Whether you hang your hammock from trees or wood posts, choose wood that's at least 6 inches (15 centimeters) in diameter, and strong. Hardwoods such as oak, maple, hickory, etc., are best for hammock-hanging; softwoods like palm, beech and willow may, however, fail to support your hammock when in use. (In the case of such softwoods, a set of Tree Straps is your best, safest option.)
You'll want to install the two zinc-plated steel Hammock Hooks that come standard with every Nags Head Hammock about 4 feet up from ground-level.
Begin your installation of the Hammock Hooks by drilling a ⅛ inch-3/16 inch pilot hole (the smaller the better). Start the hook by hand, then thread the hook eye with a screwdriver, or grip the eye with pliers or an adjustable wrench, to twist it all the way in. Stop twisting once the eye makes contact with wood; over-twisting can damage the Hammock Hook, and weaken hanging support.
Hook one link of each hammock chain over one newly installed Hammock Hook, being careful not to let your hammock flip over at either end as you do so. You'll use the different chain links to adjust hanging height and hammock tautness.
Chances are that your newly hung hammock may at first seem overly tight, and a little difficult to recline in; that's perfectly natural, and the problem will correct itself simply through normal use of the hammock. Nonetheless, please be a little extra careful the first few times you use your new hammock, since we don't want you suddenly dumped onto the ground!
After only a little use, hammock ropes will stretch, and lengthen &madash; which will then likely require you to add, or subtract, chain links to get your hammock to a desired hanging height. You'll probably have to tweak the height a couple of times as the ropes stretch to their full lengths, which can be up to about 2 feet beyond what you originally started with.
Q: Where's the best place in my yard to set up my new hammock?
A: If you're planning to hang your hammock between two trees or from beams on a deck or porch, using either the two Hammock Hooks that come standard with all of our hammocks or a pair of Tree Straps, then your options will be limited to where you have two strong adult trees or a set of sturdy poles standing roughly 15 feet apart, with adequate open space beneath them.
Generally speaking, though, a relatively shady spot is best for hanging your hammock long-term. Both the ropes and the varnish on the spreader bars will benefit over time from less direct sun exposure — as will your own skin when you nod off in your hammock at midday (hey, it happens!).
If you do keep your hammock in the shade, and under trees, be sure to routinely clear any fallen leaves or twigs from the ropes, or from the fabric. Also, check periodically to make sure no squirrel, bird or other enterprising wildlife has started stealing rope threads for nesting material, compromising the integrity, and safety, of your hammock.
If you go with the more portable option of suspending your hammock from a stand, then the length and width of your hammock stand should guide you in picking out an appropriate flat, open surface for setting up your new reclining-relaxation oasis. Just remember that if you opt for a sunny spot, hammocks are very nap-inducing — and that sunscreen is a good thing!
Q: Can I hang my hammock indoors?
A: Absolutely — a lot of people do! You'll first need to find the studs in whichever wall you want to hang your hammock from; studs are usually set about 16 inches apart. We strongly recommend an actual store-bought stud-finder over the "knuckle test," by the way — drill wrong, and you have a hole in the wall you now have to fill in; drill right, and you instead have a hammock to get in! Hammock Hooks can also be screwed into solid-concrete walls and hollow-bloc masonry walls; your local hardware store should have appropriate fasteners and recommendations on drills and drill bits.
Q: What if, once I hang my hammock, it's overly springy, or too loose? How can I fine-tune my hanging efforts?
A: If it's a rope hammock that seems overly springy the first time you set it up, note that the ropes in our new hammocks are designed to stretch, sometimes by as much as 2 feet, so some of that tautness will automatically disappear following your first few uses of your new hammock.
If your hammock seems prone to tipping even after its first few uses, then it's probably hung too tightly. On the other hand, if it seems to sag too much, you'll want to hang it a little higher, and tighter. Use the different links of the chain attached to either end of your hammock to easily adjust hammock height, and tautness.
Q: Any tips on getting into, and out of, a hammock?
A: Yes, and the primary one, especially at first: Go slow!
That said, don't be surprised if your first experiences getting into, or out of, a hammock prove a little awkward, no matter what you do — we promise it'll get easier in no time! To begin with, the ropes in any of our new hammocks are likely at first to be overly tight; they'll start to loosen, sometimes stretching up to 2 feet after a few times of being used. Nonetheless, you should be a little extra careful at first, since the ropes may be a lot more taut than you expect.
In general, get into your hammock by sitting down as close to the center of it as possible, taking a little rope in each hand near to your body for support, and then lifting your feet up and over the outside edge of the hammock; that way, gravity's working with you, not against you.
Of course, many hammock owners enjoy stretching out in their hammocks while still keeping their feet on the ground, in order to rock themselves as they recline. That certainly works, too!
To get back out once you're fully in your hammock, gently swing your legs upward and over one side, then plant your feet on the ground. Grab the outside edge of the hammock near to both sides of your now-seated body, and then simply … stand up!
Q: Can I leave my hammock outside all year long? Should I take it in when it rains?
A: We do recommend storing your Nags Head Hammock, or any other of our woven-rope products, in an enclosed dry place away from harsh chemicals and foraging wildlife during prolonged bad weather and other protracted periods when it's going unused, to ensure its longest possible life. Nonetheless, our products are made to be weather-tough, so you also don't need to rush out to take down your hammock or hammock-styled swing or chair and store it every time there's a little downpour. Days and days of rain, probably. But a short spring shower? Nah!
Please do realize that if you use any of our oak or oak-framed items primarily outside in unprotected areas, that these products may require a little maintenance over time, to ensure their longest possible useful lives. Oak is an incredibly hardy wood, and in addition, we hand-dip all of our oak parts in multiple coats of marine-grade varnish, to help protect our furniture from the elements. That said, wood is still wood, an organic material, and if routinely left outside, it will eventually start to show signs of weathering without some routine cleaning and upkeep. For tips on wood maintenance, visit our Product Care page.
Q: Will Hammock Hooks damage my trees? Should I use Tree Straps instead?
A: The two zinc-plated steel Hammock Hooks that come standard with any of our hammocks create only small, and not all that deep, holes that should not harm any healthy adult tree. Do note, however, that if you decide to take the hooks back out of a tree, they will leave behind holes which may take some time to grow back over.
Our Tree Straps are always advisable with softer woods such as palm, willow or beech, which don't adhere to the metal as well when too much force is applied from below.
Tree Straps are likewise recommended if you're only hoping to hang your hammock for a short time, making them absolutely ideal for hammock camping.
Q: Are there any important safety precautions I should know in using my hammock?
A: Oh, yes! They are:
Do not exceed the listed weight limit for your hammock, or for any Nags Head Hammocks product. Our hammocks, and hammock-inspired chairs and swings, are stronger than most, but falling out of them can hurt every bit as much as it would if they were cheaper, more poorly made, products!
Always place your weight in the center of your hammock when getting into it, and not on either edge. Failure to follow this advice is a superb recipe for getting to know your lawn, wooden deck or patio concrete much, much too well, and much, much too abruptly!
Always inspect your hammock before getting into it — various visiting wildlife like to make off with hammock rope fibers for nesting material, and the weakened rope may then give way under pressure. (See notes above about falling; i.e., ouch!).
Do not allow young children to use your hammock unless in the supervisory company of adults.
Never place infants in any hammock; things can way too wrong, way too fast.
Do not let your kids jump up and down in your hammock, or use it like it's a swing. Not only is this potentially dangerous, but it also leads to heightened wear and tear to the hammock, and to its hanging hardware.
Do not allow hammock chains to become twisted, and do not flip your hammock over while it's hanging; both actions can severely compromise chain strength. And if those chains fail, we just bet you can guess what unwanted thing can happen next …
Q: How much space do I need for hanging one of your swings?
A: In figuring out space for hanging, you'll want to factor in more than just the swing's actual size, both length and width. We also suggest leaving about 30 inches to either side to prevent any unwanted collisions, in case your swing gets bumped abruptly, or gets buffeted by heavy wind.
We also strongly advise leaving a minimum of 3 feet of open space in front of the swing, and 3 feet behind it, once again in order to avoid collision with any nearby structures.
For hanging height: All of our swings should be suspended about 2 feet up from ground-level.
Q: Do you sell stands made only for single swings?
A: We do! Check out our page of Swing Stands, and note that our Metal Swing Stand, while wide enough for most of our double swings, also comes with a center hanging slot that will accommodate all of our single swings as well.
Q: You have some very big double swings. Are they compatible with all of your double-swing stands?
A: The short answer is: mostly.
Our Deluxe Bent Oak Porch Swing, our Durawood Deluxe Double Swing and our Cedar Durawood Deluxe Double Swing fit only our Cypress Swing Stand , and not our Metal Swing Stand.
Q: What are the weight limits for your different outdoor furniture?
For our hammocks, hammock stands and swing stands: 450 pounds.
For our single chairs and single swings: 250 pounds.
For our double chairs and double swings: 450 pounds.
For our own Nags Head Hammocks products, we achieve this kind of strength in large part by using very thick synthetic multi-ply rope, which we precision-wind ourselves, to a strength exceeding even U.S. military standards. We also use the largest connecting hardware in the industry.
Q: What type of rope do you recommend for a hammock, or a hammock-style chair or swing?
A: At Nags Head Hammocks, we've never hand-woven our products with anything but synthetic rope, because with being located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, we know all too well the damage that weather can do.
Our top-of-the-line rope is our own proprietary synthetic blend, DuraCord®. Made for prolonged weather exposure, and resistant to abrasion, rot, mold and mildew, DuraCord® also has the uncanny softness of cotton, though without the durability limitations of an organic fiber. DuraCord® has the added bonus of being exceptionally resistant to staining and fading as well — in fact, there's not a more colorfast rope on the market today, which is why we're delighted to offer our DuraCord® rope in several attractive colors!
Our other quality rope choice is soft-spun polyester, colored bright-white. Running a little cheaper than DuraCord®, our polyester rope is nonetheless remarkably durable, and also wonderfully soft. In contrast with DuraCord®, polyester is not highly colorfast, which is why we offer soft-spun polyester rope only in white. And while polyester is also rot-, mold- and mildew-resistant, its white color does have a tendency to better show any mold or mildew that might grow on the stray organic material that so easily becomes lodged in rope fibers when kept outdoors.
That said, both of our outstanding rope varieties clean up like a charm. Check our Product Care page for tips!