Q. I need hammock advice! Here’s my situation: I’d like to have a hammock that I could take on campouts or just to use at home. However, my backyard doesn’t have two good hammock trees next to each other. I’ve looked into some “camping hammocks,” which instead of trees use a metal frame on the underside, but they’re pretty expensive and they seem to get bad reviews. Your advice is appreciated!
—One Tree Jesse, Mt. Pleasant, Utah
A. Ahh, if only everyone had two perfect hammock trees right next to each other the world would be a happier place. I do feel your pain, Mr. One Tree. Been there. So to help answer your question I tapped our friend Jen Brooks at Eagle’s Nest Outfitters (ENO), which makes some of the coolest camping hammocks out there. Here’s what she had to say: “As you know, hammocks need two very strong supports to be hung out by. Unfortunately the laws of physics do not allow for much room to wiggle around this solution. That said, for a treeless backyard we’ve found the cheapest and most reliable hammock support system requires a trip to your local hardware store. Buy two 8-foot long 4×4 wooden posts, one bag of quick cement, and two eyebolts.”
Here’s how: Dig a hole about two feet deep for your post. Put a little cement in the bottom, drop in your post and fill around it with cement. Set your second post about eight feet away and do the same thing. Finally, screw in an eyebolt near the top of both posts and—BAM!—you have a hammock hanging system, no trees required. For camping hammocks, many car campers use the doorframe of their car or a roof rack as one support and a nearby tree for the other. If you’re out in the backcountry, try a pair of easy-to-set-up webbing straps like the 10-foot 6-inch-long L.L. Bean Hammock Tree Straps ($25 for pair; llbean.com) or the 9-foot 6-inch-long ENO SlapStrap Pro ($25 for pair; eaglesnestoutfit.com). As long as you can find two trees or study objects 20 feet apart or less, you’re in business.