Using a hammock may seem intimidating at first glance; it has to be hung, spread out, safely entered, and once you're in, you have to maintain your balance to avoid rolling right back out. While it might sound scary, using a hammock is actually fairly simple if you know what you're getting into before you get started.
Find a place to secure it: Trees are the traditional spot of suspension, but anything tall enough to keep you off the ground and hold your weight will work just as well. If you don't have access to two sturdy trees, consider attaching one or both ends to a wall, post, tree, porch railing or any secure combination of those. For a hammock with spreader bars, plan to hang it 4 feet to 5 feet above the ground. For one without spreader bars, 6 feet to 8 feet above the ground is a typical hanging height. For more information, read our guide about how to hang a hammock. If none of these hanging options work, you may need a hammock stand that can be set up anywhere you have room.
Prep your hammock for comfort: Before you lie down, make sure you have everything you'll need to fully relax; you won't want to get in and out once you're settled. Hammocks are much more comfortable with a pillow, and if summer evenings get cool where you live, you'll want to have a blanket. A patio chaise cushion fits into a hammock fairly well, so you can use one to add padding; this is a good option for webbed hammocks. If you want to read a book or play games on your phone while you relax, make sure those are on a small table you can reach once you lie down. You won't want to reach all the way to the ground, as this can cause you to tumble out of the hammock.
Climb in: Getting into a hammock is the most difficult part of the entire operation. The most important thing to remember is that entering feet first will not end well; if you can avoid that, you can make it work. Stand with your back to the hammock, grasp the far edge and lift it over your head. Lower yourself into a sitting position in the center and stretch the remaining fabric out over your feet.
Get comfortable: Now that you're safely in your hammock, it's time to enjoy it. From your position in the middle, feel free to lie back. Maneuver yourself so your body is at an angle; this allows even weight distribution and a comfortable feeling of support. While it's tempting to lie parallel to the long axis of the hammock, it's actually more comfortable to position yourself at a 45 degree angle, basically a diagonal across the hammock. Once you're comfortable, you can nap, read, or just relax and swing.
Exit the hammock: To get back on solid ground, simply sit up, swing your feet over the edge and place them firmly on the ground, grab the sides for support, and stand up.