Sub Title: The relationship between hammock size, diagonal sleep angle, hanger height, and hammock sag angle discussed.

Sub-sub title: Math majors needed!


I can accommodate up to three hammocks inside my home, and over the past few months I have enjoyed resting, lounging, and sleeping in a climate controlled environment. While not a lab, per se, I have found that I experiment more with my hammocks, testing sag angles and various hammock accessories. In the field I'm less finicky, just 3 paces, reach, and hang.

One thing I've been pondering in my testing is whether there is a relationship between the size of my hammock, the pitch angle, and how diagonal I can lay in my hammock.

The Theory

Late last year (2010), thexuprising posted an interesting question about the Nano, a small hammock measuring 9 4 ft (2.7 1.2 m). Among the responses was one from Mister Dark on how he found the best diagonal for this small hammock by pitching it tighter than the recommended 30 degree angle.

In my own testing, I found the same thing to be true. Like many of you, I have several hammocks, some "normal" size (5x10 ft), and some small like the Nano. One thing I found in my testing is that at some hang angles, depending on the hammock size, I would get "sagging" fabric on the sides (The Wall). When I changed the sag angle, not only would the sagging fabric change, but where the "natural" diagonal lay angle would also change.

Some forum members have referred to this "natural" diagonal lay angle as "dialing it in" or "find the sweet spot."

For example, I found with jumbo-sized hammocks, a deep sag was preferable and enabled an almost perpendicular lay. Trying a wide sleeping diagonal on a small hammock and my feet and head fall off the sides. This is obvious on one hand simply because there is less fabric wherein to lay.

I think the idea of this "sweet spot" (the right diagonal lay) has everything to do with the relationship between hammock size, sag angle, and height of the person.

For example, my kids get the absolutely flattest lay in my large hammocks and have a very obtuse diagonal lay. I've often said to myself, "wow, what would it be like to have a hammock that large for me (in proportion to my size)?

I found this curious and the more I tried different configurations, I came up with these postulates:

  1. The larger the hammock, the deeper the sag.
  2. The smaller the hammock, the shallower the sag.
  3. The deeper the sag, the more obtuse diagonal lay angle (more toward perpendicular to the hammock).
  4. The shallower the sag, the more acute the diagonal lay angle (more toward parallel to the hammock).

I realize that a typical and valid rebuttal to this theory is for everyone to just find the sag angle that works for them, after all, hang your own hang. In practice, this is absolutely true. Personal preference will trump scientific notions. I, for one, do not bring scientific instruments in the field to get the right hang angle for my hammock, I just hang. However, while I might not use instruments in the field, this theory (if true) may influence how I hang in the field depending on what hammock I take with me.

Future Study

I'm not sure if there is anyone out there who has access to complex scientific 3D modeling software, but I would love to see if my theory can be mathematically validated.

To help visualize my thoughts, I drew up an outline showing the relationship between occupant size, hammock size, hang angle, and diagonal sleep angle.

Now it is time for the peer review! What are your thoughts?