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  1. #1
    Senior Member leepingreenlizards's Avatar
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    Lying Flat vs Curved

    Please, no brand discussion in this thread! All that does is cause arguments.

    I started this thread in order to better understand why so much emphasis is placed on sleeping flat in a hammock.

    From lying at angles, to hammocks that are designed for this purpose, the recurring mantra seems to be…”oh, but you can lay flatter in these hammocks if you do this, or do that, or buy this type or brand. In some cases, this is one of the big selling points.

    This is all puzzling to me as I’ve been hammock camping for longer than it has been the “popular” thing to do and yet, I’ve never seen lying in a hammock that doesn’t lay flat as a major deficit. In fact I find that just the opposite is true. Laying in a hammock with a bit of a curve to it is far more comfy as it gives me the feeling of laying back in a recliner. It’s easier to read, look around, and get in and out of, not to mention fall asleep in and other advantages, or at least it seems this way to me.

    I understand that some health issues make laying flat a necessity, but other than this issue, I don’t get it.

    I enjoyed hammock camping so much, that I was even working on a hammock website like this one before it was up and running. But someone kept attacking it when it was almost complete, so I gave up. I’m mentioning this the for the sake of the discussion only as it gives you an understanding of just how dedicated I am to hammocking.

    I got my friends hooked on hammock camping and never heard anyone complain about not being able to lay flat in one so I guess this is why I don’t understand all of the hoopla about it. Sometimes I can’t help wonder if most of it’s because “it’s the thing to do and say”, but then this all just my opinion.

    So, that being said, which type do you prefer and why?

    Thank you friends!

    LGL
    Last edited by leepingreenlizards; 08-03-2011 at 16:59.
    It’s what we believe that makes us, as individuals, who we are. Suppress that and we all become the same…"sterile and boring." "Sir William Orville Martin"

  2. #2
    Senior Member taylo's Avatar
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    Just buy a blackbird or traveler from Warbonnet, lay diagonal, and you'll see what all the fuss is about. Especially in the 1.7 weight hammocks.

  3. #3
    Senior Member thepikey's Avatar
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    I don't know I think it just depends on the sleeper. I think for a large majority of people, being able to lay flat is similar to how the sleep in a bed out side the hammock and makes the transition to the hammock easier as it's a more familiar and comfortable position. Just you know, my couple of cents on it.
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  4. #4
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Most folks are thinking about the "deficit" of being forced into the classic "banana" shape, which most every one would find painful on the knees. I am sitting in my recliner right now, but my knees are not force into hyper-extension, because the recliner does not curve up into a banana shape in the foot area.

    Most here sleep on the diagonal, which avoids the worst part of that banana curve. Now the strange part is that often we can add even MORE banana shape to the hammock, but be even more comfortable on the diagonal. It may be curved sharply straight down the mid-line, but we still end up pretty flat in the legs on the diagonal. Though some still have to put a little something under their knees.

    Some of my hammocks allow me to sleep straight down the mid-line, at least with my upper body. But my legs have to be out to the side, which then puts a little flex in them, again avoiding the knee-hyperextension that the "banana" shape would force into them. This is often very much like the recliner I am so comfortable in now.

    But one area where I think the vast majority of folks just MUST end up with their body "flat"- no matter how much curve in the hammock- is side sleeping, especially with legs straight. For me, a bridge is the ONLY one that will allow this down the mid-line, as well as being the flattest(flattest=best for side sleeping legs straight). All of the others REQUIRE a diagonal for this, or at least an extreme fetal with or without diagonal. And some will not be great even on the diagonal. On the few non-bridge hammocks where I can sleep on my side in the mid-line, an extreme fetal position is required. And why? Because it will be possible to position hips to head FLAT, in one half of the hammock. If I try mid-line legs straight, I am going to have some serious waist discomfort. IOW, my recliner is GREAT, but try sleeping in it on side/ legs straight. It won't take long until I am in fetal, not that that is a problem. But if I want my legs straigh on my side, I have to be in my bed or a hammock that allows me to be "flat".

    So, as far as the leg comfort goes for back sleeping, ending up in either a flat- or knees slightly flexed- position is needed for me, regardless of how much the hammock is curved/not flat. And I prefer a slight or a lot of recliner position, like you. What must be avoided is knee hyper-extension (opposite of flexed) which is inherent in assuming the curved shape of the hammock. So not necessarily flat total body, but at least zero knee hyper-extension. Which is avoided by either being flat, or knees flexed, like in a recliner.

    And unless you are on your side with legs straight, it is only the legs which need to be at a minimum flat, and preferably flexed. But on my side legs straight, my entire body better be flat!
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 08-02-2011 at 15:33.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  5. #5
    Alamosa's Avatar
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    I agree that it is definitely a matter of personal preference. For me, the flatter the lay the better for sleeping. Sitting in a recliner is fine for a little bit, but it would be very uncomfortable for me to try to sleep the night in.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member leepingreenlizards's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    Most folks are thinking about the "deficit" of being forced into the classic "banana" shape, which most every one would find painful on the knees. I am sitting in my recliner right now, but my knees are not force into hyper-extension, because the recliner does not curve up into a banana shape in the foot area.

    Most here sleep on the diagonal, which avoids the worst part of that banana curve. Now the strange part is that often we can add even MORE banana shape to the hammock, but be even more comfortable on the diagonal. It may be curved sharply straight down the mid-line, but we still end up pretty flat in the legs on the diagonal. Though some still have to put a little something under their knees.

    Some of my hammocks allow me to sleep straight down the mid-line, at least with my upper body. But my legs have to be out to the side, which then puts a little flex in them, again avoiding the knee-hyperextension that the "banana" shape would force into them. This is often very much like the recliner I am so comfortable in now.

    But one area where I think the vast majority of folks just MUST end up with their body "flat"- no matter how much curve in the hammock- is side sleeping, especially with legs straight. For me, a bridge is the ONLY one that will allow this down the mid-line, as well as being the flattest(flattest=best for side sleeping legs straight). All of the others REQUIRE a diagonal for this, or at least an extreme fetal with or without diagonal. And some will not be great even on the diagonal. On the few non-bridge hammocks where I can sleep on my side in the mid-line, an extreme fetal position is required. And why? Because it will be possible to position hips to head FLAT, in one half of the hammock. If I try mid-line legs straight, I am going to have some serious waist discomfort. IOW, my recliner is GREAT, but try sleeping in it on side/ legs straight. It won't take long until I am in fetal, not that that is a problem. But if I want my legs straigh on my side, I have to be in my bed or a hammock that allows me to be "flat".

    So, as far as the leg comfort goes for back sleeping, ending up in either a flat- or knees slightly flexed- position is needed for me, regardless of how much the hammock is curved/not flat. And I prefer a slight or a lot of recliner position, like you. What must be avoided is knee hyper-extension (opposite of flexed) which is inherent in assuming the curved shape of the hammock. So not necessarily flat total body, but at least zero knee hyper-extension. Which is avoided by either being flat, or knees flexed, like in a recliner.

    And unless you are on your side with legs straight, it is only the legs which need to be at a minimum flat, and preferably flexed. But on my side legs straight, my entire body better be flat!
    For me, laying flat is too much like tent camping. I didn't like like it so I tried hammocking. Enjoyed the "recliner" feel so much that I never went back and if the knees need a little more support, simply slide something behind them. It's far from the shape of a "banana", unless the hammock isn't installed correctly and that can happen with most any hammock and I've never had any difficulty sleeping on my side.
    Last edited by leepingreenlizards; 08-02-2011 at 16:08.
    It’s what we believe that makes us, as individuals, who we are. Suppress that and we all become the same…"sterile and boring." "Sir William Orville Martin"

  7. #7
    GrizzlyAdams's Avatar
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    good points raised here. When push comes to shove, most of the time when people talk about flat I think they really mean "not like a banana". Still, some are bothered by the ridge from hammock end to hammock end down the center, under the knee. Flat as in a bridge hammock makes that go away.

    I like flat, and I mean more like you have in a bed, so that I can lay on my side or stomach and not have that center in the gathered hammock that "gives" far less than the fabric on either side of it.
    Grizz
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  8. #8
    Member toober's Avatar
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    If people want to lay flat, the floor works great for that. But wait, the human skeleton is not shaped flat. But shhh, don't tell them that, they should have learned that in school.
    Tag with Home if your thread is more about home hammocks. Thanks!

  9. #9
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leepingreenlizards View Post
    For me, laying flat is too much like tent camping. I didn't like like it so I tried hammocking. Enjoyed the "recliner" feel so much that I never went back and if the knees need a little more support, simply slide something behind them. It's far from the shape of a "banana", unless the hammock isn't installed correctly and that can happen with most any hammock and I've never had any difficulty sleeping on my side.
    LGL, just for discussion sake and fun: you say "Enjoyed the "recliner" feel so much...........................and I've never had any difficulty sleeping on my side".

    To make sure I understand you, are you saying that when sleeping on your side- with legs straight- you are also in the "recliner" position rather than diagonal and not flat, and are still comfortable? Or, are you saying that, while side sleeping, you are in a pretty good fetal position(either diagonal or mid-line) so that your body is only really in one half of the hammock? Thus avoiding most of the hammocks curve, and effectively allowing your body to be straight?

    I have never seen a non-bridge hammock that did not have a more or less "banana" shape. Some def more than others, but all seem to be in a banana shape to me.

    I would say that most of these hammocks (except maybe the Speer) have relatively LITTLE "banana":
    http://stores.tttrailgear.com/-strse...Categories.bok

    This one literally looks like I am sitting on an odd colored banana:


    I'd say this one, one of the most comfortable I have used, and set up as it comes from the factory, has a whole lot more banana:


    And then there is what I call "reverse banana":


    Before getting in, these bridges are actually a bit higher in the middle rather than lower. Hence "reverse banana" or maybe "upside down".
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  10. #10
    Mountain Gout's Avatar
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    One of the main reasons I sleep in a hammock is the versatility of sleeping position options..
    Sometimes I do the banana sleep position and actually some of my deepest sleep was in that position,
    But usually resort to a diagonal 50-50 position.. Either way it's a win win.... I loves me hammocks..
    We would be one step closer to world peace, if everyone slept in a hammock..

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