Hammock Safety Rules
Lying down is easy to say. Even easier to execute.
There are several reasons for hitting the ground: booze, drugs, shoelaces, and women. Mishandling the hammock is another one.
The excessive consumption of spirits or other “substances” can make the ground stand up to meet your face in a very spectacular way. The shoelaces, in turn, could be used to write several volumes of adventure novels about the falls of representatives of the human race. In romantic circumstances, however, there are rather pleasant touchdowns, often accompanied by lying down (which we do not intend to prevent).
When it comes to hammocking, we feel obliged to draw your attention to several important aspects related to the safety of using these hanging beds.
First, though a bit off the deep end, pay attention to the load capacity of the hammock and the maximum allowable weight of the user. This is not a fitness competition, so be honest with yourself and cut no numbers on the scale. In fact, you should add a minimum of five kilos to your “net” weight and only then compare it with the manufacturer’s allowable limit. You should also remember that the maximum permissible load specified in the user’s manual is a static one. Any kind of sudden dynamics associated with laying in a hammock is not only not recommended, but may even be disastrous in its consequences – if not for you, then certainly for your hammock. To put it with the American exaggeration of enumerating activities that threaten the safety of the user and the equipment – you should not: jump in, jump out, jump up, crawl, stand on your head, elbow, kneel, butt up, stick the material with your nose… In general, avoid any weird and wacky activities that usually come your kids’ way.
Would it be a good idea to pack yourself into a hammock with pockets stuffed with sharp-shaped objects? Definitely not. Stretchy material may not withstand contact with a bunch of keys, keyring, or even the end of a zipper or belt buckle. So be especially careful to dress appropriately for the hanging alcove. Only soldiers in combat conditions have legal access to the bed (but not to the hammock) in boots and in full armament. ;)
But before you sit down with your butt free of sharp edges, before you stretch your legs comfortably clad in pants with empty pockets and feet free of cowboy boots with spurs, focus on whether your hammock is stretched in a safe place and equally safe environment. Is there not a rotten branch hanging over you, are there not protruding roots or sharp rocks lurking from below?
When you’re lying in a hammock, is the distance between the place where your back ends its noble name and the ground no more than 50 cm, and in the hammock itself, no pinecones or handfuls of needles misplaced? Finally, are the pillars of your hanging bed stable and safe, and is the distance between them appropriate? Even the sturdiest hammock will not be able to hold your weight if you hang it carelessly between rickety stumps. Or trees whose trunks have been eaten away by decay.
Everything’s taken care of? Now just belly up, warm and relaxed? Well, actually do not lose vigilance while providing yourself with warmth and relaxation. Fire is an indispensable companion of outdoor life, a true friend when you need light, warm food, or raise the temperature of the environment. Just use its benefits wisely and at the right distance – a small spark from the fire, carried with the smoke or wind can do damage to the hammock matter. Remember that the hammock should always be on the windward side of the fire (the wind should blow in the opposite direction to where your hammock is hanging). And if you’re in the habit of relaxing with smoke in the open air, accept the fact that no matter how much you love your smokes or pipe, your hammock is afraid of them. Literally.
Having a hammock is important, for some it is essential. But more importantly, even more absolutely necessary, is the knowledge and ability to use it safely.
To sum up the topic seriously, without winks and ridiculous jokes. The safety of using a hammock should be treated with the same seriousness with which you treat driving a car. You should take care of both the equipment itself and the environment in which we use it.
And above all, use common sense and caution.
Here are the key rules of Ways of Hammocking Safety Rules:
- The load capacity of hammocks quoted by manufacturers is the static load capacity. Remember to add the weight of the clothes you are wearing to your weight.
- Always sit down slowly in a hammock before you settle into it. Even a seemingly small bounce of a few centimeters adds several kilos of point load to your weight.
- Make sure the hammock is hung securely (no more than 50 cm off the ground) and in a safe place – it should be “clean” under and above the hammock. Check that the pillars (e.g. trees) to which you attach the hammock are solid enough and at the right distance and make sure that the attachment hardware (carabiners, slings, ropes, knots) are in good condition.
- Before climbing into a suspended hammock always turn it inside out to get rid of anything that nature may have thrown in it (sharp objects, stones, twigs, cones, needles, leaves, insects).
- Do not lie down in a hammock with stuffed pockets – any sharp object (keys, keyrings, knives…) may damage the fabric. Don’t forget about the belt or shoe buckles, protruding zippers, sharp edges of credit cards, or combs – all of these can damage the texture of the hammock’s cover.
- Take special care with fire. The easiest way to check the safe distance is a simple test: hold your hand out towards the fire. If the heat is so intense that you can hardly stand the temperature on the skin of your hand, your hammock is hanging too close to the fire. Pay attention to the direction of the wind, it should blow from the windward side, in the opposite direction to where your hammock is hanging. A spark from a campfire brought with the wind can burn or melt the fabric. A spark from a smoldering cigarette can be just as dangerous, so think twice before lighting up one while lying in a hammock.
- Take hammock safety seriously. Fully conscious hammocking minimizes the risk of hazardous events, just as compliance with the provisions of the Highway Code prevents most accidents on the road and health and safety regulations prevent the occurrence of dangerous situations in the workplace.These are just a few simple, intuitive rules. And a whole lot of unique impressions that hammocking brings with it.Enjoy life. Enjoy hammocking.
See you outdoor.
copyright© by Piotr Kowalski
copyright© by Juliusz Wojciechowicz