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Ahhh - the dog days of summer.  Time to stretch out, catch a little breeze and wait for college football to begin.

This is a little unusual for this site, but I've got some info here that will have you relaxing beneath the trees in no time at all.

The hammock is one of the quintessential symbols of summer and in my opinion, one of the ultimate stress relievers.

Most hammocks today come in a kit with hanging hardware included and this is the easiest route to take.  You can even get a hammock with floor stands, but you sound like you want to hang yours from a couple of trees so here goes...

1. Hammocks come in various lengths so before you go out and buy one lets figure out where you are going to put it, and that depends on the following factors:

- Will the trees support the hammock's weight capacity (indicated on label)
 - Can you work with the distance between the trees (they can't be too far or too close)
 - Does your hammock come with spreader bars which are wooden slats on either side that provide support and prevent it from twisting and keep it opened up -- not folded in half)

2. Select your trees. Both trees should be hardwood trees, (oak, maple or beech, for example), completely healthy and at least one foot in diameter.

3. Calculate the hanging distance.  Measure the length of your hammock and the distance between the two trees.  If you have a 15' (end to end) hammock with spreader bars, the distance between the trees should be at least the length of the hammock.

If the trees are further apart than the hammock's length, you'll need to extend it, with equal lengths of rope or chain, on both sides, no more than 18 inches per side. Extending its length beyond three feet total will exponentially up the tip-over factor. (Which is the factor for you falling out of the hammock.)

For maximum stability, hammocks with spreader bars should be pulled as taut as possible, and positioned completely parallel to the ground.

Because a hammock without spreader bars is designed to hang freely, and dip down slightly in the center, the trees from which you hang it can actually be closer together (a.k.a. less than its total length from end to end). Aim to hang this type of hammock at least two-thirds of its length in inches/feet. For example, If you have a 15-foot hammock without spreaders, its hanging distance should be at least 120 inches. Two feet more (12 inches on each side) and you'll hit the maximum recommendation. Hanging requirements are pretty flexible for this type of hammock; just remember that the closer the trees, the higher up their trunks you'll need to hang it -- and the farther apart, the closer to the ground.


4. Determine height from the ground. This part's pretty simple: Hammocks with spreader bars should be approximately four to five feet off the ground while those without them can be hung six to eight feet above it.

There you go.  Find the trees, hang the hammock and commence leading the life of leisure.

You've earned it!