Hammocks: 5 Common Mistakes & How To Fix Them

photo of hammock sag

If you’re an avid camper, outdoorsman, or just want to have another way to relax and enjoy your outdoor living space, then hammocks may be a great addition to your life. However, just like with any piece of outdoor equipment, there are some common issues that you can run into. Fortunately, for every problem, there’s a solution. 

When using your hammock, some of the most common mistakes you’ll run into are flipping over, squeaking with weight, twisting, being too tight to lay in, and stretching out over time. Fortunately, all of these problems come with easy solutions that can be implemented at home.

The rest of this article will go over the causes behind these annoying issues and what you can do to correct them and help keep your hammock functioning as it should.

1. Flipping

One of the most common issues you’ll run into when using your hammock is flipping over when you try to sit down. We’ve all done this at least once. You go to sit in the hammock, and before you know what’s happening, you’ve been unceremoniously dumped onto the ground. 

Hammocks typically flip over because of how you enter the hammock. If you enter the hammock quickly, it does not have time to adjust and stretch around your body. This can cause it to flip, which will leave you tumbling to the earth.

Hammocks are made to stretch around your body to support your body while you lay in it fully. If you jump into the hammock, as we all did as kids, or just get in it rather quickly, the hammock does not have time to stretch around you.

When you get in slowly, the fabric has time to stretch around you to support your body. The best way to get in is to ease your butt into the middle of the hammock, then swing your feet around and lay at a slight diagonal angle in the hammock. This will allow you to lay as flat as possible and enable the hammock to support your weight fully. 

2. Squeaking

Whether you just bought your hammock the other day or have been faithful to your current hammock for years, squeaking can be an aggravating and possibly dangerous problem.

Squeaking is typically caused by carabiners that need oiled, but other, more dangerous issues can also cause them. If your hammock straps have been stretched out over time, they may begin to squeak. If not replaced, they may break, which could leave you vulnerable to a fall. 

If your hammock is squeaking because of carabiners or other metal parts that need lubrication, you’re lucky! This is one of the most straightforward issues to fix and can be solved relatively quickly and with minimal financial investment. 

photo of spray lube

All you need to do is head to your local home improvement store or go online and pick up a lubricant of your choice. Come back and apply it to all the moving metal parts of your hammock, and your problem should be solved.

Another possible cause of the squeaking is the fabric of the hammock. New hammocks need to be initially stretched, and this may cause some initial squeaking when you climb in or move around. As long as you don’t exceed the weight limit for your hammock, this is no cause for concern and should go away as you break the hammock in. 

If your hammock is older and the fabric has started squeaking again, then you may be in a potentially dangerous predicament. Your hammock straps, or the actual fabric body of your hammock, may have become worn down enough that it has started to break. 

That’s the squeaking sound you’re hearing, microtears that are occurring in your hammock. If this is happening, it is essential to replace the hammock as quickly as possible. If you don’t do so, you are putting yourself at risk for a dangerous fall from your hammock. 

3. Twisting

If the ends of your hammock are twisting when you lay in it, or even when you hang it up, you aren’t alone, as this is a pretty common issue. It is especially common in gathered end hammocks as they have more strands that can be damaged or shortened, leading to twisting. 

When your hammock twists, it is because, for some reason, the weight and tension distribution is not even across the hammock. This can be caused by tying your hammock too tight, not laying in your hammock correctly, or by an error made by the manufacturer. 

When tying your hammock, it is important to make sure that it is not tied too tightly. This can cause excess stress to be placed in the middle of the hammock, making the middle tight and the sides loose. This can lead to twisting because it makes it difficult to distribute your weight across the hammock evenly. An adequately tied hammock should look like a banana from the side, with enough slack hanging down to accommodate your body.

Another factor that may cause twisting is how you are lying in the hammock. You should be lying diagonally with your feet slightly more on one side and your head on the other. This allows you to lay as flat as possible and more evenly distribute your weight. If you are trying to lay completely in the middle, you may inadvertently be putting more weight on one side than the other.

Finally, your hammock may be twisting because of a manufacturing error. If one side of your hammock is shorter than the other, which occasionally happens, then your hammock will start to twist. 

4. Too Tight

One of the most common mistakes that new hammock users make is tying their hammocks too tight. It makes sense why many make this mistake because you think that to lay as flat as possible, you want a hammock that’s as flat as possible, but that isn’t the case.

A properly tied hammock should be in the shape of a banana when viewed from the side. This ensures that there is enough loose fabric to accommodate your body when you lay down and will enable you to lay flatter than if it was tight.

photo of hammock shape

If your hammock looks loose enough from the side, but it still feels tight when you lay down, then there are a couple of other potential issues. Your hammock may be too long for you. It should only be around three to four feet (0.91 to 1.21 meters) longer than you. Any longer than this will cause the sides to squeeze in, making the middle seem tighter. 

One last thing to look at if your hammock is too tight is the angle of your suspension system. It should be angled at approximately 30 degrees. If it’s significantly more or less than that, it can cause tension in the middle of your hammock. 

5. Stretched Out

Over time it is natural for your hammock to become stretched out. Once it becomes stretched out enough that you are sagging too close to the ground, it is time to tighten it. You can do this by tightening the suspension chains or ropes or moving the posts apart.

The fabric of your hammock affects how soon it will begin to stretch out, but you can rest assured that every hammock eventually will. To combat this, you can tighten the suspension system, and if you’re not able to do this, you can try to use trees or posts that are farther apart. However, in the end, you’re going to need a new hammock. They don’t last forever, and once it’s super stretched out, there’s only so much you can do.

There’s a great book for basics and advanced hammock users, going over FAQs and how-tos. It’s called The Ultimate Hang, you can find it here, on Amazon.


There are many common issues that you can run into when using a hammock, but, fortunately, there are solutions for almost every one of them. 

When you understand the causes behind these issues, you are more equipped to deal with them and find fast, economical solutions to get you back to hammock-ing as quickly as possible.

Michael Carpenter

Hi, I'm Mike. I grew up in North Carolina having a blast on trampolines, go-karts, and just sitting on the porch with my friends. I have since moved to Las Vegas with my wife, 2 children, and 3 dogs. When I'm not chasing the kids around the house, I am probably chasing them around the backyard!

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