June 15, 2006 10:25 PM   Subscribe

Is my balcony too small for a hammock?

I have a balcony that's 10 feet by 5 feet 2 inches with a 3-foot-7-inch-high railing running all around it.

My dream would be to get a rope hammock and hang it from the railing, but all of the hammocks I've been able to find say that they should be hung at least four feet high and 11-15 feet apart. Is there a plausible smaller (rope) hammock that anybody can recommend, or is my balcony just below the critical hammockable point?
posted by willbaude to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
Could always make your own.
posted by Orb2069 at 10:58 PM on June 15, 2006

If you get a standard cheap rope hammock - the sort without a spreader bar, often billed as Mayan hammocks - you might be able to wind one or both of the ends around the railing, effectively shortening the hammock, and allowing you to set it up in a smaller space without it reaching the ground when you sit in it. This may shorten the life of the hammock, since more of it will end up rubbing against the railing, but mine's lasted a year so far with no problems. [For reference, the space that my hammock hangs in is even smaller {8' or shorter.}]

Before trying that, you, you might want to see if the hammock fits diagonally across your balcony - depending on how and where precisely you're attaching it, you might be able to fit it without doing anything strange.
posted by ubersturm at 12:30 AM on June 16, 2006

I was just about to ask this same question, except my balcony is of even more ridiculous dimensions! It's 12 feet by only about 3 feet. The only upside is that I have a pretty sturdy roof above it I can put bolts into. Any hope for me?
posted by shanevsevil at 12:51 AM on June 16, 2006

Why not a standalone hammock with a frame? No tying anything to anything, fits in a much smaller space.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:07 AM on June 16, 2006

No balcony is too small; as a matter of fact no balcony is required.
posted by caddis at 4:58 AM on June 16, 2006

Sailors certainly [used to?] sleep in hammocks a lot smaller than that. I have no idea where such a thing would be available or whether it would be comfortable, though.
posted by Songdog at 6:02 AM on June 16, 2006

You could get a chair hammock. I think mine was ~100 (USD) at a hammock store.

They make these things out of various materials, some more stretchy than others. I have a decently priced cotton rope one that is doing fine over a year later. They make synthetic rope ones that are supposed to stretch less, but I bet they aren't as comfy.

I'm 5'8" and can stretch out in it. Takes up minimal space, my front "porch" is only 7'x5'.
posted by 10ch at 6:05 AM on June 16, 2006

Thanks for the help so far. One problem with the air-chair is that my balcony's on the top floor, so I don't have a ceiling above me to hang anything from.

Also, AmbroseChapel, I'm confused: why does a hammock with a standalone frame take up less space?
posted by willbaude at 6:45 AM on June 16, 2006

I think nine feet is ideal for hanging a hammock -- that's what you get on boats on the Amazon, where your hammock space is only about three or four feet wide. The Brazilian-style fabric hammock is very comfortable to sleep in, with a mosquito net, inside of that space. The beams to which we tied our hammocks were nine feet apart -- I measured because it was so "right". I'd used Mayan-style hammocks hung at different spacings and they were never as comfy.

Fwiw the mozzie nets we used hung from the ends of the hammocks, not from the roof.
posted by anadem at 9:24 AM on June 16, 2006

The main problem here I think is finding a hammock that you can hang from your 3'7" rails and not have your butt scraping the ground.

Looking at all the different kinds of hammocks people are talking about here I would say the Brazilian ones, which are cloth not rope or mesh, would be less likely to spread and stretch downwards (in that comfortable, hammocky way) and therefore more likely to work when hung really low. It might be a trick finding a way to tie it off to the balcony in a way that stays put, but I'm sure you could figure something out.

Anyway it's cool to compare the different kinds here, I think I'll be going for a small Brazilian or Mayan one, anything without the spreading bar on the ends, which I don't think would fit on my narrow balcony.
posted by shanevsevil at 10:29 AM on June 16, 2006

Why does a frame hammock take up less space?

Well if you look at this one:

you'll see that there isn't anything extending much beyond the end of the fabric, whereas with a rope-slung one the ropes normally extend quite a way.

I realise that it's isn't a given, now I think about it. You could sling a regular hammock in the same space if your walls/posts just happened to be that far apart.

But it's likely to take up less space because you can put it where you want and it doesn't extend beyond its own "footprint" as it were. And of course if space is a premium, the fact that you can move it around or pack it away much more easily will help.

We have one in the living room.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:50 PM on June 16, 2006


Thanks; that's very helpful. Now a silly and picky follow-up. Do you know where one can acquire a hammock that looks like the one pictured, but is made of rope or string rather than fabric? I have a-- perhaps quite silly-- preference for a "netted nest".
posted by willbaude at 3:23 PM on June 16, 2006

Sorry, I don't, although of course the frame could accommodate any kind of hammock. If you want the best of both worlds you might have to combine two products. The portable kind are likely to have non-perishable fabrics, simply because they're going to spend time in storage.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 12:58 AM on June 17, 2006

We got one from Key West Hammocks that will fit your dimensions easily, and you can easily unhook and fold it when you're not using it to save space.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 9:51 AM on June 17, 2006

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