Let’s face it: hammocks are great to read and to sleep in, but trying to juggle a laptop in a hammock is a tricky –to say nothing of a dangerous– proposition… and hammocks are not too friendly when it comes to tablet stands either. Anyway, lately I’ve been trying to figure out a way to work around this problem, and this is what I came up with:
What you’ll need:
- 1 or 3 hooks (carabiners, snap hooks, lobster claws or something like that. Carabiners are the most widely available in relatively large sizes, but the others have the advantage of a swivel mechanism that can come in handy). The number depends on how your hammock is set up. If it hangs from an open hook, you’ll only need one, if it is tied to a tree/column, or if it attaches to some sort of closed ring, you will need three of them.
- Rope (once more the exact amount depends on your hammock’s setup, so I can’t give you an exact figure). I’d recommend a thick, heavy duty one that is a little longer than the distance separating your attachment points, and five or six times the vertical distance from your attachment points to the middle of your hammock of a lighter one.
- 2 sturdy trays/baskets, no more than 2 in./5cm. deep, of a material that allows for a measure of airflow, and big enough to hold the computer (and remember that the airflow thing cannot be over-emphasized, as without it you run the risk of frying your computer). These two trays may or may not be identical.
- 2 wedge-shaped door stops (these are optional).
- Some means to secure your laptop in place, just to be on the safe side.
What to do:
- Set up a line with the thick rope running right above your hammock by securing it to your attachment points, attach a hook to each end (if necessary, otherwise just tie a couple of loops at the ends of the rope) and adjust the length so that it is a reasonably taut.
- Cut your thin rope in half and then fold the two resulting lengths in half and tie them to the remaining (or only) hook. At this stage you are probably better off with a little extra rope, you can always trim it later.
- Take one basket/tray and tie each one of its corners with one of the bits of rope that are dangling from the hook some 16 in./ 40 cm. above the height at which you would like to have your laptop. Make sure it is leveled when hanging from the line. This will keep the ropes from getting into your workspace, provide you with some additional storage space and it will also add a measure of stability to the whole thing (if your trays are different, use the one that is not going to be holding your computer).
- Tie the ropes to the corners of the second (and main) basket/tray, hang from the line, try it and adjust its height as necessary, making sure it is comfortable (and secure) when your laptop’s weight is added to the whole thing. You can set it up so that front an back are at the same height, or you can set it up so that the front is a little lower as it would be in a stand. If your tray has an open side you may even want to have the back hanging a little lower than the front instead to reduce the chances that your computer will slip (such a tray can be used, and it is even a little more comfortable, but it makes everything a lot less secure, so I wouldn’t recommend it).
- Devise some way to secure your laptop to the tray, just in case (sorry I can’t be more specific here, but this one depends largely on the design of both the tray and the laptop in question). If you want to get fancy you can create a lid by attaching a small wire shelf (or an open back wire basket) that is a little smaller than your main tray, to the back of that tray. Add one or two hooks to the front to secure the lid when it’s down, and use some fishing line running between both trays along the back to prevent your lid from tumbling back.
- If you want to, you can use a couple of door stops to adjust your computer’s inclination and improve airflow (and if your tray has some inclination by default you can also reverse these to level things if you ever need it to have a flat surface, as would be the case if you wanted to use a tablet stand, or if you wanted to use some sort of optical media that requires your computer to be on a flat surface).
And now for a little extra:
You may also want to create a sort of ‘dock’ that enables you to get your laptop hammock out of the way without having to take the whole thing down (this is specially useful if space is at a premium). For this you will need another hook and 2 or 3 ft. extra rope. What you do is tie the extra rope to your main line, then tie its ends together and attach to your hammocks support from below using the extra hook. Once you’ve done that, if you want to push your laptop completely out of the way and leave it resting against the wall, all you have to do is shift the laptop hammock itself from the main line to the ‘dock’. If you are going to be using a dock, a hook with a swivel mechanism for the tray’s main support is strongly recommended. IF YOU USE THIS LITTLE ADD-ON, MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU HAVE A LID, OR SOME ADDITIONAL MEANS OF SECURING YOUR COMPUTER IN PLACE!
That’s it, you can now work from the comfort of your hammock, you can watch a movie, and you don’t even have to worry about the heat on your lap!
And now for the common sense advisory of the day: even though you can leave your computer unattended for a while in this thing, especially with the dock and the lid, when not in use you are still probably better off leaving your computer on a table… and this one goes triple if you happen to have a cat. Also, it is probably not a good idea to charge your computer in this contraption (as far as I am concerned, cables and hammocks don’t mix, though the dock can come in handy here). I have been using this system for a few days now, and so far it has worked well enough for me, but as always, use it at your own risk.
For quick access to my tricks on how to make your hammock life easier click here.