Mayan hammocks are among the most beautiful and comfortable ones out there, but if you take them down on a daily basis chances are that sooner rather than later you will find yourself dealing with a tangled arm. With over a hundred threads per side trying to straighten things out isn’t always easy (especially if you don’t tackle the problem right away and allow things to get completely out of hand). A better choice is to keep your arms from getting tangled in the first place.
An easy way to prevent this from happening is to take a pair of long shoelaces, secure the middle of one of these to one the rings, criss-cross them as you wrap it tightly down the arm, and then tie the ends together. Repeat the process with the second shoelace on the other end of your hammock. That’s it. Now all you have to do is push that shoelace up when your hammock goes up, and pull it down when you take it down. This is not the prettiest of solutions, but it works and requires no particular skill.
If you are worried about the aesthetic aspect of things, and you (or someone you know) can crochet, then making a fancier version of this thing is pretty straight forward (believe me, crocheting is not my thing, and I couldn’t write a description of how I did it even if I tried, but it took me less than an hour make one of these arm-guards).
For quick access to my tips and tricks to make your hammock life easier click here.
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.
Okay, I was going over my previous posts and I noticed that all the posts in one category (that would be ‘lifestyle‘) dealt with a single issue (that would be my penchant for spending hours on end in my hammock)… and then I realized that when I thought about my future plans for that category my mind kept turning back to, you guessed it: hammocks, so to make a long story short, that category was renamed ‘hammock life‘.
I know this is a weird category to have in a blog that is supposed to be mostly about reading and writing, but considering the number of hours I spend reading in the thing, maybe it is not that much of a stretch.
As I have mentioned a couple of times I love sleeping in a hammock, but I’m not crazy about how cold they can get. After a lot of experimenting, and borrowing the basic principle from a sort of poncho my mom used to have, I came up with the following solution:
Once you have made those cuts (and allowed the paint to dry) all you have to do is slip your arms through the two openings and allow the top to fall back over your shoulders. This blanket moves with you, it leaves your arms free if you want to hold a book or a cup of coffee, it offers a double layer of protection where you need it the most (on your back and chest), it doesn’t wrap around your neck no matter what you do, and you can pile two (or more) of them and then wear them as one if you have to… not to mention that it gives you the ability of taking your bed’s/hammock’s warmth with you when you get up. Oh, and if you want to use it just to veg out on the couch you can always wear it upside down, so that it is a little shorter and doesn’t drag on the floor when you get up.
Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my chest, back to our regular programming.
Update: In case anyone is interested I have posted another hammock-related how-to, this one featuring the instructions to create a hammock for your laptop so that you can work in comfort (or watch a movie) without having to resort to some sort of superhuman balancing act. You can find that one here.
For a quick access to my tips on how to make your hammock-life easier click here.
As I mentioned a while ago I’d take a hammock over a bed any day, though the cold weather can be a bit of an issue (that is being cold in a hammock means being a lot colder than you’d be in a bed as your back and sides act as incredibly effective heat sinks), but still as far as I am concerned the benefits far outweigh the problems… in fact I think I finally cracked the ideal bed clothes dilemma, but more on that in a couple of days (update: that information has now been posted, you can find it here).
What are those benefits? Well, for starters you will never hear anyone complain about having to make his/her hammock in the morning, I can tell you that. All you have to do is take it down if you want to. It also frees up a lot of room and it just looks cooler, not to mention that there are some studies that seem to suggest that it is also a whole lot healthier (of course, since no one is going to get rich by encouraging people to get rid of their expensive mattresses and to replace them with dirt cheap hammocks you are not likely to hear much about it).
One of the greatest joys of the summer is being able to curl up in a hammock with a good book. On the other hand, as most of us who enjoy hammocks year round can attest, a hammock in a cold day can get very cold very fast. Now, my hammock is indoors, so extreme weather is not an issue, but still my choices are to crank up the thermostat –something I try to avoid due to the whole carbon footprint thing– or to figure out a way to make my hammock a little more winter-friendly… an important concern, seeing how said hammock also doubles as my bed.
Now, first of all, let’s rule out what doesn’t work: sleeping bags. Yes, at first glance these would seem like the most logical solution and they are wonderful for sleeping on the ground, but they work by trapping a layer of air between your body and the outside world, and then using your own body heat to warm it. If you are on a hammock, however, your own weight is effectively squeezing the air out of the bottom part of that protective cocoon, and your sides and backside become an incredibly effective heat sink… not a pleasant experience by any stretch of the imagination (and keep in mind that while this is particularly true of sleeping bags, it applies to a lesser degree to other kinds of clothing).