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Hammocking: the new extreme sport

Hammocking - Hannah Anderson

Graphic by Hannah Anderson/The Olaf Messenger


When it comes to hammocking, St. Olaf’s favorite sport, there are many factors that go into making one’s ‘mocking experience the best it can be. This article aims to expound upon them for anyone from the aged senior hammocking expert to the freshly-hammocked novice.


Tree circumference: To ensure stability, select a pair of trees that are reasonably thick — if you can wrap your hands around the branch or trunk in question, move along, or run the risk of bending the poor bough. Thankfully, there are many thick, well-positioned trees on the Hill.


Location: The area around Mellby is classic, but classic can mean crowded, especially when people leave their hammocks up unused for weeks at a time. If you’re looking to get away from the hubbub, head down to the Natural Lands. This location has the additional benefit of more shade — an incautiously hung hammock in the sun can lead to some unique tan lines.


Distance: There are two common ways to use a hammock: a casual, swing-like sit, or a full lie-down within its colorful fabric. To make your ‘mock set-up as versatile as possible, one should select a pair of trees a couple feet farther apart than the length of your hammock. While one can sit in a hammock in nearly any configuration, it is a nearly flat set-up with tight straps that will allow one to lay down comfortably, rather than be folded in twain by having strung their hammock in a deep arc. This is not the case, however, if one merely wishes to sit with their feet dangling groundwards. In that instance, one may select trees closer together, so as to allow for a swingset-like dip in their hammock.


Strap position: For the swingset set-up, you’ll need to put your straps high so as not to drag your laden hammock in the dirt. For a flatter set-up, it’s just fun to do so. In order to attain new heights in ‘mocking, you’ll need a friend, preferably one who also has a hammock, or a relocated yellow adirondack chair. The friend, and their already set up hammock straps, can give you a boost on your way to greatness — otherwise known as three- or four-hammock stacking.


By practicing and perfecting each of these aspects to suit your preferences, you, too, can become an accomplished Hill ‘mocker. Swing on, fellow Oles.