What could be more frustrating than laying down in your hammock after a hard days work only to hear an unbearable squeak every time you rock back and forth; that would be enough to cause anybody to go insane! I did some research when I heard a noise coming from my hammock and this is what I found;
It seems that the best method of preventing a hammock from squeaking really depends on the type of hammock setup. In most cases, a squeaky hammock can be remedied by tying on intead of clipping on, replacing the metal carabiner with a soft shackle or by applying a lubricant to the suspension. More often than not, the cause of a squeaky hammock is two metal pieces rubbing together creating friction. You could be hearing other noises too such as your suspension tightening or fabric stretching, this is normal for some new hammocks. If you are concerned about your safety you may want to make sure that you are not over the weight capacity of your hammock, read my post on that here.
If you didn’t want to buy a soft shackle you could tie on with a piece of rope or cord everything.
For Hammocks that Use a Carabiner and Straps
Most of the reports that I’ve seen online concerning squeaking hammocks involve a setup consisting of a carabiner, a hammock, and a hammock stand. The issue here is that most of these setups involve metal carabiners being clipped onto metal anchor points on the stand. This is completely safe but can cause that annoying squeak. This is often the case when carabiners are attached to metal hooks as well. When carabiners are the issue it is best to replace them with a soft shackle. You could also start tying on every time you set your hammock.
You may be wondering “What is a soft shackle?”. A soft shackle is essentially a piece of rope that has been tied or modified to be capable of functioning in the same manner as a normal shackle. This means that this piece of rope becomes a loop that is able to open and close in order to connect two other loops together. In this case, the two other loops are the anchor point on the hammock stand and the loop on the end of the hammock.
Soft shackles can be either purchased or tied at home. In both cases, it is best to take safety into account and use a shackle or rope that is certified to hold well beyond the weight you are planning to hang. In theory, a rope should be able to hold twice its load limit after being tied into a shackle. A properly chosen rope tied into a soft shackle should not fail but will slowly wear down, both in the rope itself and in the knot. Inspect your equipment every so often to ensure your safety.
For Hammocks With Other Joints
Hammocks that do not use a carabiner or a similar type of clip are still capable of squeaking under certain circumstances. Most of the time the squeaking occurs for the same reason as the previous example; metal on metal. The most likely location of the squeaking is usually in the suspension which is the same spot where the carabiner and straps would be in a typical setup. The easiest method to fix it is to apply a lubricant such as bearing grease to the joint.
There are other methods that you can try to use to put a stop to the unpleasant noise but it will depend on the specific setup. Lubricant generally works the best for any setups that have joints that would be difficult to replace with a soft shackle or rope. If you look at your joint and discover that it can be taken apart it may be beneficial to do just that so you can clean and lubricate each piece properly.
But What if it’s Not a Suspension Issue?
After you have checked and determined that it is not a carabiner or the suspension joint that is causing the squeaking, you may have to locate and diagnose the problem yourself. That does not mean that a soft shackle or lubricant is not the answer.
If you are using a hammock stand, and have already determined that the squeaking sound is not coming from the joints, then it is most likely coming from your stand. There are so many different models and makes of hammock stands that it difficult to assume where the noise is coming from but you can usually narrow it down to the moving parts. The easiest way to determine which part it is is to recreate the noise by rocking the hammock while you listen closely. You may need put some weight in it in order to this. If the problem is coming from your stand then you most likely need to apply a lubricant to fix the issue. Foldable stands will sometimes have this problem.
If you are not using a hammock stand and have already determined that the squeaking sound is not coming from the suspension then it is most likely coming from whatever you are using as your anchor. There are a lot of things that can be used as an anchor but the most common are trees. If you are set up on trees and hear squeaking you should relocate your whole setup not only for peace of mind but also for safety. This is also true for any other solid structure.
What Kind of Lubricant Should I Use?
There are a number of lubricants on the market and some are better than others for certain applications. When it comes to just getting the job done, most over the counter lubricants should work. I’ve read that you could even use kitchen oils if you were in a pinch and only cared about solving the noise issue. Although all lubricants should work, there are some that will work better than others.
When it comes to selecting a lubricant I recommend using one of the following two products; a bearing lubricant, or 3-In-One multi-purpose lubricant. WD-40, which is a brand that many people already have in their home, will also work well but has to be reapplied more often. This is because it works by dissolving moisture rather than reducing friction, so our solution is just a side effect of that product.
A bearing lubricant is a good choice because it is intended to be used on ball bearings which are designed to handle a lot of movement. One application of a quality bearing lubricant should last you much longer than one spray of WD-40 as it is designed specifically for moving joints.
The 3-In-One multi-purpose lubricant is another good option because, as the name suggests, it does three things; penetrates rust, cleans, and lubricates. Because of the extra functions of 3-In-One, I recommend it for people who use hammocks where the joints may be left outside in the rain frequently. I feel that the extra functions of this lubricating grease may help your joints last a little bit longer.
What is the Noise Coming From My Hammock Straps After Set-up?
Some Hammocks, like camping hammocks, are designed to be portable and to be set up and taken down regularly. Camping hammocks are often used on trees and we all know that trees do not naturally have loops to use as anchor points. Trees need to be modified to be used as anchors and this usually involves wrapping straps around or screwing hooks into the tree. I recommend taking any steps you can to keep the forest healthy. You can check out my post on eco-friendly camping here.
When using straps, people often report hearing a noise when they first put weight on the hammock. What is happening is that the straps on both ends are being tightened WAY further than you were able to tighten them by hand. Now is also when you will normally discover the final resting height of the hammock for your current setup. This is normal and you will most likely not even notice it as you get more used to using your hammock and as your hammock becomes worn in.
Another noise that you could possibly hear is the fabric stretching. If you are under the manufacturer’s recommended weight limit then the hammock’s bed should hold you. If you are worried about your hammock failing, you should check the threading in the seams because that is the most likely spot for it to tear.
I Hear the Tree Cracking is This Normal?
If you hear the trees or solid wood that you are using as an anchor begin to crack, you should get out of your hammock and inspect your anchors and anchor points. If you have bolted into your anchor and there is a crack coming from the bolt then you should take your hammock down completely. Whenever there is any other indication that the anchor could fail then you should do the same.
Owning a hammock is all about trusting in the equipment and being confident in your ability to set it up correctly. If you are in a position where you are not confident in your gear or in your self, then DO NOT USE the hammock. If you are not confident enough to set up any hammock then you should learn by seeking advice from someone more experienced. Remember to put your safety first, hammocks are made for relaxing but there are still risks.
All in All
All in all, a squeaky hammock is an annoying problem that usually can be fixed easily and cheaply and often with items you already have at home. Look and see if a soft shackle could remedy the problem completely and if it can’t then the lubricant is probably the best solution. If you don’t know where the noise is coming from check the joints or carabiners first and then the anchor.
Remember that not all noise indicates a safety issue and know that if you ever feel unsafe then you should take your hammock down and relocate elsewhere. By feeling safe you will be able to fully relax without anything on your mind.
Hopefully, you have now been armed with all of the information you need to have a nice, relaxing, noise-free nap in your hammock!