Right Lay, Left Lay, or Symmetrical
If your hammock has either a net or an overcover (or both), you will need to choose which directional lay you prefer: Right, Left, or Symmetrical. Here are some considerations in deciding what is right for you.
What's the point of different lays?
You may know that you don’t lay in a hammock end to end, you lay in it diagonally. This is to create a flat, comfortable lay. Otherwise you may end up sleeping like a banana and being very uncomfortable. In a hammock without a net or overcover, you can lay whichever direction you like, but when adding a net or overcover, you may be restricted in how you can lay.
The net/overcover of Asymmetrical (Right or Left Lay) hammocks are shaped like a parallelogram. This significantly increases how flat you can lay in one direction, but prevents you from laying in the other direction. An asymmetrical hammock supports a nice, flat, comfortable lay, but requires the user to lay in it the chosen direction (either Right or Left).
The net/overcover of Symmetrical hammocks are shaped like an American football. They offer versatility, allowing you to lay either direction. The downside of a symmetrical hammock is that you cannot lay quite as flat as you can with an asymmetrical hammock.
How do I tell if a hammock is a Right Lay or Left Lay?
There are two main methods people use to determine which way Lay an asymmetrical hammock is:
First, if you are outside of an asymmetrical hammock and look at it from the side, you will notice the asymmetrical shape of the net. There is a distinct curve in the net/overcover. If that curve is right of center, it’s a Right Lay. If the curve is to the left, it is a Left Lay.
Second, when laying in the hammock, if your feet are to the right of the ridgeline, you are in a Right Lay. If your feet are left of the ridgeline, you are in a Left Lay.
What should I get?
Unfortunately there’s no good way to predict which way may be more comfortable for you. For reference, the majority of the hammocks we build are right lay. We also build a fair amount of symmetrical hammocks, and left lays are the least common choice of the three options.
If you own a hammock, or know somebody who does, we recommend that you try it out for yourself. Lay both ways and see if one is more comfortable for you. Some people don’t have a strong preference and are happy laying either right or left lay. Other people feel very comfortable laying one way and very uncomfortable laying the other way.
Here are some illustrations of Right lay and left lay hammocks: