What's the point?
You may know that you don’t lay in a gathered end hammock end to end, you lay in it diagonally.
... But why?
Laying diagonally creates a flatter, more comfortable lay. If you were to lay end to end like a banana, your knees will hyper-extend, and your back and heels will bear a lot of pressure. Laying diagonally distributes your body weight evenly across your body, allowing a more comfortable night's sleep.
In a hammock without a net or overcover, you can lay whichever direction you like, but when using a net or overcover, you are restricted in how you can lay. If you unzip your net/overcover, you are able to lay either direction since it is the net/overcover that determines the lay of the hammock, not the hammock body. The exception to this is our Darien, since the net is sewn directly to the hammock body one one side.
We have two net/cover shapes that are designed with different goals in mind. They are Asymmetrical and Symmetrical (see below).
How do I know if I am laying correctly?
If your hammock has Tie-out Hooks, then it's easy to know exactly where you should be laying. The hooks are located at our "asym-points", i.e., should align with your diagonal lay. Your shoulder should be right next to the hook closest to your head, and your feet should be right next to the hook closest to your feet. If you can't quite get this right, your hammock may be slightly narrower/wider then we reccomend, or your foot end is hung a little too low. Hanging the head end of your hammock about 6 to 10 inches lower than your foot end will prevent you from sliding down in your hammock, since our center of mass is in our mid to lower torso.
If your hammock doesn't have Tie-out Hooks, then there will be a little bit more guess-work involved. If you have a net and/or overcover, the curves will show you the asym-points (see the pictures below). Nestle your shoulder in one curve, and your feet in the other, and adjust as you need until you're comfortable. As long as you're comfortable, we're happy!
Symmetrical hammocks have nets/overcovers that are shaped kind of 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.
Asymmetrical hammocks (Right Lay and Left Lay hammocks), have nets/overcovers that are shaped like a parallelogram. This notably increases how flat you can lay in one direction, but prevents you from laying in the other direction. This means that you must choose either Right Lay or Left Lay when ordering an asymmetrical hammock. An asymmetrical hammock supports a nice, flat, comfortable setup, but requires the user to lay in the chosen direction.
We recommend asymmetrical hammocks for those who have used hammocks, and know whether they prefer Right Lay or Left Lay, since they are generally more comfortable.
We recommend symmetrical hammocks for newer hangers who don't know their preferred Lay (Right or Left), or hammocks that may be shared between multiple users.
Will I prefer a Right Lay or Left Lay?
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 less common.
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. Other people feel very comfortable laying one way and very uncomfortable laying the other way.
Telling the Difference
There are two main methods people use to determine which way an asymmetrical hammock lays:
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. A Symmetrical Lay hammock will have two curves, one on each side.
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.
Can I send my hammock in to switch which lay it is?Contact us
Possibly! For most of our hammocks, including the Sparrow, Dangerbird, and Wingspan, we can usually remove the net/overcover and build a new one in your desired lay. Unfortunately, the Darien's net is sewn to the body, so we cannot simply remove it and replace it. Contact us if you have any questions about changing the lay of your hammock.
Can I purchase a Right Lay and a Left Lay net for my hammock?
Since the Sparrow's top is completely removable, we are able to make several separate nets/overcovers for the same hammock. In the past we have made a Sparrow with a Right Lay net for the customer, and a Left Lay net for when their spouse used the hammock. Contact us if you're interested in doing something like this.