The Hammock as a Tiny House Bed - Tiny House Blog

The Hammock as a Tiny House Bed

Greg contacted me recently about an alternative bed option for tiny spaces.

Greg stumbled upon these miracles on a recent trip south of the border. We were traveling in a fully converted YMCA shortbus. This RV had a bed, but not for two. A Mayan hammock that was brought along as a possible relaxation tool became the problem solver. When the night was over the hammock was easily taken down to optimize living space.

Photo Credit: Made in the Shade Hammocks

Yes! The key to a comfy nights rest is to obtain a hammock without crossbars and lay diagonally, which keeps you more level. I am so convinced that I am setting a hammock up in my tiny apartment and getting rid of my lame bed.

Millions of people in the world today already sleep on hammocks instead of beds and there are many health benefits too! This is a cheap and easy solution to a great nights sleep and more space in your tiny house.

Greg is partial to the Mayan woven and Brazilian natural fiber hammocks. These are the hammocks that are used primarily for sleeping by over 10 million people in Central and South America and most are moderately priced when researched on the net, between $30 and $100.

They are very comfy and many traditional ones do not have the crossbar like I mentioned before, here the individual can lay at an angle to center, which then allows the person to lay more horizontally and also wraps you up like a taco keeping you more secure while sleeping.

Photo Credit: Trek Light Gear

There seems to be a common trend of people who have bad experiences sleeping in hammocks from getting flipped on their face from unstable crossbar types and also not using the hammock correctly and in turn do not get a quality night’s sleep. Traditional type hammocks are a bit bulky and campers tend to prefer nylon hammocks instead. Nylon camping hammocks are wonderful, but you sacrifice some comfort for weight, storing size and longevity/UV resistance.

There are many tips for insulating the underside of the hammock when sleeping a chilly night in one. If indoors depending on the temperature having a solid wool blanket works fine, but when outdoors a sleeping pad is a must. Also most camping hammocks offer rain and bug protection too.

Photo Credit: Made in the Shade Hammocks

I think Hammocks are a simple no brainer. In the end whether in a van, bus, tiny apartment, tiny house, shack or shed a great night of sleep in a hammock awaits…. with more usable space.

Thanks Greg for opening this new idea to me and letting me share it here.

Some Great Links:

For Mayan Hammocks:

Brazilian and Mayan Hammocks:

Camping Type Hammocks with Instructions and Explanations on Setup:

And for Those Eco-minded Individuals Organic Brazilian Hammock:

Some Links on Health Benefits:

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Eda - September 3, 2010 Reply

Hammocks are a great idea and so very comfortable.

I’m currently building a Tumbleweed Fencl and, when installing the joists, I doubled up a couple of them that will be hammock width apart.

I’ll have a local metal shop fabricate some through-joist hangers. This way I’ll have room for a guest, or for lounging around on a very hot day. 😉

Eda in Victoria BC

Mark Tisdale - September 3, 2010 Reply

I tried several nights to sleep on a hammock when I was in Mérida in the Yucatan. It just wasn’t for me. It was nice in the heat to have air circulation under you, but I only managed a really little sleep the last night there before again moving back to the bed in the room.

I tend to sleep on my side or stomach, I think that was a lot of my problem with hamacas. I would definitely have to re-learn sleeping in order to have one.

Grant Wagner - September 3, 2010 Reply

Intriguing idea. Since the vast majority of loft space is for sleeping, a hammock makes a loft unnecessary (or at least a lot smaller and no longer of comfortable height for an adult to sleep).

This could make a tiny home much shorter and much easier to tow. Something like a P.A.D. can become a lot more of a full time dwelling.

Dara - September 3, 2010 Reply

I’m so glad to see this post! I’ve been reading about hammocks as a traditional bed alternative recently and am very interested. My husband thinks I’m crazy.

For anyone interested in hammock camping, Shug has posted a ton of informative and funny videos.

et - September 3, 2010 Reply

This is an idea I am also considering. But it seems that a lot of space is needed to hang the hammock.

Does anyone know the minimum distance from hanger to hanger? It seems to be around 13 ft so a tiny house many paradoxically need to be longer to fit a hammock.

    Greg - September 3, 2010 Reply

    Depending on the hammock it is usually anywhere from 10 to 16 feet. The typical hanging height for a Brazilian or Mayan style is between 6 and 7 feet too. I am installing a Brazilian with a 9 to 11 foot hanging distance and the hammock length is 14 feet. Luckily hammocks used for beds such as the Brazilians and Mayans need more slack to be able to lay diagonal comfortably and therefore for the most part tend to need less hanging space.

    Another great resource is

    Lots of great tips for the Do it Yourselfer.

      Mel - September 4, 2010 Reply

      I checked out that website, pretty awesome! I can’t believe the kind of hammocks they make nowadays…way cool. 🙂

    Mel - September 3, 2010 Reply

    Actually, it can be much shorter if you want it to be (7ft), so long as it’s just a traditional style hammock tied up with string/rope. The key is to pull it taut so that you can have a fairly level surface.

alice - September 3, 2010 Reply

The camping type hammocks make good low-impact or temporary tree houses too.

Parrot whisperer - September 3, 2010 Reply

I once considered buying a hammock instead of a mattress, but they wanted $300 for the stand and $300 for the hammock. I got a brand new mattress instead for $280. The new mattresses don’t seem to require a box spring, I noticed, so they don’t take up as much space as they used to. Also, from what I remember reading, they were not as wonderful as they are made out to be here… Still, maybe I should get a hammock. I guess I’d have to try it, and mattresses themselves vary quite a bit, so it may be unfair to say they are generally better than mattresses. Mattresses can be designed to address the pressure point problem to some degree.

But I think the force exerted on the anchor points must be pretty high, a couple hundred kilos easily, would have to know the precise geometry to be sure… but it’s a lot for a 2 by 4 stud, I bet. Something to remember.

    Derek - July 11, 2012 Reply

    Check out the Vario hammock stand from Byer of Main. It’s adjustable and you can pick it up for around $150 from Amazon. Other hammock stands are designed for rope hammocks with spreader bars, which are tippy and difficult to sleep in.

    A nice mayan hammock can be purchased for less than $100 from places like The Queen size is perfect and the weave is so comfortable.

Dan O. - September 3, 2010 Reply

The hammock to get is a dreamweavers. I have a Mayan 2-person I bought in Cozumel, which I like but it is not as comfortable, sturdy or easy to hang as the dream weaver. I’ve met the owner, Gilbert Guransky, and he has done a lot of work to develop these hammocks. They are being used in medical therapy for MS, Autism and Aspergers. He runs a really nice site:


PabloKoh - September 3, 2010 Reply

If you do buy a mayan hammock buy it in cotton and not polyester. They are much more comfortable. And the tighter the weave and the smaller the cord the better.

Matt - September 3, 2010 Reply

The definitive resource for hammock camping and hammocks in general is Check it out. Theres a whole world of different types of hammocks, suspension systems, insulation, underquilts, etc.

Andreas - September 3, 2010 Reply

Really interesting solution. Would save an incredible amount of space and be less work to put up and take down than a sofa bed. Probably the most minimalistic solution there is.

Kay in KCMO - September 3, 2010 Reply

This could work really well for a lot of people, unfortunately, I’m not one of them. Turning over would seem to be impossible. Is a person stuck on their back all night?

Rüby - September 3, 2010 Reply

I sleep on a hammoc, strung under a 20′ climbing strap strung as a ridgeline for the pancho staked out to the corners. You might need some bedding, but the above fits in just about any two cargo pockets.

Stan - September 3, 2010 Reply

Huh, who would have thunk it. I lived in Sao Paulo Brazil for two years and for 6 of those months I slept off and on in one and it was comfortable but I didn’t notice any difference. I mainly did it because it was hot and sleeping in a hammock keeps you cool. I bought a hammock and brought it home but unfortunately I left it at my brother’s shortly after my arrival and when he moved it disappeared. I want an excuse to go back but for a hammock is a little bit of a stretch.

Mel - September 3, 2010 Reply

When I lived in SE Asia I slept in a hammock for about 2 of those years. It was super basic, a military style hammock made out of nylon that would roll up into a small ball. I’m a side and back sleeper and still felt comfortable turning. WIth these old school nylon hammocks, the fabric is actually very wide, so even though it nests around you, it gives you room for turning, and because the nylon is a bit slippery you move easily. Never an issue with feeling like you are going to fall out. And, if there’s some breeze, you will sway a little bit which is super soothing. In cooler months I would use a sleeping bag in it, but you could easily layer a twin feather bed or something similar to provide insulation. The more taught you tie it up, the flatter the surface, so while it would never be as flat as a bed, you can make it fairly horizontal if that is more comfortable.

Walt Barrett - September 4, 2010 Reply

Other choices could include Asian style Futons that can be stored when not in use. Many are hung on the walls in Asia. Light weight folding camping cots are also very comfortable if you are looking for air circulation,and you can sleep on your side comfortably if you like. Camping cots are easily storable as they require very little storage space.

Arlos - September 4, 2010 Reply

Many of the style are slept in, incorrectly. Instead of sleeping in them lengthways try siting down, laying back perpendicular and then stretching material out beyond your feet. this way you don’t feel like a buritto or an ear of corn. Two people can sleep comfortably on one. I had bought my last one more than 30 years ago at an earth day fair, hiked through Big Sur with it and used it for a bed in my 12’X 15″ palace when my wife and I were first married, it then became a place to store blankets and bedding. Mini hammocks are a great place t hang fruit and produce.

Peak - September 4, 2010 Reply

Get a large (king size) puffy comforter, fold it twice lengthwise (making it 4 times as thick), then lash it to the underside of the hammock. Keeps you very toasty. Attach a 2′ rope to the wall next to the hammock; pulling it makes you rock.

Heather - September 7, 2010 Reply

I love this idea and I am going to do it. Thanks so much for posting this.

Jay - September 7, 2010 Reply

When hanging your hammock be aware that because of the angles involved the forces on the hang points are MUCH more than your body weight (over 600lb for an average sized person).

Hanging from rafters/studs comes with the risk of bowing your walls/ceiling.

I’m not an engineer, but the physics of it is explained on the Hammock Forums more than once:

bill - February 5, 2011 Reply

i have been sleeping full time in a hammock for quite some time, keep in mind that a mayan hammock will require about 13 feet wall to wall and longer for a ceiling hang, the brazilian will hang in a shorter space and is easier to attach an underquilt, which to me is a neccesity for staying warm even in moderate temps, also the health benefits of a hammock are too many to list, i can toss and turn as much as i want , but find that there is no need becouse it takes about 1 minute to get incredably comfortable and then i don’t want to move

    DD - June 12, 2011 Reply

    Bill, Do you think two people could sleep comfortably in a Mayan XXL hammock? We really want to try this instead of a bed.

jack migual - June 19, 2011 Reply

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jack migual - July 11, 2011 Reply

Lets start with Hammocks. hammocks and patio furniture. Hammocks are the most common required product which people love to swing at the homes, in their gardens, picnics, seaside and in forest or climbing. offers it with highest quality of products with the cheapest price along with free shipping. Various qualities of hammocks are there for you. Visit once and you will love to see our exciting products.

Julie - November 17, 2011 Reply

This would be a great solution for our tiny home, if the distance to hang wasn’t so large. (Our bedroom is 10×10.)

    Vikki - April 16, 2012 Reply

    Even a huge 16 foot Brazilian hammock would fit in a 10×10 bedroom. Brazilian hammocks are generally hung across 2/3 the distance of their full length, so it’s minimum hanging distance would be 10 feet 8 inches, which is easily attainable if you hang it diagonally across the room. All you would need to fit this hammock would be two hooks each 7.5 feet away from a corner, both about 5.5 feet off the ground (Higher if it has to avoid other furniture when in use). For a flatter curve, the maximum hanging distance is the minimum hanging distance plus 2 feet which would be 12 feet 8 inches, and even this would fit. For this distance you would need 2 hooks each 9 feet away from a corner, both only 4 feet 7 inches off the ground (again, higher if it has to avoid other furniture when in use). And if you use the minimum hanging distance, during the day it could be tied up into the corner to create more usable space. Obviously smaller hammocks would be even easier to fit!

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Jeff Mazza - December 20, 2016 Reply

I am considering switching to a hammock as my regular indoor bed. Can anyone make any recommendations? Guess I would need a stand as well. (I’d be sleeping alone).

    C Munson - March 5, 2017 Reply

    I used a hammock as my regular bed for about 2 years. I plan on doing another set up this year. The only difficult I had was with staying warm if the room was cold, but a closed cell camping mat worked well and there are other solutions too. One of the things I loved was the ability to sleep in many more different positions than a flat bed allows. Also I have some breathing problems and it was easier to find a comfortable position with my head elevated just the right amount in a hammock than in a flat bed. I used hooks designed for porch swings mounted in studs either near a corner or a window frame (as I figured the framing would be sturdier in those spots). No problems with sagging walls noted.

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