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Your Hammock in Winter—Save it ‘til Spring

All summer long your hammock has been a haven of relaxation and bliss, so much so in fact that you have been lulled into a false sense that this will go on forever. But, unless you are in South Florida or Hawaii, trouble is on its way in the form of stormy weather. The bite of frost, the drench of rain, the weight of snow and the tattering of the winds are waiting to demolish your peaceful haven.
All hammocks are woven of fibers, whether natural or synthetic. As such they are vulnerable to environmental attack. Imagine, if you will a soaking string as a hard frost hits. Ice crystals form, abrading the fiber and weakening it. Last winter, for example a fellow in the central part of Florida left his rope hammock out by the pool because it looked cool, and, I think, because he imagines himself to be a sort of southern polar bear. He thought he would take a few laps in the frigid pool from time to time and then thaw out in the sun on his trusty hammock. It can get pretty cold in that part of the state, and last winter was the coldest in memory. So it wasn’t until spring that he actually took his first swim. Meanwhile the hammock still looked fine. But it wasn’t. Repeated freezing and thaws had weakened its aging fibers. You can guess the rest. Into the pool, out of the pool, onto the hammock, through the hammock and onto the deck, thus occurred a cascading glissando of disaster.
There are, of course two cautionary tales here. The first one has an obvious solution—take your hammock in during the winter. It is important that the hammock be brought in clean and dry. You may need to wash it to remove a summer’s accumulation of pollutants and organic debris. Once clean, make sure it is absolutely dry. Then hang it in a dry protected area.
The second caution becomes relevant when you set the hammock out in the spring. At this time you need to check every aspect of the hammock to make sure it is still strong and sound. Examine the fabric, strings, or rope for signs of wear. Support ropes should be replaced once a year as they deteriorate in the sun. Any chains or other hardware should be checked for rust and corrosion. Replace as necessary.
Common sense makes a lot of sense, especially when you are dealing with the delicate fibers of life and happiness. Take care of your hammock and it will take care of you.