he nature of the thing: All our Rope Hammocks come with are in the same design - that is, they come with rods or spreader bars to hold them open. What's the difference between a rod or spreader bar hammock and a 'soft' hammock? Er...the wooden bars. The rods hold it open which makes this type (appear) easy to get in and out of with the added advantage that when they're empty they still look good rather than a length of fabric curiously strung up between trees in the garden. Almost all rope hammocks like the one shown, come with spreader bars. When a fabric hammock has spreader bars, the width of the fabric is pretty well restricted to the width of the rod, although with gathering, the fabric can be wider than the rod and still work. The largest size in a rod style is therefore a double. Once a spreader rod exceeds about 1.5m in length the hammock becomes a rather cumbersome piece of kit, not easily conveyed! How to use them: These are designed to be lain in from end to end, that is, head at one spreader bar and feet at the other. The secret therefore to hanging the rod style is to keep it tight. Hanging it in too short a space or with too much slack on the rope has the effect of bending the occupant in half at a right angle looking directly across at his feet. This is neither comfortable nor good for the back. Suspension height: As the occupant's weight is distributed by the rods these don't need so much height to hang in. Generally 1.25m is sufficient and closer to the ground if children are to use it. Suspension width: When the fibre used is cotton, always allow for stretch. So if the full length from end to end is 3m allow another 0.5m distance between each of the fastening points. Join to the fastening points using rope (preferably nylon) and gradually tighten the rope as required. After initial use the stretch will stop at a maximum size. How to get in:Stand half-way along, turn around and place your bottom about one-third to one-half way across the...this is where the tricky part comes in. The minus side of the rod design is it's narrowness. If you look at the number of ropes or 'brassos' coming from the body to the rope or metal ring at the top there are always far fewer with a rod than a soft hammock. Fewer brassos means greater 'tippiness'. Rods have a great tendency to tip you out when you try to get in, unless you know the secret! Balance your bottom in the middle, sit your weight down with your feet squarely on the ground and then slowly lift your feet in and at the same time swivel and lie your head back so you are lying evenly in the centre. It's like riding a bicycle, very simple when you keep your balance centred.