Hammocks are not a new invention, but students are re-inventing the idea of "hanging out." Recently, many students have been seen across campus in hammocks.
There's now even weekly hammocking sessions where students meet up every Sunday at 11 a.m. in the lobby of the Botsford-Swinford hall and take their hammocks to the University Green where they hammock, lay on blankets and discuss various topics.
So what makes these portable hangouts so popular?
“Hammocking is really relaxing," said Sarah Tower, a freshman marketing communications major.
Tower said when she toured Ball State, tour guides told the students about the opportunity to bring their hammocks, so she thought to bring one for relaxation and a way to get outside.
Like Tower, freshman business major Joseph Hall also found the hobby relaxing.
“I’ll bring my laptop with me. I’ll watch movies in it, I guess that’s just chilling out," Hall said. "... what I used to do was I would get some of my friends and I would bring my guitar and [we’d] bring our instruments and play."
While hammocking is relaxing, it's important to be aware of some of the effects hammocking has on trees. Without tree-friendly straps, hammocks have the ability to rip the bark off trees, or leave indentations around the tree.
Knowing more about the length of the hammock straps will help when setting up a hammock.
“Look up the brand first [because] the straps are important," said Kendra Georgeson, a sophomore nursing major. "You don’t want your hammock to just tie around. That can dig into the tree bark and all that."
While a hammock is a large investment, students like Haleigh Pickett, a freshman sports administration major, found the benefits outweighed the price tag.
“I think it’s really good for college kids just because it’s definitely like [a] de-stresser. Just a way to get outside and relax,” Pickett said.
Hammocking allows students to get in touch with nature without dragging a chair along with them, or with the risk of ruining a favorite blanket, Georgeson said.
“You can hammock anywhere you have two points to set it up at," she said. "There’s awesome pictures of like people hammocking under bridges and things like that and I think it’s a good investment. You can take it anywhere, find a couple trees or just anywhere to tie it into and you don’t have to sit on the hard ground."
Portability is key, Tower said.
“I like that my hammock is something that is really simple to use and a really easy way to relax. I also like that I can basically put it up anywhere," she said. "It is small and is very light so it is easy to carry around and take wherever you go. Also, they are double hammocks so they can fit two people so it’s great for cuddling."