I was looking for some sort of setup to be able to hang my hammock in the backyard this summer. Looking around there are a lot of options out there. Many people opt to just sink a cedar 4×4 or 6×6 into their yard about 12-13 feet away from a tree and tie off to that. Some like the TurtleDog Stand, which is a tripod style stand with a cross bar that can be made at home. One other option are the stands made by the Tensa Outdoor company.
Tensa was the first, and only to my knowledge, to come out with a commercial Tensahedron stand. That model called the Tensa4 has a lot of fans on HammockForums and numerous people have made DIY versions using Tensa Outdoors free plans. I didnt need a stand at both ends, as I had a large oak tree in my back yard on one side so I opted for the smaller and lighter Tensa Solo.
The Tensa Solo comes in at 52 ounces or about 3.25 pounds. It packs down small enough, similar to the size of a backpacking chair. Its small enough that I could see packing it on shorter overnight trips when I dont have to carry as much, and I’d worry about finding a hanging spot. Also small enough that if I am ever on the road and cant find a hanging spot I can just stash it under a car seat easily enough.
I set mine up for the first time a few weeks ago. There is definitely a learning curve with it. You need to experiment getting the angle of the pole right, the location and tension of your ground anchors, making sure your head height is right, etc. Dont plan on just taking it out, setting it up and having a perfect hang right away. It will take some adjusting to get it dialed in right. The first couple of times I tried setting it up I fell flat on my ass, either from the pole not being angled correctly and coming back at me, or it not being straight and tipping over.
Finally after getting all the angles sorted out I was able to hang and relax, for about 20 minutes… Ultimately the included orange screw ground anchors would come out of my soil. I tried numerous times in different spots in my yard but the end result was the same. Me falling from my hammock as an orange screw would tear out of the yard.
Finally, I found these ground anchors on Amazon. They state they have a weight rating of 450 pounds. They go in 16 inches deep so they ought to hold well. My soil was pretty soft after a few days of rain, and having just aerated my soil, so I ended up having to use a pipe fitted through the top to drive them in all the way.
Once I had the ground anchors I went back out to my yard to try the hammock again. It was a partial success! Even in the wet loose soil they didnt come loose and managed to hold me. But it still wasnt working. This time the aluminum pole that comprises the Tensa Solo just kept sinking into the soil. Meaning my back was hitting the ground as I fully layed in the hammock. At this point I was ready to throw in the towel, but I asked around on HammockForums and got some more advice.
Basically all I had to do was put a piece of wood or plywood under the pole to keep it from sinking in! I was afraid that pole would skid over the top but there is enough tension and weight to keep it in place.
After finally getting everything setup I setup my ridgeline and tarp and was finally able to use it successfully, even falling asleep in it this weekend.
Some final parting notes:
- Setup time for just the Tensa Solo pole and hammock with tarp and quilts is probably about 20 minutes.
- I cant see any way that the head end of your hammock isnt the Tensa Solo side if you’re tying off to a tree on the other end. Its just not tall enough to work as a foot end for most asym hammocks, just something to keep in mind.
- The Orange Screws may work well in some peoples yards. From what I’ve gathered online its a bit of a mixed bag for people. Some people end up using really long spike stakes in rockier soil, others can use Orange Screws in sandy areas. Just seems to be a total crapshoot.
- The pole flexes a bit but is incredibly strong. I had no worries about it breaking in any way.
- Its nice that when I am done hanging I can take everything down and have that bit of yard back to use.
- Overall I like it, but I dont know that I would’ve gone with it over a Tensa4 tensahedron model had I known that I’d need to upgrade the ground stakes.
And finally I’ll leave you with some troubleshooting steps given to me by Latherdome over at HammockForums, they’re one of the owners of Tensa, and were a big help.