To fully understand how to pick the most convenient hammock for you, the best approach is first to invest knowledge in some of the different options of hammocks you have, since it is essential to know the foundation in order to pick the right hammock, since some variations of hammock rely solely on what kind of fabric is used.
The fabric also plays a huge part in how you are going to use the hammock, so any number of climate impacts and positioning is also important to note before picking a hammock.
Table of Content [Products]
- 1 The Brazilian Hammock
- 2 The Colombian Hammock
- 3 The American Hammock
- 4 The Mayan Hammock
- 5 Traveling Hammocks/Camping Hammocks
- 6 A Traditional Hammock Without Spreaders
- 7 Hammocks with Spreader Bars
- 8 The Different Kinds of Fabrics for Hammocks
- 9 Size and Body Positioning
- 10 The Number of Suspension Ropes
- 11 Other Signs of Quality in a Hammock
- 12 The Best Distances and Installment for Hanging a Hammock
- 13 The Effect of Zero Gravity
- 14 The Installment of a Traditional Hammock, a Rope hammock or a Camping hammock
- 15 The Installment of a Hammock with Spreader Bars
- 16 Storage During Off-Season
- 17 Health Aspects
- 18 Summary
Different Kinds of hammocks
Every type of hammock has its advantages and disadvantages, resulting in some hammocks are more desirable in different kinds of environments and purposes.
The Brazilian Hammock
The Brazilian hammocks are tightly woven with long-lasting cotton thread and are an ideal fit for an assortment of relaxation needs. The version without the spreader-bar is the most common one and is also often referred to as the “traditional hammock”.
The most significant about this hammock is that the suspension loop is formed as a circle. The fabric and the ropes are attached with macramé-net. It’s not only good looking but also helps divide the pressure a lot better between all of the suspension ropes, resulting in a higher sense of comfort.
Luxurious Brazilian Hammocks also has a Verdana as a décor on the sides of the fabric as a symbol of status. This is also something that usually shows that the hammock is of great quality. Be careful, though, if you have small children around since it can result in entanglement and injuries if not careful.
The Colombian Hammock
Colombian hammocks are quilted, made with or without spreader bars. The variation without spreader bars is more common and can also be mixed up with the Brazilian hammock and referred to as the “traditional hammock”.
A hammock from Colombia has an open suspension loop, and another detail of production is that you braid the quilted ropes into “cadejos”, resulting into the finishing suspension rope. This gives the possibility of a higher weight capacity since it can be distributed in a much smarter way.
The Colombian Hammock without spreader bars is a great pick for large families with children.
The American Hammock
The American Hammock is a very large hammock. A big amount of cotton is used in the making of this hammock – resulting in a thick and sturdy hammock that can be used for a lot of different purposes. This style of hammock has also been commercialized in the US. Based off of the Nicaraguan style in making hammocks.
The hammocks are usually handmade in Nicaragua, where the focus is on making a large and comfortable hammock that mixes comfort with relaxation, but not necessarily for sleep. Most American hammocks use spreader bars to make it wide enough to not feel trapped in its massive amount of cotton.
A great aspect of the American Hammocks is their water resistance, making them good for outdoor use and making them easy to maintain.
The Mayan Hammock
The Mayan hammocks are hand woven by the Mayan Indians from the Yucatan peninsula who uses a traditional technique passed down throughout the generations. The key to the Mayan hammocks’ legendary comfort is the diamond weave pattern, which wraps around the body to create a “cocoon” effect.
The colors are colorful and uplifting – perfect as decor for any indoor or outdoor bohemian setting.
The Mayan hammock is great for hot and tropic weather conditions since it allows for a lot of “breathing” giving a nice cooling effect.
The weight capacity is distributed on a large number of suspension ropes, making the hammock accessible to a large amount of weight put on it. Great for heavier bodied people, when choosing a hammock.
This type of hammock, though, has a higher maintenance level. You need to be careful not exposing it to too much rain or having too much dirt entering the hammock. Its well advised removing your shoes before entering this type of hammock.
This one is suited for indoor use or use by people that treat it carefully. Not suited for families with kids and/or pets.
Traveling Hammocks/Camping Hammocks
A camping hammock is exactly what you might be thinking, a hammock for the wildlife. They are built to withstand any type of climate and focus lies on comfort, lightweight and durability. They are often used as a complement to sleeping in a tent and is a good way to both experiences another way of camping and to save a lot of carrying luggage.
The fabric is usually lightweight nylon anise used by both hobby campers and more hardened expedition types.
The budget ones are usually made of parachute-fabric while some high-end uses a ripstop-nylon. There is a lot of different equipment that can be combined with this kind of hammock, mainly hammock tarps or other types of bug-out nets.
A Traditional Hammock Without Spreaders
If you ask any retailer of hammocks, they usually advocate the traditional hammock without spreader bars.
There are a lot of advantages in going with this if you have no other specific demands. This is why it is important for you to figure out what you want out of choosing a hammock and who will be using it, and to what purpose. That is why it’s so important for me to go over this with you.
The advantages of a traditional hammock are that they are easy to maintain, and also to just throw in the washing machine, since it usually fits the whole hammock. The hammock is also very stable and you don’t need to worry about it flipping over since the hanging mechanism is so fail-safe.
The traditional hammock might not look as nice as you would like in any type of environment since it is required to be fully expanded in order to see any types of patterns or designs.
The biggest reason picking a hammock without spreader bars over one that has spreader bars is that the comfort is usually much higher.
Hammocks with Spreader Bars
A hammock with spreaders is already open since the spreader bars extends the fabric. Any designs or patterns will be beautifully exposed, even when it is not in use, resulting in a much more inviting piece of interior.
This model is also great for sunbathing since you won’t risk being in the shadow of the hammock cocooning your body. It’s also common for a hammock with spreader bars to have an isolated padding on the backside, resulting in a great alternative in a bit colder climate.
The biggest drawback is that these hammocks can be more wobbly and is not suggested to be used over any concrete that can hurt anyone falling of. Especially if kids are involved.
There are two types of hammocks with spreader bars. The first one is to have a fabric that is just as wide as the spreader bar, making the hammock extended to the max. This results in an even more careful approach to using the hammock and laying with your body parallel to the spreader bars are highly recommended for stability.
The other type is to have a fabric that is wider than the spreader bar. This compromises the extension of the fabric and allows for a bit more swag.
The fabric is more exposed for decorative reasons while still enjoying a comfort closer to one without spreader bars.
The Different Kinds of Fabrics for Hammocks
Hammocks are made in many different kinds of fabric, here are the most common ones.
The great advantages of cotton are that it is a product of nature that has a great breathing capability and is soft on your skin. Cotton is very hardwearing and can last for many years with the proper treatment.
The drawback is that cotton needs a lot of time to dry if it ever becomes wet and can be a victim of mole if not handled right.
Cotton hammocks should not be exposed to rain or even moist climates, so they should always be brought inside overnight.
The producing of cotton requires a lot of water and the cotton plants are a big controversy, since the use of pesticides used against vermin. Cotton is therefore not the best choice if you are environmentally conscious.
The solution for you can be to pick the organic alternative to cotton. Organic cotton is another sustainable alternative to chemically-based or synthetic fibers. There are strict standards in the United States for organic cotton, and it is not easy to become a certified organic cotton operation. “Organic” means the cotton is produced to a set of strict USDA standards, enforced by USDA-certifying agents who must annually inspect fields and the operation for adherence to National Organic Program (NOP) standards.
Look for this certification to be sure the cotton is organic to the Control Unions standard.
To start with, a poly-cotton blend is just what its name suggests: a fabric that is made up of cotton and polyester fibers. The ratio varies, with 65% cotton and 35% polyester being the most common. 50/50 blends are also easily found. The blend is designed to afford the advantages of both the cotton and polyester fibers into one fabric.
The advantages of this blend are that it gives the sturdier fabric from cotton while making it more resistant to water and sunlight, making it so that any color wont fade as easily. Poly-cotton also makes the hammock lighter, thus easier to take traveling.
Acrylic or Polypropylene
Hammocks that are made of acrylic or polypropylene are usually completely water-resistant. The fabric won’t fade and is sustainable in almost any climate. The material is not as soft as cotton, but if you are looking for something that is easy to maintain, this is probably your best bet. Especially if you are using it in any area with a lot of water exposure, like by a pool.
Parachute Silk (Nylon)
This is a very lightweight fabric. There are hammocks made from nylon that only weighs about 6.5 ounces.
Using a camping hammock or travel hammock made from either parachute silk or nylon is great for both portability and for a weather resistant fabric.
It is also very breathable, making it a great choice if you want to use it as a sleeping option on a camping trip. It is, however, not as sturdy as cotton or poly-cotton and should be used with more caution around sharp objects.
If you opt for this, try to look for rip-stop nylon, which is a bit more expensive but won’t make any small rip grow larger and makes it more durable.
Comfort and Quality
Size and Body Positioning
If you have no limits in regards to space or budget, choose as big a hammock as possible. The wider a hammock the more comfortable. In a traditional hammock you would want to lie diagonally, but if you have the room to lie parallel to the short-ends, it will be a lot more comfortable. This is also true for hammocks with spreader bars since it also allows for more stability.
Even hammocks with spreader bars are advised to be as wide as possible.
The Number of Suspension Ropes
It is a good idea to know how many suspension ropes your desired hammock has. The more ropes the more work is behind the quality of the hammock. It also affects the prize and putting a bigger price tag on the hammock.
The main reason for this is that your weight is more evenly contributed amongst the hammock and you will be able to relax much more.
There is nothing more dissatisfying than buying a hammock that makes it feel like you lie on 3 unbalanced treads instead of a blank sheet of fabric.
Other Signs of Quality in a Hammock
Cheep hammocks usually have a thinner fabric. Since the fabric is the main part of the hammock, you should opt to go for something sturdier and thicker, with a higher quality fabric. It will also make the hammock last longer and in the end, make it a better investment.
The Best Distances and Installment for Hanging a Hammock
You can hang your hammock on a free-standing hammock stand or hang it with another hanging solution depending on the style of your hammock. The advantages of a hammock stand are that you get all the components you need in order to get the hammock up and running as fast as possible.
If you are opting to hang your hammock from another type of object, there are a lot more things to be considered, most importantly the safety of use.
A drywall or a smaller tree might not be your best option, so mix caution with judgment in order to find your perfect spot, and always try the hammock out with something that resembles the weight of a human being before entering the hammock yourself. Such as a golf bag or a boxing sack.
Find the bests knots to use for hammocks here.
You can also use different kinds of combination when hanging your hammock like one side could be tied to a tree while the other one is tied to a building.
The Effect of Zero Gravity
Both sides of the hammocks attachments should be in good alignment with each other, to maximize comfort and giving the zero-gravity effect.
The term zero gravity means that the hammock elevates your feet to the exact same level as your heart. This is supposedly minimizing the strain of gravity on your vertebra and helps greatly with both pain-relief and relaxation. Because of the decreased need for blood flow, your heart is also allowed to work less and adding further to the relaxation.
It’s actually a cool feeling but is often unnoticed and only happening in your subconscious.
The Installment of a Traditional Hammock, a Rope hammock or a Camping hammock
A tradition al hammock, a rope hammock or a camping hammock should be hung like a banana for optimized comfort. The rule of thumb is that the distance between the trees should be 90% of the length of the hammock and the height of the hammock should be half of this distance. Here is an example of a hammock with a 150-inch length:
Perfect distance: 150 x 0,9 = 135 inches
Perfect height: 135 / 2 = 67,5 inches
If the distance between the trees gets too long, it is usually not a problem. But for each inch, the distance increases, so should the height. But if the distance decreases, the sides get steeper and you won’t be comfortable.
Of course, it is not required that you bring a measuring tape every time you want to hang your hammock, but you should use these distances as an estimate.
You can also get a bit creative, by hanging one half of the hammock a lot higher than the other in order to simulate a chair feeling.
The Installment of a Hammock with Spreader Bars
A hammock with spreader bars should be a lot tighter in order to optimize comfort. The distance should be at least 15 inches longer than the length of the hammock but doesn’t need to be as high placed, as the hammock without spreader bars needed to be.
The rule of thumb here is that the height should be 25% of the total distance between the trees. An example if the hammock is 150 inches.
Distance: At least 165 inches
Perfect height (with a distance of 165 inches): 165 / 4 = 41,24 inches
Storage During Off-Season
Make sure that the hammock is clean and dry before storing it. I advise you to put it inside of a plastic bag that will protect it from moths and store it inside where it is dry.
This varies a lot between the different kinds of fabrics so use your best judgment.
If you use your hammock right, you will also see great benefits for your health. And by “right”, I mean that you should be lying either diagonal or straight across the hammock since your spine needs to be in a straight position in order to not have a negative impact on your back. This is important!
A therapeutic Effect for Your Back and Less Pressure on Your Spine
In contrast to lying in bed, the pressure of the hammock’s fabric is also felt from the side of our body. In a hammock, you will never be completely still, even if the body does minimal movements.
But these movements is enough to change the fabrics pressure on the body constantly and giving a great massaging effect on the body, increasing blood flow and resulting in a lot of health benefits. This is one of the reasons you might feel a lot more replenished from sleeping in a hammock, even just for a short period.
Stimulating Your Sense of Balance
The constant movement will stimulate our equilibrium and this is a great way to relieve stress. Hammocks can be used for hyperactive kids that have a hard time focusing since it maintains the kids need for motion and lets them more easily focus on specific and more demanding tasks.
A calming effect
In your mother’s womb, we felt a constant pressure and light swinging all the time. The hammock mimics this feeling a lot and giving this subconscious feeling of comfort. You will relax and feel much more at ease. This effect also helps you to sleep, giving a great benefit from sleeping in a hammock.
The Rocking from the hammock also induces a sustained boosting of slow oscillations and spindle activity. It is proposed that sensory stimulation associated with a swinging motion exerts a synchronizing action in the brain that reinforces endogenous sleep rhythms. These results thus provide scientific support to the traditional belief that rocking can soothe our sleep.
And here you have it! If you’re interested in these kinds of things, you can find information in any of our buyer’s guides or in or a general overview of different styles of hammocks and which ones we recommend.