Lying and swinging in a hammock is a great way to let your worries disappear and perhaps even a good excuse to sneak in a nap. No matter the season or the reason, it’s hard to beat the comfort of a hammock. Whether you’re in your backyard, your campsite, or backcountry, there are many types of hammocks and lots of reasons to own one. From practical to just-for-fun, find one that best suits your needs and preferences. We’re happy to share the pros and cons of various kinds with you, and then you can buy one and get swinging.
- What is a Hammock?
- Hammock Types
- Reasons for Using a Hammock
- Hammock Materials
- How Much Weight Can A Hammock Hold
- Best Hammocks
- Hammock Types Final Thoughts
A hammock may very well be one of the best inventions in human existence. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to swing back and forth while lying in a hammock, you know what we mean.
For those that don’t know what a hammock is, well, I’m sorry. You’ve been missing out, and you should try one out immediately.
A hammock is a piece of fabric or netting hung between two anchors, usually sturdy trees, A hammock is typically a piece of fabric or netting hung between two anchor points, usually sturdy trees, poles, posts, or even on a hammock stand. These anchor point structures or attachment points can be natural (like trees) and sturdy enough to hold the weight of a full-grown person between them.
Relaxing In A Hammock
Hammocks are designed to be laid or sat in, serving as a seat or a bed although the method of getting in and out successfully varies!. Many people have replaced their bed with a hammock because it takes so much pressure off the body. Others have done away with their camping tents in favor of a hammock and a good rain fly, especially backpackers trying to save weight. Hammocks swing back and forth like a swing and are the adult equivalent of a baby cradle when it comes to making you sleepy.
Whether you set a hammock up in your backyard, when you’re camping or backpacking, or to sit in for outside music or movie viewing, there are many types of hammocks to serve all purposes. They even have mosquito nets for hammocks in case bugs are an issue in your area.
There are many different hammock types with different hammock styles. Hammocks have been in existence for hundreds of years and potentially as far back in history as 404 BC. Christopher Columbus even reported the use of hammocks (hamacas).
- Brazilian Hammocks
- Mayan Hammocks
- Nicaraguan Hammocks
- South America Hammocks
- Central America Hammocks
- Mexican Hammocks
There are many great reasons to use a hammock, from comfort to saving weight. Use a hammock for:
- Sleeping or Napping
Hammocks are a great addition to your favorite camp spot. Imagine this: you show up, the sun is shining, and the trees are gently whispering in the breeze. You pull out your camp chairs, eye the fire pit for a later campfire, and feel your eyes get heavy as the warmth of the sun starts making you sleepy. Pull out your hammock, hang it between two trees, and climb in. Pretty soon, you’re gently swaying in the breezing, lying in the sun, and you’re napping in no time. I don’t think we need to explain further why a hammock is great for any camping trip!
In the same vein as camping, backpackers will use a hammock to sleep in (campers and others can, too, as we’ll talk about next). When saving weight is a concern, a hammock can help eliminate ounces. They can also be much easier on one’s body than the hard ground, even if you do have a camping pad you typically use. When you couple a lightweight hammock with a good rain fly and a hammock sleeping bag, it can easily replace a tent.
As stated above, it is perfectly acceptable to sleep or nap in a hammock while camping and backpacking. However, some people even sleep in a hammock inside their home rather than their regular bed. The reasons are varied, but people with health issues, aches, and pains often find a hammock reduces the number of pressure points they experience. With a few pillows strategically placed, they claim to sleep better than they have in years. Some prefer a bridge hammock and others prefer gathered end hammocks for sleeping.
Gently swinging in a hammock on a warm, sunshine filled day is one of life’s greatest pleasures. With a bit of push-off, a hammock can gently rock you to sleep. Get lost in a good book as you gently swing if you wish, but it won’t last long. Soon your eyes will be closed, and you’ll be napping peacefully. Imagine the nap you could have laying in poolside hammocks.
You can also use a hammock as a chair. If there is a place to hang one, they make great seating if you sit up in them. Most can also fit more than one person when used in this manner. If you get a trailer hitch hammock stand, you can hang hammock chairs from it or just a regular hammock. Or, take a portable hammock stand along to set up your hammock seating. Of course, you don’t have to take them anywhere as they’re also great to use as seating for your backyard gatherings.
Finally, even kids love swinging in a hammock. Kids love being able to pile in, add a few dogs if they’ll tolerate it, and laugh and giggle the afternoon away. They might even end up asleep, which is always a win!
Hammocks are made of many materials, each with pros and cons depending on your hammock’s intended purpose.
At the most basic level, hammocks are either rope or fabric. Rope hammocks are typically made of cotton or polyester ropes, while a fabric hammock can be cotton, nylon, polyester, silk, or canvas. Either can be specially treated to make it more waterproof or more robust.
Cotton is popular for both rope and fabric hammocks. It’s inexpensive and slightly stretchy, allowing the hammock to shape to your body. It also comes in many bright colors, making it easy to suit anyone’s tastes.
Cotton is also heavy, especially if it gets wet. It is also prone to mold if it gets wet. So, it’s best to take down cotton rope hammocks after outdoor use, or at the very least, don’t leave outside in the elements for long durations.
Polyester is another popular material for both rope and fabric hammocks. It’s a synthetic material and is quite strong. While it is not stretchy like cotton, it is much more durable. It can withstand the elements better and dries quickly. Therefore, it doesn’t grow mold as easily either.
Polyester fabric does tend to absorb oil from your skin. For example, have you ever owned a polyester puffy coat, and the fabric around the collar started darkening from being next to your skin? This is the same thing that can happen to a polyester hammock with frequent use, and it can also develop that “outdoor” smell. Also, the solid color of polyester fabric tends to fade over time.
However, don’t let these downsides affect your decision to go with polyester. It can also be pretty lightweight and last a long time.
Nylon is a material used to make many outdoor products. It tends to be stronger than polyester, especially when reinforced by using ripstop technology. The ripstop process involves additional fibers woven into the original threads, resulting in a diamond pattern.
Nylon is more expensive to make than polyester or cotton, and therefore you don’t see it as much for everyday use hammocks. However, it’s very lightweight, making it an excellent choice for camping and backpacking hammocks and other camping gear.
Often, nylon is specially treated for added waterproofing since it tends to absorb more moisture than polyester.
Parachute Silk Hammocks
This particular material is made of very thin strands of nylon. It is incredibly lightweight and dries faster than traditional hammock nylon. The telltale signs of parachute hammocks are it’s more smooth and shiny than some of the other materials. This is another popular material for outdoor products and camping and backpacking hammocks.
Canvas is another material made of cotton, but it is integrated with PVC to make it heavier and more robust. Canvas will result in a very heavy duty hammock. It is very thick, making for a better-insulated hammock. It is a heavier material than the others, so hammocks made of canvas may not be as suitable for backpacking, where weight limits are a concern.
Canvas can be made in many colors and is quite durable. It lasts long and is UV resistant, so it stands up better in the sun. However, it can also develop mold, so leaving out in the elements isn’t recommended.
How Much Weight Can A Hammock Hold
The amount of weight that a hammock can hold depends entirely on the hammock and the materials it is made with. Typically, hammocks can hold anywhere from 250 to 450 lbs. Heavy duty hammocks and double hammocks or hammocks for multiple people can hold around 800 lbs.
There are many types of hammocks, hammock materials, and uses, as mentioned before. Which you ultimately choose depends on how you’ll be using it, so we’ve combed through hammock reviews and, coupled with our own experience, have chosen several that we think you can’t go wrong buying.
Best Camping Hammock
A camping hammock should be lightweight, durable, and pretty weather resistant. Not only do we love the Kootek Camping Hammock Double & Single Portable Hammocks, but thousands of reviewers do as well.
First, you can’t beat the price. While that may make some people skeptical, so many five-star reviews can’t be wrong. It’s packable and, depending on which size you order, is a great 1 person camping hammock or 2 person camping hammock.
Multiple Color Options
This 210T parachute silk hammock comes in 30 colors, meaning there is something to fit everyone’s preferences and personality! The large size (double) can hold up to 500 pounds, which is 100 pounds more than the Eno Hammock Doublenest. Don’t get us wrong, we love the Eno brand, but for the money and quality, we can’t overlook the Kootek.
Weighing in at around two pounds, it’s a great lightweight choice for backpacking as well.
Another cool thing about this hammock is it comes with an attached stuff sack, meaning you won’t spend time searching through your gear trying to find it when you’re ready to put it away (let’s face it, we’ve all been there). Plus, it doubles as a built-in storage bag when hung to store sunglasses, water bottles, phones, and more.
This hammock also comes with hammock straps, which many of its more expensive competitors don’t. Kootek has upgraded these from ropes to heavy-duty nylon straps with integrated loops.
These would make great hammocks to go with a hammock pod stand at this value. You could also get a good hammock underquilt to transform into a cocoon hammock system for extra warmth.
Our best sleeping hammock also showed up on our list of best hammock stands. Not all hammocks come with stands, but they can be convenient for indoor use or patios and porches. A combination hammock and stand is plenty handy and can save you money as well.
The Vivere Double Cotton Hammock with Stand is a nice package for a fair price. People rave about using this as an indoor hammock bed rather than a traditional mattress.
Pressure Off Joints and Muscles
Sleeping in hammocks can take pressure off joints and sore muscles, and the cotton fabric easily molds to your body. The strings to hang the hammock are made of polyester to ensure they last as long as your hammock does.
There are 40 plus colors available, there is sure to be something that suits your tastes! This hammock and stand combo holds up to 450 pounds. The frame is made of heavy steel. It is easy to put together without the need for tools. You can hang it high or low.
The entire Hammock weighs close to 33 pounds. It’s not considred lightweight but is a solid, packable hammock stand. It does come with a carrying bag, making it easy to take with you, and many reviewers say they take this with them when they travel rather than sleeping in hotel beds.
We think a good beach hammock allows sand to slip through and a breeze to cool you off. That’s why we love the SUNCREAT Hammocks Cotton Rope Double Hammock as a good beach choice and is a good wooden bar example of spreader bar hammocks.
Cotton Rope Crochet
It has a 3-ply cotton rope, crochet hammock design to keep you out of the sand; the bigger holes are perfect for catching a coastal breeze. It’s handmade, so each loop is well-matched to hold your body comfortably. It also comes with a pillow for ultimate comfort.
On either end are spreader bars made of hardwood, each threaded with 22 suspension cords for even weight distribution. It includes 12.6″ hanging chains to attach to an anchor or a hammock stand (which you can buy separately).
With a weight capacity at 450 pounds, you can easily fit one or more people comfortably.
Reviewers love how comfortable and easy to set up this hammock is. We think this hammock is of great value and comfort and built to last.
Best Winter Hammock
Usually, the only way to get a winter hammock is to buy a hammock underquilt to add insulation. However, we did find a cold-weather hammock that doesn’t require an extra underquilt. The Sunyear Camping Hammock 4 Season Quilted Winter Hammock is as it sounds. It’s a nylon hammock with quilting for added insulation.
As with any winter camping, this hammock alone won’t be enough to camp in, and it will also depend on where you’re camping. However, it’s a great start if you want to minimize your gear. It features two nylon layers or layers of fabric with silk wadding quilted inside.
600 Pound Weight Capacity
This hammock is also stronger than many, with a 600-pound max weight capacity. It weighs 2.4 pounds and stuffs into a 15″ x6″ compression sack. While it doesn’t come with straps, it has carabiner hooks on either end to attach to straps. Buy the straps separately or go with diy hammock straps.
While there aren’t many ratings yet on this hammock, it does come with a Lifetime Warranty, so you have nothing to lose in giving it a try! It would also be good to try with a hammock rain fly for a tent hammock hybrid.
Best Cold Weather Hammock
With its quilted insulated 2 layer nylon and silk wadding, this four season quilted hammock helps lock in heat allowing you to hang a hammock in colder climates with colder weather. Give this hammock a try in spring, autumn and early winter. Especially if you are in an area with cooler climates.
Best Hammocks Made In USA
Looking for a hammock made in the USA? Nags Head, Pawley’s Island and Hatteras Hammocks all make, manufacture, handcraft hammocks made in the USA.
Nags Head Hammocks – Handcrafted in the USA.
Pawley’s Island Hammocks – Handcrafted in the USA.
Hatteras Hammocks – Handcrafted in the USA.
Hammock Types Final Thoughts
There are many types of hammocks on the market to serve many purposes. Whether you want to swing in the backyard, replace your tent for camping, or use one for sleeping inside, we’ve given you quite a few great options.
Hammocks are great for sleeping, relaxing, sitting, and swinging away the hours. Whether you choose a cotton hammock or something made of nylon, from a beach hammock to a winter hammock, there is something for everyone. If you’ve been debating a hammock, don’t hesitate any longer. If we had to choose just one from this list, we’d pick the Kootek Camping Hammock as a good all-around hammock; however, all of the ones we’ve listed are good choices. So, buy one and get swinging; you have our permission!