Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Hammock

Hammocks are fun, relaxing, versatile, and great to have around home or camp.

Laying in hammock
Sometimes there’s nothing better than a hammock, a summer nap, and a cool breeze.Hammock Sky

There are a lot of reasons to own a hammock, and none of them are bad. Hammocks can offer a little relaxing place respite in a world that is too often frantic and fast-paced, and they can provide a place to sleep in camp for hardcore backpackers who don’t want to carry a tent along on the trail. Regardless of why you might want a hammock, when shopping for one, consider the construction, how you will hang it, and whether or not you’ll want to take it on the trail with you at some point in the future.

Material

Hammock Sky Brazilian Double Hammock
This woven cotton double hammock is made for two people to enjoy leisure time together.Hammock Sky

Most hammocks are made from fabric or braided rope. Fabric hammocks are very durable and great for cool parts of the country since they provide at least some barrier between your body and the air. During summer in the South, however, they can be much too warm. They are often made in colorful fabrics with stripes or other patterns, making them a pretty addition to your patio or yard. Braided rope hammocks are more suited for warm or hot climates, as they allow a good flow of air to keep your body ventilated while you lounge. Most are made of braided cotton or polyester rope, and they come in a variety of sizes, including hammocks big enough for two people to enjoy at the same time. Both types have attachment ropes typically made of braided cotton or polyester for suspending them from trees or other types of hangers.

Hanging Mechanism

Vivere Double Cotton Hammock with Space Saving Steel Stand
This sturdy hammock hangs from a space-saving steel stand and will support up to 450 pounds.Vivere

The way a hammock is suspended and what it is attached to are important considerations when choosing the perfect hammock for your patio, deck, or yard. Many hammocks are made to attach to a tree at both ends, and that’s a very handy way to hang them—if you have sufficient trees, and if the trees are close enough together. People with lots of trees in their yard likely won’t find this a problem, but those in areas with fewer and smaller trees will need a hammock that attaches to something else. Fortunately, many companies make hammocks that come with a hanging frame included. Be sure to determine how much space you have to put your hammock and look closely at how much space any hammock you are considering will require. For those with limited space, some companies make hammocks with “space-saver” bases that are designed specifically for smaller areas.

Portability

Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock Camping Double & Single with Tree Straps
This camping and backpacking hammock weighs only a pound and packs down to about the size of a grapefruit, making it easy to carry along on outdoor excursions.Wise Owl Outfitters

If you’re going to put your hammock up and leave it, portability likely has little interest to you. But for those who acquire their hammock specifically for hiking, backpacking, and camping, lightweight and easily packable are the most important attributes. Backpacking hammocks are great because they can be used in lieu of a tent and sleeping mat during warmer times of the year, cutting the amount of weight adventurers need to carry while on the trail. Camping/backpacking hammocks typically weigh less than two pounds and compress down to a size that takes up very little space in a backpack. Despite that, many are strong and comfortable, and provide a much-needed opportunity to rest after taking on a hard trail.