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You’re relaxing in your hammock, the sun’s warm rays caressing your face. A gentle breeze grazes your skin as a tropical umbrella drink melts in your hand.
Or maybe you’re actually sitting at your desk at work, daydreaming about your next Hawaiian vacation.
The good news is, you needn’t wait for vacation time to enjoy a hammock.
In fact, you could be reclining in your very own hammock at home right now!
People have been lounging in hammocks for roughly 1,000 years, and it doesn't appear they'll be falling out of favor any time soon.
Once you start looking at hammocks for sale, however, you might find yourself somewhat confused. You'll hear terms like "Mayan," "Nicaraguan," "spreader bar," and more.
What does it all mean?
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The product matrix above contains our top five hammock picks. If you’d like to learn more about hammock types and what could be right for you, please continue reading this shopping guide.
What type of hammock would you enjoy the most? Here are some of the most popular hammock types available:
True to their name, rope hammocks are made from knotted or twisted rope. Often, they have spreader bars at each end that support the hammock and offer easier access.
Rope hammocks are nice and cool, but they're not as sturdy or attractive as some other varieties. They tend to be made from either cotton or polyester.
Rope hammocks made from cotton are generally more comfortable than their polyester counterparts, but they're also more prone to mold and mildew.
Since they'll be used in a wet environment, poolside hammocks are made from materials that are less likely to fade, less prone to developing mold and mildew, and able to withstand a regular cycle of wetness and dryness.
If you want a hammock to use by your pool or to take to the beach, a poolside hammock is the durable option you need.
For anyone who wants a portable bed on which to sleep under the stars, a camping hammock could serve quite nicely.
These lightweight hammocks fold up small and store easily in a pack, so you could easily take one with you on an overnight hiking trip without adding much weight to your bag.
Obviously, a camping hammock won’t shelter you from the elements, so they're only suitable for use during warmer months. But they lift you up off the cold, damp ground, and their strong, durable materials provide a cozy night's rest.
Camping hammocks are designed to be slept in, so they offer excellent support.
Quilted hammocks sport two layers of material with a soft padding or quilting inside.
While they're doubtless a comfortable choice, some people get too hot in a quilted hammock. As such, they're not suitable for summer use in warm climates.
They also don't stand up terribly well to getting wet and drying out again, so you shouldn't leave your quilted hammock outdoors if there's a chance of rain.
To attach a hammock between two trees or posts, you need hammock suspension straps. With the proper steel wall mounts, it's also possible to anchor a hammock between two walls.
These are a little bit like rope hammocks, but they're made by craftsmen in a traditional Mayan style and are much more attractive.
Carefully woven with thin-yet-durable thread, Mayan hammocks are often sold in gorgeous bright colors that enhance their appeal.
The thin thread holds a surprising amount of weight, but it can get snagged on things like buttons and zippers, causing damage to the hammock over time.
While suited for outdoor use, a Mayan hammock shouldn't be left out all the time to face the elements, as it could get moldy or rot over the years.
These bright hammocks of woven cotton look similar to Mayan hammocks at first glance, but they're made with a “double weave” technique that creates much smaller holes between the threads.
This makes them slightly more durable, and it's less likely that the threads will break or sustain damage on sharp items of clothing.
However, it still allows enough airflow the keep the user cool while lying in it.
The main difference between Mayan and Nicaraguan hammocks is that Nicaraguan hammocks have a tighter weave, making them more durable.
Brazilian hammocks are made from closely woven cotton.
Unlike Nicaraguan and Mayan hammocks, the material is solid rather than netted with holes.
While this does make them slightly more durable, it greatly restricts airflow. You may find a Brazilian hammock to be too toasty if you live in a hot climate.
Brazilian hammocks are perfect for kids because they have no holes in them for small hands and feet to get stuck in.
These are some of the main hammock features to keep in mind when making a purchase:
As mentioned above, hammocks are either made from natural materials like cotton or synthetic materials like polyester.
Natural materials are cooler, more breathable, and more comfortable against the skin, but synthetic materials tend to last longer and are less susceptible to mold and mildew.
Anchor points should be further apart for a hammock with a spreader bar and closer together for one without. Make sure you have suitably spaced anchor points for your chosen hammock.
A spreader bar is a wooden bar or cross piece at each end of the hammock. This bar keeps the hammock taut so it's easier to get into and won't “cocoon” around you as you lie in it.
Some people prefer the ease of having a spreader bar. Others prefer a more traditional hammock without this addition.
It comes down to personal preference; no one option is better than the other.
Spreader bars support the hammock and make it less likely for you to sink in the middle in a way that makes you feel “cocooned” or “trapped.”
Having a stand is a great alternative to securing your hammock between two fixed points.
Some hammocks come with a stand, but most don't. You could buy a stand for your hammock separately.
Just be sure to check the measurements carefully to be certain your hammock fits your stand properly.
If you're certain you want to use your hammock with a stand, it's usually best to buy a hammock that comes with its own stand to ensure a perfect fit.
Most hammocks are designed to fit one person, but it's not uncommon to find double- or family-sized hammocks. If you don't want to lounge alone in your hammock, be sure to look for one with an appropriate capacity.
The majority of hammocks come in a variety of color choices, from plain, natural shades to brightly colored, patterned hues. The color you choose is entirely up to you. Would you prefer something striking or a more subtle option?
If you want an eye-catching, brightly colored hammock, we recommend one made in the Mayan, Brazilian, or Nicaraguan style.
You could get a basic rope hammock starting at about $30. It might not be the most durable option, but it should last at least a few years of occasional use.
If you want something a bit more durable and long-lasting, we recommend looking for a Nicaraguan, Brazilian, or Mayan hammock around the $60 - $80 mark.
If you want a hammock of the highest quality that will last many years of regular use, plan to spend somewhere between $100 and $200.
Q. Do I need to have a place to hang my hammock?
A. Not necessarily. While all hammocks must be hung between two points, you could use a hammock stand if you don't have a suitable place to hang your hammock.
Q. How do I hang a hammock between two fixed anchor points?
A. How you hang your hammock depends on what kind of anchor points you're using. If you plan to hang it between a couple of trees or posts, you'll need to purchase tree hanging straps separately. A pair usually costs about $10 and will make anchoring your hammock a breeze.
However, if you want to anchor your hammock to two walls, installation is a bit more tricky. You'll need to get steel wall-mounts, and you may need a masonry drill to attach them to the wall. If you're not sure what to do, it might be best to get a professional to fit the wall-mounts. Or, you could use a hammock stand instead.
Q. How far apart should the anchor points be?
A. If your hammock has a spreader bar, it needs to be hung taut, so the two anchor points should be roughly the same distance apart as the full length of the hammock.
Hammocks without spreader bars need to have some slack when hung, so the two anchor points should be closer together than the full length of the hammock — but no closer than two-thirds of the length of the full hammock. For instance, a nine-foot hammock’s anchor points should be less than nine feet apart but more than six feet apart.