Choosing a Hammock

Getting Yourself the Right Hammock

As we all know, a hammock is a comfortable hanging bed used typically for rest and recreation – or for sleeping when camping – suspended between say, two trees, or the corner posts of your verandah.

How Do I Know What Kind of Hammock to Buy?

There are various choices on offer. These may be more appropriate for outdoor or indoor use. Determining where and for what purpose you intend to use your hammock are important purchase considerations.

A Mayan Hammock?

As the name suggests, the Mayan hammock originated in Mexico (and other South American countries occupied by the Maya, like Guatemala and Belize). This hammock can be hand or machine woven from thin twined strings in a webbed pattern, which makes for great strength and carrying capacity. It arguably provides the best value for comfort and price, particularly in hotter climes, where the webbed cells allow for air circulation and cooling. A cotton-thread Mayan will ensure the coolest sleep, cotton being organic and breathable. The Mayan also gives great back support, claimed to be even better than most beds. Nylon- (or more correctly polypropylene nowadays) made Mayans are typically the strongest with firmer texture, and can be just as comfortable as the cotton models. They’re also less prone to mould and mildew in humid environments. Nylon Mayans should preferably not be used in full sun conditions as the sun’s UV radiation will degrade their strength. The width of a Mayan hammock is its most important dimension, used to name the different size variations, from Single to Jumbo. The King Size – which opens to 8 feet wide – can hold up to 10 people recreationally. For a couple though, their most comfortable sleep will be attained in the 10 feet wide Jumbo. One can sleep along the length, across the width, or diagonally (which is said to be the best of these options). The only “downside” to a Mayan hammock is the webbed imprint left on one’s skin after resting in it.

A Brazilian Hammock?

Colorful Brazilian hammocks are usually ornately decorated with hand-crocheted fringes, and cross-woven from fabrics. Providing excellent support and sleeping comfort, the solid material fabric does not allow the degree of cooling the Mayan might, but they feel more stable and adding bed linen is easier, making them perfect as beds when the weather’s cooler. The Brazilian double-hammock bed is today still enjoying widespread use in Brazil’s rural areas. This is an excellent option if seeking a hammock for sleeping and again, comes in various sizes. Choosing the biggest size which meets your budget is always advisable, although a Single-size Brazilian hammock will be fine for a child or small adult.

A Spreader-Bar Hammock?

If you find a rope hammock uncomfortable, or you lack trees or suitable poles between which to suspend your hammock, you may opt for a spreader-bar hammock and stand.

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The hammocks named above do not include the various alternative options like the Nicaraguan marital bed hammock or elite (and pricier) handmade hammocks, among others.

Hammock Safety?

This article would not be complete without mentioning the importance of safety when using your hammock. Defying gravity has always been a gratifying challenge for mankind, but when we fail in this endeavor, we can fall hard. So it’s worth watching a few videos on YouTube about how to climb into and out of a hammock, especially when shared with others. Funny situations notwithstanding, safety is really important. Some people have been badly injured playing around; small children run the risk of getting entwined in the web of a roped hammock, and possibly being strangled.

How Can I Tell if the Hammock will Support My Weight?

Always check the specs, even though these will invariably err on the side of caution. Typically, any hammock will carry at least twice the indicated weight, but it’s important to constantly bear in mind the age of the hammock, the material from which it’s constructed and how much exposure it’s had to the elements. Check routinely for mildew, and after use preferably allow to dry thoroughly, then pack away your hammock till next time.

And don’t forget the importance of product review sites like – check out our Amazon hammock product review at

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