Hang In There: What to Look for When Buying a Hammock
There’s nothing better than resting in a hammock, enjoying a frosty beverage, and enjoying the warm summer breeze. With so many options available, you might get overwhelmed to choose which hammock best suits your needs. Keep reading to learn what to look for when buying a hammock – hanging or free-standing.
Determine Your Needs
Before you venture off to the store or scour the Internet, you need to figure out what you want your hammock for. Do you want one for rest and relaxation? Will you use it for sleeping while camping? Whatever needs you have, you want a hammock that’s comfortable.
If you want a free-standing hammock that can be moved around, you’ll need a lightweight option. Hammock stands weigh between 25 to 35 pounds.
Durability is another consideration. For camping excursions, you want a hammock that can withstand harsh weather, such as rain and wind. The highest-quality hammocks consist of weather-resistant fabric that’s easy to clean.
Choose a Type
There are two types of hammocks: free-standing and hanging.
This free-standing hammock includes a stand and lets anyone enjoy the comforts of hammock living. You can assemble your hammock and enjoy lounging around on your balcony, at the beach, inside, or just about anywhere without trees. Stands can come in a variety of materials, including metal, bamboo, or aluminum. The downside to free-standing hammocks is that they’re heavy and therefore more difficult to move.
Hanging hammocks hang loosely between two trees and have a center that droops down. These types of traditional hammocks usually hang six to eight feet high, while hammocks with spreader bars hang four or five feet off the ground. The difference between the two is that the traditional hammock doesn’t remain open, so you need to separate the fabric to get in, while the ones with the spreader bars remain taut.
Tip: Measure your area before you hang the hammock. Most rope hammocks are 13-feet long, so make sure your trees or posts are at least 13 to 17 feet apart. If they aren’t, you need a hammock stand.
Look at Materials
As mentioned, you want to figure out what type of hammock you need along with what material to buy. The finest-quality hammocks feature durable materials along with weather-resistant fabrics. Don’t compromise on the fabric quality to save money because the material might rip. There are several types of hammock materials.
When you think of a hammock, you probably think of ones made of rope. Typically containing cotton or polyester, rope hammocks feature spreader bars that separate the two sides. That way it keeps the space open for easier access and quality support. You can hang this type of hammock between two trees or posts as well as with a prefabricated stand.
Best for warmer, dryer climates, rope hammocks are typically more comfortable since the ropes stretch to contour with your body. However, since they’re made of cotton, rope hammocks absorb moisture and might grow mildew. This type of hammock is not recommended for small children since they can have their hands or feet caught in the rope.
Similar to rope hammocks, cotton hammocks have a soft fabric. This allows the material to conform to your body shape. But, like rope, it is not mold or mildew resistant, so it tends to rot over time. It’s best to bring these types of hammocks inside during inclement weather.
Hammocks constructed of polyester are usually a more durable option. They can withstand high humidity levels, ultraviolet rays, and salt air. The polyester ropes tend to last longer since they’re resistant to mold and mildew. Keep in mind that the polyester ropes are less flexible than the cotton option. Polyester also acts like a sponge when it comes to water, resulting in a long dry time.
Examine Types of Stand Materials
If you’ve opted for free-standing hammocks, you must figure out what type of stand best suits your needs. There are cost-effective stand options, but you should buy a durable option that can last you several years. Typically hammock stands come in wood, aluminum, or steel.
Tip: Standard hammocks tend to measure 13 feet long from ring to ring, not including the chains. When buying a hammock stand, buy one that is 15 feet, which is the standard size. Hammock hardware and hooks usually come with the hammock, not the stand.
Wooden stands offer more decorative and elegant appeal. They can also withstand a heavier load than the other types. Most wood stands are waterproof and UV-resistant.
A lightweight option, powder-coated aluminum hammock stands stay protected against weather damage and rust. Most include rubber end caps for safety purposes. If your hammock remains outside, this is the best stand option since it resists rust and you can easily move it.
Typically lower in price compared to the other choices, powder-coated steel stands are durable, stable, and secure. The powder coating protects the stands against weather damage and rust. Many powder-coated steel hangers come in a variety of colors, allowing you to color coordinate with your hammock. These are best if don’t need your hammock to support a lot of weight and won’t be exposed to bad weather.
Tip: If you’re unsure which stand best suits your needs, you can always buy the stand and hammock together in a combo package.
You can also buy hammock accessories to help you rest easier. Get rid of pesky bugs with 360-degree screens. These screens help you hang out in perennially bug-ridden areas. You could also opt for an add-on bug net. To protect yourself from unexpected weather changes, pick up a waterproof tarp. Some hammocks come with a tarp attachment included.
Don’t get hung up on the many hammock options available. Whether you need one for relaxation or catching a snooze while camping, there’s a hammock type for everyone. Find your hammock, get it set up, and take a break as you rest.