Finding Your Ideal Hammock
We love all the ways a hammock makes it easy-breezy to unwind outdoors. All that rejuvenation starts with finding the right hammock for your needs. As you start your search for your perfect hammock, you might have a few questions about how to make the right choice. We're here to help answer those questions so you can find the design that looks and feels best.
What materials and types can I choose from?
Hammocks come in a wide range of materials and designs to help you get the look and comfort level you prefer. Start your search by choosing the design that appeals most to you. Popular options include:
- Rope hammocks, which are loosely woven from thick natural-fiber or polyester cords. This style is breathable to keep you cool, and it doesn't have much structure. That means it's great for napping and lounging.
- Woven hammocks, which are crafted from lightweight fabric. These offer more support than rope designs, but they're still loose — sort of like cocoons. Woven hammocks often come in bright, cheerful colors that reflect their South American origins. These are some of the most comfortable hammocks to sleep in.
- Quilted hammocks, which are highly supportive and more structured than the other options. These designs are crafted much like traditional quilts; they have solid fabric fronts and backings with batting inside that creates cushioning between the outer fabric layers. Quilted hammocks are the least breathable and flexible of the types, and they work well on specially sized hammock stands because they don't stretch much.
How can I hang my hammock?
One of the great things about hammocks is that you can set them up almost anywhere, from your porch to your lakeside boat dock. Think about where you plan to set up your hammock, and plan to purchase extra hardware or a stand to accommodate it. Common installation options include:
- Hammock stands,which are freestanding structures that support your hammock at both ends. You can set them up on any flat surface, and they're commonly made of metal or wood. Metal is lightweight and easier to move, while wood is a more decorative and permanent choice.
- Tree or post mounting, which both require special hardware. You can choose straps with hooks, which simply wrap around the trees or posts and fasten directly to your hammock. Or, you can drill into the trees or posts and install screws, chains, and S hooks to hang your hammock. Straps are the most portable option, letting you set up your hammock anywhere there are well-spaced trees or posts (a distance that's 18–24 in. longer than the length of your hammock).
Related: Read our step by step guide for more details on How to Hang a Hammock
What are spreader bars?
Hammocks are available with and without spreader bars. These rods or wood slats run along both ends of your hammock to hold the fabric taut. They often have holes drilled in them that the hammock's end ropes pass through, making the spreader bar a permanent addition. Spreader-bar hammocks work well with hammock stands. Because they keep the fabric tighter, they're common on quilted hammocks. They can also provide more structure to rope designs.
If you plan to mainly use your hammock for sunbathing, reading, or lounging with another person, spreader bars can provide the support you're looking for. They're not as ideal for a hammock you want to nap in because they eliminate the cocoon effect of looser fabrics.
Hammocks provide an endlessly comfortable way to unwind in the fresh air. Keep this helpful information and our hammock buying guide in mind as you shop, and you're sure to find the hammock that looks great and helps you relax.