Lying in a shaded hammock ranks right up there with meditating. But part of enjoying that restorative leisure is getting the hammock that meets your needs best — and there are so many types to choose from. We’ll help you discover the different designs and hanging styles so you can easily choose an irresistible hammock that beckons you to slow down and unwind.
Spreader Bar vs. Non-Spreader Bar Hammocks
You can choose a hammock with or without spreader bars. Hammocks with spreader bars are already pre-stretched for your comfort. They have rods along their ends that hold the fabric taut. They’re ideal to use with hammock stands. Because of their tautness, they’re not as comfortable for sleeping — save these beauties for sunbathing and chatting by the pool. You can find them in just about any fabric, color, and pattern you desire, but they’re especially common on quilted designs.
Hammocks without spreader bars are looser and can mold better to your body. That’s because they don’t have bars holding their fabric taut. It can be easier to get into and out of hammocks without spreader bars, particularly if you have mobility issues. Aside from that, they’re ideal if you’re looking for a hammock with a cocooning effect.
Types of Hammocks
These designs are loosely woven from thick, supportive ropes, and they resemble what you might find suspended between two palm trees on a sugar-sand tropical beach. They’re perfect for napping and reading, and their loose weave means they’re plenty breathable on hot days. You can find rope hammocks with or without spreader bars. Look for styles made with polyester cords for ultimate durability.
Light and portable, camping hammocks are easy to pack, carry, and set up in the great outdoors. They typically come with attached pockets or sacks that you can stuff them into for quick packing. Camping hammocks are commonly made from nylon fabric to keep them lightweight and resistant to mildew growth; nylon is a breeze to hose down and dry when you get home from your trip, too. If you’re looking for something highly durable or you plan on traveling with your hammock, a camping design can be a good option. However, keep in mind that this type doesn’t offer as much support as other hammocks.
Are you looking for a supportive, tight hammock? A quilted design might be ideal. Like regular quilts, these hammocks feature two layers of tightly woven fabric with batting sandwiched between them. They usually have spreader bars to keep them from flipping — and to show off the decorative fabric you’ve chosen. Quilted hammocks tend to work well on hammock stands because they don’t stretch to different lengths between trees.
Like quilted hammocks, fabric hammocks are lower in cost and typically constructed of quick-dry materials, making them perfect for poolside and beach usage. Most are made of polyester blends and are available in various color combinations and patterns. Some fabric hammocks even come with pillows sewn into them. Fabric hammocks also lie fairly flat for easy entry and exit.
Did you know that these comfortable, stylish slings originated in South America? They’ve been used as beds there for centuries, and as a result, some of the most distinctive hammock styles take their names from South American countries and historical societies. Mayan hammocks are woven out of lightweight, almost gauzy cotton, but they’re quite sturdy. Often available in strikingly bright colors and patterns, Mayan hammocks don’t typically feature spreader bars. They’re the most cocoon-like of all the styles, and you can hang the ends close together so the hammock also works as a chair.
Nicaraguan and Brazilian hammocks are similar in style to Mayan designs, but their fabrics are much more tightly woven — often in Nylon instead of cotton. They’re great if you love the traditional look but want a little more support. They’re also ideal for an afternoon nap, or in lieu of a sleeping bag on a camping trip.
Size is another important consideration that’ll influence the hammock you choose. Check the listed weight limit as you’re shopping for your hammock — many one-person hammocks have weight limits of around 250 pounds. If you’re planning on curling up with a special someone, it’s important that the fabric can hold your combined weight. For even more comfort, consider a two-person hammock. These designs have larger widths to hold two adults (or several kids!) side by side. They also have higher weight limits and can often support 450 or more pounds, but some have smaller limits of around 275 pounds.
Hanging Your Hammock
Finding your perfect hammock is part of the equation. Getting it set up and caring for your hammock are equally important! First, think about the different mounting styles. These include:
- Using straps that wrap around tree trunks
- Screwing hooks into posts, trees, or your porch
- Installing it on a freestanding hammock stand
Look for pre-made kits that include everything you need to hang your hammock. They’ll make setting it up a breeze before you start swinging in the breeze. Remember that you don’t need to hang your hammock outside all year, either; some hammocks and hanging kits are designed for use indoors.
A hammock offers a great way to express your style and enjoy total relaxation just about anywhere. Take fabrics and weaves into account, and plan to choose a hammock that can comfortably support the right number of people. It’s that easy! Now, it’s time to choose your hammock and get rocking. To check out some of our top-rated hammocks, check out our Best Hammocks for Your Backyard article.