It may seem like a Caption Obvious moment to explain what a hammock is, but since this is being referred to as a hammock knowledge base we must not assume.
To describe what a hammock is we will turn to the ultimate knowledge base Wikipedia which describes a hammock as:
A hammock (from Spanish hamaca, borrowed from Taino and Arawak hamaka) is a sling made of fabric, rope, or netting, suspended between two or more points, used for swinging, sleeping, or resting.
Most of us that have used a hammock are certainly familiar with the sleeping part, because if the hammock is the right size and setup properly they will put you to sleep.
The different types of hammocks.
When we are referring to the different types of outdoor hammocks we would be referencing the different sizes, the variety of hammock materials and also whether it features a spreader bar or is a non spreader bar type.
Another factor may be the country of origin, because a lot of people prefer the Brazilian cotton hammock.
However there are also wonderful hammocks that originate from Mexico, Columbia and many other regions of Central and South America.
The different hammock sizes:
No this doesn’t refer to hammocks for single people ( a little hammock humor I know very little) but rather hammocks that are designed for one person.
Of course depending on the weight and size of the persons you could possibility fit two people on a single hammock.
As the name implies this type of hammock is designed for two people, it will have an increased weight capacity, the extra width and overall length to accommodate two or more people.
Again like the single hammock depending on the weight and size of the people using it there may be room for more than two.
This type of hammock is designed for the family, it is extra large in every way, the weight capacity, the overall size and the suspension cords.
Everything in the design is to accommodate the family, which could also include the family pet, so pile on most of these hammocks can take it.
Hammocks with a spreader bar:
This type of hammock doesn’t require rocket science to understand, it features a spreader bar that is suspended from side to side at each end of the hammock.
The main purpose of the spreader bar is to keep the hammock spread out so it doesn’t fold in on you like a taco (sorry if the reference makes you hungry).
The spread bar hammock is popular with the sun bathing fan because it keeps the fabric from casting a shadow.
Maybe you have heard the comment from a sun worshipper, “hey you are blocking my sun”!
Non spreader bar hammocks:
Most Brazilian type hammocks do not feature a spreader bar because the proper way to lie in a non spreader bar hammock is diagonally. (See image below)
Done properly this will align your back and spine properly and you will be completely relaxed.
The different types of hammock material.
When we are referring to hammock material it is all about what the hammock is made of, this is important because there are a lot of different materials used and also a blend of several different materials as well.
The cotton hammock:
No surprise here but the cotton hammock is one of the most popular hammocks, because 100% pure cotton is so comfortable, it is soft against your skin and is often offered in bold vibrant colors!
A word about organic cotton:
What is an organic hammock? The organic cotton is grown and harvested using methods that require the lowest possible impact on our environment.
These methods may include replenishing soil, and featuring safer growing methods without harmful fertilizers or pesticides.
Finally the process is supervised by a third party to ensure all organic certified processes are followed before it can feature the organic label.
Another feature of organic cotton is the seed cannot be genetically engineered; these hammocks are made of pure high-quality cotton from organic production.
Weather resistant hammocks:
Rather than use the word weatherproof we will refer to this type of hammock as weather resistant, because given enough time Mother Nature will break anything down.
One type of weather resistant material used is called Hamactex, this fiber is considered weatherproof, fast-drying and very similar to cotton in feel and look.
There are several different type of hammocks that would fall under the fabric category which would include polyester blend, parachute silk and other cotton blend materials.
Polyester rope hammocks:
The polyester rope style hammocks are hand woven from soft spun polyester, they will not rot, mold or mildew.
These hammocks are popular for around the water because they will dry out quickly and will not be affected by the water.
How to select the right hammock for your needs.
So you decide today is the day you are finally going to invest in a hammock, sounds easy enough but there are some factors you need to consider before breaking out the credit card and selecting purchase.
You need to know going in how the hammock is going to be used, before you do the eye roll and muttered under your breath to relax in.. duh… consider this.
Is this going to be an outdoor hammock?
Why is this important to know? Well if the hammock is going to spend its lifetime outdoors you may want to consider a hammock that will stand up to the weather.
The more extreme your climate is the more stress you will put on your hammock and you want it to last forever right?
Are you going to use this hammock for camping?
The reason this is important to consider is because you may be backpacking with the hammock and you want it to be lightweight and durable.
Parachute silk is a popular material for camping hammocks because it is very durable, lightweight, will dry out quickly and is compact.
Also you want the hammock to be able to transport easily and that means it must fold nicely into a small size.
Is this hammock going to be used indoors?
Of course an outdoor hammock can be used indoors, however if you know that your hammock is being selected strictly for indoor use then you don’t have to worry about the fabric being weather resistant.
However if you are going to be using it indoors it may require a hammock stand unless you have a strong support structure in the room you will be setting it up in.
Will this hammock be for a child?
When it comes to a child hammock the number one top priority is safety, the child hammock is uniquely designed so a child can enjoy it without worry of any harm.
Most hammocks (not all) don’t feature any hardware to set them up, the reason being when the hammock is manufactured the builder has no idea how it will be used.
If they included every setup option it would drive up the price of the product which would not be fair to the person who doesn’t need it.
The hammock stand is for the individual that doesn’t have a support structure like a pergola, patio or perfectly spaced trees to handle the hammock.
There are a variety of hammock stand options; one of the better scenarios is an adjustable stand, that way regardless what hammock you may get in your future it more than likely will fit.
Hammock suspension systems.
The suspension system is necessary to suspend your hammock between two trees, setup on some hammock stands or suspend your hammock from a support like a pergola or patio beam.
Also see hammock accessories.
The proper care of your hammock.
Protect it from damaging obstructions that could be in the path of your hammock.
When you setup your hammock be sure there is not an obstruction so it can swing freely without hitting objects, especially if they are sharp objects.
Also do not allow your to drag on the ground over time it will get damaged.
Machine washing your hammock.
No matter how little or how much you use your hammock at some point it will need to be washed.
If it is a non spreader bar model it can simply be put in your washing machine. If it is a model that features spreader bars you will need to wash it manually. This can be done with applying detergent and using a garden hose.
Please note: If you purchase a hammock and the manufacturer does not recommend machine washing then do it manually.
Unless it is specialty fabric that is weather resistant ( Hamactex models) take it down at night.
If your hammock is made of 100% pure cotton it will require keeping it dry and ideally it would be best to take it down at night especially if it is under the night sky instead of a protected patio area.
This practice is dependent on what your climate is like, if you are in a dry, warm climate it is not as important to take the hammock down at night.
If you do reside in a hot arid climate when you are not using the hammock it is best to get it out of the sun, because over time the sun will damage the fabric, unless it is some type of weather resistant.
Give it the winter off and keep it dry in winter.
When winter rears its ugly head it is time to give your hammock a break, it is wise to machine wash it if it is a non spreader bar model and store it in a plastic bag to keep it moth free.
If it is a spreader bar model then wash it by hand and place it in a plastic bag after it is thoroughly dried.
How to properly setup your hammock.
This can get really complicated with the written word so rather than totally confuse you with my babble I will present videos that show you how to properly setup your hammock!
One video shows how to setup a hammock outdoors and the other video shows how to setup a hammock indoors.
A note on setting up a hammock:
There are multiple ways to setup a hammock and it is almost impossible to cover every scenario therefore you need to take the tips and apply them to your situation.
One important take away is make sure you have a strong support especially if you are hanging your hammock indoors, typical drywall will not support a hammock!
Outdoors hammock setup:
This video demonstrates how to setup a hammock outdoors between two trees, please do not damage a tree there are hammock straps that will prevent damage!
Indoor hammock setup:
This video demonstrates how to setup a hammock indoors using wall mounts, you can also use metal eyelets from your local home improvement store but they must be the proper length and go into a wall stud!
You can also use a hammock stand if you do not want to put holes in your wall.
Hammock stand setup that can be used indoors or outdoors:
This video demonstrates how to setup a typical hammock stand, if you already have a hammock then it is a good idea to invest in an adjustable stand.