How to choose the best portable hammock for camping, beach, pool, backpacking, and other outdoor activities. Compare features and benefits of different hammock types, including popular Mayan and Brazilian hammocks or rope and quilted hammocks.
So, why hammocks?
Just imagine - lazy afternoon, a sunset, palm trees, swaying back and forth in your comfy hammock. This is an ideal picture and a classic symbol of relaxation.
You can often see pictures of hammocks as the inevitable part of the island paradise, within the camping setting, or romantic sunset scenery on the beach. A hammock is also a perfect way to enjoy the outdoors in your garden or patio.
A hammock is a strong piece of material suspended between two supports. Hammocks are used as a bed or swing chair to rest and sleep off the ground and protected from insects and animals.
The origin of hammocks traces back to South and Central America, used by natives from the Amazon region and Mayans. It is also related to "hamaca", a Haitian word that means a "fishnet".
Portable hammocks are lightweight, movable, and easy-to-transfer "beds" for sleeping, swinging, leisure, and relief anywhere and anytime. At home, it turns your backyard or patio into more living space. During emergency or conflict, they are used as a temporary "bed".
Hammocks were initially made for sleeping and resting and are providing many benefits:
Sometimes hammocks are a better option for camping than camping tents. They are smaller and weigh less; they can be installed at almost any campsite and above the ground, so you don't have to deal with bugs and ground pests. Also, it doesn't affect the ground vegetation. To protect yourself from the flying insects, a mosquito net will keep them off of you. The rain canopy protects you from the rain.
It is more refreshing to sleep in the hammock during the summertime, but during the winter months, it is colder.
Hammocks, as opposed to tents, do not have much space for storage.
Most hammocks are actually portable. While they are designed for tying between two trees, you can take them down and put them back up wherever you want, fast and easy. They are also easy to pack, store, and transport.
Hammocks are designed with one or more cloth panels, or any other material, with lengths between eight and fifteen feet and a capacity of up to 600 lbs. Some hammocks come with a reduced size and are designed for one person only, while bigger ones can accommodate three or more people.
Cotton is soft and the most comfortable material but prone to mold and not the right solution for the sea salt environment and rain. Colors can fade when exposed to the Sun for some time. Hammocks made of cotton are ideal for indoor applications and short outdoor usage.
Polyester is less comfortable than cotton but is stronger and more resistant to saltwater, UV lights, and rainy weather conditions.
Polypropylene is also a synthetic material, waterproof, and the hammock might feel slippery. Both materials are durable and perfect for outdoor use.
Sunbrella is a super durable material, dyed with a special solution for long-lasting sun exposure and other harsh weather condition.
Portable hammocks also come with a frame that is foldable and easy to move around. The frame or a stand folds with no tools required, and they are great for picnics or the beach. A recommendation is to buy a hammock with a strong metal or rigid plastic frame as they are lighter than wooden. As opposed to metal and plastic-type, wooden hammocks have more weight but provide better stability. Hammocks with a stand are often used in backyards.
Such a collapsible design eliminates the need to look for trees or any other support to hang a hammock.
Buy a portable hammock with the size that fits your needs and is lightweight, so it is easy to carry when folded.
Don't buy a flimsy hammock stand; it should be strong enough safely to support double your weight.
The look is also a factor to consider when buying a hammock because various color tones, fabrics, and patterns are available.
When you buy a portable hammock, it will come with a compact carrying bag with shoulder straps for hands-free portability. Additional accessories such as inflatable pillows, hammock pads, canopies, and compact radios are also offered.
If comfort and fast drying are your main concerns when searching for the best portable hammocks, then a fabric hammock made of cotton is what you should buy. Fabric hammocks offer great solid support as a quilted hammock, but without the cushiony stuffing. This is the standard hammock type, and they are better suited for warmer weather.
Fabric hammocks are also used as camping hammocks, designed to hang between two trees or branches in the camping site.
Rope hammocks (look like a fish net) are great for beaches and places where it is hot since their open weave pattern provides natural ventilation for your body.
The most popular are cotton rope hammocks as they are comfortable and stretchable, also durable and waterproof polyester rope hammocks.
If you are tired of losing your wallet or cell phone through the mesh of the rope hammock, then the sturdy weave of a quilted hammock is the solution for you.
Quilted hammocks have a layer of insulation between two layers, making the hammock stronger and ideal for cooler climate, but it takes longer to dry when wet.
Handwoven hammocks are always unique. They are crafted by hand by skilled artisans that offer a personal touch to every single piece for an amazing experience.
Typical examples are Mexican, Mayan, Nicaraguan, or Brazilian hammocks, and they are ideal for backpackers and campers due to their lightweight and easy setup.
Jungle hammocks are heavy-duty hammocks with a camouflage, waterproof top sheet or rainfly, and built-in bugs net. They are built to resist tough weather conditions, high temperatures, heavy rain, and wind.
Venezuelan hammocks are good examples of jungle hammocks, and these are especially popular among outdoor enthusiasts.
Hiking hammocks are ideal for campers and backpackers. These are small and lightweight so that you can put them into a small bag or backpack for easy carrying.
The hammock is suspended between two trees and tightens with the webbing straps or ropes, using carabineers and hooks as attachments. Hiking hammocks usually come with a mosquito net or rain cover.
Hammocks with spreader bars are usually attached to hammock stands. Wooden or metal bars at each end of the hammock are used to stretch the hammock fabric laterally, so it doesn't curve into the cocoon shape.
Other types include the backpacking hammocks made of thin and lightweight material, making them great for longer trips. They include mosquito netting and pockets for nighttime storage.
Poolside hammocks are made for those looking to relax by the pool or ocean. They are made from vinyl and acrylic, which are durable and fade resistant, so they dry fast and can be easily cleaned.
Type. In order to select the right hammock type, buy one based on the application. As explained in the above text, there are many types available, designed for different outdoor activities; backpacking, camping, relaxing by the pool or backyard, etc. So, don't buy a hammock made of cotton if there is a lot of moisture, including rain. Or, a rope hammock where there are a lot of bugs, mosquitos especially.
Size. Hammocks are sold as the single type with a capacity of 300-400 lbs, or double with the capacity up to 500 lbs and widths of up to 6 feet.
Accessories. Depending on where you plan to install your hammock, you might need a cover for rain, a net for mosquitoes, an underquilt for cold, straps, carabiners, and others.
In trying to find the best portable hammocks, we have selected the following popular names in the hammock world:
At the end of the day, after all the aspects to mull over, choose a portable hammock that is durable, comfortable, and soft to your body. Foldable and lightweight is a must for short trips as well as long journeys. More expensive are those with hammock stands.
Portable hammocks are best for individuals who want to enjoy sleeping outside. The price is between $40 for the cheap portable hammocks to over $200 for a deluxe quality. You can buy a hammock online and offline in many outdoor and specialty stores or in mega-stores like Wal-Mart, Sears, Lowes, Home Depot, Amazon.com. Or, if you prefer, you can make your own hammock.