Lets not kid ourselves there are many types of hammocks out there, all with their own unique use. But don’t fret we are going to take a look at all the options...
And yes we love them all! What better way to relax, unwind and get off the hectic roundabout of daily life…even if it’s just for a short while.
So the most common question I get asked is, what hammock should I get? Well, that depends on what you’re looking to do. Here is a guide to various styles of hammocks, allowing you to explore and learn all the options out there and help you answer that most elementary question:
The 5 Main Types of Hammocks to consider:
The variety of hammock options out there mean the opportunities to enjoy a relaxing moment on your own or with friends and family is endless. From designing your very own personal oasis in the outdoors, to wild camping, backpacking and exploring nature. The innovation of hammocks over the past 10 years means there are now specialised hammocks that can be used in almost any environment; which is truly game changing. They transform the outdoor and indoor experience by simply getting you off the ground giving you a completely different aspect on your surroundings in a more comfortable and safe environment, allowing a feeling of freedom, far detached from the conventional solid style furniture we subject our bodies too.
Our WeDo Hammock buying guide is a good starting point to familiarise you with the different styles of hammocks and their various qualities. Keep in mind how you want to use your hammock as you read through this guide. Consider how many people are going to use the hammock at a time, remembering there are single, double, even jumbo hammocks available with weight capacity varying from 100 to 500 kgs. So, pick out the style of hammock that grabs your interest and let’s dig deeper into their features and benefits.
Most styles of hammocks that we see are derived from two basic types.
The original Brazilian form of hammocks, dating back over 1000 years, uses a 2-point hanging system called in-line which envelopes you in a cocoon-like pod and conforms to your body weight and shape. Also, referred to as a Tropical or Jungle hammock.
The other common style of hammock, is the spreader hammock, a re-design which was developed and used much later in history. Also, known as the North American Hammock or Spreader-Bar-Hammock. The introduction of the spreader bar with its pre-drilled holes allows the cords to be threaded through the bar opening the hammock in a lay-on-top style. This system was developed by the pioneering Americans making dismounting easier.
Enough of looking back let’s now consider the different hammock styles available today.
Brazilian Hammocks are known for their robustness and comfort a good choice for colder climates because the thicker weave means cold air is blocked creating added warmth. Brazilian hammocks are usually found without spreader-bars, and therefore designed as an in-line hanging system, however, there are Brazilian designs incorporating spreader-bars which also incorporate the traditional thick cotton weave.
Bold vibrant colours associated with Brazil are also a common feature of Brazilian hammocks, along with their trade mark 100% cotton fabric, constructed in a very tight and durable weave. Brazilian craftsmen are also known for their beautiful fringe embellishments adding to the design and feel of the hammock.
However, being made of natural cotton can create problems from exposure to the outside elements and can lead to mould and mildew issues, if proper cleaning and protection is not carried out. For those considering a full time sleeping option instead of the conventional bed the Brazilian hammock is a Good choice and an ideal space saving solution.
Rope hammocks feature rope stitching design between spreader-bars. These are the classic hammocks that most people associate with island castaways lounging under palm trees. Spreader bars keep the lounge bed open for easy dismount, and the rope stitching offers both support and flexibility. The open airy rope hammock patterns offer excellent air flow; however, the rope can create waffle-like pressure points on the user’s skin. Ideal for stealing that moment of relaxation and reflection at the end of a busy day.
Still a very popular choice for outside relaxation, tie on hammock pads can be added for extra comfort. These styles of hammocks are not generally used for nightly sleeping and caution should be taken when getting on due to the instability of balance from the spreader-bar design, increasing the possibility of flipping over.
Rope hammocks are normally either cotton or polyester, and each has its advantages. Cotton rope hammocks are more flexible than polyester, but polyester is less susceptible to mould and mildew.
Food for thought - the large gaps in the weave can potentially be dangerous for little ones, with the possibility of a hand or foot getting caught up between the ropes.
The fabric or pool hammock generally uses the classic spreader-bar design, with fabrics allowing for extra luxury, decorative style and comfort. Quilted materials can also be used to add further softness and warmth, by using two layers of fabric with a soft stuffing between. The versatility of fabric can allow beautiful patterned designs on one side and a solid colour on the flip side.
Taking into consideration the environment in which you will be using this style of hammock, treated fabrics, vinyl’s and Dura cord are popular. The treated fabrics provide additional protection from mildew, and do well in avoiding sun bleaching. There are also hammock stands that have been treated with a waterproof coating, able to withstand splashing from poolside and salt water spray from the sea. Remember, treated polyester fabric may will last longer than cotton and have less maintenance issues but will not be as soft as 100% cotton.
Camping, backpacking, hiking and exploring the great outdoors is not new or revolutionary. However, hanging in a hammock style tent, providing you with all the conventional features of a tent, and so much more is. The ultra-light travel hammock now offers insect protection with added treated mosquito nets, walls, roof and can accommodate up to twelve people. Suspended above the ground offering great views of the wild surroundings, animals above and below. No need to look for that perfect pitch, just two trees are what’s needed. Made from a strong nylon these unique tent-like hammocks are robust and ultra-portable.
The ultra-light weight, compact, and easy to carry travel hammock can also be used with a tarp which hangs overhead and protects you against the rain. For those colder conditions, special quilts or pads can be fitted beneath you for warmth. Both are quick and easy to set up. Straps are used (not rope) to loop around trees to create attachment points. Two sturdy trees approximately 4-6 meters apart are ideal when setting up your sleeping area. Offering good comfortable sleeping, off the ground with the added advantage of protection from bugs, and insects.
One of the largest growing areas within the hammock market with innovation being the key word and the great outdoors becoming more accessible. There are many hammock styles available today, from one person in-line to multi person hammocks with wider sleeping areas.
Chair Hammocks or Chair Swings, are a great hammock alternative usually designed to accommodate two or more people. Ideal if you do not have enough space available for a full size traditional hammock.
Family friendly; these hammocks are great for families with children as the design is generally more stable and easier to use and lots of fun. Usually made from the same materials we have already spoken about, cotton or padded acrylic vinyl fabrics with all the same characteristics. You can hang the chair from a fixed point or use a beautiful free standing frame. With endless designs and colours available adding to or complementing your decor inside or out.
Whether you sling your hammock between two trees, on a stand or between posts, it’s important to pre-measure your chosen spot. Most rope hammocks measure 4 meters, so your hanging source (posts or trees) should be from 4 to 5 meters apart. You can always get a hammock stand if such a spread isn’t available to you.