You’ve decided to buy a hammock – yay for you! Hammocks are a great investment, providing endless hours of relaxation for adults and plenty of fun times for the kids. With so many designs out there to choose from, you can feel a bit like a kid in a sweet shop trying to decide which one to go for. The whole point of a hammock is to create good vibes, so you really don’t want to stress yourself out over buying one.
Sleepy Hammock has created this guide to buying a hammock, just for you. OK, just for you and everyone else who wants one. Here’s a list of what the guide includes:
The story of hammocks
People have appreciated the benefits of hammock life for thousands of years. They are said to have been used by the Mayan civilisation in Central America around 2000 years ago. The word ‘hammock’ originates from the Taino word ‘hamaca’ which means ‘fishing nets’ – a fun fact worth remembering for the next pub quiz.
Christopher Columbus brought these hammocks back to Europe, made from tree bark and plant fibres. Cotton and new materials were soon integrated into the design, leading to the hammocks that we use today. It’s a simple concept that has stood the test of time, probably because nothing compares to relaxing in a hammock.
Today, they are available in different sizes and styles, along with various hanging methods to suit unique lifestyles. This leads us nicely onto…
Choosing the right hammock
Let’s take a look at the different sizes and materials that hammocks are available to buy in.
If you’re looking for a hammock to help create a bit of ‘me time’, then a single hammock is likely the best option. Just because it’s single in name, doesn’t mean that it’s small in size. There’s only room for one adult but you will have plenty of space to stretch out and reach optimal chill.
Your idea of relaxation might be snuggling up with a loved one or a friend, while catching up on each other’s day or having a snooze in the shade. A double hammock will give you that extra space and strength.
Prevent any squabbles about who gets to sit on the hammock by buying a family-sized hammock. You’ll need extra space and stronger fixing points, so make sure you have these before making the purchase. Most extra-large hammocks will fit 4 adults or 250kg – that’s a darn big hammock.
You’ll need a lightweight, small hammock if you plan on travelling around with it. They are pretty easy to hang, using the two trees technique, and you can get rope specifically designed for travelling.
More on travel hammocks later in the guide!
Hammock and Stand Sets
For ultimate flexibility, a hammock and stand set gives you the freedom to put your hammock anywhere you like – whether you are chasing the shade or the sunlight. They are also great value as they represent a significant saving over buying the hammock and stand separately.
Baby and child hammocks
Hammocks and hanging chairs for children and babies are fantastically fun and come in very handy for afternoon naps. The gentle motion will rock them into a deep slumber in no time. These models are small but safe, perfect for hanging in the kids’ playroom or bedroom. They’ll think you’re the best parents EVER.
At Sleepy Hammock we stock hammocks made from a number of different materials. Most of our hammocks are made from cotton which will give you a nice, gentle hug. Many hammocks also come with padding, for that extra ‘I’m so comfortable I might cry with happiness’ factor. Sleepy Hammock also sells hammocks that are made with 100% recycled cotton, for a more eco-conscious decision.
Some garden hammocks are made with a material that protects against the elements, which is particularly reassuring if you want to leave your hammock outdoors. Some of the Amazonas range are made with Elltex, which is a cotton and polyester blend, and this renders the hammock water and UV resistant so it is very weatherproof and won’t fade.
The Sunbrella range by Vivere is made from Sunbrella material which is as soft as cotton. It is treated so it is resistant to UV, fading, staining and mildew.
The travel hammock range are all made from parachute silk (which is actually 100% Nylon!), so they are lightweight, pack down very small, are quick drying and mildew resistant. Camping hammocks are also very comfortable to sleep in.
Spreader Bar hammocks
A spreader bar is attached at each end of the hammock to help spread out the fabric. This helps evenly distribute body weight when you lie on the hammock, and in turn, gives you an intensely relaxing swing rhythm and motion. There’s less chance of you getting in a frustrated tangle when getting in and out of the hammock, too.
Here’s another fun fact: spreader bars were developed by sailors in the colonial times. They ended up sinking into the hammock when lying down full length but there was no room to lie down diagonally. The stretched-out fabric meant they could lie down straight to save space but still be able to see around them.
Not all hammocks come with a spreader bar design, so it’s worth considering how much of a big factor it is for you when choosing a hammock. It’s likely that they’ll be a bit more expensive than models that don’t feature them.
How to hang a hammock
Choosing your hammock is the fun part, but you need to hang it up before making the most of it. We’ve created a handy guide to help you hang up a hammock.
Getting in and out of a hammock
It might seem a bit patronising, telling you how to get in and out of a hammock, but you’ll thank us. Because when you first get into your hammock, it can feel a little bit like being in a sitcom scene.
Sit down on your hammock first, then lower yourself back and bring your legs in. You want to be lying down in a diagonal position with your back straight, ideally. This will also stop you from becoming enveloped in all that fabric. If something doesn’t feel right, it could be because the hammock has been put up too high/low, or with the two fixing points too close together/far apart. Get off the hammock by shuffling your bum a bit and making sure that your feet hit the ground before standing up.
Sleeping in a hammock
It’s easy to assume that sleeping for a long period of time in a hammock is bad for your neck or back (a long period of time being hours; not days, or months, or years – how much time have you got on your hands?). In fact, many people agree that sleeping overnight in a hammock can be good for you. It can even help alleviate insomnia!
If you sleep in your hammock overnight but wake up feeling groggy, it’s worth taking another look at how you have put up your hammock and if you’re sleeping in the correct, diagonal position. You might want to consult a doctor about any serious or painful spinal problems.
For kids who are sleeping in a hammock, it’s a good idea to put a soft rug or carpeting underneath them, in case they need to get out during the night.
Travelling with a hammock
Using a travel hammock when going on holiday or an adventure around the world can be an amazing experience. Whether you’re on a rainy trip in the UK or are sleeping under the stars in an exotic destination, it makes you feel at one with the world. And the biggest benefit is that you don’t need to carry a big old tent around with you!
If you’re worried about a little – or a lot – of rain, we sell covers at Sleepy Hammock. And you can also get nets to keep out pesky creepy crawlies. The only other thing you need to rely on is finding two sturdy fixing points (ideally trees, or posts), so do some quick internet research on the place that you’re visiting before heading off.
Accessories, kit and tools
Hammock stands are a great way of making your hammock more mobile, and it saves on having to drill any holes through walls or trees in order to hang it.
A tree strap is another really handy alternative for if you want to hang your hammock outside but don’t want to cause any damage to your tree, or don’t have access to an electric drill.
Check what you need in order to hang up your hammock and see if you need to buy any other pieces of kit, including:
Hopefully, you’re now feeling clued up and ready to get on with buying a hammock. That mental image you have of rocking in a hammock under the shade of a palm tree while sipping on a pina colada and waiting on a loyal servant to feed you big, juicy grapes, could very soon be a reality. Well, kinda.
Take a look around the Sleepy Hammock site to see the colourful collection of patterns and designs. One of them is going to be the exact thing you need to make the dream a reality. Unfortunately, pina coladas and grapes aren’t included. But you can probably bribe a loved one to wait on you, in exchange for some time in the hammock.