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Hammock Buying Guide

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Hammocks create a relaxing, calming environment wherever they are hung. From proper hanging height to which fabric types are best suited to your needs, ​this guide will make buying and hanging your hammock a breeze.

Common Hammock Types

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The most comfortable option, fabric hammocks are suitable for sleeping. They can add a decorative element to your patio or backyard.

  • Cotton is comfy and breathable, but isn't very weather-resistant. Cotton should not be left outside in bad weather.
  • Polyester hammocks are more durable and weather-resistant. They can often be equally as comfortable as cotton options.
  • Canvas hammocks are the most durable fabric option.
  • Look for fade- and weather-resistant fabrics, such as Sunbrella, so that your fabric hammock maintains its color.
  • ​For additional comfort, opt for a quilted hammock, which has a plush center layer of batting.

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Rope hammocks are a classic style that can be made with cotton, polyester, or weather-resistant materials.
  • Cotton is the softest type of rope, which allows the hammock to conform to your body as you rest. However, cotton is not resistant to mold or mildew and aren't ideal for being left out in the open.
  • Polyester rope is bright white in color and is less susceptible to mold and mildew. However, polyester soaks up water and takes a while to dry.
  • Weather-resistant materials, including Sunbrella fabrics, won't fade and can be left out exposed to the elements.

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Chair hammocks are ideal alternatives to full-sized hammocks in small spaces. Hammock chairs only require one support point, unlike standard hammocks, which require two. Families with children may want to consider a chair hammock because they are more stable and less prone to flipping. Chair hammocks are made from many of the same materials as standard hammocks.

How to Hang Your Hammock

With Spreader Bars

Spreader bars are bars at each end of a hammock which stretch out the hammock. They allow for one or more people to sit on them, as well as prevent the cocooning effect of hammocks. If your hammock has spreader bars, the posts or trees you choose to hang your hammock from should be at least as far apart as the hammock is long. If the trees or posts are farther apart, you'll need sturdy rope or chain to extend the hammock. To achieve maximum comfort, extend the hammock the same length in both directions, and you shouldn't extend the hammock more than 3 feet total.

Without Spreader Bars

If your hammock does not have spreader bars, the hanging distance can be less than the overall length of the hammock, but no smaller than two-thirds of the hammock length. To get the maximum hanging distance, add 2 feet to the minimum distance length. The closer together your hanging points are, the higher off the ground you will need to hang the hammock because of the natural dip in the middle of this type of hammock.

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Between Trees or Posts

If you choose to hang your hammock between trees, select sturdy trees with trunks at least a foot in diameter. Tree straps make hanging a hammock between two trees easy.

  1. ​One end of a tree strap has a loop, while the other has a metal hook or ring. Thread the metal ring through the cloth loop and pull the strap tight. 
  2. ​Loop the strap around the tree as many times as possible, going in the oppsite direction.
  3. Tuck the metal ring through the loop once more.
  4. Finally, pull the strap tight and attach the S hook to the ring. The S hook will attach to a ring at the end of the hammock. 

If you are hanging your hammock between two posts, be sure to secure them. The posts should be at least 4 inches x 4 inches and be planted at least 2 feet into the ground. Wood posts should be treated to avoid rot. To set up posts, dig a hole and place the post in the center. Then, fill the whole with cement and let it dry for at least 48 hours before hanging and laying in your hammock.

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Hammock Stand

When selecting a stand to go with your hammock, first consider the length of your hammock and then add 2 feet. If your hammock is 13 feet long, purchase a stand that is 15 feet long for comfortable relaxation. Also take into account the amount of weight a stand can hold before purchasing one. It should hold at least 450 pounds.

The next element to consider is material. Steel stands are budget-friendly, durable, stable, and secure. Powder-coated options are treated to be resistant to rust and weather. However, more expensive wood stands can often be decorative. 

Proper Hammock Height

In this chart, the measurements in black type will tell you the proper height to place your tree or hammock hooks based on the distance between your hanging posts so that the hammock will hang properly. 

Distance Between Trees or Posts
Hammock Length10 feet11 feet12 feet13 feet14 feet15 feet
9 feet4 feet4 feet4 feet4 feet4 feet4 feet
10 feet4 1/2 feet4 feet4 feet4 feet4 feet4 feet
11 feet5 1/2 feet4 1/2 feet4 feet4 feet4 feet4 feet
12 feet6 feet5 feet4 feet4 feet4 feet
13 feet6 feet5 feet4 feet4 feet
14 feet6 feet5 feet4 feet

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