There’s an endless pictures hammocks online claiming to offer you the perfect backyard escape. But be wary of just clicking on the cheapest option. Here are four things to avoid when buying a backyard hammock.
1. Spreader Bars
You ever tried to lay down in a friend’s hammock only to be dumped embarrassingly on the ground? The spreader bars are to blame.
Yet nearly all American hammocks sold online use these wooden bars. Why? Because people are used to seeing them and they look great in pictures since they hold the hammock open. Unfortunately they make the hammock extremely tippy and unstable and actually reduce the comfort by restricting how you can lay in the hammock. Ditch them and you can move around much easier.
2. Overly Weather Proof
Having a hammock that’s reasonably resistant to mold, mildew or other effects of rain and wind is a nice feature. But too many hammocks are built as if they need to withstand the hurricane season and they kill any chance for comfort in the process. You should never buy a solid fabric hammock of any kind. Even if they tout it’s comfort and the soft pillow-like top. Why? Because a solid fabric hammock cannot breathe, flex, or adjust to your weight and shape. Want to lay on a rigid board soaked with your own sweat? Buy a weatherproof hammock.
Your best bet? Buy an open-weave hammock with Nylon or another synthetic material. Avoid the American rope hammocks as their weave won’t stretch properly. The best hammocks online are the Mexican or Nicaraguan models that use a double woven technique that artisans have been perfecting for the past 500 years.
3. Wrong Material
While you’re focusing on material, avoid cotton or other natural fibers, unless you’re willing to take the hammock inside after each use. Otherwise it will damage easily from the heat, sunshine and humidity.
4. Too Small
Lastly, make sure the hammock is large enough. Most hammocks have a “bed” section that is six to seven feet long, which is fine. Focus instead on the width: a good hammock should be at least 5 feet wide. Wider is always better because it allows you freedom to move around and position yourself however you like in your hammock. You don’t have to lie straight like a mummy. You can lie diagonally for a flatter angle or even fully sideways for a playful swinging experience. Another bonus of a wider hammock: room to share with a friend!
So enjoy your summer napping and remember: Open weave, big, wide hammock and no spreader bars!