What kind of hammock should I buy?
August 20, 2005 10:09 PM   Subscribe

Hammocks: My s.o. and I would like to buy a hammock for our backyard. We are going to get a stand for it (since we don't have any hammock-worthy trees), but we can't decide between rope, string or fabric for the hammock itself. Which is most durable? Easiest to get in and out of? Can support two adults comfortably?
posted by intoxicate to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Fabric is the most comfortable, and comes in two-person sizes (and beautiful colours).

The main advantage with rope/string is how lightweight and non-bulky it can be when rolled up -- which is great for backpackers/campers but really unnecessary for the backyard.

I find cloth the easiest to get out of, but that may be due to the design of the hammock rather than the material. I can't speak to durability, though I wouldn't leave my cloth one out in the rain, even if it could take it. Rope or string will probably weather better.
posted by dreamsign at 10:22 PM on August 20, 2005

I feell in love with Mayan (string) hammocks after a trip to the Yucatan this summer. There are several different fabrics common to Mayan hammocks, but the ones on the front porch of our cabin were nylon and wonderfully silky.

As the picture on the first link shows, the secret to laying in a Mayan hammock is to lay perpendicular to the ropes (though parallel or diagonal is also approved, and better for reading or otherwise sitting up a bit, and is also comfortable). In the Mayan villages we drove through, the houses had no furniture, only the hammocks, which are used as beds, chairs, and cribs. The trick to getting in and out is to straddle the hammock and hold on to one end to help yourself up or down; after a few tries it's very easy.

I found eBay to be the best source for them, with a number of sellers that at least seem to have the least number of middlemen between between the Mayan producers and you. Watch your fabrics, though, because I accidentally bought a thick string hammock instead of the nylon I really wanted.

If you google "mayan hammock" you'll find several useful pages of reference about hanging a Mayan hammock. If you're going to buy a stand you'll need an extra long one. I'm still looking for a stand I like that isn't $300+ but is plenty sturdy for two, as we intend to use this as a secondary bed.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:04 AM on August 21, 2005

Mayan string hammock without a doubt. In australia you can buy a family size Mayan hammock here, and stands here.
Don't settle for an inferior hammock.
posted by singingfish at 2:19 AM on August 21, 2005

I didn't particularly care for hammocks (I hate getting up with a criss-cross pattern on my legs) until I tried a Brazilian (fabric) one. They are also available on eBay and from several online retailers.

No annoying criss-cross
The fabric envelops you making you feel all cocoon-y like
Tied fringes that hang down that you can wrap around yourself on a cool evening
Can be bought big (and strong) enough to hold two or more people

Most places online sell them for at least five times what you would pay for them in country. Definitely check eBay.
posted by wallaby at 4:42 AM on August 21, 2005

Mayan hammocks are the way to go, nothing with a spreader bar. I slept in one for a year or two instead of a bed - it was wonderful. Don't leave them out if you have squirrels, or there are other inquisitive toothy rodent types around - they'll chew through the rope. Enjoy!
posted by pomegranate at 5:07 AM on August 21, 2005

I agree with the fabric hammock evaluation, I have two of them in my backyard and love them dearly - I read in them and spend a good chunk of time out there. And they support two adults relatively comfortably, but I would be sure to get a "family sized" one.

posted by mulkey at 8:40 AM on August 21, 2005

Being from the Yucatan Peninsula, I have to recommend the Mayan hammocks.
posted by Number27 at 8:52 AM on August 21, 2005

I second the Brazilan fabric hammock. Much more comfortable than Mayan string hammocks imo. I've been in both countries, slept in both types of hammock both there and at home, and greatly prefer the fabric style. Brazilan hammocks don't have wood spacers, btw, just fabric. If you want to sleep in them, it's best done diagonally, not lengthways nor crossways.
posted by anadem at 9:28 PM on August 21, 2005

(sometimes I can spell "Brazilian")
posted by anadem at 9:29 PM on August 21, 2005

Am I wrong or does it sound like Mayan or Brazilain hammocks would NOT be comfortable to share with another person just lounging in the backyard? Just trying to figure out if everyone loves these things to sleep in or to hang out in with another person.
posted by pwb503 at 9:12 AM on August 22, 2005

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