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By Ray Crowe

How to choose the ideal outdoor hammock

For anyone who's been dreaming about swaying peacefully in an outdoor hammock beneath the starry skies, it's important to consider what type of hammock is most suitable for specific activities, environments, and weather conditions. Listed below are a few valid points to take into account before buying a hammock:


Will one or two people be using the hammock? Most companies offer both single and double hammocks, the latter being ideal for a couple that's just laying and hanging out. Although sleeping with a partner helps to create more warmth in cold weather, having a sleep mate who moves around a lot or frequently has to use the bathroom may make it difficult to sleep peacefully. Many people feel that sleeping solo in a hammock results in sounder sleep. In this case, a hammock that's long enough and wide enough to enable the user to stretch out diagonally is essential.


Most nylon hammocks, and a good number of rope ones, can safely and comfortably accommodate 450 pounds. For campers in rough environments, parachute nylon and high-dernier nylon hammocks are very popular, as they offer an equal balance of comfort and durability. For camping or hiking trips where portability is a very important consideration, lighter types of parachute nylon hammocks are excellent options that are long-lasting in harsh weather conditions.

Bug netting

People who live in hot or humid climates are very familiar with the painful bites of horseflies, mosquitoes, and other nasty flying insects. There are several hammocks currently available that have insect nets stitched on top to create a protective cocoon that keeps these creepy critters out. The hammock's entry point is usually through a long side zipper or a Velcro slit on the bottom that can be resealed after the user has pulled themselves completely inside.

Some hammock manufacturers sell bug netting separately. These screens may be suspended from above by a post to surround the whole hammock, which the camper enters through a vertical zip fastener.


Where will the hammock be used? Hammock lengths typically range from about 6 to 12 feet, and they usually have a few additional inches on both ends for ropes or fasteners, so the chosen space should be large enough to accommodate a unit of this size.

As long the yard or outdoor area has two sturdy trees with roughly 15 feet in-between them, an anchor can be used to secure the hammock. In more open areas that don't have any trees, it can be to affixed to some other solid object like a pole or wooden post. If none of these options are feasible, it may be necessary to purchase a hammock stand, which adds a few extra feet to the space requirement.

The amount of available outdoor shade in a particular area is also important. For users who want to avoid excessive heat and sunlight, a hammock can be mounted below some trees, in a gazebo, beneath a tarp, or under a roof or patio umbrella.

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