Hammocks were first invented in the tropical forests of South America where they were primarily used for sleeping above the wet floor of the rainforests. These days, people still enjoy the comfort provided of a hammock. Some hand-made hammocks from South America are nothing less than time-honored masterpieces. But of course, more up to date styles have emerged as well as hammocks from different parts of the world.
Regardless, just about any hammock is popular considering the fact that they can be used for lounging by the pool, for a weekend away camping, or in the backyard, under the verandah, or even indoors.
Hammocks are not only portable and cheap as furniture, they are also simple to set up and maintain. Although the various styles seem to have similar functions, they do vary in form, construction and purpose.
This guide offers you a viewpoint on choosing the most appropriate hammock. Considerations include the climate, intended location, style, preferred material as well as installation options.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF HAMMOCKS
A hammock can simply be described as a device people lounge in especially during their leisure time. However, others opt to use hammocks for sleeping in the home or even during camping or outdoor trips. Its standout feature is its architecture, keeping in mind that it is a sling bed that is suspended in the air. A hammock's history is very long, and it derives from the Haitian word which means "fish net". The materials that can be used to make a hammock include rope, fish net, or fabric materials among others. Conventionally, a hammock suspends from two trees or two fixed structures. The fixed structures include walls or special support stands.
An understudy of Socrates, Alcibiades (c. 450-404 BC) was a renowned figure who loved using a hammock. Nonetheless, South Americans are the ones credited with its invention, and are still known to produce hammocks till date. The South Americans used hammocks mainly in the jungle as a way of avoiding dirt, pests as well as animals while sleeping. Additionally, the hammocks provided better air circulation while they slept. Christopher Columbus is credited with popularizing hammocks when he brought them back to Europe. They become popular among seagoing ships because they maximized space.
Nowadays, hammocks are used for unwinding both indoors and outdoors. They come in wide ranges, including hammocks for infants and portable ones mainly used for camping. In addition to that, new designs adds innovative suspension architecture as well as technological innovations such as power outlets. While the form continues to develop, scientific research continue to bolster the health benefits you can get from hammocks. Research has indicated that babies fall asleep faster than usual in hammocks. New studies have also proven that adults too fall sleep faster when they used hammocks compared to when using conventional beds. Given these benefits, why then don't you try a hammock or buy one for your baby?
HAMMOCK TYPES AND CONSIDERATIONS
There are several hammock styles you can choose from, including the South American varieties, the inline style, the spreader style as well as lightweight travel hammocks. Additionally, hammocks also come in an assortment of suspension architectures, colors, materials, sizes, and patterns. Outdoor hammocks are designed with weather-proof materials. Each hammock type has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, whenever you are buying one you will have to consider several considerations that will guide you to purchase one that suits your tastes and needs.
HAMMOCK SUSPENSION ARCHITECTURE
The first step when choosing a hammock is to consider where you are going to hang it. You can choose based on choices such as indoors, outdoors, between two walls, between two fixed points as well as between trees. In case you do not have two points to hang the hammock, it is better to buy one that comes with its own stands.
OK, EVERBODY IN...
Secondly, you should consider the number of people who will use the hammock. You can choose from single, double, or even jumbo sizes. Single means one person can use the hammock, double means two people while jumbo means many people can use it. Double size is perfect when you want to share time with someone special such as your partner or spouse, while jumbo size is great for the whole family. Picking the appropriate size is crucial, as hammocks have varying weight capacity ranging between 250 and 1,000 pounds. Exceeding the maximum weight may make the hammock uncomfortable and may even break causing injury.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF HAMMOCKS
THE SPREADER HAMMOCK
The spreader hammock type is a modern invention. This type spreads the weight load uniformly and allows easier access both when getting in and out. With the spreader hammock, the spreader spreads widely attaching to the metal bars both at the head as well as the foot of the hammock. This is more evident in the twofold and jumbo sizes whereby the wide spread gives room for more people to join. However, the high metacentric gravity makes the suspension less stable. This can bring about uncomfortable rolling. The spreader hammock can either be suspended between two stable points or come with its stand. Typically, this type is made of fabric or rope.
In case you love sailing, hiking or camping on a regular basis, inline hammock is the right type for you. This is the traditional type of hammock. The Inline hammock is also known as jungle hammock or tropical hammock. When you are using this type of hammock, you will rest like a pea in a pod; enfolded and surrounded by the sides of the hammock. In such a style, it won't be easy for you to get in and out , but the good thing is that it is more comfortable and stable. Comfort and support depends largely on the quality and nature of the fabrics weave. Most South American artisans weave using rope, string, or colorful fabric. On the other hand, commercial manufacturers prefer using polyester, nylon, Dacron, or any other non-stretchy materials. Navy/Army-type hammocks are of this type, and are typically utilitarian with non-attractive outlook.
TRAVEL OR CAMPING HAMMOCKS
Are you planning to go camping or spend some time away with your family? In case you are, then this is the best type of hammock to pick. Portable hammocks are typically inline hammocks. Travel or camping hammocks can never be spreader hammocks because a spreader hammock is too heavy and carrying around is certainly cumbersome. Portable hammocks often come with a carrying bag. Some of them have storage pockets or mosquito nets. Th fabrics used to make camping hammocks are lightweight and sturdy. This type of hammock may also come with or without tree-hugging straps used to attach it to the tree. Others might have a zipper entry from the bottom that makes it easier to get in if it is suspended high off the ground.
Manufacturers and designers have come up with something modern from the old hammock design. Innovations comprise hammocks designed particularly for infants, tent-like hammocks, one-suspension point hammocks as well as furniture-hammocks. If you have a baby, you can go for the one designed for babies and if you are that person who loves something stylish, then why not choose one-suspension point hammock?
Baby hammocks are typically used from birth until the baby is six months old. This type of hammock is good for your baby as it simulates the baby's gestational environment or even the shaking of the moms arms. These hammocks are made from soft materials such as calico cotton. The springs used to make the hammocks allows it to adjust as the bay grows. One prominent manufacturer of baby hammocks is a Swedish company known as Mony Inc. The company markets a product known as Mawok that is designed to rock the baby up and down as opposed to side ways. These hammocks come either in a permanent mode attached to a wall or in a mobile mode that dangles from a door. The mobile hammock is suitable when traveling. The Hushamok is another baby hammock designed as a stylish furniture especially for the nursery. The Hushamok has its own wood, aluminum, or steel stand and is characterized by bright colors as well as a patented spring that swings the baby gently.
A good example of one-tree hammock is the Satala. This type needs one suspension point. The hammock head suspends from a wall, tree, or post, while a solitary leg supports the hammock foot. It looks like furniture with firm cushions. Although one-tree hammock is designed for one person, Aqualgallery, it manufacture, claims that two people can fit.
This one will be good for you if you love to enjoy watching wildlife from an aerial point of view. This type provides roofs and walls making it look like a tent. It provides protection from wildlife and weather elements and can hover high in the trees as well as at ground level. It is highly portable and has a collapsible frame as well as lightweight materials. It can accommodate one to 12 people making it a great one for the family or friends in the event that you go out camping together. Tree-hanging tent is made using strong nylon material that can withstand heavy weight and could serve as a tree-house for children, especially for a family on a camping trip with their children.
Hand-made hammocks are woven independently, hence every piece is unique. Measurements may differ slightly, and may have slight variations in color. Manufactured hammocks include quilted fabrics, rope hammocks, and modern materials such as Dacron. Each material used to make the hammock has its merits and demerits. There are some that are suitable for outdoors while others are better suited to warmer climates. Therefore, when you are choosing an hammock, you ought to consider where you are going to use it.
This type of hammock is often found in spreader style. The rope is made either from cotton or polyester. The advantage with cotton is that it is comfortable, considering that it stretches and shapes itself to your body shape. However, it takes too long to dry and may encourage growth of mildew. On the other hand, polyester Resists mildew, last longer and withstands elements such as salt water air, UV rays and high humidity. This means polyester is bound to last longer than cotton but is less stretchy and slightly less comfortable. Therefore, when choosing between the two, you should consider durability versus comfort.
The material used to make quilted hammocks offers warmth and comfort. They are mainly in spreader style. Two fabric layers with batting in the middle makes a quilted hammock feel like a comforter. Additionally, quilted hammocks has fabrics that are fade-resistant and can apply waterproof technology outdoors. Some quilted hammocks have different designs and colors printed on either side, making them reversible. In case you have children, this type of hammock is safe for them because they do not have any gaps such as the ones present in rope hammock. You are assured that your baby's limbs will not fall through.
Poolside hammocks are in the spreader style and use materials and finishing best suited to wet outdoors. Materials used are fade-resistant and not easily affected by mold and mildew. Additionally, they are durable and take a very short time to dry. However, they are not as comfortable as quilted or rope hammocks. They can be installed on a special stand or between two points.
Mayan Hammocks are made of fine string and are hand woven. Typically, they feature bright colorful designs. This one will be good for you if you like colorful stuff. The weave is not only supportive but it is flexible too, making the hammock an exceptional type. Although the hammock is lightweight, it is able to support heavy weights. Most of these hammocks are made of either nylon or cotton and are the inline style. However, they aren't durable when used outdoors. This means that you can purchase this type if you plan to use it indoors.
This type is suited to colder climates due to its thicker weave. Although the fabric is comfortable, the tight weave significantly minimizes the airflow. Most of them are found in inline style wit a few being in the spreader style. The Brazilians are known to make hammocks of different colors and fancy fringe that produces a distinctive look.
Artisans from Nicaraguan are renowned for double weaving their hammocks with soft-spun cotton. The weave, being tight, remains durable for a long time. Nicaraguan hammocks are typically found in the inline style. The style is appropriate for cool and warm climates as the tight weaves allow the right amount of air to circulate. However, in case you purchase a Nicaraguan hammock that comes with a fringe, it is advisable not to leave it outside for long because it will be damaged.
OTHER HAMMOCK MATERIALS
Non-stretchy materials such as polyester, nylon and Dacron are mostly used to make portable hammocks or hammocks designed to be used by campers. Parachute nylon is one popular material with the others being bamboo and wicker, although not commonly used.
In case you are looking for comfort, quilted fabric together with Brazilian hammocks are the ones that offer the most comfort while rope is the material that is most durable. Hammocks for poolside lounging and camping have quick drying materials. The open weave used to make rope, poolside and Mayan hammocks makes them better suited to warmer climates. Such climates require good air circulation. In case you are going to spend time in areas with cold weather, why not choose a Brazilian or quilted fabric hammock? It will suit you better.
Whichever style you choose, be it the inline style, the spreader style, or even one of the innovative designs, relaxing or sleeping above the ground as you gently swing is an enjoyable experience. South American hammocks are currently enjoying a long history that hasn't been overtaken by technological advances, but is still going strong. Modern methods and materials being used to make hammocks have broadened the range of the original designs.
Whether suspended in a tree or lounging by the pool, you will enjoy hammocks for the comfort they provide coupled with easy installation regardless of your geographical location.