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Choosing The Right Hammock For You

Feb 26, 2008
Though it is unknown who invented the hammock, many maintain that it was a device created out of tradition and need. Today, hammocks come in a wide variety of types, styles, materials and sizes. Which one is right for you will depend on your size and how you intend to use it.

Consider the length first. In order to be comfortable in a hammock, you need one that is long enough. Unless you have spreader bars that are inserted in the ends to make the hammock rectangular, you'll need one that is at least two feet longer than you are. Add an extra foot or so to allow you to put your arms above your head for true hammock sleeping comfort.

The hammock should be wide enough to accommodate you without excess compression. Part of the pleasure of hammock sleeping may be the feeling of being enclosed. But that can be taken too far. If you use spreader bars, the width should be at least several inches wider than you on each side.

Weaving method plays a large role in the comfort of your hammock. Mayan hammocks, for example, are made with a much looser weave than Brazilian hammocks. Woven from thin fiber, they are much more breathable than their southern cousins. But for cooler climates that may not be desirable. The tighter weave used in Brazilian hammocks, constructed from bolts of cloth, makes them retain your body heat better.

Material choice is equally important. Among other things, the material affects the amount of stretch. A rope hammock or Mayan hammock will typically stretch more, especially after you first buy it. If you use a stand, it will need to be high off the ground to avoid touching. Hanging from a tree requires that you add a few inches in height to compensate from where you want the lowest point to end.

Nylon will generally wear longer and often be more moisture proof. Cotton blends have come a long way; but unless they are specially treated, they can be subject to mildew. Polyester will weather extremely well, but it usually doesn't produce the most comfortable possible hammock. Still, for occasional use, they provide a modest-cost alternative. On the other end of the price scale, Olefin is used in some more expensive models. It wears well, cleans easily and can be woven into a very comfortable product.

If you want the least expensive option, a rope hammock may be your best bet. Often made from cotton blend fibers, they stretch like crazy, but can be very comfortable if you like a very wide and open weave.

Popular today with parents of newborns, baby hammocks are said to promote sound sleep through comfortable hammock design and springing motion. Experts say the natural rocking movement and soft womb-like feel of the baby hammock can actually enhance the intellectual, physical and emotional development of a baby sleeping soundly within it.

However you intend on using them, hammocks are available in a huge variety of colors and designs. With a little searching, you should be able to find the perfect one for you.
About the Author
Joyce Boulan is the owner of a website pertaining to hammocks of all types, including backyard hammocks, baby hammocks, camping hammocks and hammocks for your pets. Please visit The Hammock Store
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