In the summertime there’s nothing like lazing around in the back garden and having an afternoon nap under the shade of a tree swinging gently in a hammock. I’ve tried to make hammocks in the past and they’ve never worked very well and all because of one simple design flaw called the spreader bar.
The spreader bar is something that I’ve learned about while doing my research into buying a hammock for my backyard and it really is the single most important factor to consider when buying a hammock. The spreader bars are at each end of the hammock and do exactly what they say which is to spread the bed out so it does not collapse in on you when you get in it. So when looking to buy a hammock take special care to check the quality of this important part.
Other areas to check for good quality are also the straps and the links chains. Again, make sure that these are robust to ensure that your safety is not compromised.
So what other marketing gimmicks are there out there to try and confuse you? There’s a lot of differentiation made by the origin of manufacture some being Mayan, Brazilian or Nicaraguan for example. There’s many more but these seem to prevail. All this means is that in general the hammock has been hand crafted using naturally fibres and this has two important impacts:-
1. It’s more comfortable than the traditional rope hammock
2. The weave can be a little loose and so care is required when getting in and out and no sharp objects
Moving back to the traditional rope hammock for comparison, these can be made out of cotton or polyester. The tighter weave making the cotton version more robust than the hand crafted works above and it’s still pretty comfortable compared to rope hammocks made out of polyester. The advantage of the polyester is that the hammock is significantly more durable so basically it comes down to a trade off between comfort and durability.
The poolside hammock demonstrates this perfectly. It’s certainly the least comfortable but the needs of a poolside hammock differ considerably. The essential feature is that the hammock is quick drying and to a lesser extent it’s also designed to be colorful and both these factors determine the type of fabric used and this is at the expense of comfort.
So there’s no real mystique to buying a hammock, there are some choices that you need to make depending on the functionality that you want and you may have to compromise on comfort but that’s about it. Once you’ve made your choice for fabric then it’s time to look at the quality of the spreader bars and make sure that these are sufficiently robust to ensure that your purchase lasts a long time.
It terms of setting it up, a hammock does require two trees in close proximity otherwise you are probably better acquiring a hammock stand as well but if this is more equipment than you can handle then maybe it’s time to consider a hanging chair?