Guide written by:
Sylvie, Ecrivain & journaliste brico/déco, Essonne
Whether made of fabric or a net hung from strings, hammocks come in all shapes, materials and sizes. From decorative hammocks equipped with spreader bars for a more decorative look, to chair hammocks and travel models that fit into pouches, here's our guide to finding the right hammock for you!
- Care and accessories
Choosing a hammock based on purpose
Want a hammock that is easy to use and take care of? Go for a machine-washable fabric hammock that can be used for snuggling up and protecting you from the wind or cold.
Looking for a more decorative hammock? The perfect option for you will be a hammock fitted with spreader bars to stop the fabric from bunching up – even though these can be a little unstable!
Do you live in a warm climate and/or want a traditional-style, breathable hammock? Opt for a rope hammock. While less decorative, these stretchy hammocks are much more comfortable than you might think!
Are you a bit of an adventurer? Pick a travel hammock made from parachute silk. Lightweight and easy to store in a pouch, you’ll be able to bring it everywhere.
Prefer to sit upright? A chair hammock, which can wrap around you like a cocoon, is the best option for you.
The taller you are, the bigger your hammock must be as you may have to lay out diagonally rather than lengthways (with the exception of models with spreader bars). You can also find hammocks designed for two. However, you should always check the maximum load the hammock can support before use.
Hammocks can be installed in the traditional way with ropes tied around a couple of tree trunks. If you aren’t lucky enough to have trees in your garden, you can choose a free-standing frame that will allow you to install your hammock wherever you want, whether that be on the balcony or on a terrace.
Hammocks can be made of various different types of rope or fabric. The hammock’s level of resistance and care requirements will depend on the material chosen.
Cotton is the most commonly used material. Some types of cotton are even certified organic. This material is used to make some rope hammocks.
Soft to the touch, breathable and absorbent, cotton hammocks are very durable. They also come in a range of colours and are easy to clean.
However, cotton does not deal well with water and does take time to dry out. It can also lose its colour over time if it has not been UV-treated.
Nylon is the fabric used to make travel hammocks (i.e. the classic parachute silk). It can, however, also be used to make rope hammocks. This synthetic material is flexible, lightweight and very thin, meaning it takes up little room when stored away.
It is also hard-wearing, soft to the touch and breathable. As it is not very absorbent, it dries out very quickly.
Polyester is another synthetic material. It is stretchy and resistant to water, moisture, and UV rays. Polyester is the ideal material if you want to leave you hammock outdoors all summer.
Some hammocks are made from a blend of polyester and cotton and combine the advantages of both materials.
Hammock sizes and weight limits
A wide range of sizes
Single-person hammocks range from an average of 100 to 140 cm in width. Double hammocks can reach up to 190 cm in width. Ideal for two, these models are also perfect if you measure over 6 foot as they allow you to stretch out diagonally. You can also find extra-large family-sized hammocks.
Hammock chairs are generally made up of a fabric stretch measuring around 100 to over 160 cm in length. While smaller models will only allow you to sit upright with your legs dangling, larger models (from 140 cm) offer better support for your back and head. Hammock chairs measuring over 160 cm will even allow you to curl up!
Depending on their size and material, hammocks can withstand weights of 80 up to 250 kg for family-sized models. Be careful, however, as this refers to static weight: your hammock will not support your weight if you throw yourself on it!
Hanging hammocks or hammocks on stands
When it comes to choosing between a hanging hammock or one on a stand, it all depends on your installation set-up.
Classic hammocks can be fitted between two trees at the same height on both sides. Chair hammocks can be hung from a branch, a pergola (with the use of fixing plugs and carabiner clips) or from a beam (for indoor use).
If you do not have a suitable fixing point, you can choose a freestanding model fitted to a wooden or metal stand.
Caring for your hammock
Most hammocks, with the exception of those with spreader bars, can be machine-washed on a cold wash or at a maximum temperature of 30°C, depending on the material type. If this isn’t possible, you can wash stains off by hand using a gentle product. You can then hang up the hammock outdoors to dry naturally without getting creased.
It is also recommended to store your hammock in a dry place overnight and during the winter.
If the hammock is being used to protect you from insects, you can fit it with a mosquito net (with or without a repellent product) for protection against mosquitos, spiders and so on.
Hammock shelters are pieces of fabric used to hang over the hammock to form a special roof used to protect you from various weather conditions.
Guide written by:
Sylvie, Ecrivain & journaliste brico/déco, Essonne, 273 guides
Après avoir travaillé au service de presse de France 2 et de la Cinq, j’ai choisi de laisser parler ma plume en m’orientant vers le journalisme et l’édition. Aussi éclectique dans mes goûts que dans mes écrits, passionnée de décoration et de bricolage comme d’histoire et de sciences, j’écris depuis plus de vingt ans sur ces thématiques. À mon actif : des ouvrages didactiques, romans et nouvelles, et de très nombreux articles brico déco regorgeant de conseils et d’astuces, expérimentés dans la vieille maison que je rénove peu à peu.