TLDR: Everyone is buying hammocks, so you should too!
Millennials are hung up on hammocks. Once typically just for retirees and their country estates, the lounging beds are now appealing to everyone including college students and hard-core outdoor enthusiasts.
Sales of hammocks increased a whopping 30% for the 12 months ending in March, compared with the year-earlier period, according to market research firm NPD Group Inc., which found that overall sales of the product have doubled since 2014. Amazon promoted a discounted hammock on its site during its annual Prime Day this month–the item ended up selling out, with a reported 24,000 units sold by afternoon. Retail experts say the sales uptick is led by millennials, who love the hanging contraptions for their ease of use, convenience and portability. With prices starting below $100, they’re also affordable for younger consumers. And finally, hammocks also tap into that other all-important buzzword in retail: experience.
“Millennials are looking for products they can share with their friends that they can turn into an experience,” explained Matt Powell, sports industry analyst at NPD, noting that many college kids use them around campus for activities like sitting in the quad. “Hammocking is a way of hanging out with your pals—you don’t have to be in a deep forest, you can be in a backyard. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to spend an afternoon.”
Of course, hammocks are nothing new. Around for roughly 1,000 years with Central American origins, the product has had centuries to marinate with manufacturers. Now, brands have modernized hammocks with more lightweight, portable fabric and various iterations like the colors of the Jamaican flag, geared to more relaxed consumers.
Manufacturers like HAMACA are designing their products for everyone, rather than just the seasoned outdoorsman, experts said.
“They’re trying to remove the barriers to participation by offering products that make it easy for folks to get out—it’s not necessarily super technical, you don’t have to rough it anymore,” said Mac McKeever, a spokesman at L.L. Bean.
Other retailers are also hanging their hopes on hammocks. “Be a swinger,” read a hammock email sent to customers of Moosejaw, a Madison Heights, MI-based outdoors industry retailer, in June. The company, which operates an ecommerce site and about a dozen brick and mortar stores, reports that the business is booming. Between March and July, sales of the product were up nearly 100% over 2015, said Eoin Comerford, president and CEO. He noted that a new craze is the tent-hammock hybrid, which is a suspended tent that makes sleeping more comfortable for campers.
“These hammock tents are exploding right now,” he said, noting Moosejaw, which offers some 40 different hammock styles already, is prominently adding the product to its inventory.
Ecommerce home furnishings site Wayfair, which owns Joss & Main and DwellStudio, is also capitalizing on the uptick, in a different way. Alex Bowman, a trend forecaster at the Boston-based retailer, said many consumers are bringing their hammocks inside as a new seating option—it’s an extension of the trend of bringing other outdoor items, like porch rugs, inside because of their durability.
“The times when you’re happiest are when you’re living in a hammock outside—this is a cheat to bring that moment of relaxation inside so you can close your eyes and pretend you’re outside,” said Mr. Bowman. Sales of hammocks at Wayfair are up 140% year-to-date over the year-earlier period as customers gravitate to styles like the cocoon-like egg-chair hammock or one of the site’s other 599 iterations. Since hammocks popped up in popularity, Wayfair has been tracking them through more specific promotions.
“Hammocks is not a new category but it is a category that not everyone has—it’s a great trending item,” said Nancy Go, VP-brand marketing at the 14-year-old company. “As we see things trend, we end up promoting them more.”
One of the most common questions asked is how far apart do hammock posts need to be?
We will answer that question with the definitive guide to hanging your hammock between posts.
Follow installation directions carefully. Prior to each use, inspect your hammock, hardware, installation points and objects supporting your hammock for wear or weakness. Proceed carefully and take your time getting into and out of your hammock. Any hammock may tip if your weight isn’t centred. Swing gently. A hammock is not a playground swing or a trampoline. Excessive swinging and other rough play may result in falls and may wear out your hammock and hardware prematurely. Small children should not play unsupervised in your hammock. Maximum safe weight limit is 450 pounds (205 kg).
Your new hammock may initially be shorter than its full length (approximately 13 ft (396 – 411 cm) for a family size and approximately 11 feet for a single size). It will stretch to its proper length after a short time in use. Based on this information, how far apart do hammock posts need to be?
Hanging Your Hammock
Hammocks are versatile! Although traditionally slung between two big trees, you can also hang them between posts set in the ground, on a porch, or on a hammock stand. We recommend trees or posts be a minimum of 6″ (15 cm) in diameter or posts a minimum of 4″ x 6″ (10 cm x 15 cm) in size. Make certain the wooden supports you are using are strong enough. Do not use wood supports which are cracked, split or rotten or which are too soft to properly hold the screw hooks.
Setting posts in the ground allows you to install your hammock wherever you like, even if you don’t have trees. Post holes should be at least three feet (0.9 m) deep and carefully back-filled with concrete. Remove air pockets. While concrete is fresh, posts may be tilted slightly away from the direction of the hammock. Wait at least 24 hours before hanging your hammock.
It’s easiest to hang your hammock in a space a foot (30 cm) or two longer than the overall length of the hammock. In such a space, the hardware to hang your hammock should ordinarily be mounted five to six feet (1.5 m to 1.8 m) off the ground. If the distance between the hanging points is shorter, try mounting the screw-hooks higher, though this will make the hammock hang more bowed. If the distance between the hanging points is longer, you can mount the hardware higher and use extra chain and S-hooks, and the hammock will hang as normal.
Drill a pilot hole where you want your hooks. This pilot hole should be approximately 1/2 the diameter of the screw of the hammock hook. For example, if the hammock hook screw is 3/8″ (1 cm) in diameter, then the pilot hole should be approximately 3/16″ (0.5 cm). Screw the hammock hooks into the pilot holes. Be sure to set the screw deep enough that the eye is against the wood but do not over tighten the screw or allow the hook assembly or eye screw to be twisted or bent. Install screw hooks only on the side of the tree or post facing the hammock. Your hammock should not pull sideways on the hook.
Safe Hammock Installation
Use one or two lengths chain and S-hooks as necessary to reach between the hammock and the hooks. See first illustration. It is normal for your new hammock to stretch considerably when it is new, so the first time you hang a new hammock stretch it very tight, and then be especially careful when getting into the hammock the first time! As it stretches under your weight be careful not to hit the ground, or if using a hammock stand not to hit the center pipe. Be careful not to let the hammock tip as you get in.As it stretches, keep shortening the chain. If you store it for months, you may have to stretch it like this again. After it stretches you can get into it much more easily.
How far apart do hammock posts need to be?
Once the hammock is stretched out, it should be hung loosely enough that when the hammock is in use (when there is weight in it) the angle of the chain as illustrated in second illustration is at least 25 degrees from horizontal. Hanging your hammock more tightly than this greatly increases the load to the hardware and supports.
Around 1590, hammocks were adopted for use in sailing ships; the Royal Navy formally adopted the canvas sling hammock in 1597. Aboard ship, hammocks were regularly employed for sailors sleeping on the gun decks of warships, where limited space prevented the installation of permanent bunks.
Since a slung hammock moves in concert with the motion of the vessel, the occupant is not at a risk of being thrown onto the deck (which may be 5 or 6 feet below) during swells or rough seas.
Likewise, a hammock provides more comfortable sleep than a bunk or a berth while at sea since the sleeper always stays well balanced, irrespective of the motion of the vessel.
Prior to the adoption of naval hammocks, sailors would often be injured or even killed as they fell off their berthsor rolled on the decks on heavy seas. The sides of traditional canvas naval hammocks wrap around the sleeper like a cocoon, making an inadvertent fall virtually impossible.[original research?] If suitably packed, they could also be used as emergency flotation devices.
Many sailors in the Royal Navy, during the 1950s at least, used a spreader – a length of wood with a V cut in each end to engage the second hammock string on each side. The first string was set up more tightly than the others so that it raised a protective lip along each side to keep out drafts and prevent the sleeper being thrown out.
A narrow mattress was also issued which protected the user from cold from below. In addition naval hammocks could be rolled tightly and stowed in an out of the way place or in nets along the gunwale as additional protection during battle (as was the case during the age of sail).
Many sailors became so accustomed to this way of sleeping that they brought their hammocks ashore with them on leave. The naval use of hammocks continued into the 20th century.
During World War II, troopships sometimes employed hammocks for both naval ratings and soldiers in order to increase available space and troop carrying capacity. Many leisure sailors even today prefer hammocks over bunks because of better comfort in sleep while on the high seas.
Hammocks have also been employed on spacecraft in order to utilize available space when not sleeping or resting. During the Apollo program, the Lunar Module was equipped with hammocks for the commander and lunar module pilot to sleep in between moonwalks.
We think Hamaca hammocks from Hammock Heaven are easily the best, but how about a quick look at some others from around the web.
There are some interesting styles here. You will notice that other traditional style hammocks are much more expensive than ours. That is for the simple reason that we have cut out the middleman (or 2). We design and import our own hammocks direct from hammock manufacturers in Colombia, Brazil, El Salvodor and India.
Feeling stressed, need some time out or just want to bask in the sun’s rays? Hammocks are a fun way to lounge outdoors, while gently swinging yourself to sleep.
First developed in the jungles of South America where they were used for sleeping above the wet ground, hammocks have come on leaps and bounds in the style stakes since then. Made from fabric, netting or rope, they were designed to be tied between two trees, but these days many come with their own stands – and, if not, the stands are easily available to buy separately.
Singular options are great if it’s just for you, but there are also double and family designs available, too – plus ones with cushions, canopies and all manner of shapes and sizes. Swinging chairs, tent and even bed styles are all the rage and are growing in popularity as dreamy napping nooks for indoors as much as out. Then there are the portable options, which are ideal for taking away with you – and they’re not limited to tropical destinations, either! If you’re off camping then choose a model that’s light to carry and just as easy to pack away as it is to put up.
Hammocks with spreaders are a modern invention, designed to spread the weight load more evenly and in turn making it easier to get in and out of the hammock. If you like to feel quite cocooned, you’ll want to go for an inline option (also called jungle or tropical hammocks), which are one of the most stable and comfortable, and allow you to sleep like a pea in a pod, surrounded by the hammock’s sides.
Still undecided? We’ve pounded the pavement to find you a selection of good-looking favourites to help you kick back and swing your worries away. Here’s our pick of designs that hang way above the rest.
Free spirits will adore this bohemian-inspired design, which looks like it would be equally at home on a palm-lined beach as it would in a north-London suburban garden. Made from hand-knotted natural cotton, we love the tassel fringing and airy material, which makes it easier to keep cool in the hot weather. As stylish as it is mellow, this laidback design is perfect for throwing a few cushions on, laying back with a cocktail and whiling away the hours while basking in the sun. FYI: mounting ropes are included with the hammock but any additional fixings would need to be purchased separately at any local hardware shop.
£59.99 | Cuckooland
Copa La Siesta Brazilian hammock
This sizzling scorcher of a hammock certainly lives up to its name… who wouldn’t want to have a siesta in this design? The Brazilians have been making hammocks for years, dating right back to the Mayans and this vibrant model features fringes, macramé elements and suspension cords that are all typical of hammocks from Brazil. Made from pure organic cotton, it has a diagonally flexible weave that is said to follow the contours of your body for extra comfort and is a double-width design, so there’s room for two. Just tie the ends to trees, walls or a hammock stand (which you’d need to buy separately) and then lay back and enjoy some R and R.
£149.90 | Lagoon
Patterned hammock chair
So, you would be right in thinking this is part chair, part hammock and we think it’s the perfect spot to curl up and read a book or just enjoy the sun. Hanging on an airy rope construction, it’s a Danish design that will have you feeling like a kid again with its swing-style cotton seat. Tie from a tree to enjoy during the summer months and then bring it indoors for the winter where its stripy pattern will be equally at home inside. With a height of 96cm and width of 50cm, it takes up to a 120kg weight.
£75 | Out There Interiors
If you’re all about the comfort factor then this is the hammock for you. In fact, it’s one of those buys that you know will be worth its weight in gold for the hours of relaxation you’re likely to get from it. Made from polyester with a PVC coating, the hammock is filled with 5mm foam for the ultimate in luxury. It’s dirt and moisture repellent and sits on a sturdy metal frame – and there’s a choice of 10 different colours, including this dreamy turquoise shade. You can fit up to three people dependant on their size (the hammock measures 330cm x 110cm and takes up to 150kg) and if you’re buying a hammock to nap in, then this is our suggestion for your well-deserved snooze.
£349.95 | Amara
Tiipii hanging hammock
The perfect pocket away from the world, this versatile, floaty number is ideal for packing up and taking with you on your travels. Whether you’re off camping, to the beach or on holiday, it’s extremely light and packs down into a small carry-bag, making it easy to transport. Once you’re there, it can be assembled in just five minutes. Designed to hold two adults or up to five children (200kg in total), the hammock’s canopy is removable if you’d rather feel the sun on your face. Although it’s light in colour, it’s machine washable and if you don’t have a tree to hang it from, The White Company sell a matching Tiiipii hammock stand. Dreamy!
£280 | The White Company
Garo/Riso hammock with stand
Isn’t it great when someone designs a product and thinks of all the handy little touches that just make it so EASY to use – and then puts it at a beautifully affordable price? That’s what we thought when we saw Ikea’s new Garo/Riso hammock and stand combo, which is available in other colours as well as this pale orange. Firstly, it has a wheel on one side of the grey frame so it’s easily manoeuvrable if you need it repositioned when the kids want to use the space for games – just tilt the stand and roll it out the way. Secondly, it has a small pouch on the side that is perfect for keeping a newspaper, suntan lotion or your sunglasses without having to reach down to the grass (and risk toppling over). The best part? It’s just £75! Well done Ikea.
£75 | Ikea
Outsunny hammock with stand
More bed than hammock, we can see this design being more of a whole-afternoon snooze affair rather than a quick catnap. Set on a curved durable steel stand that might as well be guaranteed to put you to sleep thanks to its ‘rocking’ design, the hammock bed is made from an all-weather PVC-coated polyester fabric that can hold up to 220 pounds. Also included in the price is a pillow to rest your head on, so it’s a nice comfortable option and quite frankly, it’s a bit of a show-stealer. Set it outside along with a side table for your cocktail and some music to drift off to. Heaven!
£74.99 | Wayfair
When you want a hammock for right here, right now, but don’t want to pay a lot then this botanical beauty could be the one. At the bargain price of £15, it’s a two-metre long hammock featuring an on-trend green leaf pattern that will blend perfectly with the greenery of any garden. It measures 200cm x 100cm so although it’s not the largest design on the market, it’s certainly roomy enough to be able to relax comfortably in. It doesn’t come with a stand, so you’d need to buy that separately (unless you have a convenient set of trees from which to string it) but at that price you really can’t go wrong.
£15 | Hema
If being at one with nature appeals to you then a tent in the trees is certainly your bag. Designed with outside relaxation in mind, the enchanting Cacoon hammock is the ultimate place to unwind and its easy-to-assemble kit means you can pop it up in your garden quickly and with little stress. Suitable for indoors and out, the design is influenced from the intricate cocoon-shaped nest of the Mexican Weaver Finch and is made from a polyester and cotton blend, which has been treated against mould, bacteria, water and UV rays. Hang from a tree or buy a tripod stand separately, it’s suitable for one person at a time – but we wouldn’t want to share this outdoor hideaway anyway.
£255 | Houseology
When you want something to be totally unique there’s no better way than to personalise it. With companies offering their services to add your favourite words on everything from notebooks and bags to cushions and mugs, we know they make a great gift – even if it is a gift just for yourself! When we spotted these personalised hammocks we couldn’t resist adding them to the mix – after all, if you’ve got a favourite quote, saying or song lyric, why wouldn’t you want your wise words down on canvas? Each hammock measures 270cm in length and what they lack in luxury they certainly make up for in novelty value.
£70 | NOTHS
Kajito bamboo hammock
If you like the style of a hammock but aren’t sure about the heavy immovable frame, then this one but take your fancy. A bit of a hybrid design, the Kajito is an update on the classic deckchair in that it collapses in five seconds, but still has the supportive feel of a hammock. The frame is made from bamboo wood and it comes with two separate covers to suit your mood: Moon (beige) and Earth (taupe) shades. The fabric is durable, anti-mould, water-repellent and bacteria treated, and it makes a comfortable option for the garden or round by a pool. When it’s unfolded it measures H88.5cm x W180cm x D190cm and we love that it’s easy to put away and store when not in use.
£499 | Graham & Green
Amazonas American Dream Petrol hammock
This hammock truly is the American Dream – a bright and beautiful design that’s large enough to fit all the family. Yes, that’s right, the extra-strong fabrics and hardwood spreader bars give it the strength for up to a 180kg load, so you can fit the kids and dog on too and enjoy some quality time swinging in the sun together. The petrol blue shade makes for a colourful choice and the fact that it’s padded and comes with a pillow for extra comfort really makes this one work that little bit harder for you. Nice and durable, it can be left outside and comes with its own matching bag for storage, although you will need to buy the stand separately. A great family choice.