Hammocks have become an increasingly popular choice for campers, backpackers and scouting groups because of their comfort and the fact that they keep you out of the dirt. If you are looking at an outdoor hammock then you will need to know how to choose the right one. There are a number of aspects that need to be considered before you buy your hammock.
The first aspect you have to consider is the dimensions of the hammock. The width of the hammock can vary from 4 feet to 8.5 feet. An average person will be most comfortable with a hammock that is 6 to 7 feet wide and this is also wide enough to accommodate a couple. If you are on your own then you can look at a narrower hammock, but you should think about how much room you want to spread out. It is also important to note that a wide hammock will wrap around you and could make some people feel claustrophobic.
The length of the hammock will vary as much as the width. Tall users should look at hammocks that are longer than 8 feet. However, this is a personal preference and you could look at a smaller hammock if you feel comfortable with this.
The Suspension System
To setup a hammock you will need to have a suspension system and a set of carabiners. You will often be able to get these with the hammock, but there are some manufacturers that sell these separately. The options for suspension are webbing straps, nylon ropes and synthetic tree slings. The webbing straps do risk injuring the tree they are strapped to while the nylon ropes can start to stretch and leave you close to the ground.
It is recommended that you get a hammock with a number of attachment points. This will allow you to set up the hammock in a way that is most comfortable for you. The additional points also offer greater flexibility in the type of trees that you will be able to use the hammock with.
The Weight Capacity
As a hammock suspends you above the ground they are going to have a weight capacity. The average weight limit will be between 150 and 500 pounds. It is important that you check the hammock that you are looking to buy. The weight capacity will generally refer to the static weight in the hammock. Jumping up and down on the hammock will affect the lifespan and performance.
Most modern hammocks are made with lightweight, breathable nylon and this will keep you cool in the summer months. There are some hammocks that are made of cotton, but these hammocks are generally not used for camping. If you are going to use your outdoor hammock during the colder months then you will need to look at optional accessories that increase the insulation. One of the best accessories to look at will be an underquilt that you attach to the underside of your hammock.