How To Buy The Best Hammock For You (And Why Most Get The Wrong Type)
Buying a hammock seems easy, right?
Once you start looking, you notice just how many different types of hammocks are out there.
And that rope hammock we all grew up with as the image of a hammock is usually the worst type to get.
Suddenly, you realize you have no idea which hammock is best.
You obviously want the one that will best meet your needs. On top of that, you want it to be comfortable. And to last a long time.
Plus you don't want to overpay.
Combined, this rules out 95% of the market.
You've got a lot to consider. And many hours of research ahead of you.
Unless you go the easy route.
Enter the NUC Method (pronounced 'nuke').
What is the NUC Method?
Online shopping has one huge disadvantage.
Do you know what it is?
Let me show you with an example.
Imagine you were shopping for a hammock 30 years ago, before the internet.
You'd walk into a store knowing you want a hammock, but not really knowing which hammock is best.
Or even which brands are best. Or which type of hammock would best fit your needs.
So what do you do?
You talk to a salesperson. Let's call this one Brad.
Brad would ask you some questions to get a better idea of your needs.
Then, based on his intimate knowledge of all the hammocks in his store, he would show you a few recommendations that best meet those needs.
And if he's a good salesperson (and we're going to assume Brad is great), he won't just recommend the most expensive hammock to every customer who comes in the store.
No, he knows that the most expensive hammocks are great for some people, if they meet their needs.
But most people won't need the most expensive ones. They would be fine (and often even better off) with a less expensive model. One that fits their needs.
You see what I'm getting at?
Brad puts you first. Your needs are the only thing that matters. The only thing Brad considers when recommending a hammock.
That's the kind of personalized service you lose when you buy online.
In a brick and mortar retail store, you can walk in with nothing more than a vague idea to buy something.
You talk to a real-life expert like Brad and that vague idea turns into a crystal-clear image. Brad helps you figure out exactly what you need and shows you the exact products that best meet those needs.
But you shop online, because it's so much easier and more convenient. You're fine sacrificing Brad's personal help. We all are.
But what if you didn't have to give up this personal touch?
What if you could have a Brad guide you from the comfort of your own home? Without ever needing to talk to an actual Brad?
The NUC Method is your virtual Brad.
And here's how he will guide you.
The NUC Method (AKA The Digital Brad)
NUC stands for Needs, Use, Cost.
It is pronounced 'nuke', because it is powerful and groundbreaking.
NUC is our revolutionary step-by-step process to replicate the perfect sales person.
'Digital Brad' will guide you in finding the hammock that meets your needs and your use, at the cost you can afford.
The NUC Method simplifies the process as much as possible. You get the exact hammock you need, without wasting precious time on tedious research.
All it takes are three simple steps:
- Determine your main purpose for buying a hammock
- Determine which of 4 factors is most important to you
- Use that info to find the hammock that will best meet your needs
Let's go through the steps.
1. Why Are You Buying A Hammock?
Before anything else, answer this question:
What is your main purpose for buying a hammock?
Once you know that, you can easily find the right hammock for you.
Here are the most common uses for hammocks. Which one best describes your reason for getting one?
If you're not sure, you'll find more info on each reason below (the links above jump you down to each respective section as well).
Once you've got your main purpose, you are ready for the next step. Deciding what factors are most important to you.
2. Which Factor Is Most Important To You?
Some hammocks are more beautiful, some more comfortable, some lighter and some cheaper.
Which of the following four factors is most important?
Factor 1: Comfort
The more time you plan on spending in your hammock, the more comfort should matter. If you're just getting a hammock to lie in a few times a year, just about any model is comfortable enough. One of the other factors below will be more important.
But if you're going to use your hammock every day, or even sleep in it at night, then comfort is vital. All the other factors are secondary.
Factor 2: Price
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you want a hammock, but want to spend as little as possible, price will be most important to you. Just be sure you don't sacrifice another important factor simply to save a few dollars. Likewise, don't assume the most expensive hammock is also the best one. Most likely, it won't be for you.
Factor 3: Portability (lightweight and compact)
If you plan on traveling with your hammock, portability is important. If you're getting a hammock to sleep in while trekking, then portability is vital. Basically, if you plan on carrying your hammock often, you need it to be compact and lightweight.
On the other hand, if you know you will never be carrying your hammock in a backpack or a suitcase, then this factor matters little.
Factor 4: Appearance
Some hammocks are works of art and there are plenty of reasons why you might want one that looks good. Perhaps you want your hammock to match a certain decor. Or perhaps you plan on taking photos of yourself in your hammock to share on social media. Whatever the reason, if you need a hammock that looks good or that makes you look good when you're in it, appearance is the most important factor.
Now that you know your main purpose for buying a hammock and you know what is most important to you in a hammock, you are ready to take the final step in finding the perfect hammock for you.
3. What Is The Best Hammock For You?
Below are the main purposes for buying a hammock we listed in step 1. Find your main reason for getting one below and check out the recommendation for the most important factor(s) you determined in step 2.
Our recommendations are for the best hammock for the given need and use, taking price into consideration. In other words, which hammock will give you the most bang for your buck.
The table immediately below this section summarizes all the recommendations.
By camping, we mean sleeping outdoors at a campsite or some other place that you reach by car (or bike, etc.). In other words, you are not carrying all your gear in a backpack (for that situation, see the next section).
This means you can carry more weight. Comfort is the top priority.
Top Option (comfort and appearance): Tree Tent
Tree tents combine the best features of the tent with the best features of the hammock. Like a regular tent, a tree tent has protection all around you, in the form of insect netting and a rain fly. The rain fly is usually removable and the same is often true for the insect mesh as well.
The big difference from a regular tent is that a tree tent hangs in the air, so you do not sleep on the cold, hard, wet ground. Instead you float effortlessly above it.
Also, tree tents are strapped much tighter than standard hammocks, which means a flatter sleeping surface. It all adds up to the best night's sleep you'll ever enjoy in the outdoors.
The main drawback of a tree tent is that they do not generally weigh much less than a regular tent and they take up almost the same amount of space when packed. That is why they are best suited for camping from your car or other form of transport.
Tree tents come in various sizes, from 1-person to 3-person. Tentsile is the top manufacturer, but we also offer a few lower-cost alternatives to some of their tents.
These are made to the same standards, but cost less because we ship them directly from the factory in China, without first warehousing them in the US or Europe, like the top brands do. It saves money, but the drawback is a longer shipping time (generally 10 to 20 business days).
You'll notice none of them are exactly cheap. If you're looking to pay as little as possible for a camping setup, there is another good option. Interestingly enough, the cheaper option is also more portable. Usually, you pay more for portability.
Budget Option (price and portability): Camping Hammock
The camping hammock is a good budget alternative to the tree tent. But you'll need some extras, which does add to the cost. Most likely you'll want at least a rain fly and a bug net. Buying a complete camping hammock set is the easiest way to get everything.
If you prefer to buy components individually, you can find the hammocks here, tarps here and mosquito netting here. An alternative to an insect mesh for your hammock is to just get a bug net cover for your head. It saves a bit of money and weighs less too.
Hiking, Trekking or Backpacking
This refers to any situation where you will be carrying your hammock yourself in your backpack during the day and setting it up every evening for sleeping. You would generally like to reduce weight as much as possible, making portability the top concern.
Top And Budget Option (portability and price): Camping Hammock
The best camping hammocks are large and lightweight. Generally, the hammock alone is not enough. You also want a rain fly and an insect mesh, to stay dry and keep those flying pests away (you could also just get a bug net head cover to save on weight). Your best bet is to buy a camping hammock set.
If you prefer to buy the components individually, or you already have some of the components, check the links below for:
Camping hammocks are super comfortable, but some people prefer to be completely enclosed, like a tent. For them, the next choice makes more sense.
Best Option For Comfort (and appearance): Tree Tent
Most tree tents are too heavy to carry in your backpack, but there are 4 exceptions.
If you are alone, the Tentsile Una (which weighs 5.5 lbs) and this slightly lighter 1-person tree tent (weighing 4.6 lbs.) are both super portable. If you are traveling with a partner, the Tentsile Flite+ and this lower-cost alternative 2-person model both only weigh around 7 lbs.
By traveling, we generally mean a longer-term trip where you might want to take a hammock along. Portability is most important, with comfort being second.
How much comfort matters and which hammock we recommend depends on your primary use. Do you plan on sleeping in it to save money on accommodation or will you just use it to relax in for shorter periods of time?
Top option (portability and comfort): Parachute Hammock
For longer-term travel, nothing beats a parachute hammock. They pack up small, weigh little and are super comfortable. They don't cost much either. They are the perfect sleeping hammock if you are looking to save money on accommodation.
There is one option that actually costs and weighs less than a parachute hammock, but it is not something we generally recommend.
Budget Option (price and portability): Rope Hammock
The rope hammock is the cheapest and lightest of all the hammocks. The problem is comfort.
They're great for short periods, but if you plan on spending any amount of time in your hammock (especially if you plan on sleeping in it), I highly recommend spending a little more (and carrying a little more weight) and getting a parachute hammock.
If you plan on taking a lot of photos of yourself in your hammock, you might want to pay a bit more (and carry more weight). The next option is not only super comfortable, but also stunning to look at.
Most Beautiful Option: Mayan Hammock
If you want to look great in your hammock, nothing is more beautiful than a hand-woven Mayan hammock. They are also some of the most comfortable hammocks, but they weigh more (most are between 5 and 6 pounds) and they cost a lot more.
Permanent Outdoor Shelter
This refers to a more permanent living situation. For now, there's really only two good options for this.
Top Option: Specialized Tree Tent
If you're looking to use a hammock to live in on a more permanent basis, you're going to want a hammock tent for sure. A regular hammock just doesn't have enough (or any) space to store your belongings.
Tentsile actually makes two models specifically for this purpose: the 3-person Safari Stingray and the 2-person Safari Connect. They are not cheap, but are plenty durable to withstand just about anything.
Budget Option: Regular Tree Tent
Lounging Outdoors in Yard, Park or Beach
The big deciding factors here are how often you plan on moving the hammock (if at all) and how much time you plan on spending in it. This will determine whether comfort or portability is more important.
Most Comfortable and Beautiful: Mayan Hammock or Cacoon Pod
If you're looking for a conventional hammock, then Mayan hammocks offer the most comfort. A nice bonus is that they are also relatively portable (usually weighing 5 to 6 pounds).
The Cacoon line of hanging pods are different. They are also super comfortable and gorgeous to look at, but they are not the same as a standard hammock. They're great for lounging, though, so check them out to see if they appeal to you.
Most Portable and Best Budget Option: Parachute Hammock
If you plan on moving the hammock to locations that are a bit further away, like a public park, then you'll what something more portable. A parachute hammock is your best bet, since they are low cost and lightweight, but strong and durable. And, most importantly, comfortable.
Relaxing by the Pool
I loathe rope hammocks with spreader bars (check out Youtube videos of people falling out of hammocks to see why...they're always spreader bar hammocks!), so I can't, in good conscience, recommend this poolside staple.
My top recommendation is like a hammock, but not quite. But it's so cool!
Top Choice (comfort and appearance): Cacoon Kajito or Mayan Hammock
The Kajito is kind of a cross between a hammock and a deck chair and is perfect for lounging by the pool. It's not cheap, though. And it's also not all that portable (at least not when compared to a regular hammock).
If you prefer a traditional hammock, nothing beats the Mayan hammock for lounging by a pool. They look gorgeous and the loosely woven fabric keeps you cool even on the hottest of days.
Budget Option: Brazilian Hammock
If you're on more of a budget, I'd go with a Brazilian hammock. A lot of people would choose a rope hammock here because they cost less, but the price difference is not large enough to make up for the huge difference in comfort. And who wants those rope marks all over their skin?
Lounging Around Indoors
If you're looking for a hammock to lounge around inside your home, I once again recommend something that is a little different.
Top Choice (comfort and aesthetics): Cacoon Pod or Mayan Hammock
A Cacoon hammock chair is perfect for lounging around indoors. They are gorgeous and comfortable and come for one or two people (there's also one for children).
They are also much easier to hang than a standard hammock, since you only need one support beam overhead (or the Cacoon stand), instead of two opposing supports.
If you want more of a traditional hammock, I'd go with a Mayan hammock, because they look great and are incredibly comfortable
Budget Choice: Brazilian Hammock
If you're on a budget, a Brazilian hammock will work just fine, as long as you're not in a hot and/or humid climate. Brazilian hammocks are thicker and warmer than Mayan hammocks. In a colder climate, this might actually be preferable.
To Replace Your Bed
If you plan on replacing your bed with a hammock, comfort is of the utmost importance. The best option depends on whether price or beauty is more important to you.
Best Option For Price: Parachute Hammock
Parachute hammocks are inexpensive and comfortable. They are the perfect sleeping hammocks. I always recommend getting a larger size (the largest, in fact), even if you are on the smaller side. The extra space makes it that much more comfortable.
Best Option For Beauty: Mayan Hammock
Mayan hammocks are every bit as comfortable as parachute hammocks, but they look so much better (no one has ever accused a parachute hammock of being gorgeous). They cost quite a bit more, though.
Table of Best Hammock Recommendations
The following table gives you the best type of hammock based on your needs. The links show you our selection of that type. Choose the one that is best for you (generally, larger is better).
|Main Use||Most Comfortable||Low Cost||Most Portable||Most Beautiful|
|Camping||Tree Tent||Camping Hammock||Camping Hammock||Tree Tent|
|Hiking||Tree Tent||Camping Hammock||Camping Hammock||Tree Tent|
|Traveling||Parachute Hammock||Parachute Hammock||Parachute Hammock||Mayan Hammock|
|Permanent Shelter||Safari Tree Tent||Regular Tree Tent||N/A||Safari Tree Tent|
|Brazilian Hammock||Parachute Hammock||
|Brazilian Hammock||Parachute Hammock||
|Parachute Hammock||Parachute Hammock||Mayan Hammock|
What do I need to hang my hammock?
Most hammocks will come with some ropes or straps, but they won't include everything you need to hang it.
Here's what you will need for the different options.
Tree tents cost more than standard hammocks, but they also include all the straps and ratchets you need to hang them, so you can get by without buying anything else.
If you need more reach, you'll want to get additional straps and ratchets. To help protect the environment, Tentsile offer tree protector straps or a complete no-trace kit, which also includes the protector straps, plus a few other things.
If you're going to carry the tree tent yourself, you might want to cut down on weight and the easiest way to do this is to replace the heavy ratchets with weblocks. You can replace up to two ratchets (with some models), which cuts the overall weight down by 6 lbs (2 kg). The weblocks can be purchased here.
Cacoon Hanging Chairs
The Cacoon pods have a loop at the top, but you'll need a few extra things to hang them. At a minimum, you need a carabiner and a strap or rope.
The carabiner attaches to the top of the Cacoon and the rope attaches to that. You could also use the Cacoon tree loop on tree branches, which helps protect them from damage that a rope could cause.
The rope and carabiner setup allows you to hang your Cacoon from any overhead support structure. If you do not have anything to hang it from or you want more flexibility, Cacoon makes a stand specifically for their hanging pods. This allows you to set up your Cacoon anywhere.
Parachute, Mayan, Brazilian and Rope Hammocks
These types of hammocks generally do not include hanging hooks, carabiners or rope, but there are some exceptions. For most you'll have to get a few extras in order to actually hang it.
You could just use rope, but are always better off combining the rope with carabiners. Straps work even better than rope. The simplest and most economical way to get what you need is to buy a set that includes straps and carabiners.
With that, you can hang the hammock between two trees or support beams. If you want to hang it from a wall or ceiling, you'll also need a set of hammock hooks.