How to Hang the Best Hammocks Just Right for Optimal Napping
Lounge in soft cotton, waterproof fabrics, wood frames, and more.
Published Mar 30, 2022 1:00 PM
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Picture this: It’s early evening, the sun has just dipped below peak heat, and there’s a gentle breeze rustling the tree canopies above. Instead of having your moment of calm ruined by a bumpy patch of grass that the beach towel you laid out is unable to mask, or struggling to extend your lawn chair into a prime position, one of the best hammocks can ensure immediate bliss.
Hammocks, after all, are designed to be comfortable, perhaps even more so than an upholstered lounger, argues Kanan Gupta, cofounder of Fab Habitat, an eco-friendly home decor brand that makes hammocks out of upcycled materials. “Hammocks are the ultimate outdoor retreat, and rightfully so,” says Gupta. “They encourage nothing but total rest and relaxation, completely enveloping you with nature.” And even if you don’t have a close enough cluster of trees to hang your hammock in the backyard, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy one—we even found a (chic) freestanding wood-framed option. Ahead, you’ll find the best hammocks in an array of materials and color choices so you can unfurl, kick back, and automatically turn on vacation mode from wherever you are.
- For backyard naps: Business & Pleasure Co. Hammock
- For weekend camping trips: ENO Double Nest Print Hammock
- For park parties: Yellow Leaf Hammock
- For happy-hour hangs on the patio: Christopher Knight Outdoor Hammock
- For sunbathing by the pool: Fab Habitat Waterproof Hammock
- For a desert-chic porch: Greenstell Hammock Swing Chair
- For a vacation escape at home: Maraca Hammock by Ames
For Backyard Naps: Business & Pleasure Co. Hammock
Material: Cotton and canvas | Size: 13-by-3.3 feet | Weight limit: Up to 350 pounds | Hanging hardware included: 2 end ropes and carabiner clips
What we like:
- Quilted padding sandwiched between two layers of umbrella canvas
- Comes with a matching canvas bag for easy transportation and storage
- Free shipping
- Keep clean of water, chlorine, or salt residue
Why we chose it: A coastal combination of stripes, cotton fringe, and teak that’s quilted for ultimate R&R.
Stripes have staying power, and this nautical number paired with a bohemian fringed edge makes it easy to feel like kicking back in your backyard is better than hanging beachside. All you need is a comfy pillow and perhaps the perfect piña colada to drive the ambience home. We love how this hammock features a quilted padded liner for ultimate comfort and is attached to two solid teak spreader bars so you not only can be held in the perfect slouch, but will never feel wrapped up in a ropy cocoon either.
For Weekend Camping Trips: ENO Double Nest Print Hammock
Material: Nylon | Size: 9-by-6.6 feet | Weight limit: 400 pounds | Hanging hardware included: Aluminum wire-gate carabiners
What we like:
- Heavy-duty, triple-stitch seams
- The first knotless hammock design
- Water- and rip-resistant fabric
- Percentage of proceeds is donated to Outdoor Afro
- Suspension systems sold separately
Why we chose it: A vibrant seat design to stand out from the typical hunter green or charcoal gray outdoorsy hues.
When the temperatures start to rise, you can transform any patch of land into a camping ground with one of Eagle Nest Outfitters’s lightweight DoubleNest print hammocks, designed for all sorts of adventures. We love how the vibrant color options—from a sunburst ombré to an ’80s-feeling graphic in pastels—are inspired by the Uhuru Peak in Africa. The unique typography-like pattern appears in a series of wavy lines that could easily be mistaken for blossoming petals. While big enough to comfortably fit two adults, this hammock design, which was developed in collaboration with Outdoor Afro, can be packed down in the 4-by-5.5-inch bag it comes with.
For Park Parties: Yellow Leaf Hammock
Material: Acrylic yarn | Size: 10-by-6 feet | Weight limit: 400 pounds | Hanging hardware included: None
What we like:
- Feather-soft, tripe-weave (150,000 loops) construction
- Weather-safe and resists rot and mold, so you can leave it outside permanently without worry
- Handmade; supports craftspeople in Thailand
- Comes with a carry bag
- Cannot machine wash or dry
Why we chose it: A portable, ultrasoft hangout that can be hung from anywhere.
You don’t need to have a private backyard to channel your island life near home—taking to a park for the day can be a just-as-satisfying dose of nature. If you already find your park load getting out of hand with a cooler, grilling supplies, and yard games, skip the lawn chairs and try the classic, easy-to-hang (thanks to additional hammock straps) Yellow Leaf hammock—we guarantee you’ll be the envy of everyone there. Uniquely designed to never wobble or flip, this hammock is the perfect place to either sprawl out or sit up to chat with friends. Or bring it along on a solo trip, where all you may need is a speaker and a book, as it will only add as much weight to your haul as a pineapple.
For Happy-Hour Hangs on the Patio: Christopher Knight Outdoor Hammock
Material: Canvas | Size: 78.75-by-58.9 inches | Weight limit: 400 pounds | Hanging hardware included: Tools for assembly
What we like:
- Wood freestanding frame
- Assembly tools included
- Ships quickly
- Frame is not sealed; wood is more likely to weather
Why we chose it: No trees or beams to hang from? Not a problem with a freestanding frame.
Get ready to lounge a while in the clean, crisp canvas of the Grand Cayman hammock by Christopher Knight. We can picture this as the perfect addition to your patio furniture (a hammock with a similar wood frame) to evoke the look and feel of an upscale beach resort without the steep cost. Add a couple of throw pillows to elevate the comfort level and we bet you’ll find yourself longing to unwind here all the time with a postwork cocktail in hand. We wouldn’t blame you either if it quickly becomes your favorite place to catch some midafternoon shut-eye.
For Sunbathing by the Pool: Fab Habitat Waterproof Hammock
Material: Polyester | Size: 82-by-55 inches | Weight limit: 460 pounds | Hanging hardware included: No
What we like:
- Made with hard-wearing materials
- Promises a balanced center of gravity
- Large enough for two
- Stand sold separately
Why we chose it: Freestanding and uniquely waterproof, this is born to be poolside in the summer.
A waterproof hammock means you can fully stretch out to soak up every inch of sunshine while drying off after a dip in the pool. Can’t find a spot to properly hang a hammock by the pool? A freestanding hammock frame is your (low-maintenance) solution. It’s also a great alternative to a regular pool lounger. (Is there anything worse than having your skin indented by spaghetti-like straps of plastic that become hot to the touch in the sun?) Fab Habitat’s quick-drying, stain-resistant, waterproof fabric means you don’t have to think twice about taking a seat (while sopping wet) to catch some rays.
For a Desert-Chic Porch: Greenstell Hammock Swing Chair
Material: Polyester | Size: 46-by-67 inches | Weight limit: 330 pounds | Hanging hardware included: Carabiners, straps, screws, support hook, hanging ring
What we like:
- Adjustable to 10 different heights
- Blue, cream, mocha, and tan color options
- Comes with everything you need for an easy install (no trips to the hardware store required!)
- Made from synthetic materials
Why we chose it: Move over, rattan—hammock seats are comfier than a suspended chair.
Hanging, egg-shaped chairs have been a hallmark of bohemian bedrooms and living rooms for a few years now, but you can lean even further into those relaxed vibes (literally) in a hammock. These are a little easier to get in and out of compared to a traditional hammock, too. It allows you to effortlessly sit propped up for gatherings to stay a part of the conversation, but is still versatile enough to fully lay out. This affordable hang (less than $60) is easy to install, and we especially appreciate the fact that its breathable netting can be removed and washed.
For Vacation Vibes at Home: Maraca Hammock by Ames
Material: Cotton |Size: 59-by-94.5 inches | Weight limit: 330 pounds | Hanging hardware included: None
What we like:
- Handmade from all-natural materials
- Vibrant, colorful striped pattern
- Purchase supports marginalized communities and preserves heritage craft
- Dry-clean only
Why we chose it: Instantly transport yourself somewhere tropical.
Inspired by traditional Colombian hammocks, we love the soft cotton weave of the Maraca—it’s made of the same material used for cushion covers and lounge chairs from Ames! Its design doesn’t miss a beat either, coming in bright, tricolored patterns all dyed by hand with natural pigments and sealed by salts. This is definitely the hammock to go for if you’re looking to be swathed in vacation-level relaxation, whether you’re lounging on your patio furniture or looking to chill in a corner inside your home.
We Also Like
- If you’re really keen on keeping the bugs at bay, it might be best to turn to a camping classic: REI’s Kammok Mantis Recycled All-in-One Hammock.
- We love Sunbrella’s fabrics for being fade-resistant, so its quilted hammock is a win-win (you can keep it out all summer long without having to worry about the sun wearing away at the dye).
- Looking to splurge? We’re ogling Lujo Living’s Isla hammock, made with marine-grade materials like kwila hardwood and powder-coated aluminum. Water-, UV-, mold-, and mildew-resistant, this hammock is the cream of the crop.
- For a classic hammock look, you can’t go wrong with Suncreat’s cotton rope option. The diagonally woven design has all the markings of longevity; you’ll likely be able to hang here for decades.
How We Chose These Products
When we think of hammocks, some of the first styles that come to mind are of the plain variety (think: dull colors and streaky nylon) preferred by hikers to bring along on camping trips. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with these options, we knew there were more aesthetically pleasing kinds, even in the same waterproof, durable fabrics that are still possible to pack up and carry. Our list includes a range of types based on intended use: Is this for outdoor lounging? A midday nap? A chair replacement? A new reading nook? We tried to check all the boxes.
Our Shopping Checklist
Types of Hammocks
You’re likely on the lookout for a hammock for one of two reasons: as a hangout spot during the warmer months or to take along on your next outdoor adventure (perhaps even to replace your bulky backpacking chair on a weekend-long hike). Traditionally, hammocks are a single stretch of fabric—usually cotton, nylon, or rope—suspended from two points to hang above the ground. And while this signature swoop design has been around for centuries, there are some modern-day upgrades we rather enjoy, like the addition of a spreader bar to keep the fabric stable and even.
- Rope: This netted style is all about airflow, promoting larger holes to keep you cool during a sweltering summer day. We like Suncreat’s twisted, three-ply construction for its flexibility.
- Cotton: What can’t cotton do? This tightly woven fabric is the core of most hammocks that make up our list. Its softness means your arms and legs won’t be imprinted by the time your nap is over.
- Acrylic: Acrylic can also be surprisingly soft, with the added benefits of working with the elements (it’s typically weather-friendly). With that said, you won’t have to worry as much about rot or mold.
- Nylon: For camping hammocks, you’re likely looking at nylon, which is lightweight, quick drying, and rip resistant.
- Polyester: Like nylon, polyester is also quick drying and often the material of choice for water-resistant or waterproof hammocks.
You may have noticed that not all hammocks offer the same dimensions and can generally be divided into two categories: single or double. This denotes how many adults one hammock can hold, similar to a bed. Experts share the average hammock can stretch out to a width of 10 to 14 feet. Lengthwise, you’ll just want to make sure the number is a bit longer than your own height.
Hardware and Accessories
Not every hammock will include all the necessary hardware needed for hanging, particularly the suspension system, though you can usually expect your purchase to come with complimentary carabiners—the little metal loops you can clip on and off. If you don’t want to have to separately find all the pieces, take advantage of an entire hanging kit or go with a stand. If you’re taking to the trees, however, Gupta advises using long hammock straps to fully wrap around the trunk; it’s less likely to damage the bark.
Q: Can I hang my hammock from the ceiling?
With the right tools, you can hang your hammock from pretty much anywhere, and the ceiling is a great solution both indoors and out. You can place support hooks into beams that hold a raised deck or a covered porch (or wrap a strap around either). If setting up a hammock indoors, first make sure you’re drilling into a wood joist (using a stud finder can help), then get the appropriate anchor to loop it onto. Just be sure to leave enough give so the fabric isn’t so taut; you don’t want to feel like it’s pushing you off rather than embracing you.
But we wouldn’t recommend drilling into a tree, as you’d likely be putting your natural surroundings (those trees you went outside to admire!) in danger. Consider a protective tree strap or simply tying a tight knot with rope. The distance will depend on the kind of equipment you have, but generally you’ll want something a little further than the full length of your hammock. A carabiner, in this case, is easy to have around, as it can be the connector between your rope or straps and the end loops of your hammock.
Q: Getting in and out of a hammock is always a personal struggle. Are there any styles that are less awkward?
If you’ve ever felt silly crawling in and out of a hammock, or even flipped out on accident, we know the feeling. Hammocks are all about comfort, but it’s important to pay attention to how your hammock is hung. Gupta recommends aiming for an 18-inch height between someone in a hammock and the ground, the same as your average chair, which should help promote easier maneuverability. Or opt for a different style altogether. A hammock chair, for instance, is a hybrid.
The Last Word
The best hammocks are a great resting spot both indoors and out. Go with a fringed edge for classic, California-cool vibes; choose a punchy palette of magenta, gold, and coral to instantly transport yourself closer to the equator line; or channel your desired beachside moment with macramé and nautical stripes.