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Hammock buyers guide

Contents

The history of hammocks

Hammocks are steeped in history, with colonists noting their use by Native Americans hundreds of years ago, and first brought back to Europe by Christopher Columbus.

Hammocks became popular in Central and South America because they offered protection from insect stings and animal bites. They were introduced on Royal Navy ships in1597 for sailors to sleep on, and used extensively in World War II. A slung hammock moves in concert with the motion of a ship, which makes for a more comfortable sleeping experience than a fixed bunk!

Even now, many recreational sailors prefer hammocks over bunks for this very reason.

Back on dry land, hammocks offer an extremely comfortable way to relax or sleep, whether indoors, outdoors or when travelling.

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About our hammocks

All of our hammocks are handmade in Brazil in fair labour conditions (many employees are paid two to three times the minimum legal wage), are safety tested, cotton-rich and made with recycled fibres to reduce our ecological footprint.

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Spreader bars

Spreader bars

The benefits of spreader bars are that it holds the hammock open, making it easy to get in and out. It also means that a damp hammock will dry quicker in the sunshine. Check out how to hang a spreader bar hammock.

A hammock without spreader bars gives better upper back support so , for those accustomed to lying in a hammock, it is more comfortable. The downside is that if you are new to hammocks, you might find it swallows you up, until you work out how to find the right position (diagonally).

It’s worth noting that a hammock with spreader bars will not fit in a washing machine!

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Material

Hammock material

Our hammocks are either pure cotton or EllTex, a mixture of cotton and polyester, which offers greater protection against the elements (we also have travel hammocks which are made of nylon).

Cotton hammocks feel nicer to touch, especially on some of our larger hammocks with a higher thread count. A cotton hammock won’t hold up so well against years of being exposed to the elements. If you plan on using a cotton hammock outside, it might be an idea to take it down when not using it.

Our EllTex hammocks are weather resistant. The fabric colours won’t fade as much as cotton and will last for longer when kept outside.

The material our hammocks are made of is clearly identified in the descriptions.

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How to lie on a hammock

Lie across the hammock diagonally, like a real Brazilian ("from corner to corner"), and not straight. This keeps your back straight and is the secret of being able to lie comfortably and relaxed for hours on end in a hammock.

In Brazil, hammocks are still used as beds, as they always have been. Even if you are only going to use your hammock for relaxation, you should still try to adopt the Brazilian way of lying: Contrary to European ideas, hammocks are not hung taut.

Lying crosswise has another benefit too: the side material of the hammock is stretched tight so there is no chance of it coming together above your face and obstructing your view.

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How to hang a hammock

For hammocks without spreader bars, the distance between anchor points is less than the overall length of the hammock. The reason for this is these hammocks are designed to have a dip in them.

For the perfect reclining experience, do what the Brazilians do. Arrange the hammocks suspension loops at head height and only some 3m (9.8ft) distant from each other, thereby allowing the hammock to hang down in a deep arc.

Here are some rough measurements:

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How to hang a spreader bar hammock

The minimum distance required to hang a hammock with spreader bars must be equal to the total length of the hammock when fully taut. For example the minimum fixing distance for a 270 cm (106 inches) spreader bar hammock would be 270 cm. The optimum distance is 120% of the total hammock length. In this example, the optimium distance would be 324 cm (127.5 inches).

If the fixing points are wider than the length of the hammock, chains or ropes can be used (see our accessories).

If additional rope or chain is required, avoid using more than 45 cm (18 inches) of rope or chain on each side to minimise risk of injury. The further the distance between the hammock and the supports, the easier the spreader bar hammock can rotate and tip over. A spreader bar hammock should be fully taut before lying/sitting on.

We recommend a fixing height of approximately 90 cm (34 inches).

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Accessories

Hammocks and hanging chairs can be fastened using ropes such as our Microrope or Smartrope (to a tree or beam for example) or with hooks such as our Easy + or Jumbo (to walls for a hammock or to the ceiling for hanging chairs). If trees or walls are further apart, or the ceiling is too high, the hammocks or hanging chairs can be extended by ropes or our Liana chain. The suspension point then needs to be selected somewhat higher.

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