Compact travel hammocks are becoming increasingly popular. This is not surprising - you can take a compact hammock for a walk in the park, for a bike ride in the countryside, and even for a hike instead of a tent. Resting in a hammock is unmatched for its level of enjoyment and ease of use. How to choose a hammock for hiking and recreation, what features and features you should pay attention to when buying a hammock, we will talk about all this in today's article.
Hammock fabric and density
The main part of leisure fabric hammocks is made of two types of fibers - polyester and nylon.
Polyester (PES, polyester). Budget but durable fabrics are made from it. Most budget hammocks are made of polyester fabrics of various densities. The main tactile features of such hammocks are their relative stiffness, durability and large dimensions when packed.
Nylon fabrics are light and strong for the same thickness. This makes it possible to make nylon hammocks from thinner material and thus make them lighter and more compact. But perhaps the best feature of nylon hammocks is the incomparably softer feeling of lying in them compared to polyester. Nylon fits the body more pleasantly, repeats its contours, is more elastic and pleasant. The difference is difficult to tell in words, so if possible, be sure to try the feel of the hammock in both types of fabric and choose nylon.
Modern fabrics used in hammocks are often labeled as 70D nylon or 20D nylon. Very simply put, the bigger the number next to the letter "D", the thicker the fabric will be. Fabrics 20D, 15D are used in ultra-light hammocks, 70D, 120D and similar - in classic hammock models. The smaller the number, the lighter the hammock, but at the same time requires more careful handling. Ultralight hammocks will have lower loads, among other things.
Stitch and Rip Stop
In the place where the rope or slings are attached to the hammock, attention should be paid to the quality and quantity of stitches. One or two stitches are usually not enough to count the longevity of a hammock. In this place, the fabric is subjected to large loads, and four or even five parallel stitches may be necessary to distribute them evenly. In addition, the main part of the hammock should be made of one piece. The exception is perhaps the increased width "double" hammocks, in which the size is often increased by sewing additional strips of fabric on either side of the main fabric.
Rip Stop knit fabrics have a special grid of reinforced threads that form a square, diamond or similar pattern on the surface of the fabric. From a practical point of view, this pattern allows you to stop the growth of tears and other unpredictable holes in the material when it is damaged. For example, if a random projectile from a campfire flies into a hammock and burns a hole in it, then Rip Stop has a better chance of making the hole bigger than a fabric without such a weave. The presence of Rip Stop weaving is especially useful in hammocks made of ultralight fabrics.
Waterproof coating and dimensions
This is a bad option for a short stay in hammocks and is questionable for hammocks used as a sleeping area (with a mat and sleeping bag inside). Often budget hammock manufacturers put this feature in the list of advantages of their products. But, if you buy a hammock made of fabric that cannot pass air, you will end up with a wet back and buttocks because the material traps the body's evaporation. In addition, hammocks with a moisture-proof coating are rarely elastic and pleasant to the body.
As a general rule, the longer and wider the hammock, the more comfortable it will be for the user. This is especially felt in sleeping hammocks. A larger hammock is harder to fall out of, more comfortable to roll in, and easier to maintain an even horizontal position. In regular hammocks, the slightly smaller size doesn't affect comfort much, but it does make it smaller when packed. The standard size of a hammock can be considered to be about 300 x 150 cm. At the same time, it will be noticeable to reduce the width by 10-20 cm for a comfortable sleep.
Folded dimensions and weight
This parameter usually decreases proportionally as the weight of the hammock decreases. Keep in mind that the hammock will travel with you in a small backpack if you are a fast and light hiker. Thin fabrics and compact attachment systems take up less space, and modern hammocks can easily be attached to a beer can. At the same time, budget and thick fabric hammocks cannot boast of compactness.
An extra 50 or 100 grams of backpack weight is a small number, but for hiking, those extra grams in each piece of gear add up and significantly affect the final weight you have to carry on your shoulders. When using a hammock as a sleeping place while camping, try to keep its weight to a minimum. Light full-fledged hammocks weigh even 200-250 grams. For outdoor recreation, this parameter is not so important, although a hammock weighing more than 500 grams will take up a lot of space.
Fasteners (clips, carabiners)
Some hammocks are sold immediately with straps. For example, Levitt hammocks come with two 4 meter long slings. This makes them ready to use immediately after purchase, but requires the ability to tie the hammock to the base and know the correct knots. It should be borne in mind that when tying simple knots on such ropes, there is a high chance that they will not be opened again - during loading, the pie may melt into the knot.
Another way to hang is to use special hooks with loops and carabiners to adjust the length. This is the simplest, fastest and most versatile method that does not require additional knowledge. Most often, straps of adjustable length are sold separately, and carabiners are sold as a set, for example in COCOON hammocks. This option can save a few hryvnias if you plan to hang the hammock on carabiners.
You can also use old climbing loops, ropes and even paracord for hanging. But we must remember that thin ropes can seriously damage the bark of trees, so preference should still be given to wide slings. If the hammock will be used constantly where there are walls, it makes sense to hang it by eyeing the bolt attached to the wall.
Maximum load and awning rope
The quality of materials and construction of a hammock directly affects its ability to support a person's weight. The thickness of the fabric especially affects the permissible load indicator: ultra-light hammocks are designed for one person and it is better not to test them with regular overloading. Hammocks made of ordinary fabric can support two people. The manufacturer usually indicates the permissible load that must be observed. Buy a hammock based on your needs, otherwise you might suddenly end up with your buttocks on the ground.
For example, for Levitate Air hammocks, the maximum load recommended by the manufacturer is 160 kg. However, in tests they withstood 3 people. Of course, this is not a normal mode of use and the recommended load should not be exceeded in real life. It should also be remembered that the load on the fabric of the hammock increases with the increase of the distance between its extreme points (the angle of its inclination).
A complete set with a mosquito net and ridge rope can be useful in sleeping hammocks. The mosquito net protects well from various insects that can disturb and spoil your sleep. When choosing such a hammock, it is important to consider the density of the net from which the mosquito net is made. Grids with the number of holes 300 pcs. sq. Inch will protect against mosquitoes and large insects, nets up to 600 holes. sq. An inch won't miss a single mosquito.
The ridge rope allows you to stretch the canopy over the hammock and sleep in it even in the rain. Some hammocks, like the COCOON Travel Ultralight Hammock, are already sold with special high molecular weight polyethylene rope. It does not stretch, allows you to hang the awning and serves as a marker for the optimal hanging angle of the hammock. If you decide to buy a hammock without such a rope, then it is easy to make it from paracord, kevlar or other thin rope that does not stretch.
Summarizing the above features, choosing a hammock should be guided by the main question: "Why do I need a hammock?". If you consider a hammock as a full-fledged substitute for a sleeping place in a tent, first of all, pay attention to full-sized hammocks made of good and comfortable fabric, with a sufficient margin of safety. Also, a separate awning for the hammock will not be superfluous, and the model will be well protected from them with a mosquito net.
A hammock for casual outdoor recreation, a short trip to the park or forest without spending the night can be shorter and somewhat narrower than the standard one and a half meters. Thanks to this, you will save space in your backpack. In such cases, light hammocks made of thin fabrics are good.
If you plan to buy a hammock for frequent use, it makes sense to consider well-designed hammock models made of quality materials from well-known manufacturers. The price of such a hammock will be slightly higher, but you can rely on it for a long time, it will certainly be lighter and more compact. Budget hammocks are suitable for infrequent use, outdoor recreation, in the park or on a picnic, and you will fall in love with such recreation for the first time.
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