We’ve all looked in envy at those idyllic photographs of people lounging in a hammock strung between two palm trees on a beach, or reading a book in a hammock next to a picturesque lake.
Luckily for you, with modern innovation and new, lighter materials, it’s easier than you think to turn these pictures into your very own reality.
Portable hammocks come in a range of prices, designs, and styles. The options just keep expanding as more people learn about the simplicity and versatility of them.
You can find portable hammocks with their own stands, hammocks designed for hard-core camping, and hammocks big enough for two or more people!
So, before you set out on your next adventure, check out this guide to the best portable hammocks so that you can get the perfect relaxation gear!
Material: Do you go for a Nylon or Cotton Hammock?
The two main materials used in hammocks are nylon and cotton, and for portable hammocks, the overwhelming preference is nylon. Nylon is lightweight, dries easily, and functions in hot and cold weather.
Cotton, on the other hand, is usually much heavier and more cumbersome and easily gets water-logged. Some people prefer cotton hammocks because they offer more traditional patterns and beautiful, colorful designs.
However, if you really like the style of a certain cotton hammock, get it to store in your garage and use in your backyard, but opt for a nylon hammock to carry with you on trips.
You’ll be much happier backpacking with an easily compressed nylon hammock versus a big, bulky cotton one, even if the traditional weave is pretty!
Types of Hammocks
Now that you know what type of material to look for, the next step is to pick a style of hammock that works for your needs, whether you’re planning on going jungle trekking or simply want to chill out on the beach. Here are the main types you can look for when purchasing your own portable hammock.
As the name suggests, these hammocks are as lightweight as possible, making them preferable for backpackers.
You won’t have to worry about the hammock taking up much room or weighing you down, and you can still relax and enjoy the comforts of a hammock wherever your trip may take you.
Typically, the hammocks are secured to the trees using either a rope and carabiner system or a cinching strap system.
If you’re looking for durability, an expedition hammock is the way to go for you. These hammocks are a bit sturdier than the ultralight versions, but you can still find some at very reasonable weights.
Most expedition hammocks are designed to keep you safe and dry. They feature things like a rain cover and mosquito netting, so you’ll be prepared to sleep in your hammock in any weather.
Depending on how much money you want to spend, you can find expedition hammocks with a variety of other accessories suited to certain areas and types of weather.
If you’re hoping to do some tough camping in your hammock, you’ll definitely want one that falls into this category.
Hammocks with a Stand
While it’s not really suitable for most backpackers, some portable hammocks come with a stand, meaning that you don’t need to rely on finding suitable trees to set it up.
This is an excellent option if you’re road tripping or traveling somewhere you know trees are scarce, but still want a hammock along for snoozing.
Often, the stands are made of lightweight, collapsible poles to save on space and keep the load to a minimum.
Other Considerations when buying a Portable Hammock
When shopping for the perfect portable hammock, there are a few things beyond material and style you’ll want to keep in mind. You don’t want to make a purchase before considering all the options!
A hammock can be made of the best material and have great reviews, but if it doesn’t fit you, it won’t work. Many stores will let you open the hammocks to get a better idea of which one will fit best.
If you’re shopping online, you can find hammocks that come in “extra-long,” “double-wide,” or other size options.
All hammocks come with a maximum weight capacity, which is how much weight can be safely put in the hammock without risk of it breaking; there’s nothing worse than having your blissful daydream time interrupted by the rude awakening of a plummet to the ground.
You’ll want to select a maximum weight capacity much higher than you weigh personally. If you plan on using your hammock as a camping shelter, be safe and select one with an even higher weight capacity, since some gear will likely be in the hammock as well.
Last but not least, you need to bear in mind the price tag attached to your new hammock. Like most camping and sports gear, a higher price usually means better design and durability.
Going the cheap route might not be best, as these hammocks tend to be flimsier and won’t last as long.
Do some research on brands and check the reviews on the hammock you’re thinking of purchasing.
You should also consider how you plan on using the hammock – if it’s just to relax on the beach for a summer vacation, you probably won’t have to worry so much about having a highly durable, waterproof hammock.
If you’re planning on using your hammock as your sleeping arrangement for a long trek in the woods, it’s probably a better idea to pay more for something that will keep you comfortable and dry.
5 of the Best Portable Hammock Options
Now that you have a better idea about what to look for and which type of portable hammock is best for you, check out some of the best options on Amazon.
You can also check a local camping outfitters store to see what kinds of hammocks they have in stock.
A great portable hammock with a stand
This hammock is a good choice for people who want a hammock to bring to the pool, beach, or somewhere else that you might not be able to find trees.
The hammock stand will collapse down to fit into a carrying case, making it easy to bring from one location to another. While it is easy to carry, this is not the lightest one on this list, nor the smallest one when packed. So, this one is not the best for backpackers. Instead, it’s great for more picnic-oriented gatherings and events.
Easy, snap-to-assemble style makes the Pure Garden hammock simple and quick to use.
A great hammock to fit two people
Couples will love this hammock option! The large design and high weight capacity make it perfect for two people to share.
The material is very lightweight, and the hammock packs into a small stuff sack, making it easy to transport.
The hammock serves as a 4-in-1 fabric which you can also use as a basic tent, porch, rain fly, and wind tarp. And even as a beach blanket! The waterproof fabric makes it a good option for outdoor enthusiasts, campers, and couples who like adventuring together. Oh, and it’s really affordable!
An excellent hammock with built-in mosquito netting
The Ridge Outdoor hammock is like an ultralight and expedition hammock combined; the material is very lightweight, making it a nice option for backpackers, but also very sturdy, and it has a structural mosquito net to cover the top.
If you’re looking for a camping hammock and you’re worried about it being a bit buggy out, this is the hammock for you!
Depending on your hammock-hitching preference, some models come with ropes, while others are fitted with straps to secure the hammock to the trees.
The Ridge Outdoor Hammock design options come in green, blue, and orange.
A good budget hammock option
If you want a nice portable hammock but don’t want to spend too much money, the WoneNice Hammock is an excellent pick.
A good all-around hammock, you won’t get fancy features, but you’ll still have good quality.
The WonNice packs into a nice small stuff sack, but still has a 500lb capacity thanks to the durable material and stitching.
This hammock uses ropes to secure it between trees and comes with carabiners designed to hold the weight.
It also comes in a wide selection of colors and styles.
A great camping hammock for all-weather
If you’re hoping to replace your tent with a hammock, the Ryno Tuff camping hammock might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Lightweight and incredibly durable, the hammock also comes with mosquito netting and a rain tarp to keep you dry and bug-free while you’re out in the wilderness.
You can flip the hammock to one side or the other depending on if you want to use the mosquito netting or not, so if it’s clear, you can enjoy an uninhibited view from your hammock!
The Ryno Tuff can easily hold 600lbs, yet the entire packed hammock is only about 5lbs itself!
So, there you have it! Tips on how to select your very own portable hammock, all the varieties in size, shape, and style, and some of the available products on the market to point you in the direction of finding the right hammock for you.
Whether you’re a backpacking camper or simply hoping to spend some time relaxing in your own backyard, portable hammocks are a great versatile and fun piece of equipment for a range of lifestyles!