Hammocks were born from necessity in the jungles of Central and South America, providing a comfortable place to sleep away from the wet ground and making good use of the abundance of trees. Today, they're as much of a fun and adventurous way to get some rest during your travels – or, in many cases, somewhere to kip in a garden or backyard during the summer months.
In general, the bigger the hammock, the better. More space equals greater comfort and room to move and they enable someone else to snuggle up too. Sleeping diagonally in a hammock always offer the most relaxation, so if you reckon you could do that in the item you're interested in, then you're on to a winner.
Larger hammocks will also take a greater amount of weight, which should put your mind at ease as you're hanging between two trees. They can, however, cause the sides to become rather high which is likely to spoil your view. This isn't as much of an issue with smaller hammocks but you may find those less suitable for sleeping.
You also need to bear in mind where you're actually going to be pitching up. If you don't think you'll encounter any decent tree trunks or if they're few and far between, then consider hammocks that come with a stand. You should also think about where you're going to be located. If you're likely to be attacked by mosquitos or bugged by other insects, then a hammock with a mesh should be high on the list of priorities.
Designed for the garden but also ideal for an impromptu snooze wherever you may be, this colourful hand-woven hammock is made from 70 percent environmentally-friendly, non-fading cotton and 30 percent polyester. The breathable fabric should feel soft to touch and, because the hammock is tail-ended by thick, wear-resistant knots, it is also likely to last a while too.
By clipping the heavy-duty polyester belts to either end and hanging it between a pair of trees, it'll take a weight of up to 200 kilograms (31 stone). With a bed size of 210 centimetres (7 feet), it'll should also comfortably accommodate most adults. After use, it can be folded up and popped into a provided carry bag and, because it only weighs 1.7kg (60 ounces) it shouldn't prove to be a burden on your travels.
Parachute hammocks are popular for a reason – they may look crinkled but nylon taffeta is undoubtedly strong and lightweight. Indeed, this model – made by kitemaker Flexifoil – weighs just 540 grams (19 ounces) for a bed size of 254 centimetre (8 feet), with a width of 154cm (5 feet). It should also offer you good protection against rips and tears.
As you'd expect, strong knots are used to provide a secure connection to trees or poles, so that you don't come crashing to Earth with a bump. Packing away is also made easier thanks to a provided drawstring bag that is stitched to the hammock, ensuring it'll never become lost.
If mosquitos and other insects are likely to keep you awake with worry when you're trying to sleep in your hammock, then cocooning yourself under a ventilative net is a great solution. In this case, the mosquito net connects using a zip, and ropes can be added to extend it away from your body.
The net can be folded back and under if you wish to use the hammock as normal and, because it will hold as much as 270 kilograms (600 pounds of weight) it's definitely strong. Just as importantly, at just a kilogram (38 ounces), it's very light, too. A storage bag is attached, making it easy to store.
This parachute hammock is eye-catching because of its great range of colours, from green to red to blue. It is made from nylon taffeta and supports 181 kilograms (400 pounds) of weight and it has been designed to be set up in less than three minutes, which is great if you're in desperate need of relaxation.
The package comes with a couple of iron carabiners and two 130cm (51 inches) nylon straps which you'll need to tie around trees using a knot that is described in a set of pictorial instructions. What's more, when packed away, it only weighs 440 grams (15 ounces) making it one of the lightest hammocks to carry.