The 8 Best Folding Hammocks
8. Grand Canyon Gear
7. Driftsun Portable
6. Mac Sports
5. Kamp-Rite Kwik Set
4. Ivation Camping Swing
3. Lazy Daze
2. Chillbo Baggins
1. Vivere Double
Originally designed for sleeping, the suspended cozy nook known as the hammock has morphed into an imaginatively adaptable item over the years. Thanks to the infrastructure and creature comforts modern society affords us, most of us no longer require an airborne bed to protect us from infectious rodents and poisonous insects roaming the ground.
Instead, we use the hammock today to create a comfortable, outdoor oasis for resting or lounging, or as a tool to get some sheltered shut-eye when hiking or camping.
For those of you with a permanent location for your hammock in mind (a scenic clearing between two trees, for example), it probably makes sense to go with a classic, non-spreader hammock that must be tethered to something solid. If you have no trees or stable structures to anchor to, a hammock with a stand could suit your needs, as well.
That being said, the permanence associated with these options can be a major commitment; what if you want to lounge, nap, or even enjoy a full-fledged slumber wherever your mood takes you? If that’s you, I’d like you to meet the folding hammock.
Unlike standard models, these are designed with folding stands — many of which are detachable — that significantly enhance the hammock’s level of versatility without sacrificing much in the way of comfort.
When transporting it from place to place, you don’t have to worry about toting a tool bag with you for setting up and taking down your hammock; the process can take mere seconds, and you can probably even handle it in the dark. Once it comes time to move again, you can quickly break it down and stick it in a backpack or carrying bag.
As long as you choose a model with a reliable, stable frame, you can pop your folding hammock up on basically any flat surface you fancy. Similar to normal hammocks, you’ll have to be careful not to shift too much of your weight to the edge when you climb on — the structure may flip, and you could injure yourself in the process. However, once you safely wrap yourself in its embrace, you can kick back, relax, and even gently sway in the same manner you would with a tree-hung hammock.
Selecting A Suitable Model
One of the first characteristics to examine during your selection process is the hammock’s weight capacity, which is more important than it may at first appear. Think of it logically: the weight of the hammock and its components is aligned with the amount of weight it can support. Therefore, if you’re planning on hiking with this item frequently in tow, you’ll want to go with an option that’s close to the minimum weight capacity required to support you.
Of course, the materials that make up the folding hammock matter, too — in terms of weight, durability, and comfort. Many folding hammocks are designed with mesh or nylon to make them as lightweight as possible. However, cotton can feel a bit more comfortable in a cooler climate, and slightly heavier-duty canvas models are a nice choice if you may be dealing with some extreme conditions.
Before making a choice, consider the size, as well. Widths can vary significantly, with common one-person hammocks coming in as narrow as four feet and models designed to accommodate multiple individuals at more than eight feet wide. If you know you’ll be sharing your hammock with a partner, look for a nice, foldable two-person hammock.
You should also think about where you plan on using it. If you’re hauling it along on a hiking or camping trip, do you expect bugs to be an issue? Is rain — or, heavens forbid, snow — a serious possibility?
For insect protection, some models are constructed with an integrated screen, while others are treated with permethrin to repel those flying nuisances. If shelter from the elements is your main concern, some hammocks include a weatherproof tarp as part of the package. If the model you prefer doesn’t, you always have the freedom to buy one separately.
Speaking of the elements, you’ll want to ensure your new folding hammock is able to withstand plenty of long nights out in the weather. Not only do steel frames provide dependable support and stability, they’re durable and resilient. Something tells me you’ll be content enough to carry around an extra pound or two in exchange for the reassuring knowledge that your hammock won’t corrode and snap mid-slumber in the middle of the wilderness.
The Hammock: A History
The leisure apparatus we enjoy lounging in today may very well have originated in the Americas, as early Spanish conquistadores discovered hammocks woven from tree bark or plant fibers in Native American towns and cities. Eventually, the use of hammocks became widespread throughout Central America, South America, and Mexico.
Christopher Columbus is credited for bringing a hammock from the Bahamas back to Europe, where Spanish and English locals adopted it as a new style of bed. It also became a core component of England’s Royal Navy in the 1590s, as officials used it as a space-saving alternative to beds on warships and other vessels.
To give credit where credit’s due, natives developed Mexican and Mayan hammocks several decades before Europeans arrived on the scene. In addition, the El Salvador hammock — born in San Salvador City — was a huge part of the native culture leading up to and during the days of colonization. Locals hung them from trees, in doorways, and even in living rooms, and often retreated to them for afternoon naps.
The Venezuelan hammock became popular outside of its native country in the early part of the 20th century. Initially created for protection from scorpions, snakes, and other dangerous creatures, non-natives appreciated it for its breathable material and protective netting that helped shield the user from insects.