Hammock 101

We love hammocks because they are part of our Mayan culture and a way for many Mayan families to earn a decent living, send their kids to school and get out of the poverty circle without losing their identity. The same benefits apply to the hill tribe people of the North of Thailand. For many countries in Central and South-America hammocks are also more than just a piece of fabric.

10 years ago you had to contact a true specialist to buy a hammock that would represent the people who made them and that would last many years. Now every type of business on the Internet offer hammocks as just a piece of fabric to lye in. They offer low prices for cheap products, but so what; it sells. Online, nothing looks like a hammock than another hammock. It seems that whatever the size they are all called "hammocks for two". Good luck to find out the real size, the type of material used, the way it was made, how comfortable, how to care, do you leave it outside ? Plus, they never show where their hammock were made. So the only thing they have to offer is the lowest possible price.

It is not a secret, the know-how, the tradition, the quality and the origin have a price, like everything else.


  • The size of course (the only way to compare 2 Mayan hammocks is by their weight. If not indicated, beware)
  • A hammock made with acrylic is more expensive than mercerized cotton which is also more expensive than regular cotton.
  • For South American hammocks pure cotton as longer fiber, is softer and is more expensive than the mix of recycled cotton and polyester.
  • The Mayan 4 yarn weave will be tighter and much more comfortable than the cheap 2 yarn style.
  • The best hammocks have more end strings for better comfort and durability.
  • By doubling the weft threads on true Brazilian hammocks, the selvage is reinforced, making it exceptionally tearproof. Better than seams.
  • Chinese hammocks are cheaper but you get what you pay for. Furthermore most of Chinese cotton is picked by forced labour and is condemned by many countries, including Canada and the USA.

How to pick the right hammock ?


For STRING HAMMOCKS (Mayan or Mexican and Tha├» hammocks) here are the main factors that you should look for:


  • The top quality Mayan hammocks are woven with each yarn crossing four (4) threads. The result is a tight weave that will leave almost no marks on the skin. (see here)
  • Some thick cord hammocks use a two (2) threads only weaving. This allow to make a big hammock with less material, so less expensive, but way less comfortable as you end up with more marks on your skin. Don't forget that less material also means less working hours to make it.


  • The size of a Mayan hammock is difficult to determine. You will see pictures where the hammock is stretched to look 10ft wide, but when you put your weight in it it closes on itself and then you see the real width. Remember that the comfortable way to lye in a hammock is at an angle to have your back straight.The only way to compare sizes is by comparing weight. Heavier means more material, so a bigger hammock, more time to weave it and a better comfort.


  • COTTON:  cotton fibre breathe and will stretch to adjust perfectly to the shape of your body making it the most comfortable.. We carry 3 sizes of yarn. The regular one (#9) is thinner and the most widely use while the thick cord hammocks (#24) are more resistant. The intermediary #12 yarn is a little bit bigger than the #9 but as comfortable. So the thinner the more comfortable and the thicker the more durable (best with kids or an heavier usage)
  • MERCERIZED COTTON: This  is a special kind of cotton yarn that is more lustrous than conventional cotton. It is also stronger, takes dye a little more readily, produces less lint, and is more resistant to mildew. It also may not shrink or lose its shape as much as "regular" cotton.The colours are more vivid.
  • POLYPROPYLENE: Everybody is talking about nylon hammocks but, if you burn a piece of it, you will see that it is not nylon. Real nylon will resist sun rays while the so called "nylon" Mayan hammocks will be damaged rapidly by UV. It is also a material that won't stretch at all and the least comfortable of Mayan hammock. Those who prefer this material, mainly used in Mexican hotels, is because they have never tried a cotton hammock the right way. 
  • ACRYLIC: Available with the Hill-Tribe hammocks from Thailand. As thread they use Acrylic (softer than cotton). The Acrylic thread combines the advantages of an organic and a synthetic material. The raw material is woven like cotton and feels very soft and comfortable. Compared to cotton Acrylic is very resistant to water and sun, sustaining its colours over many years. The Acrylic thread has a reputation as being the most precious one of all synthetic fibers on the market to make top quality hammocks. the raw material is in average twice as expensive as cotton (and we use a lot), in favor of longevity and high comfort.

Follow this link to learn more about HILL-TRIBE HAMMOCKS

Hammock with or without the spreader bars ?

You might think that spreader bar hammocks are more comfortable but it is the other way around. Without those bars the hammock wrap around the body to give you the perfect fit. Spreader bar hammocks are also more unstable. The only advantage of spreader bar hammocks is that the wooden bars keep them open for an easy in and out and a nice look. But if you use one with someone else don't forget to tell him/her before getting out.


  • Mayan hammocks (#9 or #12 cotton yarn) For adults who will take good care of it this hammock is the most comfortable. The cotton will take the shape of your body and the feeling is compared to floating on a cloud. Inside or outside if you don't leave it under the rain or out for long period. #24 cotton yarn; The biggest and the strongest Mayan hammock for heavier usage but still have to dry.
  • Hill-tribe hammocks: The only really weather resistant traditional string hammock. I must add that it also have the most beautiful colours. 
  • South-American hammock: Warmer than a string hammock it is appreciated on cool evenings. It is also child proof as little finger won't play with strings. Easier to carry. Smaller than Mayan hammocks they also have to be protected from bad weather.

On a string hammock always BEWARE of buttons on your pants or shirt, jewels and never keep your shoes in a hammock.