In theory, a hammock is a simple thing: a piece of fabric suspended by cords, which keeps your body in a comfortable, horizontal position. In reality, hammocks come in varying designs for different purposes and mostly fall into two categories: leisure and camping.
To learn more about hammocks and how to choose the best one for your needs, we spoke to a hardgoods designer, an exterior design expert and professional hikers and campers. Below, you’ll find both their recommendations as well as their general shopping advice for hammocks.
Our top picks
- Best overall: Eno DoubleNest Hammock
- Best value: Vivere Double Cotton Hammock With Stand
- Best camping hammock: Warbonnet Blackbird XLC
- Most budget-friendly: Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Hammock
How we picked the best hammocks
We interviewed a range of experts who either design hammocks professionally or use them on a regular basis for work. They recommend keeping the following in mind while shopping:
Hammock type: First, decide whether you want a leisure hammock for relaxing at home or a camping hammock to keep you comfortable and protected while sleeping outdoors. Your hammock’s intended use will impact its design, setup process and materials, according to our experts.
Setup: Leisure hammocks are designed for long-term setup in your yard and often require a freestanding frame. Camping hammocks, on the other hand, are designed for portability, and you’ll need the appropriate accessories to hang them securely from trees, according to our experts. Most of the hammocks on this list don’t include the necessary stands or straps for proper setup, so be sure to factor those additional purchases into your budget.
Materials: Camping hammocks are most often made from nylon, which is lightweight and durable, according to our experts. Leisure hammocks may use cotton, polyester, braided rope or pillowtop materials, but nylon is still best if you’ll be leaving your hammock outside long term, says Eric Blanche, hardgoods technical designer who designs and builds hammocks at Eastern Mountain Sports.
Size, weight and durability: Bigger, more durable models can support more weight (sometimes two people at once), so they are often heavier, which is important to consider if you’ll be carrying it in a hiking backpack, according to our experts.
The best hammocks
Below are some of the most popular hammocks on the market. Most of them are direct recommendations from our experts, but we also included highly rated options that earned at least four stars from more than 500 reviews. We also broke them down into categories: leisure options and camping options.
Best leisure hammocks
Four out of five of our experts recommend Eno hammocks for their thoughtful designs and durability. This model is great for lazy days since it’s designed for two and easy to set up, says Alison Watta, owner of ExplorationSolo and a hiking, camping and backpacking guide, who regularly teaches new backpackers how to set up their hammocks. While it’s best for camping, it’s also compatible with backyard use (with a stand you can purchase separately). Its 9.5-foot body is made from breathable, fast-drying nylon, while its aluminum carabiners and built-in pocket boost durability and convenience, according to the brand. Plus, it packs into its integrated 6-by-5-inch stuff sack so it’s easy to bring to the beach or park.
Materials: 70-denier nylon, aluminum | Hammock weight: 1 pound 3 ounces | Weight capacity: 400 pounds | Dimensions: 9 feet 6 inches x 6 feet 4 inches | Includes: attached stuff sack and carabiners
“This classic pillowtop hammock from Lazy Daze has a wide and spacious bed area that allows you to lie diagonally for flatter and more comfortable backyard snoozing,” says Kendra Poppy, head of brand at exterior design company Yardzen, and trends expert, who is responsible for keeping a pulse on popular outdoor furniture, including hammocks. Its 12-foot-long body and two steel chain links can support two people (or 450 pounds), and it comes in a range of colors and patterns, according to the brand. The padded fabric and detachable pillow are covered in polyester for durability in outdoor environments, which is in line with our experts’ advice.
Materials: polyester with polyethylene stuffing, hardwood, steel | Hammock weight: 2 pounds | Weight capacity: 450 pounds | Dimensions: 12 feet x 4 feet x 7 inches | Includes: detachable pillow
This double-layer cotton hammock, which has a 4.7-star rating from over 14,000 reviewers on Amazon, comes with a carrying bag and 9-foot steel stand that does not require tools for assembly. Its cotton fabric can support up to 450 pounds at once too, according to the brand. You can purchase this hammock in almost 20 striped color combinations as well as an American flag and a canvas macrame design.
Materials: cotton, steel | Hammock weight: 27 pounds 8 ounces | Weight capacity: 450 pounds | Dimensions: 9 feet 2 inches x 3 feet 11 inches | Includes: steel stand and carrying bag
If style is your top priority, Poppy recommends this hammock with a slim profile that’s ideal for those who have small backyards or patios. With an 8.5-pound weight and attached end ropes with carabiner clips, you can also set it up in less than 10 minutes, according to the brand. Store it in a dry area indoors between uses to keep it in its best condition.
Materials: N/A | Hammock weight: 8 pounds 8 ounces | Weight capacity: 250 pounds | Dimensions: 7 feet 3 inches x 3 feet 5 inches | Includes: carrying case
This compact chair hammock is the best option if you don’t have large trees or room for a large hammock stand in your yard, says Poppy. Its woven polyester is weather-, UV- and mildew-resistant, plus its wooden spreader bar and clasp are compatible with most suspension kits (not included) so you can hang it from porch ceilings or deck beams, according to the brand’s website. The macrame material also stretches out long enough to act as a built-in footrest, according to the brand. Each order also includes a bag for storage.
Materials: polyester, wood | Hammock weight: 7 pounds | Weight capacity: 275 pounds | Dimensions: 4 feet x 3 feet 11 inches | Includes: storage bag
Best camping hammocks
This comes highly recommended by Watta as the best overnight camping hammock because it comes with straps, a stuff sack, built-in bug netting and guylines to secure it out of your face. It can accommodate campers up to 6 feet 6 inches tall, and it comes in three weight options (single layer, lightweight double and heavyweight double) to support up to 400 pounds, according to the brand. In addition to the weight, you can also customize the color, suspension options and add-ons depending on your needs.
Materials: (depending on the type) 70/40-denier nylon, 40/20 denier nylon, 70/40-denier nylon | Hammock weight (depending on the type): 1 pound 5.75 ounces, 1 pound 11.75 ounces, 2 pounds 1.75 ounces | Weight capacity (depending on the type): 350 pounds, 350 pounds, 400 pounds | Dimensions: 11 feet x 5 feet 2 inches | Includes: suspension kit, elastic side-guylines, bug netting, shelf/footbox and stuff sack
For anyone who needs to pack light, this weighs less than 6 ounces, so it’s great for those looking to have minimal gear without compromising on comfort or quality, says Alice Ford, founder of the sustainable tour company TravGanic, and adventure filmmaker who spends half of every month in the backcountry sleeping in a hammock. That said, the 20-denier ripstop nylon still supports up to 300 pounds and the included toggle suspension and water-resistant stuff sack provides almost everything you need (besides the hammock straps) for transportation and mounting, according to the brand’s website. The design also includes eight built-in gear loops to store your essentials.
Materials: 20-denier nylon | Hammock weight: 5.9 ounces | Weight capacity: 300 pounds | Dimensions: 8 feet x 4 feet 2 inches | Includes: toggle suspension kit and stuff sack
For a budget-friendly option that costs half as much as competing camping hammocks, Watta recommends this double hammock because it’s available in various color options and supports two adults with a combined weight capacity of 500 pounds for less than $50. The nylon hammock weighs 24 ounces while packed and includes two 9-foot tree straps and carabiners as well as a carrying pack, according to the brand.
Materials: 70-denier nylon | Hammock weight: 1 pound 8 ounces | Weight capacity: 500 pounds | Dimensions: 10 feet x 6.5 feet | Includes: tree straps, carabiners and stuff sack
The Eno Skyloft hammock is “more like a floating sun bed than a traditional camping hammock,” so you can relax and enjoy your surroundings, says Ford. It’s also a good option for those who don’t like the feeling of being cocooned or enclosed, as its spreader bars (the structured poles at your head and feet) offer more structure than most camping hammocks, according to Ford. The toggle design lets you switch between flat and inclined positions, and the stretchy cargo pockets provide room for storage, according to the brand. Despite the spreader bars, this hammock still weighs less than 3 pounds for easy travel.
Materials: 140-denier nylon, aluminum | Hammock weight: 2 pounds 14 ounces | Weight capacity: 250 pounds | Dimensions: 7 feet x 3 feet | Includes: stuff sack
What are the different types of hammocks?
Leisure hammocks are designed for home use and offer a semi-permanent spot to relax in your yard. Rather than hanging from trees, these hammocks often hang from premade accessory stands that are typically sold separately, says Blanche. Since many people leave their home hammocks up all season, it’s best to choose durable, weatherproof and mildew-resistant materials, though more aesthetic hammocks may be made from braided rope or quilted materials, according to our experts.
When you’re backpacking, “sleeping in a hammock can save a serious amount of weight when compared to packing a tent, so you can move faster and see more,” says Alex Timmons, co-owner of Mountain Trek Health Reset Retreat and backpacker who has camped with a hammock at least six times a year for the past 14 years.
These usually pack down compactly, use high-end technical breathable fabrics and often include or are compatible with nets and tarps to protect you from the elements, says Blanche. As a result, these hammocks are generally lightweight and best for outdoor excursions and travel. Camping hammocks sometimes include travel bags, bug nets, straps and carabiners, though many brands require that you purchase these accessories separately, according to our experts.
How to shop for hammocks
When shopping consider where you plan to use your hammock, how you’ll set it up, who (and how many people) will use it and how long you’ll leave it outside, says Blanche. Once you’ve narrowed down the type of hammock you’re shopping for, our experts recommend using the following criteria to help you choose a specific brand:
Most leisure hammocks hang from stands, which allow you to set up your hammock anywhere it fits in your yard, while camping hammocks use straps and carabiners to attach securely to trees. Both stands and straps are often sold separately, though almost all of the hammocks on this list come with a stuff sack or carrying bag for travel and storage.
Materials and durability
Since they’re lightweight and durable, ripstop or recycled nylon are the best and most common materials used in backpacking and hiking hammocks, according to Ford. Nylon is often rated in denier, which refers to the weight and thickness of the material. “A product made from 30-denier nylon may be lighter than a 70-denier version, but it’s also less durable,” so you should balance weight and durability depending on your needs, says Watta. For leisure hammocks you plan to leave outside, Poppy recommends materials such as Sunbrella, nylon or polyester, which are durable, quick-drying, and resistant to fading and mildew. “Reinforced stitching, triple-stitched seams or bar-tacked ends can indicate a well-made and durable hammock,” says Poppy. Some people may prefer pillowtop or rope-woven leisure hammocks, since they’re stylish and comfortable — though you’ll need to store them appropriately in dry conditions due to their lack of durability, according to our experts.
Certain hammocks are specifically built with wider and longer dimensions to suit taller people, and some brands are even wide enough to sleep two people at once. That said, experts say roomier camping designs are often more cumbersome to pack. When choosing a leisure hammock for your yard, check the overall dimensions to ensure that it fits in the intended space.
Almost all hammocks disclose their maximum weight capacity, which you should not exceed for safety reasons. “If you’re 160 pounds and you want to relax with your 50-pound pooch, you’ll exceed any product with a 200-pound limit,” says Watta. She recommends overestimating your weight needs when it comes to home hammocks that you won’t need to transport often.
For at-home hammocks, the overall weight doesn’t matter as much — but for camping hammocks, it’s much more important, since you’ll be carrying the hammock to its destination, according to experts. An extra 3 pounds may not sound like a lot, but combined with everything else in your pack, the weight adds up quickly, says Watta.
How to hang a hammock
Some hammocks come with all of the accessories and directions you’ll need to hang them. However, the right straps are paramount, especially when you’re camping in national parks. “Ropes will dig into trees and damage their bark,” which is why many national parks and states have rules about how and where you can hang a hammock, says Watta. “The straps generally attach to the hammock via carabiners so you can safely use straps from any company,” Watta says. “The general rule of thumb is that your straps should be at least 1-inch-wide, which is the standard for most national parks.”
How to make a hammock more comfortable
When it comes to camping hammocks, our experts recommend purchasing a waterproof tarp to protect yourself from rain and moisture. Additionally, you can bring an inflatable sleeping pad to put in the hammock to give it some structure, so you aren't completely enveloped, says Timmons. Pillows also make hammocks more comfortable.
Meet our experts
At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.
Eric Blanche is a backpacker and a hardgoods technical designer at Eastern Mountain Sports, where he designs and builds hammocks with his team.
Alison Watta is a hiking, camping and backpacking guide in North Carolina and the owner of ExplorationSolo. She lounges in hammocks at campgrounds and regularly helps new backpackers learn to set up their gear, including backpacking hammocks.
Kendra Poppy is the head of brand at Yardzen, an online landscaping and outdoor living design company. As a trends expert, she keeps a pulse on outdoor products (including hammocks) that are popular with Yardzen’s clients.
Alice Ford is an adventure travel host and filmmaker, and the founder of sustainable tour company TravGanic. Ford spends half of each month in the backcountry filming, and many of her overnight stops or rest periods are spent in a hammock.
Alex Timmons is the co-owner of Mountain Trek Health Reset Retreat and has been backpacking with a hammock at least six times a year for the past 14 years.
Why trust Select?
Maria Cassano years of experience as an e-commerce writer, editor and consultant. You can find her home decor and outdoor furniture articles in publications such as Bustle, Better Homes & Gardens, Allure, CNN, Elite Daily, The Zoe Report and MyDomaine. For this article, she interviewed five experts who design or use hammocks on a regular basis.