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Your Hammock Buying Guide - Fabrics Edition

June 06, 2018 6 min read

Textured, colourful hammock fabric.

Audio Version

Getting to Know Your Options – Hammock Styles and Materials on the Market Today

Just as there are many ways to relax, there are many various hammock fabric types, styles, materials, and sizes to choose from.

If you’re in the market for a brand-new hammock to enjoy this season, you first need to think about how you want to relax in your hammock. The way you want to use your hammock will determine what you should consider buying.

Because there are so many options to choose from, we’ve created a hammock buying guide to help you decide which hammock is best for you. This guide will cover the pros and cons of each type of material, so you can relax your way.

Rope – A Classic Way to Enjoy the Day

Rope hammocks are made of cotton or polyester ropes and have spreader bars on each end. These traditional hammocks have a classic nautical, tropical look.


  • Breathable and perfect for a cool breeze on a hot summer day.
  • Polyester ropes are more durable and weather-resistant.


  • Cotton ropes absorb moisture, so they don’t dry quickly and are more prone to mildew.
  • Ropes are not the most comfortable for sleeping in, making them more suitable for lounging.
  • The holes are unsafe for children to use since their hands and feet can easily get caught in the hammock.

Cotton – Sleep Like A Baby

Cotton is the most traditional material for building hammocks, either in rope or fabric. This soft material makes hammock-lounging perfect for anyone, anywhere.


  • Cotton is fairly lightweight, especially without spreader bars, making these hammocks portable.
  • Cotton fabric hammocks are very comfortable and ideal for sleeping in.


  • Cotton ropes are not as durable as other materials and are more likely to fray or get damaged by sharp objects.

Quilted Fabric – Taking Comfort to the Max

Quilted hammocks are made of two layers of fabric with filling, such as polyester material or olefin fibers, for comfortable cushioning. These come in a variety of colours and patterns and are often reversible, so you can switch up the look of your hammock.


  • Very comfortable and supportive due to the added cushion of the quilted material.
  • Ideal for cooler climates, like in Canada.
  • Fairly durable, weather-resistant, and fast-drying.


  • Not great for warmer climates due to the added insulation of the quilt.
  • Not very breathable.
  • These hammocks usually have spreader bars, so they’re not easy to pack for camping or hiking.

Quick-Dry – Relaxation Should Be Low-Maintenance

Also known as poolside hammocks, these pool-party-friendly hammocks are made with a durable fabric that dries quickly and won’t fade in the sunlight.


  • Water resistant, fast drying, and resistant to mold and mildew, so ideal for use by pools and bodies of water.
  • Very durable and fade-resistant.
  • Low-maintenance and easy to clean.


Care Instructions

Quick-dry hammocks are easy to clean with warm water and liquid soap. Avoid using bleach as it can damage your hammock.

Nylon – Your Ideal Camping Tagalong

Most nylon hammocks are used for camping and hiking due to their convenient features.


  • Extremely lightweight and easy to pack.
  • Quick-drying and resistant to rot, mold, and mildew.
  • Very durable.


  • Not as supportive as other materials.

Colombian – High-Quality Fabrics for Optimal Comfort

Made from cotton, these authentic, long-lasting hammocks are tightly-woven to offer maximum comfort and relaxation. You won’t be disappointed with this hammock style.


  • High-quality fabrics make this hammock one of the most durable.
  • Tightly-woven for maximum comfort.
  • Easy to hang and maintain.
  • Can be packed easily and used for hiking and camping.


  • Not as breathable as other hammock fabric types.

Mayan – Chill-Out the Mayan Way

Mayan hammocks are made of thin cotton or nylon woven string for both flexibility and support. These hammocks do not have spreader bars.


  • Are very comfortable for sleeping in, as they are meant to cocoon around you.
  • Ideal for use in Canada’s hot summers.
  • Fairly fast-drying, especially with nylon, which is also mildew- and mold-resistant.
  • Lightweight and easy to pack for camping.


  • Loosely-woven string makes for a breezy hammock that is not ideal for cooler climates.
  • Less durable since sharp objects or natural wear-and-tear can damage strings.
  • Cotton string is not as weather-resistant so should be brought indoors when not in use.
Care Instructions

Since individual strings can be easily broken, you must take care when wearing anything that will snag and break the strings. This includes zippers, buttons, buckles, belt loops, jewellery and anything else that could cause damage to the material.

If you pull a thread, ease it into the weave and shake the hammock to even it out. If you break a thread, tie the two ends together. If multiple strings are broken, close the hole with a looping stitch made of string.

It’s also important to avoid tangling the suspension strings. When moving a Mayan hammock, always hold both end loops together with one hand to prevent tangles.

When storing these hammocks, hang both end loops on a single hook or nail in dry, safe place, such as a closet.

Avoid leaving your hammock outside at all times. The sun’s UV rays will fade the material, so aim to hang both cotton and nylon hammocks in the shade.

Cotton strings will get damaged and develop mildew if left to soak in the rain. If your cotton hammock does get soaked, let it dry out well using a stick to keep it open.

To wash Mayan hammocks, use pieces of cord to tie each arm of the hammock at equal intervals. This will prevent tangling the strings.

Wash by hand in cool water with mild detergent. Dry quickly after washing by hanging the hammock and placing a stick or broom crosswise in the hammock to keep it open.

*Do not fold and store hammocks when wet and avoid storing them in damp places.

Brazilian – Rest Easy in These Colourful Hammocks

Brazilian hammocks are made of thick, colourful, woven cotton fabric gathered at each end with crocheted lace. Brazilian hammocks also do not have spreader bars. These warm hammocks are perfect for lounging outside on a cool summer night.


  • Often used as beds, these hammocks are extremely comfortable, especially for sleeping in.
  • Perfect for any climate (even chilly days).
  • Durable.


  • Are not as fast drying as other hammocks.

Nicaraguan – Tightly Woven for Your Comfort

Nicaraguan hammocks are made from cotton or nylon woven string. They’re thick like Mayan hammocks, except they are more tightly-woven.


  • Are very comfortable.
  • Ideal for any climate.


  • They don’t dry quickly, so these hammocks shouldn’t be left outdoors.

How to Wash Hammocks

While many hammocks are mildew-resistant, you should clean your hammock regularly to prevent stains, smells, bug infestations, and mildew growth.

To keep your hammock in good condition for longer, refer to your hammock’s cleaning instructions for the best care tips.

Machine Washing

Many hammocks are machine washable. Just make sure to clarify this with the care instructions before sticking it in the washer.

Take out any removable spreader bars, shake the hammock, and tie up the end strings. Then, roll up the hammock and place it inside a pillowcase. Tie the pillowcase with a string or a clothespin.

Wash in cold water on the gentle (delicates) cycle using a mild detergent.

*Do not use bleach.

Hang outside to air dry. For hammocks without spreader bars, use a stick or broom to hold the hammock open.

Hand Washing

Follow the same steps as above to place your hammock in a pillowcase before washing.

Fill up a tub with cool water and mild soap or detergent.

Place the hammock in the water, scrubbing, swishing, and squeezing to pass water through.

Empty the tub, refill, and continue hand washing, following these steps until the refilled tub water remains clear. Empty the tub and rinse the hammock.

*Hang to air dry.

Cleaning Hammocks with Non-Removable Spreader Bars

If you can’t remove the spreader bars, lay the hammock spread out on a clean ground surface then clean the hammock with a hose.

Use the highest amount of water pressure to effectively clean every part of the hammock. Flip, and repeat.

Scrub with a cloth or a sponge and mild detergent or soap. Scrub both sides, and focus on problem areas (stains, mildew, etc.).

Rinse the hammock with a hose until there is no soap left, and hang to air dry.

Once your hammock is clean and completely dry, you can store it in a weather-tight tote or a breathable storage bag somewhere dry indoors.

A lot of care and consideration goes into buying, using, and maintaining a hammock. Use this hammock buying guide to help you decide what hammock fabric type and style are best suited to the way you want to relax!