BEGINNERS GUIDE TO BUYING A HAMMOCK: 4 CONSIDERATIONS

There are a LOT of hammock companies out there, and we knew that going into this project, so we had to do our research. It turns out, the outdoor gear world is a ridiculous place where it is perfectly normal to charge 10x the cost for gear. We're not going to name any names, but no one should be paying $100 for a hammock and then another $30 for tree straps, or $400 for a hiking backpack that cost $15 to manufacture. The numbers simply do not add up. In an effort to help you make an informed decision about buying a great hammock for the right price, we came up with these four considerations when buying a hammock:

1. BEWARE OF THE "BRAND"

Big brands are a great way to get you to pay more for something. And it makes sense. We pay more for big brands because they are a conservative choice. We pay a premium for the ease of mind that something will work and work well, and if it doesn't there is a policy in place to rectify the issue. What we've noticed in the camping and outdoor industry is there are many smaller companies offering the same (or even better) products with even better prices to try and compete with the big brands. If you go into REI, you won't see that, but if you buy online, you will. These small companies get their products made at the exact same factories as the big boys, and to sweeten the deal, they tend to offer lower prices and even higher quality. It's what you have to do to get noticed when you're a small fish in a big pond. Small companies will be much quicker to replace your gear if something goes wrong, and much more likely to give you a deal because they simply can't afford not to. Beware of the big brands.

2. BUNDLE = BETTER

Many companies claim to offer great deals on their hammocks. What they aren't telling you is that if you ever want to use your hammock, you'll need to buy tree straps. Sure, you get a hammock for $35, but you end up paying $30 for a piece of necessary equipment you didn't realize wasn't included in the first place. It's like selling someone a pair of shoes for 40% off and then telling them after they bought the shoes they don't come with laces. Oh, and the laces cost twice as much as they should, making their 40% off deal really just a normal retail price.
If you're going to buy a hammock, you're going to need tree straps, you might as well find a hammock company that bundles it all together and get a GREAT deal. Beware of the up-sell.

3. MATERIAL MATTERS

If you're buying a hammock, you're probably going to hang it from a tree and lay in it, which means, your life kind of depends on the material you're laying in, right? Don't skimp on cheapo hammocks, get a hammock made from awesome material. Nylon in any form is very strong, but not all nylon is created equal. Ripstop nylon fabric is only used in higher quality hammocks and is a superior material to regular nylon. Ripstop nylon is built with strong interwoven reinforcement threads in a crosshatch pattern to prevent and contain ripping. Ripstop fabrics are used in hot air balloons, sails and paragliders. It also look amazing. If you want your hammock to stand the test of time, check to be sure you're buying ripstop.
Ripstop        Non-ripstop

4. MEASURE VALUE

Why are you buying a hammock, or why should you buy a hammock? Is it a tent replacement? Is it for the occasional trip? Maybe a good photo opportunity?
I'll admit, hammocks are very trendy right now, and you may want to buy one purely for that crazy picture under a bridge, but to truly get the most out of your hammock build it into your lifestyle. Hammocks are not and should not be used solely when you are camping, or just for that good photo-op. Hammocks aren't just for the adventurous millennial, and frankly the adventurous millennial probably won't use their hammock all that often. Consider buying a hammock stand that can go outside all summer long, or maybe could even fit indoors all year round. Don't sell yourself short by packing your hammock away just to get it out for that occasional summer trip. Use it, wear it out, hammocks are a fun way to loosen up after work, they might even be a fun bed replacement for your kids! If you only string a hammock up when you're camping, you're doing it wrong.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Beware of brands selling you inferior products for insane prices. Don't get up sold when you buy a useless hammock for a good deal and then spend way too much on tree straps. Make sure the material is superior. Milk the value of your hammock by building it into your lifestyle rather than pulling it out on occasion.

Good luck and happy hammocking!

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