Everything you ever wanted to know about hammocks in general and Hammock Bliss specifically but were afraid to ask…
A hammock is a sling made of fabric, rope, or netting, suspended between two points, used for swinging, sleeping, or resting. It normally consists of one or more cloth panels, or a woven network of twine or thin rope stretched with ropes between two firm anchor points such as trees or posts. Hammocks were developed by native inhabitants of Mexico for sleeping. Later, they were used aboard ships by sailors to enable comfort and maximize available space, and by explorers or soldiers traveling in wooded regions. Today they are popular around the world for relaxation; they are also used as a lightweight bed on camping trips. The hammock is often seen as symbol of summer, leisure, relaxation and simple, easy living.
Spanish colonists noted the use of the hammock by Native Americans, particularly in the West Indies, at the time of the Spanish conquest. The word comes from a Taíno culture Arawakan word (Haiti) meaning "fish net". Early hammocks were woven out of bark from a hamack tree, and later this material was replaced by sisal fibers because it was more abundant. One of the reasons that hammocks became popular in Central and South America was their ability to provide safety from disease transmission, insect stings, or animal bites. By suspending their beds above ground, inhabitants were better protected from snakes, biting ants, and other harmful creatures. Hammocks were introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus when he brought several of them back to Spain from islands in the present day Bahamas.
Around 1590, hammocks were adopted for use in sailing ships; the Royal Navy formally adopted the canvas sling hammock in 1597. Aboard ship, hammocks were regularly employed for sailors sleeping on the gun decks of warships, where limited space prevented the installation of permanent bunks. Since a slung hammock moves in concert with the motion of the vessel, the occupant is not at a risk of being thrown onto the deck during swells or rough seas. Likewise, a hammock provides more comfortable sleep than a bunk or a berth while at sea since the sleeper always stays well balanced, irrespective on the motion of the vessel. The sides of traditional canvas naval hammocks wrap around the sleeper like a cocoon, making an inadvertent fall virtually impossible. Many sailors became so accustomed to this way of sleeping that they brought their hammocks ashore with them on leave. The naval use of hammocks continued into the 20th century. During World War II, troopships sometimes employed hammocks for both naval ratings and private soldiers in order to increase available space and troop carrying capacity. Many leisure sailors even today prefer hammocks to bunks because they provide better sleeping comfort while at high seas.
Hammocks In Space
Hammocks have also been employed on spacecraft in order to utilize available space when not sleeping or resting. During the Apollo program, the Lunar Module was equipped with hammocks for the commander and lunar module pilot to sleep in between moonwalks.
Hammock camping is a form of camping in which a camper sleeps in a suspended hammock rather than a conventional tent on the ground. While hammocks have been around for several centuries, modern camping hammocks differ in many ways. They can be set up on the ground when supports are unavailable. In foul weather, a tarpaulin is suspended above the hammock to keep the rain off of the camper. Mosquito netting, sometimes integral to the camping hammock itself, is also used as climatic conditions warrant. Commercial tent hammocks presently cater to campers who are looking for comfort, lighter weight, and protection from ground dwelling insects, arachnids, or other ground risks. Suspension systems and other niche amenities have made hammock camping a popular choice among many outdoor enthusiasts worldwide.
Hammock Camping Popularity
The primary appeal of hammock camping for most users is comfort and better sleep, as compared to sleeping on a pad on the ground. Hammock camping enthusiasts argue that hammocks don't harm the environment in the way that conventional tents do. Most hammocks attach to trees via removable webbing straps, or "Tree-Straps," which don't damage the bark and leave little or no marks afterward. Whereas it's easy to see a frequently used campground because of the effect on the grass, scrub and topsoil, the presence of a hammock camping site is much harder to detect. This has found favor with hikers and campers who follow the principles of Leave No Trace camping. Hammock camping also opens up many more sites for campers - stony ground, slopes, and so on - as well as keeping them off the ground and away from small animals, reptiles and insects. Sleeping off the ground also keeps the camper out of any rainwater runoff that might seep in under a tent during a downpour. Lastly, the relatively lightweight of hammocks makes them ideal for reducing backpack weight, thereby making it a good option for ultralight backpacking enthusiasts.
Parachute Nylon History
The canopy of the parachute was initially made of canvas, which was eventually replaced by silk. Silk, being thinner, lighter, stronger, fire resistant and easy-to-fold, proved more efficient than canvas. In late 1930s and early 1940s, World War affected silk import in the United States to a great extent. In order to counter this shortage of silk, innovators tried using different materials to make parachute canopy and finally came up with the idea of replacing silk with nylon. This proved to be beneficial, as nylon had good elasticity, was resistant to mildew and relatively less expensive.
Parachute Nylon Hammocks
Hammocks made of lightweight nylon material were commonly found in Vietnam and Cambodia in the 1990’s. Dov Frazer, the founder of Hammock Bliss, first bought nylon Cambodian jungle hammock in 1992 and used it extensively while traveling in Southeast Asia. This Cambodian jungle hammock was a large green piece of nylon sewn like pita bread with flat webbing at each end included for suspension. Hammocks made of the nylon parachute material first began appearing around 1998. Parachute nylon is an idea material for hammocks. It is extremely lightweight and feels like silk but is much more durable and extremely strong. Parachute material is breathable and does not retain water so when it gets wet the water simply drips through. The material dries incredibly quickly. This prevents rotting, which is a common problem with cotton and canvas hammocks. Parachute nylon compacts easily – a relatively large parachute hammock can fit into a very small bag. Because parachute nylon is soft, lightweight, strong, breathable and compact, it is an idea material for making hammocks.
Hammock In A Bag
Parachute nylon hammocks are often referred to as a hammock in a bag. Most all parachute nylon hammocks have a stuff sack attached to the side of the hammock in the center. When the hammock is not being used, it easily stuff back into its bag. Most parachute nylon hammocks stuff down to the size of a grapefruit. Whether the bag is the size of a small grapefruit or a large grapefruit depends on the size of the hammock.
Hammock Bliss History
Hammock Bliss first started making parachute nylon hammocks in 2000. Other companies first make their hammocks with an S hook at each end, which requires a separate suspension system. Hammock Bliss has always made their hammocks with rope included at each end. Founder, Dov Frazer believes that a hammock should be usable out of the bag without requiring a separate suspension system. Having the rope built in give the user more flexibility in how the hammock is hung and makes Hammock Bliss hammocks more complete as the suspension system is built in.
Tree Straps are nylon webbing used as a tree friendly hammock attachment. Rather than using rope around a tree, which can dig into and damage the tree bark, tree straps distribute the weight over a wider area and do not dig into the bark. They protect both the tree and the rope from abrasion. Tree Straps also can be used as a tension belt or cinch to keep the hammock rope from sliding down a smooth tree, pole or post. Tree Straps extend the distance used to hang a hammock as the straps go around the tree, pole or post rather than the hammock ropes. Hammock Bliss makes three types of tree straps.
Standard Tree Straps are 65" long x 1.5" wide (153 cm x 4 cm)
Extra Long Tree Straps are 106" long x 1.5" wide (269 cm x 4 cm)
Deluxe Cinching Tree Straps are 95" long x 1.5" wide (240 cm x 4 cm)
Deluxe Tree Straps come with a military grade parachute harness buckle made by Bourdon Forge in the USA. The cinching buckle allows the user to easily adjust the tension of their hammock suspension with a simple pull. All tree straps are rated to 350 pounds or 159 kilos.
Hammock Weight Limits
Parachute Nylon is an extremely strong material. That being said it is hard to gage exactly what is an appropriate weight limit for a parachute nylon hammock. Hammock Bliss rates their hammocks at 350 pounds or 159 kilos while others rate their hammocks using the exact same parachute nylon to 400 pounds or 182 kilos. Both estimates are correct. The truth is that it is extremely hard to break a NEW parachute nylon hammock simply by weight. What the user does have to be careful of is torque. If a user falls or jumps into a parachute nylon hammock from any height above the hammock it will put much more stress on the fabric. Ideally a user should gently sit in the middle of the parachute material and then turn so that the rest of the body follows. Larger size hammocks such as the Hammock Bliss Triple are not intrinsically stronger than the smaller Ultralight Hammock. However the larger the bed space the more area the user has to distribute their weight.
Many people have fear of hammocks because they think they might fall out. In fact, hammocks that use a spreader bar to open up the hammock at each end can flip very easily and when a hammock flips the user will fall out. One of the reasons that parachute nylon hammocks are safer than other hammocks is that the material bunches into a small area at each end. This creates a cocoon like hanging space that happily will not flip. The user is almost always lower in the hammock than the sides of the parachute material so it is extremely difficult to fall out. That being said, Hammock Bliss advises that our hammocks be hung no more than 18 inches or 46 cm above the ground so that is a user were to fall out the distance between the hammock and the ground is relatively short.
Stitching & Thread
All Hammock Bliss hammocks use nylon thread which is superior to cotton thread. If you look at where the hammock is stitched at either end or between color panels, you will notice that we have stitched these areas 3 times. This is called Triple Stitching and as you might imagine it is significantly stronger that single or double stitching. Also notice the pattern of the stitches. Rather than use a simple stitch we use an interlocking stitch which provides both strength AND flexibility.
Hammock Bliss is one of the only parachute hammock makers that include climbing rope at each end of the hammock. This gives the user greater flexibility in hanging the hammock and means each hammock is completely usable out of the bag. We source our climbing rope from a quality facility in Taiwan and the 6mm climbing rope that we use has a breaking strength of 770 pounds or 350 kilos. Each year we ask the manufacturer of our rope to improve the quality and each year the rope we use is stronger than the last. Though it is not impossible, it is extremely difficult to break our climbing rope. The quality of this rope is superb.
Some users have described the no-see-um netting we use at Hammock Bliss as “bullet proof.” We pride ourselves in having found the best quality no-see-um mesh in the world. Some no-see-um netting is like a stocking and though it may have small holes it can rip or tear quite easily. Hammock Bliss no-see-um netting has 2100 holes per square inch AND it is incredibly strong. It will not rip or tear with normal use. Simply grab two close sections of our no-see-um netting in each of your hands and pull them apart as hard as you can and you will see for yourself. The netting is so fine that even the tiniest creatures cannot penetrate including sand flies, midges, fleas, gnats, mosquitoes and no-see-ums. No-see-um netting is used on the Hammock Bliss No-See-Um No More hammock, Hammock Bliss No-See-Um / Mosquito Net Cocoon and Hammock Bliss Sky Tent 2.
Sky Tent 2
Dov Frazer & Mark Gruskin jointly designed the Hammock Bliss Sky Tent 2. Sky Tent 2 is a unique hammock camping concept as it combines rain protection and bug protection with ample space for your hammock and your gear. Most rain and bug solutions for a hammock provide a rather narrow and restricted sleeping area. Sky Tent 2 integrates rain and bug protection for up to two hammocks and creates an extremely roomy, tent-like internal space. Sky Tent 2 also provides a space to hang you gear as you can use the hammock ropes to hang your backpack. Sky Tent 2 is meant to be suspended above and around your hammock but it is not attached to your hammock. Your body and gear weight are suspended separately using your hammock ropes and the tree straps. Sky Tent 2 can also be used on the ground like a conventional tent using two hiking poles to hold up the ends. While we would prefer that you use Sky Tent 2 with a Hammock Bliss hammock, it works equally well with most any gathered end hammock. Be sure to note that a hammock is not included with the Sky Tent 2.