These days, Brazilian hammocks are virtually synonymous with the idea of outdoor luxury and relaxation. But none of that would be possible were it not for the granddaddy of them all – the Brazilian hammock, used by South Americans for centuries before European explorers eventually discovered them. Today, millions of people enjoy some variation of Brazilian hammocks, whether that's for sleeping, lounging, or taking a nice break in the middle of the day.
Where Did the Brazilian Hammock Come From?
True to its name, the Brazilian hammock originates in Brazil, albeit hundreds, if not thousands of years in the past. In generations past, Brazilians would tie up these hammocks in between trees to keep them off of the ground and away from critters, but they could also be set up and broken down quickly, if necessary.
Eventually, explorers like Christopher Columbus landed on the shores of Brazil and found these types of hammocks to be not only beautiful but also incredibly useful. Ever since, hammocks have been a staple on most ships — whether that's merchant, transport, or other types of boats — and so the Brazilian hammock found its way across the world in a very quick period of time.
What Makes a Brazilian Hammock Unique?
The very first thing you'll notice about the Brazilian hammock is the wide array of colors and styles to choose from. Since Brazilian hammocks are not made just from cotton ropes — instead, relying on a blanket of sorts that is connected from end to end – the colors can be mixed and matched to form a truly distinct look not found in other styles of hammocks.
One of the other distinctive traits of Brazilian hammocks is that they are designed primarily for sleeping. Although some hammocks are not very comfortable to sleep in for a long period of time, Brazilian hammocks lay flatter than others, which means that you don't have to sleep primarily on your back in a curled position to make it work for you. You can feel free to not only stretch out but also bring other accessories, like pillows or blankets, to make it a fully restful experience.
Because of the multicolored look that uses thicker fabrics designed for sleeping, the Brazilian hammock is less suited to hotter climates. More open weave designs, like rope hammocks or Mayan hammocks, allow airflow to come from underneath the hammock and cool down the body. Brazilian hammocks restrict airflow -- although not completely -- making it more suitable for milder climates.
One other thing you might notice about the Brazilian hammock that sets it apart from other hammocks is the lack of a "spreader bar." The spreader bar is a long piece of wood at the end of traditional hammocks; they keep the hammock flat. These also can add significantly to the weight, inhibit storage and make it more difficult to transport the hammocks to different locations, which makes the Brazilian hammock a perfect choice for overnight camping or backpacking. These types of hammocks — the ones without a spreader bar – are called "gathered end" hammocks, called such because the edges of the hammocks "gather" at the anchor points on the edges of the hammock.
Can Two People Use a Brazilian Hammock?
Despite their emphasis on appearance, Brazilian hammocks are known for their strength and durability; most are rated for 300 pounds of weight, if not more. That should be enough to suit most people, but if you decide to put more people in a single hammock, then you run the risk of wearing it down prematurely or causing it to break completely. Some two-person hammocks are stressed-loaded for up to 450 pounds, so it's best to stay under that weight limit as much as possible to avoid any potential injury.
Another thing to consider if you try to make a Brazilian hammock into a two-person hammock is space. Since Brazilian hammocks lack a spreader bar, your hammock will most likely roll around you to form a cocoon — which is great if you are trying to relax by yourself but can be uncomfortable if you have another person squeezing in next to you. For that reason, Brazilian hammocks are not always the best choice for two-person sleeping.
You also have to think about the insulation factor. Since Brazilian hammocks are already warmer than other styles, adding a second person to the environment may cause you to become warmer than you would like. This isn't a problem if you're backpacking through the mountains, but if you're planning on using it in a tropical environment, it can get uncomfortable very quickly. That being said, as long as you use a two-person hammock safely, the sky is the limit in terms of how you can set it up and enjoy it in everyday life.
How Do I Set Up a Brazilian Hammock?
If you want to use a Brazilian hammock in the way that our ancestors designed it, you will latch it to a tree using straps or knots. This isn't always possible, though, and more importantly, it's sometimes unnecessary when trying to mount your Brazilian hammock safely. We recommend always using eyebolts or hooks, along with a carabiner, to latch them into a beam or tree branch. Doing in this way will ensure that your hammock won't suddenly become undone somehow in the middle of the night.
For those who want to enjoy their Brazilian hammock in an area without trees, such as the back porch, we also have stands that are available for you to tie the hammock between. Hammock stands are simple to set up yet are surprisingly durable and can hold up a significant amount of weight. This allows you to move your hammock wherever you want — whether that's a back porch or beach near the ocean.
How Do I Get In a Hammock?
This may sound like a simple question, but it's one we often get from first-time hammock buyers, some of whom have had bad experiences with them in the past (usually by flopping out the back of them). It may seem like a straightforward answer, but getting into a hammock requires list a little bit of purpose. With a few tries, though, you'll get it no time.
First, start by spreading the fabric apart and sitting directly in the middle of the hammock. Next, rotate so that your legs move inside the hammock, and then lay back at a slight diagonal towards the other end. Once you're lying flat in the hammock, rotate your upper and lower body till you find a position that works best for you. Voilà! You're good to go.
Ready to Relax?
At Harmony hammocks, we pride ourselves on only using the best quality materials that will last for not just months but years at a time. We have Brazilian hammocks in several different styles and colors to choose from, so you're sure to find one that matches your personal preference, and with the sales that we run all the time, you'll find it at the right price also.
Hammocks also make great gifts, so whether you're in the market to find something for yourself or for somebody else, we look forward to bringing our signature look to your doorstep.