As summer comes a scorching in here in the northern hemisphere, people hope to find a bit of relaxation in a hammock! And why not?! What could be nicer than drowsing in comfort on a lazy afternoon? When selecting a hammock, particularly for outdoor use, the materials used play a significant role in comfort and durability. The original hammocks were made from tree fibers and supported by woven branches. But a lot has changed since then. Unless you are on a Discovery Channel episode let’s leave the bark of trees for another time, and get to business on what is best for your modern day hammock.
Cotton is almost universally agreed to produce the most comfortable hammocks. It is strong, soft, breathable, and just plain giving. In Mayan and Nicaraguan hammocks, cotton is used in the form of string or cords to make comfortable open weave hammocks. In Brazilian hammocks it is cross woven into canvas. While cotton resists sun degradation quite nicely, being an organic product, it is susceptible to mildew and mold which will weaken its fibers and cause it to rot, if not kept dry.
Polyester is a man made fiber used in a wide range of hammocks. Like cotton, it is generally soft and comfortable, and very strong. Being non organic in origin it is not subject to mildew, and is often a great choice for the outdoors in wetter condition. It tends to stiffen after a few seasons in the UV radiation of old Sol.
Polypropylene is surprisingly common in the Mexican style of hammock where it is referred to as nylon. It is extremely strong, excellent for jungle use and humid climates. It won’t mildew, and is long lasting in the shade. Under high UV it can deteriorate quickly. It forms a harder, stiffer bed than cotton or polyester.
Nylon, true nylon, is a superb hammock material for the great outdoors. It is also quite expensive. It combines the strength of polypropylene with the comfort of cotton and a silky feel of its own. It also exhibits a strong disregard for UV radiation. It is principally found in high end Mayan hammocks such as the Tommy Hamaca Nylon Crochet XXG, which is, in our experience, the finest outdoor hammock available.
Durasol cording made in Mexico also makes a good long lasting out door hammock. To view the best selection of All Weather hammocks on the internet, visit our All Weather Hammock section.
Since threads make the bed, pick materials that work best for your blend of comfort, wear, and longevity.
Although Seaside Hammocks makes available a wide variety of hammocks to the public, our specialty has always been the hand crafted hammocks of the Americas. Specifically, we love to work with the Mayan craftspeople of the Yucatan. We began simply by buying the hammocks and exporting them to America where we stocked them in our store and warehouse for sale to the local public and to the world via the internet. As time went by we saw the need and opportunity to meet new criteria of quality in materials and workmanship. While holding fast to the marvelous traditional weaving styles we bring updated modern materials such as mercerized cotton and dos elephantes true nylon cording, as well as pure polyester to create hammocks at the very pinnacle of quality and versatility, useful in a wide range of environments. Our successes have included the Tommy Hamaca line of mercerized cotton and nylon support hammocks which are many times stronger and more environmentally friendly and resistant to the weather than any other cotton hammock in our experience. For outside use we also developed the amazing Tommy Hamaca XX Nylon crochet which offers superb tactile pleasure and 5-10 year life expectancy in severe weather conditions.
But it is not just about the hammocks. It is also about the Maya people and their traditional culture. This culture has been under attack since the arrival of the Spaniards 500 years ago. Although the missionaries did their best to convert the Maya, the old Maya traditions still are strong, even among Mayan Christians. The weaving of the Mayan hammock is a strong and ancient tradition, but like the culture itself, it is under relentless attack by the modern world. In the poorer villages life remains traditional, but prosperity in the larger villages has brought television and internet exposure which is even now having a profound effect on the children. In one large Mayan village fully half of the working age men live in a certain town in Oregon, as (primarily) illegal immigrants. For a young Mayan it is possible over a two or three year period of 14 hour days at low wages, to send enough money back to the village to have a house built.
In the villages, other than opening a Tienda (shop) or raising cattle there is little gainful employment outside the hammock trade. Seaside Hammocks supports these villages with our business and by using Fair Trade practices to improve the life of the villagers. All Tommy Hamaca brand Mayan hammocks and 85% of our unbranded hammocks are Fair Trade certified.
When you purchase a Mayan hammock from Seaside Hammocks you are buying far more than just the world’s most comfortable hammock. You are supporting the hundreds of families that depend on us to help preserve the traditional Maya way of life.
Seaside Hammocks has been working for many years to help bring prosperity to the Maya people who weave our beautiful hammocks. Like traditional cultures throughout the world this culture is under constant pressure from the stress of poverty and the loss of youth to urban areas. It is fragile. We are, therefore, really pleased to announce that all of our Tommy Hamaca brand products are certified as Fair Traded.
The ancient history of the Maya people and the making of hammocks has been covered in our website, and elsewhere, so that this once arcane piece of history has been ardently publicized over the internet. In this blog I will be covering in text and pictures my latest trip to the hamaca holy land. These trips generally begin after a flight from one’s homeland to the airport in Cancun. From there, the amazing ADO buses (freezers on wheels) bring you across the Yucatan to Merida, the ancient and modern capitol city of the Maya. Over 60% of the population is of Mayan descent, a fact that is celebrated in a seemingly endless cycle of festivals and celebrations of the Mayan culture. The city hosts amazing art galleries, and the oldest cathedral on mainland North America. Opposite this cathedral is the the most important square of the many throughout the city. The cathedral itself was built on the foundations of ancient Maya temples.
This is the center square across from the Cathedral, site of many Maya festivals, one such festival being announced by the main door.
Inside the cathedral the architecture incorporates structural elements from the Maya temples in the stone foundations and the bases of the columns. The beautiful marble work utilizes the best of Italian marble.