So What Does Jumbo XL Mean Anyway?
Good question; but one with many answers. It can be irritating to me, and, I am sure, confusing to customers, to see a medium size hammock described as "XL", which implies that it is a very large hammock, not a medium size hammock. Misleading descriptors like this are used all over the internet to justify a higher price for a lesser product. To help you sort through all this, I am going to discuss actual sizes and what they mean, technically, from the point of origin to you.
Starting with the Mayan style hammock made in Mexico, usually the Yucatan Peninsula, there are a few things you should know. To start with, the looms that the artisans use are two meters, about six and a half feet, in height. This fixes the length of the body or bed part of the hammock at about six and a half feet for all Mayan hammocks, regardless of size. The size designations reflect, therefore, the width of the bed rather than the length. The two most common systems of classification are by spools or by weight, in other words by the amount of material used. In the spool system, a single size Mayan hammock uses 3 spools of yarn, and is designated a #3. This same hammock would be classified as a #6 in the weight system, referring to the weight of .6 Kilos which is the weight this amount of yarn will produce. The "double" uses 4 spools, and is classified by spools as a #4, or a #10 for 1 Kilo in the weight system. The queen size, which is called the "Matrimonial" in Mexico, uses 5 spools equaling a #5 in spools and a #14 (1.4 kilos) by weight. The King size, which in Mexico is known as the Familiar or family hammock is a #6 in spools or a #16 by weight (1.6 kilos). The Jumbo is #7 in spools, and 2 kilos in weight, hence #20. And the Extra is #8 in spools and #22 or 2.2 kilos in weight. What I have not mentioned is that after the bed is woven, the (usually)nylon or polypropylene support "arms" or "harness" is added, usually in the central production facility. These arms complete the hammock up to its typical 13 foot total length. They also add to the weight, which is why the weight of the spools, when added up, is less than the weight of the total hammock. Hammocks that are sold as extra large because they are 14 or 15 feet long, are only longer in the arms, not in the bed, which is a fixed 2 meters in size for all hammocks. It is possible to keep weaving a hammock until it is 20 feet or 100 feet wide; but of course, there is no practical reason to do so. The weaving style of the Mayan hammock is know as "sprang" or open woven, which means that it has no warp or weft. Rather, it consists of adjacent diamond shapes that expand and contract in use. This makes the hammock, regardless of rated size, very accommodating to any user, also regardless of size. It also means that width measurements are approximate at best.
So, armed with this knowledge, how do you select the correct hammock size for your needs? As the hammocks are graded by quantity of material, how does this correspond with width, which is the relevant variable for this hammock? Below, I am charting the Mayan Hammocks by name, size and width. We measure width as we lie across the hammock from within the hammock. This is the only useful way to measure. Some folks have two guys stretch an unhung hammock as far as they can across the middle, and then tell you their Super Jumbo is 14 feet wide. Well that is useful, is it not?! Not! The tightness of the weave affects the width, so all dimensions are approximate and subject to variations, and are imprecise to begin with as mentioned earlier.
1) Single/Standard/#3/#6----Width =4-5 feet
2) Double/#4/#10-------------Width =5-6 feet
3) Queen/#5/#14--------------Width =6-7.5 feet
4) King/Grande?#6?#16-------Width =7.5-8.5 feet
5) Jumbo/XGrande?#7/#20---Width =8.5-10 feet
6) XXGrande/#8/#22----------Width =9-12 feet
The greater amount of width variation in the larger sizes can be attributed to the fact that with so much more material the "hand of the weaver" as it establishes a tighter or looser weave has a greater effect on the size. Although the looser weaves produce a larger hammock, the support level diminishes; and the tighter weave, which offers more support, is generally considered more desirable.
So how would you select the proper size for your use? If you are a small adult or child the single hammock will be sufficient for day use. But even smaller people should choose a larger size for sleeping. A child could sleep in a single or double. A small adult should seek out a double or queen. An average adult should seek out a queen or a king. Larger adults should seek out a King, or Jumbo, or XXGrande. For proper back support and rest, the larger the better, as the larger hammock does not have to stretch out so much to accommodate the user, and, hence, offers the tighter and more supportive weave configuration.
For sharing the hammock with others or the Other, go large, as large as you can!
The other sprang woven hammock in general use is the Nicaraguan hammock, woven in what is known as the "double sprang" weave, which doubles the yarn back into the weave changing the little diamond shapes into hexagons. In general the Nicaraguan hammocks are longer than Mexican hammocks, heavier because of the additional material used in the denser weave styles, and somewhat easier to measure because they are less stretchy. Sizing on Nicaraguan hammocks is both by length and width, and again is measured from within the hammock so far as the width is concerned. Nicaraguan hammocks are used in a more acute diagonal than the Mexican styles which open wider. The size designations in the Nicaraguan hammock, are the Family, or XL, the Couples, or Large, the Single, or medium, and the Dorm/Travelers, or small. Phrases like "roomy for one and cozy for two" abound in the lexicon of Nicaraguan hammocks. Let me tell you that if you are a big guy you want the Family hammock. Smaller adults and couples are OK in the Couples size. And the Single and Dorm sizes should only be contemplated by small adults and children. Actual sizes listed below:
Family-----16 feet total length; body length--8 feet; body width--6 feet.
Wedding---14 feet total length; body length--9 feet, body width, 5 feet.
Couples---15 feet total length; body length--8 feet; body width--5 feet.
Single-----14 feet total length; body length--7 feet; body width--4 feet.
Dorm------11 feet total length; body length--6 feet; body width--3.5 feet.
Brazilian and other Amazona style hammocks are a bit easier to size because they don't change their shape and size in use. Cross woven as they are, their dimensions remain stable. For Brazilian Hammocks a width of 4' is generally considered a single. 5 feet is a double. And over 5 feet is a Queen or Family size. Lengths vary more in hammocks from Brazil, but are generally proportional to the widths.
In Bar Hammocks the length of the spreader bar determines the width of the hammock and the purported carrying capacity of the hammock.
39" Bar is a Single
40-42" Bar is a Large Single, or Small Double.
48" Bar is a double.
50" on up are larger doubles.
In bar hammocks the length of the hammock overall is a significant variable as it determines what size hammock stands can be used. Hammock stands are generally sized at super-short 10', medium 12' or 13', standard 15', and Large 16'. It is important to make sure that your hammock is enough shorter than the stand that you can stretch it really tight, and still have room left over for stretch. Usually this means the hammock should be a couple of feet shorter than the stand.