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Buying a hammock should be as relaxing as lying down in one. A little variation can be part of the fun, too. For starters, you now have more color choices than ever before. And beyond the traditional sling style, you can find a few innovative choices.

For quick recommendations, read Staff Picks: Best Hammocks. For other things to think about, read on.

When choosing a hammock, consider the following factors:

  • One person or two? Most singles are 4- to 5-feet wide and can hold from 300 to 400 pounds. Double hammocks are 5- to 6-feet wide and can hold from 400 to 500 pounds (350 pounds for ultralight models).
  • Length: Look for a hammock that's at least 2 feet longer than your height
  • Accessories:Think about add-ons like straps (or other suspension system) to hang it, a hammock underquilt to sleep in cold temps, a tarp for rain and a net for bugs. A hammock stand makes home setup super easy.
  • Taking it backpacking? Weight is your key consideration.
  • Hammock tents: These consist of a hammock and accessories—like a rain tarp for sleeping overnight. You can also build your own hammock sleep system or buy a prepackaged kit.

Camping or backpacking with a hammock is a unique experience, which some people absolutely love. Hammock setups are lighter and take up less space than a traditional tent, making them popular among ultralight backpackers. But sleeping in one can feel colder, so you might need to compensate by bringing a warmer sleeping bag or sleeping pad.

Hammocks Setup Tips

Learning how to hang a hammock is easy. Here are a few tips:

  • Follow Leave No Trace principles when picking a site; also make sure the trees you strap to are sturdy and healthy.
  • Use wide attachment straps to avoid damaging tree bark; aim for a 30-degree angle between the strap and the ground.
  • Sleep at an angle, which helps flatten out your body.

REI Has the Top Brands

REI carries gear from the leading hammock makers, including ENO, Kammock and Hennessey-Hammock.