How to Choose a Mexican Hammock

August 20, 2018 5 min read

Not all Mexican hammocks are the same. To ensure you purchase the best quality and value for money there are a few things to keep in mind as explained in this article. 

Whether you are buying a Mexican hammock from Mexico itself, a retail store or online shop like here are a few things you should be aware of before purchasing.

Mexican colourful cotton hammock

Cord Type - Cotton, Nylon and Polyester Hammocks

Hammocks are generally available in two or three varieties of cord. Nylon, cotton and polyester.  A nylon hammock is 100% nylon. What this means is the body and the arms are both made of nylon.  A cotton hammock will often be a mix of nylon and cotton.  With the body (the part you lie in) being woven from cotton and the arms (the ends) are made from nylon. This is done to provide a stronger, longer-lasting hammock without sacrificing the comfort of cotton. Generally, the most common mix is 80% cotton and 20% nylon. Polyester hammocks should be 100% polyester, both the body and the arms.

Cotton Hammocks

The main difference in the cord types is that cotton hammocks (above) are softer and slightly more comfortable as the cotton stretches moulding the hammock to your body shape. Nylon hammocks are also very comfortable however are slightly firmer and more durable. They will not stretch as much and are often the better option if you are going to leave your hammock outdoors for extended periods of time unprotected. Many people think of hammocks as being quite harsh (like fishing line) however this is not the case. The fine thread has a nice shine and is silky smooth. When deciding between the two, we usually ask recommend cotton if comfort is the main priority and nylon if you are willing to sacrifice a bit of comfort for a bit of added durability.

More recently we have decided and through popular choice to focus on stocking the cotton hammock varieties and slowly remove nylon as a material option. Cotton hammocks can still last just as long as nylon, but can just require a little more care in protecting them from the elements when not in use. We also now provide a free hammock weather protection cover with each Mexican double, queen, king and thick cord hammock, which simply slides along your hammock when not in use protecting if from sun, rain and wind.    

Both cotton and nylon hammocks come in a variety of vibrant colours. Similar care is required with both types with maximum lifespan being achieved through keeping dry and out of the elements when not in use.

A more recent material used in hammocks and one we have started stocking in Australia is hammocks made from polyester. The polyester we use is a soft spun material so is quite similar in look and feel to cotton, yet has great weather resistance and durability over both cotton and nylon. It has extra thick cord and comes in either black or white. This is the material of choice for those that like to leave their hammock outdoor all summer and know it will handle the harsh Australia climate. Currently, we have this material in our spreader bar style hammock with more hammock options coming in the future. 

Hammocks Australia White Polyester Spreader Bar Hammock

Hammock Weave

This is probably the most important part of selecting your hammock. The weave of the hammock is responsible for its comfort. The smaller and tighter the weave of a hammock the greater the comfort it will provide. What this means is the gaps between the cords should be small and the cords should interweave in a diamond type pattern so that each line of cord is supported by the surround cords which provides strength and distributes your weight throughout the hammock avoiding pressure points. This is exactly how Mexican hammocks are made and why they are so comfortable and why the Mayan Mexican sleep in them.

Sleeping in a hammock

Big wide gaps will generally result in a less comfortable hammock and can lead to 'rope marks' and the feeling of rope digging into your skin. Often these are the cheaper varieties like the mass-produced ones from China where they really skimp on the quantity of cord used. Cheaper hammocks will not provide you long-term comfort, lack proper support and result in you being less inclined to use your hammock.

Hammock Quality

You want to ensure the cords in your hammock are all in good condition with no fraying or damage. Any knots in the hammock should not be in the body, but up close the where the arms attach. Ends should be cut or burnt off neatly to prevent the cord unravelling.

Buying a Hammock in Mexico

If you are buying in Mexico itself, the beautiful city of Merida, and around the state of Yucatan produces some of the best hammocks available. After all, this is where the Mexican hammock was invented!

Be warned, walking around the tourist areas of the Zocalo (main square) everyone will be trying to befriend you into their shops to sell you hammocks. So try not to feel pressured and take your time, check various shops and prices when choosing. Get a few blocks away from the main centre if you can or to the local markets, and you’ll find the pace and pressure slow down a bit. Make sure to get the hammock hung up for you so you can take it for a test drive and feel the different cord types and sizes.

Hammock Shop Merida Mexico

When choosing your hammock size, think of it as a bed.  And like a bed the larger the hammock, the more comfortable it will be whether for one person or when sharing with others. You will come across sizes that may be labelled as numbers.  E.g. #3, #4, #5, and upwards. What this means is the number of cords of material used to make each hammock. So a #3 uses three cords of material per hammock, a #5, 5 cords etc. In other terms, a #3 is a small single, #4 is a Double (better suited to one person), #5 is a Queen, great size for 1 or 2, #6 King, 1-4 people, and upwards. If you really want something special and very very large you can keep going upwards to a #10, #11 and #12!

To ensure you are getting the correct hammock size as specified, it may pay to have your hammock weighed prior to purchase. Most stores should be able to provide an electronic scale for you to weigh the hammock. A number #4 double should weigh approx 1kg. #5 Queen, approx 1.3 kg, and a #6 King around 1.5 kg.

So there you go, hopefully, that will help you out in your search for the perfect Mexican Hammock, regarded by many as the most comfortable type of hammock in the world.

Buying a Hammock Online

If you are not planning on going to Mexico but still want an Authentic Mexican hammock that meets all the criteria, then you are already at the right place –Hammocks Australia. Where you can rest assured we have done all the hard work in testing, checking and hunting down the best quality hammocks for you.

  • We only sell the best in quality and stock the most popular sizes. #4 – Double through to #6 – King, but can get in any other size you require.
  • All are 100% handmade - beautifully and skilfully interwoven with tight gaps for the best comfort.
  • Our hammocks come from a Fair Trade Federation Member and B Corp, so you can be assured that weavers are treated and paid fairly.
  • We stock cotton and polyester hammocks.
  • All hammocks are hung up, checked and inspected twice before being sent on to us, and then you. No frayed, pinched or damaged cords, knots or other defects are let through
  • All hammocks are weighed and labelled after inspection to ensure you are getting the correct size
  • You will receive free delivery Australia wide!


Guy Halpin
Guy Halpin

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