The hammock weight limit depends on many factors; such as the fabric, binding techniques, suspension, anchor, and the hammock itself. But, for any regular hammock, the safe limit defined for the weight holding capacity of a hammock can range from 350- 450 pounds.
There are different kinds of hammocks for different purposes. The weight holding capacity also differs based on the place and the way you set up the hammock.
Purpose of the hammock
Before going on to the different calculative aspects, you have to be clear about the places and the purpose of setting up the hammock.
If you are planning for the beach trips occasionally, you can have the ones with a weight carrying capacity of around 450 pounds. But, if you are planning to have it for camping, hiking trips or as a permanent outdoor shelter, you need to have good durable hammocks with high tenacity (approx. – 500-700 pounds).
During the camping generally, we would like to stay with our family and friend. In that case, we may share the hammock. So, the hammock should be able to carry double the weight than usual. If you are the one with adventure and trekking hobbies with your family and friends, it is advisable to go for hammocks with a weight holding capacity of more than 700 pounds.
TIP: Always test your hammock carefully before using it.
Different Types of Fabrics
Can the type of fabric and its quality affect the weight holding capacity of a Hammock?
Yes, it does. The type of Fabric used in a hammock proportionally sets the amount of weight a hammock can hold. Nowadays with multiple choices available, you must go with the fabric that is suitable for your purpose. By doing that you can ensure that your hammock can hold more weight and durable for a long time.
There are four popular fabrics used for hammocks.
– Nylon or polypropylene
Cotton hammocks have a fair restriction on the elasticity and thus the weight carrying capacity. If you love to use your hammock outdoor, cotton hammocks may not be the right option for you. Because they carry moisture and thus tend to become weak easily.
And also when used outdoor the sun and the rain may affect the longevity and the weight carrying capacity of the hammock. On the other hand, cotton hammocks are the most comfortable ones. It is soft and thus gives you more comfort than any other fabrics.
In short, cotton hammocks can be the best option if you love to use it indoor.
Weight Range: 250 – 350 Pounds (approx.)
These are not only comfortable but also durable with high tensile strength. This increases the weight holding capacity either in rope or quilted manner. Polyester is inorganic, hence it is resistant to weather and can withstand more wear and tear as compared to any other fabrics. Polyester is long-lasting, lightweight and easy to carry.
Weight Range: 350 – 450 Pounds (approx.)
Nylon or polypropylene
The denier high-tenacity nylon i.e. HEX 70, the durability and abrasion resistance factors cover high weight limits. If we are to compare, a certain 1.1oz fabric made from cotton without a grid is quite a bit weaker than your average 1.1oz nylon rip-stop. Hence, it is the preferred choice for many campers.
Nylon hammocks are highly breathable, soft hand & lightweight. But the comfort of these fabrics to some extent depends on the body weight.
Note: Most of today’s nylon hammocks are polypropylene, which tends to degrade in sunlight, thus making them less durable in sunny environments.
Weight Range: 450 – 550 pounds (lbs)
Olefin fabric in recent times becoming very popular. It is resistant to staining, mildew, abrasion, and sunlight. The majority of the manufacturers are now implementing olefin fibers along with nylon, for both rope or quilted hammocks.
With the use of polyester fiber and olefin fibers, the support and rigidness of the hammock maximize, thus increasing the durability and weight holding capacity of the Hammock.
Weight Range: 500 – 700 pounds (lbs)
Tailoring and Binding techniques
Weight-bearing is also adversely affected by the construction manner of the Hammock. Tensile strength will correlate with thread count and the number of plies in the yarn. Certain hammocks are well built with merging two different types of fabrics but the weight holding capacity is fairly determined by the tightly woven intertwining.
For eg. The Mayan Hammock is woven of thin strings, yet it can hold up to 700 pounds due to its binding techniques and Nicaraguan or Brazilian hammocks use a very peculiar weaving technique which makes them more robust. Hence, both kinds of hammocks have their respective pros but when it comes to weight capacity Mayan hammocks may have the edge due to the woven techniques.
Check out how the hammocks are woven; weather it’s tightly woven or does it have any flaws in the woven technique. Remember this could be the difference for a hammock to hold 400 pounds or 700 pounds.
Different Anchoring Methods
Whether you want a permanent hammock installation or you want to take your hammock outdoor there are multiple ways to hang hammocks securely. Being part of hammock construction, this objectively affects the weight holding capacity and cord tension of the Hammock.
This is being considered as the most reliable and stable means for hanging the hammock. So if you are using ring buckles, finger nines or j- hooks, these are easy to adjust to find the right tension and thus increase the weight limit for a Hammock.
Ropes can be made from natural fibers or synthetic fibers like polypropylene or nylon. Natural ropes are very strong but the nylon ropes stretch like rubber bands. When you’re sitting on the hammock it can expand up to 40% of its length depending on the imposed weight. If nylon ropes are used properly for tying your hammock it can hold some serious weight. The downside may be that your back may hit the ground in case you tie it lower.
Natural fiber ropes absorb water hence it swells whenever it’s wet. This can hold less weight compared to the synthetic fiber ropes. And when you put more weight on these ropes it tends to break. Moreover, the ropes can tighten up to the tree when it’s exposed to the water.
This is a wonderful alternative to the ropes. The weight holding capacity of these straps is great. Many campers recommend tree straps because they are durable and much easier to use. Moreover, the trees straps are eco-friendly hence it doesn’t cause damage to the trees.
Hammock stands can generally hold a weight ranging from 350 lbs to 650 lbs. This largely depends on the type and height of the Hammock.
For instance, steel stands have more weight carrying capacity and are also durable. The wooden stands are capable of holding less weight than their steel equivalents.
If you’re an outdoor camper this is not for you. This is ideal for placing the hammock in the patio or at your backyards.
One of the crucial parts of this Hammock hardware is Carabiners. It is highly recommended to get the ones that are sturdy and solid. The type of carabiner however will also depend on your hammock usage. Even if you opt for the hammock that is not too expensive, make sure to confirm the quality testing of your carabiner.
As for Anchors, either on trees or stands and walls the quality of Anchor metal and the width of tree and wall significantly will alter the weight holding capacity of the hammock. Not only this, you need to as well estimate the proper height to install your anchor points to create the desired sheer pressure.
Manufacturing Weight Limits
The limits approved by the manufactures also give a fair idea about the weight that a Hammock can hold on. But it is not something that you can rely on upon low-quality hammocks. The weight holding capacity can be significantly lower than the actual breaking strength.
Although if you go with the most well-known hammock brands like Wise Owl or Mallome, they communicate safe tolerance limits post-testing. And not to exclude, there are variations in manufacturing to consider as well.
Can we trust the safe limits as stated by the Manufacturers?
Yes, you can and you should, as most of the manufactures pen down the tested limits and would never want a drop in sales for false labeling. Also, you can trust it if it’s a well-known brand and exert up to say 500 pounds if the printed limit is 400 pounds.
For your concluding facts!!!
It is your responsibility to determine the best fabrics, build method, and suspension that will serve your needs before planning your set up.
Last but not the least, aging and environmental concerns and not to mention the added stresses, are the events that might easily exert forces double their weight.
Hope this will bring in some clarity for you to decide and take into account different aspects that can affect the weight holding capacity of your hammock.