Some Hammocks are More Comfortable than Others
Here's an important thing to know about hammocks: they are not all created equal. The classic image of a relaxing summer day spent with cool lemonade in hand, gently swaying all your cares away on your hammock, quickly goes away if you aren't in the right one. I know everyone thinks that a classic rope hammock is the way to go, but I have discovered that there's a better way.
In 1999 I spent my summer traveling on the Oregon coast for six weeks. I had my family with me, and we just stayed at State campgrounds in a little pop-up trailer. One afternoon we pulled into a camp and set up our ordinary arrangements. We got all the food bins organized, placed the lawn chairs around the fire pit, and hung one of our hammocks up between a couple of trees. My youngest son was one at the time and he and I got on the hammock together. We rocked and swayed and generally enjoyed ourselves watching as the other kids fed a happy little squirrel some bread bits. Then, suddenly, we learned a funny thing about rope hammocks, that don't hold up very well. Boom! In an instant, my son and I found ourselves slammed down to the ground as the rope gave way.
Obviously, not all rope hammocks are the same. The one I was using that day in Oregon was not as hefty and strong as others. Had I been using a thicker rope hammock, I would have saved myself a bruised behind. But, I wouldn't have given my wife the comic relief she enjoyed that day either.
As for comfort, there is a big difference between rope, woven, and fabric hammocks. When you try to settle into a rope one your skin pushes through all the little openings, and it just isn't really that comfy. A nice woven surface, on the other hand provides much more support and allows the weight of your body to be more evenly distributed. The material used to make some of these woven hammocks tend to be a little rough so just be sure to think how it will feel on days when you are in shorts and T's.
By far, the hammocks I most prefer are the quilted, woven ones. These come in a wide variety of color options, are plenty wide (usually big enough for two adults), and won't break the bank. You can truly relax on these types because your skin isn't constantly being made uncomfortable from going through any gaps. The fabrics used on most of these generally holds up well to the weather and can be left out on the stand, or wherever you have it set up. One note of caution on these though, is that if you have a puppy around, it will find the hammock and rip it to shreds if given the chance. It's another story for another time, but I had the misfortune of experiencing that when my retriever pup discovered just how fun it can be to thrash the thing to hundreds of bits.
Hammocks serve a variety of purposes, from casual relaxation and entertainment, to camping. Some are suited for throwing into a back pack, while others are intended to be set up in the yard. All things considered, if it is comfort you want, I would recommend a woven or fabric hammock over a rope one.