Lately, we’ve seen more and more hammocks in the places where we RV. It’s made us wonder what first prompted this invention, and why the popularity of hammocks still endures today. The history of hammocks is a fascinating story!
Ancient Greeks are thought to have first used hanging beds for guests who attended their lavish (and often lengthy) banquets or symposia.
It took centuries before the hanging beds next made their appearance, this time, in Central America. The Taino Indians are thought to be among the first peoples to use the word, “hamaca.” They fashioned a net made from woven plant fibers and bark. The net was then suspended between trees and used for sleeping.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish explorers saw the benefits of hammocks and quickly adopted them for use on their ships. Hammocks proved to be a perfect solution for sailors because they could be put up and taken down quickly, didn’t take up much space, and worked well in the unstable environment of a ship.
Over time, the design of the hammock evolved. It became a popular piece of furniture in the Americas, especially in the countries of Brazil and Mexico. In fact, some 18th century hospitals used hammocks as beds for their recovering patients.
Hammocks soon became associated with relaxation and leisure. In the 19th century, hammocks began to appear in gardens and other outdoor spaces where they were used for relaxation, resting, and simply enjoying the outdoors.
Today, the hammock remains very popular. Now they can be outfitted with rain tarps, mosquito netting, and more! We’ve seen hammocks in parks, beaches, and campgrounds all across the country.
Why sleep in a suspended bed in the first place? Turns out, Central America’s indigenous people most likely used hammocks to keep themselves off the ground for very good reasons—life-saving reasons. The suspended beds kept the Taino Indians well above the ground, therefore avoiding dangerous ground-dwelling predators and crawling insects. Fires were sometimes made below the hammocks to provide greater protection from predators, and these fires also helped to provide warmth for the hammock sleeper.
Hammocks are popular all over the world today. The modern hammock has come a long way from its original design and is available in a variety of materials and styles.
Hammocks offer a suspended, cradling sensation that can help ease tension and provide relaxation. Today’s hammocks are also versatile, highly portable, and easy to set up, making them popular for outdoor enthusiasts like RVers. But be forewarned! It’s a good idea to ask permission before fastening your hammock between trees. When you get the “OK,” kick back and relax!
If you (like me) worry about causing the next YouTube sensation for “hilarious attempts at getting into a hammock,” you can check out this video for helpful directions.
Want your own hammock? Here are tons of options (and most are affordable).
Do you bring a hammock along?
Please feel free to leave a comment below.
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I don’t use a hammock any more, but in the day, I preferred to use a jungle hammock (Army surplus) to a tent. Have slept comfortably many a night in one.
Thank you, Gail! DW got an hammock for Christmas. It travels with us in the RV so that she can hang it and enjoy it at every opportunity.
At my age and with my weight, I’m sure I would end up on “Funniest Home Videos” if I tried to get in or out of one!
Always have it with us, but rarely use it. Reclining camp chair is quicker and easier to use and I can doze off on almost anything
The video left me stumped and basically speechless. Can we not figure anything out ourselves any more? An “educational” video on how to get into a hammock? My dog figured that on his own! Are videos sent along with every hammock sold? Is that why so many people take electronics with them when they “camp”? Now I KNOW that I was born 100 years too late. “To boil water you first need a microwave, a microwave safe bowl, and water, then you ….”
You didn’t offer a “have one, but don’t/can’t use it” – I would love to, but rarely see an opportunity to – either no trees or the use of them, or anything else to tie it to!
They are so small and compact that it is nothing to store one so why wouldn’t you? Getting my old fat butt in and out of one is another story!
“Why wouldn’t you” bring one? Because, as Jim says below, many campgrounds forbid suspending them from trees. National Park campgrounds, Colorado (and other) State Parks forbid them, and many National Forest campgrounds have signs prohibiting their use.
When we had a little trailer and lots of kids with us, we had tents and hammocks set up all the time. The habit continues, and the grown up kids still use them.
I don’t find them to be comfortable, rather use our lounge chairs that we carry on our motorhome.
Our hammocks are always in the camper,however we rarely think to bring them out and use them!
I don’t often use it but my hammock tent is sheer joy.
I agree…my son in law had one that he set up in the campsite that we shared with them. I was used to the torture devices of old but decided to try it and woke up about an hour later ! I now travel with one of these like his and enjoy it when camping in the local state parks
While I bring a compact, easily foldable hammock…it is rare I get the chance to use it! No available spaced trees in the site. With Ticks, you don’t want to put it in the woods either.
I saw enough people roll out of a hammock and end up face down in the dirt.
I don’t need that.
No don’t travel with a hammock. Many (most?) campgrounds forbid attaching them to the trees (if there are even two appropriately spaced trees on the campsite) and require you to bring your own portable hanging frames. I have better uses for the space and weight of such frames.