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There are two rival schools of thought when it comes to choosing the best hammock, those who like a spreader bar, and those who don’t. A spreader bar is the wooden (or plastic) bar at the end of the hammock that keeps the hammock spread open.
Traditionally, the first hammocks made in South America didn’t have spreader bars, allowing the hammock to wrap around the occupant. However, when hammocks were first sold in western markets, it is said that the spreader bar was added to make them more like a bed and is one of the reasons that they first took off.
Here are the top three spreader bar hammocks, keep reading for the full list:
Types of Spreader Bar Hammock
‘Spreader bar hammocks’ is an encompassing term for a range of different hammocks types whose common feature is the presence of a spreader bar across the top and bottom, they are the opposite of a gathered end hammock.
Spreader bar hammocks can be broken down in to four key categories:
- Nicaraguan – This was the first type of hammock to receive a spreader bar and is an evolution of those found in South America. It’s a basic cotton fabric hammock with wooden bars either end. These are often referred to as American Hammocks as they were created in order to appeal to westerners.
- Rope – Rope hammocks are commonly found both with and without spreader bars, so you have plenty of choice. They are great for warm weather as the air can circulate through the weaves.
- Quilted – These hammocks are made from two layers of polyester fabric and sometimes they are stuffed with polyester too for extra comfort as it can be quite hard on its own. These hammocks always have spreader bars and are really weather-resistant.
- Bridge – This is a very different style of hammock to those above, nonetheless it has a spreader bar, so I’ve included it. These hammocks have a curve from side to side, rather than bottom to top like most hammocks. Bridge hammocks are usually for camping and outdoors and not so much for lounging around.
Best Spreader Bar Hammock
Here are the best spreader bar hammocks:
- Best Overall: Ohuhu Double Hammock
- Premium Pick: NOVICA Fringe Hammock
- Best Small Hammock: Byer of Maine
- Quilted Hammock: Zupapa
- Rope Hammock: Vivere Hammock
- Bridge Hammock: Lawson Blue Ridge
Below are my full detailed reviews of each hammock I have suggested.
Ohuhu Double Hammock
|Bed Size||Double (6’6ft x 4’11ft)|
The spreader bar is made from bamboo which is known for its strength and water resistance. It’s also a curved spreader bar which is designed to help add extra balance. Another nice feature is the handy clip in the middle which allows you to detach it in half for easy storing.
The material is a blend of cotton and polyester which provides a happy medium between comfort and strength. Adding polyester overcomes some of the disadvantages of a pure cotton hammock, for example it doesn’t retain as much water making it easier to clean and is less prone to tearing.
It comes with two straps and carabiners included so you’ll have it hanging in no time, plus there is a storage bag too. The total length of the hammock is 10’6ft and with a bed size of 6’6ft x 4’11ft. This is just about big enough for 2 people and the 441lb weight limit will cope with this.
NOVICA Fringe Hammock
|Bed Size||Single (7’7ft x 5’5ft)|
I always bang the drum about NOVICA because I really love the backstory of the products. NOVICA is a marketplace that connects artisan producers with those wanting to purchase sustainable products.
This hammock is handmade by local experts in artisan villages of Brazil. The hammocks are all fair trade, and you know it’s a brand you can trust as they have a strategic partnership with National Geographic to promote their efforts.
The hammock itself is in the Nicaraguan style, made from 100% cotton with spreader bars made from eucalyptus wood. It has a luxury fringe which is the traditional style for this type of hammock, but it still pulls it off in an elegant and modern way.
The hammock is 11’10ft and because it has relatively short suspension strings, it has a large bed size of 7’7ft x 5’5ft. This is big enough for two people, although with a weight capacity of 300lbs you’ll have to be careful not to overload it.
Byer of Maine Spreader Bar Hammock
|Bed Size||Single (4’7ft Wide)|
|Material||Cotton (85%) and Polyester (15%)|
Byer of Maine have become one of the most well-known names in fabrics and textiles but are perhaps best known for their vibrant hammocks, as well as hammock stands and accessories.
This Brasilia hammock is made in Brazil, although technically it’s not in the Brazilian style and is more like a Nicaraguan or American hammock. Compared to the other hammocks here, it has a higher 85% cotton blend, with 15% polyester for added strength.
The hardwood spreader bar keeps the hammock open and makes it easier to get in and out. The material has a luxurious look and feel, plus the addition of polyester makes it more resistant to weather and maintain s the vibrant colors.
It’s only a single size hammock with a 330lb capacity, however with a width of 4’7ft this is still a very generous amount of space for one person. There doesn’t appear to be any alternative sizes although there are two colourful designs to choose between.
Zupapa Quilted Double Hammock
|Bed Size||Double (6’3ft x 4’5ft)|
You might best recognise Zupapa from their trampolines, but they are fast expanding into other products for the back yard including a huge range of hammocks. This particular hammock is known as a quilted hammock as it’s made from two pieces of polyester material that are bound together with further polyester stuffing inside that adds comfort.
This is not a traditional style of hammock, rather one that has been adapted for the western market. It is much easier to care for than traditional cotton hammocks and you won’t do too much damage if it’s left out in poor weather so it’s an ideal backyard hammock.
The spreader bar is made from bamboo with detachable pillow and can be split in half which makes it easier to store away in the included carry case. It’s also in a curved design which helps with balance, spreader bar hammocks are notorious for tipping over.
The bed size is 6’3ft x 4’5ft and it has a 450lbs capacity so you can relax on your own or with another adult. The total length, from hook to hook is 11ft.It has an attached pillow which runs across the length.
You’ll find four great patterns to choose from, however Zupapa make a lot of other hammocks including some with hammock stands included so you may want to have a browse of their full collection.
Vivere Rope Hammock
|Bed Size||Double (7ft x 5ft)|
This double sized rope hammock from Vivere has an open design thanks to two wooden spreader bars that run across each end. It has a loose weave that allows air flow through the holes; however, the thick ply cotton is supportive enough to hold your body and provide comfort.
It’s a 100% cotton hammock, this means it’s comfortable as the material will stretch to accommodate your body, although not as durable as others here sp shouldn’t be left out in poor weather. The hammock has a really large bed size at 7ft x 5ft and with its 450lb weight limit, it can hold two adults plus kids too. The total length of the hammock is 12.5ft.
Lawson Blue Ridge Bridge Hammock
|Packed Weight||68oz (with poles)|
|Material||Ripstop Nylon and Polyester|
I wanted to make sure I’ve included the top spreader bar hammocks for every occasion, so I’ve also added this Lawson hammock which is best suited for camping and outdoors.
Bridge hammocks are generally less favourable than gathered end hammocks for camping as you have the added weight and space of the spreader bar. However, they are great for anyone who prefers an open hammock and are often preferred by side sleepers.
This Lawson bridge hammock is one of the best on the market as it can also double up as a tent if you place it on the ground. It’s made from a blend of nylon and polyester with reinforcing fibres added to increase the materials strength (known as ripstop). The hammock is a little heavy for backpacking, weighing in at 4.25lbs when you include the poles. Still, that’s quite comparable to a tent.
The hammock is a single size at 3’6ft wide and with a bed length of 7’6ft. The total capacity of the Lawson bridge hammock with spreader bars is 275lbs which is just about enough for one adult plus backpacking gear provided you don’t have too much.
|KEY SPECS||Ohuhu Double||Novica Fringe||Byer of Maine||Zupapa Quilted Hammock||Vivere Rope Hammock||Lawson Bridge Hammock|
|Bed Size||Double (6’6ft x 4’11ft)||Single (7’7ft x 5’5ft)||Single (4’7ft Wide)||Double (6’3ft x 4’5ft)||Double (7ft x 5ft)||Single|
|Cotton (100%)||Cotton (85%) and Polyester (15%)||Polyester||Cotton (100%)||Ripstop Nylon and Polyester|
Spreader Bar Hammock Buyers Guide
Here is a brief run through of the key considerations when buying a spreader bar hammock:
You will have different material options depending upon the type of hammock. Cotton is one of the more popular materials, not only is it easy to get hold of but has a slight stretchy property that makes it very comfortable. However, if untreated it isn’t particularly durable, especially if it gets wet frequently.
Then there are synthetic materials such as polyester and nylon, these are stronger and more durable, but not as comfortable. Many of the spreader bar hammocks here have a blend of materials to pull in the properties of each.
Size and Weight Capacity
Here are the meanings of the sizes and what you should keep in mind:
- Length: You will see two lengths, the total length which is ring to ring and the bed length which is between the spreader bars. If you are buying a hammock for a specific space or stand, use the total length to determine if it’s suitable. For hanging between trees, ensure the total length is at least 2ft less than the hanging distance. For hammock stands, refer to the recommended hammock sizing for the stand.
- Width: When you see a hammock described as single or double, this generally refers to the width. Spreader bar hammocks tend to have a slightly shorter width than the equivalent without a spreader bar. A single spreader bar hammock will generally be around 3-4ft wide and a double between 4-5ft wide.
- Weight Capacity: Hammocks will have a specified weight capacity that has been rigorously tested by the manufacturer. A hammock designed for one person will usually have a weight limit of around 300lbs, whereas those designed for more than one will be 400lbs or more. If you are planning to use your hammock for camping, remember to account for the weight of you backpack too.
Type of Spreader Bar
Not all spreader bars are made equal. Some of the hammocks features here have a curved spreader bar, this helps push the center of gravity towards the middle of the hammock to aid with balance. You can also look out for detachable spreader bars; these have a clip in the middle allowing them to split in half for easy storing or transporting.
Featured image credit: Canva pro