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Earlier this morning I was just going back through my Amazon shopping history and one of my purchases from last year caught my attention, a $30 parachute hammock. No big deal, right? Hammocks are a fun accessory to have, especially when you live near the beach...except, I immediately I had flashbacks to the last couple of times I used it at the beach, which ended up like this (actual video from my boyfriend's page):
Which made me think that maybe other people would like to know what it's like to own a hammock made of parachute fabric and how it measures up to the way more stylish mesh ones that you can often get for a fraction of the cost. In fact, my mesh hammock pictured in the cover photo above was from Five Below--so yes, it was only $5. Unfortunately they are sold out on Five Below's site right now (they usually stock them in the summertime), but you can grab a similar one on Amazon.
So, anyways, let's talk about which hammock I think is better overall (and in different situations.)
For reference, this is the exact hammock I purchased from Amazon:
My reason for purchasing this particular hammock was because it was on sale at the time and I had a camping trip upcoming, plus trees are literally planted in close proximity in Florida specifically for hammock lounging (so having one is a must!)... But mainly because I had left my Five Below hammock outside in the yard tied to a tree for more than half a year, which led to some mildew and bug problems that I truthfully didn't want to deal with at the time. It was $5, so I figured it was no big deal I would just go get another one.
Well, Five Below didn't have any more at that particular time so I did what any impatient person with an Amazon Prime account would do, order a new one! I had been wanting a two-person hammock anyways and heard great things about parachute hammocks so I looked for my new one in that category.
It's been a couple of years so I don't remember exactly what I heard about the parachute hammocks that made me want one so bad, but a lot of people tout them for being comfortable, durable, dirt resistant and quick to dry (also sort of a necessity when you're taking them to the beach). What they don't tell you is that they're a nightmare to put up and enjoy on a windy day--and I mean, it is parachute fabric, it's to be expected that they will catch every last bit of wind, even when you're sitting in them.
Truthfully, sometimes this is nice when you're sitting on a beach and the wind is rocking you back and forth, but it can get a little noisy too with the top edges flapping in the breeze (see video below). Alternatively, what I appreciate most about mesh hammocks is that they don't have this problem and the air can pass right through without a fight.
Other than wind, I honestly think mesh hammocks are more comfortable because they have more stretch when you sit in them. Parachute hammocks, or so I have noticed, are very stiff and have little give.
On the flip side, there are a few things that I really like about my parachute hammock that I'm not sure is exactly fair to compare with my $5 hammock--but I will do it anyways.
First and foremost, the parachute hammock is considerably more sturdy and the tree straps that come with it are much longer, giving it a lot more reach when you're looking for a spot. The Five Below hammock has incredibly short straps that are hard to untie when properly knotted, and when not, they come undone shortly after you sit in it (I've landed on the ground many times this way--and my boyfriend has hammock trust issues because of this). I think this is relatively easy to remedy with a more expensive mesh hammock, so again, not sure if it's fair to compare a $5 item to a $30 one.
Another thing worth noting is that I can't attest to how much better the parachute fabric holds up to weathering as I have been a lot more responsible with it; but the fabric itself seems more delicate when in contact with sharp objects, like dog claws. I do let my small dogs in the hammock with me, but cautiously so, and in its defense, thus far it hasn't ripped. Neither of the two are particularly great for keeping sand out (unless you have net mesh) and I haven't noticed the parachute fabric drying any quicker than the mesh.
All in all, I personally prefer my super cheap single-person mesh hammock--which was surprisingly fine again after I washed it a couple of times--especially for beach trips on windy days. Net mesh fabric is definitely the winner for keeping wetness and sand at bay. But my boyfriend prefers the two-person parachute hammock for its stability and what he considers comfortability... Just... still not anywhere with a lot of wind, as evident by the hilarious video of the last time we took it out below.
So, that's my opinion on the matter! Which hammock will you be buying?