Just like some of your favorite brands of t-shirts and sweaters, hammocks are available in both cotton and polyester material. Which material is better for hammocks? Let’s start with a visual comparison.
The comparison photo (above) makes the color difference between cotton and polyester rope fairly obvious: Polyester rope is WHITE. Like, whiter than brush-twice-a-day-everyday-and-floss-teeth white.
Cotton rope, by contrast, is more creamy — almost a light beige. When seen side by side, cotton differs sharply from that bright white of dye-free polyester.
Cotton: Classic Look… Unfortunate Weaknesses
Cotton, for most would-be hammockers, is a known quantity. It’s soft. It’s all-natural. But there are drawbacks to consider. The fibers are more vulnerable to the elements, and over time, fraying is inevitable. As an organic material, mildew and rot pose a serious threat. As a consequence of these vulnerabilities, it’s generally recommended that cotton hammocks be stored in a dry indoor space when not in use.
Like so many things in life, few people have time to do this. That’s why, if you’re looking, you’ll begin to notice that in most any fabric product for the outdoors, polyester appears as the fabric of choice.
Polyester: Durability, no Drawbacks
But durability isn’t the only factor making polyester the top-notch hammock material. As a synthetic fabric, it’s more easily modified with colorfast dyes immune to fading from UV rays. One popular variety of soft-spun polyester, DuraCord, sees use in top hammock brands like Hatteras Hammocks and Pawleys Island Hammocks. Its multitude of colors offer the durability of polyester in more than the super-white seen above. Think of it as the Sunbrella fabric equivalent for hammock rope.
Soft-spun polyester refers to a specialized technique for winding polyester fibers into rope. The result of the soft-spinning technique is polyester rope that’s every bit as soft as cotton, but without the drawbacks in the durability department. And as you’ll see, the possibilities for color and design are endless when weatherfast colors and fabrics are involved (click the image to view):
In addition to traditional DuraCord rope hammocks, you’ll also find DuraCord hammocks with fabric beds. It’s a different feel, with more potential for pattern customization as well as a variety of colors to match other decor. And yes, it’s every bit as durable as the original style polyester rope varieties.
An Enduring Choice for Your Backyard
Bottom line: polyester, or more specifically, DuraCord, is king as hammock materials go. Cotton’s high-maintenance fragility outweighs its all-natural appeal, particularly when you consider that DuraCord hammocks are sustainably produced from recycled materials.