If you're a castaway on a deserted island, one of the first things you may think to make for yourself is a hammock. After all, you're going to have a lot of time to relax, right? You might as well be comfortable!
Even if you're not stranded faraway, a hammock can be a WONDERful addition to any backyard. When the summer sun shines and the cooling breezes blow, there's no better place to be than suspended between a couple of trees with a book and a cool glass of lemonade!
Hammocks are simple slings made of cloth or netting. They're usually suspended between two trees, although two unmoving points — called anchors — are all you need. Some people like to sit in a hammock and swing, while others prefer to sleep or relax.
Hammocks have been around for hundreds of years. No one knows for sure who invented the hammock, but some historians believe they were created for sleeping by the early native settlers of Mexico.
In the late 1500s, hammocks became popular among sailors aboard ships. Since hammocks could gently swing with the motion of the ship, they were more comfortable to sleep in. They were also convenient, since they could easily be taken down when not in use to make the most of available space on the ship.
Hammocks became popular — and are still widely used — in tropical areas of Central and South America. Since hammocks hang above the ground, they keep people sleeping in them safe from snakes and biting insects that crawl on the ground.
After his voyages to the Caribbean, Christopher Columbus brought several hammocks back to Europe. Today, you can find hammocks used all over the world. In addition to being popular for relaxing in the backyard, hammocks are also popular with hikers and campers.
Hammocks come in all sorts of styles and materials today. You can find traditional hammocks made of rope or netting alongside sturdy hammocks made of the latest high-tech fabrics. Some hammocks can even be found that come with their own self-supporting stand, so you can enjoy relaxing in a hammock without any trees around!