The French are known for wine. The Japanese for cutlery. The Swiss for watches.
One you probably didn’t know? Nicaraguans and hammocks.
Head to a market near Masaya, though, and you'll find some of the best suspended rope beds on earth (your correspondent bought his parents one a few years ago, in fact). Weather-proof, heavy-duty and beautifully woven, these hammocks are the product of generations-long family businesses, and every single one is hand-made with the utmost care.
The biggest obstacle to getting one? Getting to Masaya.
Luckily, there's a new Kickstarter called WholeStory that's partnering with a family of Nicaraguan hammock makers to bring the country's superior lawn furniture stateside (they're doing lounge chairs as well). Even better: some of the proceeds will be used to build homes in the community the hammocks come from.
wholestory hammock slideshow (3 images)
So far they’ve built four homes, and they're also working to stem deforestation in the region, where slash-and-burn techniques are used to clear land for crops. Necessary though the controlled burns may be, they haven't yielded lucrative results due to mismanagement. WholeStory understand this, and are committed to sustainably harvesting the indigenous teak they use for furniture.
They’re about halfway to their goal, and a donation of $80-195 will get you kitted with some comfy furniture for summer.