To find you the best hammocks available in 2019, we researched almost 100 backpacking and camping models and then bought the top options for hands-on testing. Next, our expert testers spent hundreds of hours lounging, napping, and overnighting in these 'mocks in weather ranging from chilly alpine nights to hot summer days. Comfort is king, but so is ease of use, durability, and versatility. Some models are going to be perfect for hanging out at the crag but not so great for sleeping where others are not ideal to use for a casual day at the park. For ultralight thru-hikers and local park loungers alike, we identify the best all-around, niche, and budget options for backpacking and camping.
The Best Hammocks of 2019
|Price||$155 List||$160 List||$195 List||$210 List||$59.93 at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
|Pros||Spacious, comfortable, easy to set up and use, integrated bug net, customizable||Versatile, ultra customizable, comfortable||Versatile, extremely customizable, comfortable||The comfiest/flattest sleeping surface, optional integrated bug net and double layer bottom, large gear pockets||Lightweight, spacious, easy set up, versatile for day use or backcountry shelter|
|Cons||Suspension sold separately, can't remove bug net completely||Can get pricey depending on options, ridge-line not removable||Fixed ridgeline, can get expensive depending on options, long wait for customization||Suspension sold separately, not for the lightweight crowd, vulnerable to tipping||All components sold separately, can only use branded suspension system, pricey for the full system|
|Bottom Line||All the features and comfort in a lightweight package.||This extremely customizable hammock is the perfect fit for even the pickiest hammock camper.||If you’re looking to support a small cottage industry business and aren’t willing to sacrifice on comfort and versatility, the Dream Hammock Sparrow is an excellent option.||The Ridgerunner is a luxurious and innovative hammock with spreader bars for a super flat lay, an integrated bug net, and lots of storage.||Not willing to sacrifice on versatility in a comfortable, lightweight hammock shelter? The Pro Double is an excellent balance of all three!|
|Rating Categories||Warbonnet Original Blackbird||Dutchware Chameleon||Dream Sparrow||Warbonnet Ridgerunner||Sea to Summit Pro Double|
|Durability And Protection (20%)|
|Ease Of Set Up (10%)|
|Specs||Warbonnet Original...||Dutchware Chameleon||Dream Sparrow||Warbonnet...||Sea to Summit Pro...|
|Capacity (weight)||350-400 lbs depending on options selected||350 lbs||275 lbs||200-250 lbs depending on options selected||400 lbs|
|Hanging Straps Included ?||no, can add onto purchase for extra $||No||No||No, can add onto purchase for extra $||No|
|Hammock Size||10' x 5.25'||10' 8" x 4'10"||10' 7" x 4' 10"||10'1" x 3'||10' x 6'2"|
|Size Compact||10" x 4"||12" x 6"||15" x 6"||15" x 7"||4" x 6"|
|Connectors||Whoopies/straps or buckle/webbing (sold separately)||Beetle Buckle with webbing straps or whoopie slings with tree huggers (sold separately)||webbing tree straps||Whoopies/straps or buckle/webbing (sold separately)||Buckles|
|Material||40D or 70D Nylon (depending on options selected)||Hexon 1.0, 1.6 or 2.4||HyperD Diamond Nylon Ripstop||1.1oz/30D Nylon Double Layer||70D nylon ripstop|
|Construction||End gathered, asymmetric hammock, single or double layer fabric, zipper along 1 side, integrated bug netting. Storage shelf and foot box||1.6 oz Hexon, end gathered, continuous loops||1.6oz HyperD Diamond Ripstop, end gathered, continuous loops||Bridge style hammock made with one or two layers of 30D Nylon, bug net optional.||Ripstop nylon, double interlocking stitching|
|Sizes / Colors||27 colors, 3 fabric layering configurations||2 sizes/9 colors/3 fabrics, 31 printed patterns||1 size /5 colors, customizable options available||12 colors, 2 fabric layering options||2 sizes, 4 colors|
|Measured Weight - Package (ounces)||27 oz hammock, bug net, webbing/buckle suspension||37 oz (double layer hammock, bug net, suspension)||26 oz||36 oz hammock, whoopie sling suspension, bug net||16 oz|
|Measured Weight - Hammock Only (ounces)||26 oz hammock, bug net, webbing/buckle suspension||25 oz (dbl layer)||15 oz||35 oz hammock, whoopie sling suspension, bug net||16 oz|
|Measured Weight - Hammock and Suspension (ounces)||26 oz hammock, bug net, webbing/buckle suspension||25 oz (dbl layer, webbing and beetle buckle suspension attached))||20 oz (hammock, tree straps)||35 oz hammock, whoopie sling suspension, bug net||19 oz|
|Measured Weight - Shelter System (no stakes)||42 oz with Mini Fly tarp||N/A||N/A||52 oz with Mini Fly tarp||42 oz (hammock suspension, bug net, tarp)|
|Capacity (height)||6'||not stated||not stated||Up to 6' 4"||Not stated|
|Accessories (compatible, not included)||Rain flies, bug net, carabiners, fish hooks, under quilts, top quilts, suspension systems||Suspension straps, rain fly, bug net, top cover, side car pockets, ridgeline pockets||Suspension straps, rain fly, top cover, side car pockets, ridgeline pockets, tree straps, underquilts, top quilts||Rain flies, bug net, carabiners, fish hooks, under quilts, top quilts, suspension systems||Suspension straps, Rain fly, bug net, gear sling, wider tree protection straps,|
|Accessories (included with hammock)||Guylines, bugnetting, storage shelf, continuous loops (for attaching suspension system to), stuff sack||continuous loops, ridgeline||continuous loops, ridgeline, bug net||Stuff sack, continuous loops (for attaching suspension system to)||Continuous loops|
|Extra Accessories Tested||Mini Fly tarp, webbing with buckles suspension,||Body layer 2, Beetle Buckle suspension, asym bug net||10 ft. Tree straps||Mini Fly tarp, bug net, double layer fabric, whoopie slings, tree straps||Rain fly, ultralight suspension straps, bug net|
Editors' Choice for Backcountry Shelter
Warbonnet Original Blackbird
Awarded the Editors' Choice for multiple years, the Warbonnet Blackbird is our favorite backcountry 'mock! The asymmetric design lets you find the flattest position of all the end gathered models we tested and the foot box provides space for your hardest-working appendages. The Blackbird has a spacious feel and gives you the freedom to move around until you find your sweet spot. We love that when you order from Warbonnet, you can pick and choose exactly what features and components will be right for you. We tested the webbing and buckle suspension system and found it to be one of the quickest and easiest to set up, adjust, and takedown of all the tested systems.
This suspended shelter is not inexpensive, but we feel that for the comfort, quality, weight, and customization, the system is well worth the price. A less (or more) expensive set up can be purchased depending on which options you select. Other than the price tag, the only thing we don't love is that, because the bug netting isn't removable, lounging sideways in the hammock is a bit difficult to do. For anyone serious about ditching the tent for a hanging shelter, the Warbonnet Blackbird should be on the shortlist.
Read review: Warbonnet Blackbird
Editors' Choice for Day Use
Most travel 'mocks are a variation on a theme — lightweight fabric tied with a rope to a tree. ENO changes the game of portable hanging with the new Skyloft. The spreader bars give you an open space with great views, and the dropped down foot box allows you to lay almost completely flat so even a side sleeper can get comfortable for a nice long nap. The heavier nylon material feels durable enough to stand up to visits from excited dogs and accidental pocket keys alike. The Skyloft includes two high quality, aluminum wiregate carabiners and is simple to hang if you add on any of ENO's suspension straps.
While the comfort is excellent, the weight and bulk of this model make it a bit harder to take on your rambles around town or down to the base of the crag. You won't be throwing this 18" x 5" package in your day bag without thought, so its use leans more toward intentional lounging at basecamp or in the backyard. The width of the Skyloft is only 3 ft, making it harder to snuggle up with a buddy lengthwise. While sitting sideways with a friend is still pretty comfy, you don't get the head support that you will with a wider model.
Read review: ENO Skyloft
Best Buy for Backcountry Shelter
Hennessy Ultralite Backpacker Classic
The Hennessy Ultralite Backpacker balances comfort, weight, and price the best among the tested models. The price tag is in the mid-range for the full shelters we tested, but its comfort and weight far outshine the less pricey options. Weighing in at a mere 32 oz for the entire shelter, this model is the lightest we tested, yet the interior still feels spacious. The asymmetric design allowed our testers to achieve a reasonably flat lay for back and side sleeping and the width gave space to curl up in the fetal position. The design is well thought out with every component working precisely with the others. The integrated ridgeline and included storage pocket add to the livability of the space even though the Hennessy isn't among the larger interiors. We like that it uses more durable feeling nylon than other lightweight shelters. The weight capacity is a low 200lbs, but the fabric seems ready to stand up to more abrasion than others.
Hanging the Hennessy isn't the most intuitive activity. You have to learn a special type of lashing for the rope; but after a little practice, the mechanics come easily. Admittedly, there is more fiddling involved than with most of the other tested suspension systems. Another drawback to his model is the relatively small rain fly. While it provides adequate coverage from a moderate rain, blowing rain can sneak under the tarp.
Read Review.Hennessy Ultralite Backpacker
Best Buy on a Budget for Day Use
It's easier than ever to find affordable 'mocks. But how do you find one that doesn't sacrifice comfort, versatility, and longevity among all of the almost identical options online? Check out the Kootek Camping Hammock. It has seemingly identical fabric to the similar models we tested, has triple stitched seams, and boasts one of the highest weight capacities available at 500 lbs. It's also among the largest in overall size, meaning finding comfort is a cinch whether you're 4'2" and reading a book or 6'5" and snoozing in a sleeping bag or snuggling with the kids. The Kootek has the longest straps with the most loops, providing plenty of attachment options. The straps use heavy-duty webbing and are triple bar tacked for durability just like the other top straps on the market.
The only thing we don't love is the quality of the carabiners. They are cheaply made steel carabiners with a sticky gate that we often have to close manually. This isn't unique to this model; all of the inexpensive end-gathered options seem to include the same biners. While you can find a plethora of other very similar slings available, we did the digging through Amazon, measuring all the parts, and spread-sheeting to find you the best bang for your buck in the Kootek.
Read review: Kootek Portable
Top Pick for Customizable Hammock
We tested many models that gave us options on color, size, fabric, accessories, but none gave us the ability to customize almost everything about the system and were also extremely functional and comfortable. The Dutchware Chameleon provides experienced suspended campers the options to design it just the way they want and prioritizes versatility with removable bug netting. We were able to select our fabric weights and colors, style of bug netting, type of suspension, and more. The symmetry of the 'mock and reversible asymmetric bug net gives new campers the ability to figure out which direction is most comfortable for them rather than committing to "head left" or "head right" and retains the comfort of an asymmetric setup.
The Chameleon isn't as wide as some of the models we tested and therefore feels a bit less spacious but its long, almost 11-foot length makes up for what it lacks in width, allowing the fabric to spread more easily as you get closer to the ends. We awarded the Chameleon our Top Pick for Customizable Hammock award but want to be fair and say that the Dream Hammock Sparrow was so similar in all features and customization options that it was almost splitting hairs to pick between them. Both are more than worthy options to check out for their comfort, versatility, and customizable features.
Read review: Dutchware Chameleon
Notable for Cottage Industry Brand
The Sparrow is almost a twin of the Chameleon. It offers selective campers the ability to choose size, fabric, color, suspension, and features and not only can your select options, but you can also request personal customization directly from this small business. This end-gathered model is long, at close to 11 feet, and so even though it has less width than some, it feels spacious and comfortable. Asymmetric bug netting shifts space to the foot and head areas where it is needed. Zip-in removable bug netting allows the Sparrow to transition seamlessly from backcountry to backyard.
The wait is a bit long for a customized hammock, 7 weeks, but through collaboration with the owners, your design will truly be just what you dream of. If you like shopping small businesses and their unbeatable personal service but don't want to sacrifice on choice and quality, take a close look at this notable model, the Sparrow.
Read review: Dream Hammock Sparrow
Top Pick for Ultimate Comfort
Hammocks are fantastic for back sleepers and can be decent for side sleepers, but, for the most part, you can forget about sleeping on your stomach. Until now anyway! Enter the Warbonnet Ridgerunner, our Top Pick for Ultimate Comfort. It has spreader bars that help create the flattest lay possible, so flat we were able to get comfortable on our back, both sides, and even on our stomachs. It's like laying in a floating cot made out of top-of-the-line materials. This was the best night's sleep we have ever had hanging between trees! The Ridgerunner also has an integrated bug net (optional) with its cord attachment system, so it's good to go right out of the bag. We tested the whoopie sling suspension system and found it among the easiest to hang and adjust, not to mention one of the lightest out there!
On the downside, the suspension system is sold separately, upping the price point overall. This model is also on the heavy side at 52 ounces for the whole system, making it less ideal for ultralight backcountry adventures. It's also disconcertingly easy to tip over. This tipsiness makes for excellent physical comedy with new users but cuts down on the relaxation factor until you have some practice. If you've been dying to try suspended camping, but can't get comfortable sleeping in any others, give the Ridgerunner a try!
Read review: Warbonnet Ridgerunner
Top Pick for Ultralight Versatility
Sea to Summit Pro Double
The Sea to Summit Pro is sold without the accessories, but we love the combo we put together with the other components so much that we feel it should be included as a package. Combining the comfort and space of the Pro Double with the weight savings of the Ultralight Suspension Straps, tarp, and bug net gives you a 42 oz package that will have you protected from the weather, avoiding the pests, and enjoying a happy back. The tarp is a unique 5 point design that allows you to pitch the larger side into the wind for protection, and keep a more open view on the leeward side. Because you can pick and choose what to take, this sling is also easy to throw in your bag for a relaxing afternoon by the river without having to tote along unnecessary pieces that get in your way. And it's spacious enough to sit comfortably with a friend.
Bug nets that cinch at either end aren't our favorite option as they require more work to put on and off the 'mock as you pitch and take it down, but we do like that this one has a zippered entry for easy access. We also, feel that the netting could use more durable material. When buying this model, be prepared that you will need to buy the manufacturer's suspension straps because the unique buckle attachment won't work with other brands. But for someone not willing to sacrifice comfort or carry the extra ounces, this system is sure to make you smile.
Read review: Sea to Summit Pro Double
Notable for Ultralight
Sea to Summit Ultralight
Are you one of those backpackers or thru-hikers that weighs every item that goes in your pack? Are you traveling for an extended period and space in your bag is highly limited? If you answered yes to any of that, then the Sea to Summit Ultralight might be your golden ticket. This impressively tiny option weighs a mere 5.8 ounces, including its integrated compression stuff sack and a shocking 4.8 ounces without it. Even better? It packs down to about the size of a can of pop. It doesn't include suspension, but Sea to Summit offers an ultralight option for that too, weighing less than 3 ounces and small enough to also fit into the stuff sack.
Keep in mind that this contender is so thin that it's see-through. The dimensions are small and will be tight for anyone taller than about 5'10" or broad-shouldered folk. You also can't get a comfortable diagonal lay, so if sleeping on your side is a necessity, you'll want to go for a roomier hang that weighs more. But for the right-sized individual who wants to be as light as humanly possible, this model is a solid winner.
Read review: Sea to Summit Ultralight
Why You Should Trust Us
Elizabeth Paashaus has spent many backcountry nights and many backyard days just hanging around in hammocks. Elizabeth Paashaus is a long-distance adventure loving mother of two who takes her young kids on outdoor adventures from multi-pitch climbing on the classic moderates of NC, to week-long backpacking adventures in the canyons of Southern Utah. Elizabeth previously spent five months backpacking the Appalachian Trail, sleeping most nights in her homemade 'mock so she has some serious expertise in what to look for when buying one.
Laying around in the backcountry, Maggie Brandenburg and Penney Garrett provide expert advice on which 'mocks are the best. Maggie is a water-loving adventure enthusiast guiding canoe and kayaking trips since she was a teenager. Penney is a nature lover who loves to backpack and rock climb, spending most of the summer months in a tent or camping by a river. Both provide serious expertise in camping with a backcountry 'mock.
In addition to these experts, we gave these products out to our friends to form a truly fluid team. We scoured the market, bought the best products at full price, then tested them to get an unbiased review of each. We hung around in the backcountry, testing in a variety of weather conditions. Comparing them side-by-side, we look at essential metrics like comfort and different features.Related: How We Tested Hammocks
Analysis and Test Results
Hammocks are staples of relaxation, but these creative hanging systems are not just lazy afternoon enablers. They can replace your tent and rainfly, making impromptu car-camping trips convenient, supporting your ultralight backpacking endeavors, and allowing you to sleep on sloped terrain that would be a nightmare for a tent.
Related: Buying Advice for Hammocks
We've tested the best contenders and rated their comfort, versatility, durability, protection, weight, and ease of use. We've tested these models over hundreds of hours from chilly alpine nights to hot summer afternoons. We also keep our eyes on the market and test new contenders as they appear, ensuring that you always have the most up-to-date 'mock info at your fingertips.
Hammocking is all the rage these days, and people love them from backyard hangouts to backcountry living. But most of us want to consider your wallet to some extent. While it may not make sense to drop a few hundred dollars on an expedition model for relaxing by the creek on a day hike, paying for a better night's sleep and protection from storms can be critical to a good backcountry experience.
The systems we tested seriously range in price! And while a high price tag typically meant better design, less weight, and more features, it doesn't always mean more comfort. We took into consideration the intended end-use for each hammock when considering its value. One designed to be your backcountry shelter may hold more value even when priced over three times more than a version designed for day use. It isn't always apples to apples when comparing 'mocks, so we get into details about best uses and how the performance stacks up against the price.
Some of the most comfortable day models were also some of the least expensive, such as our Best Buy award winner, the Kootek and runner up Wise Owl. And some of the priciest models, like our Editors' Choice for Backcountry Shelter, the Warbonnet Blackbird, held tremendous value due to the comfort, protection, and features needed in a full shelter. Even the most expensive system tested, our Top Pick for Ultralight Versatility, Sea to Summit Pro held value to those looking for the ultimate flexibility of shelter, low weight, comfort for overnight sleeping, and simplicity for day use.
The most critical component of a 'mock is its comfort. If you can't get comfy or get a good night's sleep, why are you in that swath of fabric dangling above the ground? Taking a 'mock along is a great way to relax comfortably off the ground during the day and when used as overnight shelter, a good night's sleep is almost the only thing that matters. If you are tossing and turning at 3 am with hyperextended knees, I guarantee you aren't thinking so much about the ease of set up and how you got a great deal on your system!
We considered how flat we were able to position our bodies, headspace, and overall size and roominess for each model. We sat in them, laid in them, put sleeping bags and pads in them and even tested their capacity for adding a friend. Roomier models tend to sleep a bit better, while some of the lighter designs sacrificed comfort for less durable materials and a compact size that feel great in the pack but can impact your comfort and sleep quality. No matter what you're using yours for, comfort is king!
Smaller campers have more options since larger campers will prefer roomier designs. We didn't find any double models that sleep two people comfortably, though larger doubles fit two loungers better than a single, and slept one comfortably.
While comfort is personal, extra space and features that lend themselves to being able to get fully relaxed are rarely a bad thing. Ultralight models, like the ENO Sub6 and the featherweight Sea to Summit Ultralight sacrifice extra space for lighter weight and smaller packed size, which is why these models aren't very comfortable. At the end of a long day, a tired summer camper or thru-hiker can nap reasonably well in even the most minimalist design. However, by adding either a little weight or a little money, you can find a much better night's sleep in roomier models such as our Editors' Choice Warbonnet Blackbird, Dutchware Chameleon, Dream Hammock Sparrow, or the less pricey Hennessy Backpacker Ultralite. And when you don't need a fully featured shelter, we just loved the voluminous comfort of the Best Buy Kootek.
Expedition models need to offer a good night's sleep for many nights in a row, regardless of the weather or terrain. All of the Hennessy and Warbonnet models tested do this well. Conversely, some of the smaller, lightweight models, like the Grand Trunk Nano 7 or Ultralight Starter or the ENO Sub6, may not be the most preferable to camp in for more than a night or two. However, if you're taking on an adventure where weight matters, like thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail, this might be a worthwhile tradeoff.
Overall, the hangs that we found the most comfortable were both the Warbonnets and the ENO Skyloft, though all for different reasons. The Warbonnet Blackbird is made of soft, nylon and is quite wide, allowing a wide range of comfortable sleeping positions. The Ridgerunner and ENO Skyloft come with head and foot spreader bars, which our side and stomach-sleepers loved above all else.
The REI Flash Air has a single spreader bar at the head that gives the sleeper more width and keeps the bug netting of the face. Smaller campers found this model comfy while those over 5'7" felt a bit confined. Depending on the environment you are planning to camp in, these models are roomy and comfortable for spending the night outside.
There is a wide weight range between the heaviest and lightest setups we tested. Our weight metric scores take into account the hammocks themselves as well as their components. To get good comparisons, we weighed the hammocks alone, with suspension straps, and as entire shelter systems (when applicable). Many options come with straps and others have to be purchased separately so you can choose whether you put more importance on the weight of your straps, their price, or their ease of set up. We also rated them based on their end use so one day-use model may weigh less than a shelter model yet have a lower score for this metric because the heavier model also included straps, bug netting, and a rain fly.
The heaviest option was the Warbonnet Ridgerunner, weighing a little over two pounds (35 ounces) without any detachable accessories. This is definitely on the hefty side, but also consider that this includes an attached bug net, spreader bars, and suspension system. Because this model includes these features, we didn't dock its score too severely.
The lightest setups we tested were the Sea to Summit Ultralight and the ENO Sub6, clocking in at a featherweight 5.8 and 5.7 ounces respectively — and that included the integrated compression stuff sack! This weight doesn't include suspension, but Sea to Summit offers a compatible ultralight suspension that will add less than 3 ounces to your setup and ENO offers a whoopie sling suspension for only 4.1 ounces.
The lightest full shelter is the Best Buy on a Budget, the Hennessy Backpacker Ultralite, weighing in at 32 ounces for the entire shelter (not including stakes). The Sea to Summit Pro, its accessories, and the ENO Sublink package were next in line but are 10 ounces heavier than the Hennessy.
These two systems, however, have the bonus of versatility. Because the components are separate, you can take what you need and leave the rest. Are you going out in the middle of the summer for just one night? Grab the Sub6 and the 4.1-ounce Helios Suspension System that comes with the system, and you're good to go. Are you heading to a buggy area? Bring the 13 ounces Guardian SL Bug Net and ditch the tarp (the heaviest component, at 16 ounces). You get the idea.
The same goes for the Sea to Summit Pro. The light and customizable nature of the Sea to Summit Pro system and SubLink Shelter System with the Sub6 made them both close contenders for the Top Pick for Ultralight Versatility, but in the end, the comfort of the Sea to Summit beat out the ENO.
When it comes to day use hammocks, you may not be quite as focused on weight, but the ability to stuff a small, light package into your backpack has its advantages. The lightest day models tend to be the smallest like the Sea to Summit Ultralight and ENO Sub6 where the more spacious comfy options like the Best Buy Kootek and it's close relatives Wise Owl and ENO Doublenest weighed in 12 to 17 ounces heavier than the ultralight models. The heaviest day model was ENO's Skyloft at 42 ounces. This isn't the kind you throw in your bag as an afterthought but choose intentionally for its comfort and durability.
We placed a decent amount of importance on this metric because many people want to purchase a lightweight option for sleeping out while backpacking or traveling. However, if your motivation for owning a hammock is based more on wanting to relax in your backyard or take a nap a short distance from your car, then this metric probably is less relevant to you. If you aren't overly concerned with weight, then, by all means, go for more fabric and a roomier design! With what you'll gain in comfort, we don't think you'll be sorry with that decision.
Ease of Set Up
For this metric, we evaluated the overall ease and efficiency of set up, both for the very first time and after we had a few tries under our belts. Some of the models required more of a learning curve than others.
First and foremost, hanging requires a suspension system, and many models don't come with this essential component. While many manufacturers sell compatible suspension systems, several options either don't have suspension systems factored into the cost or have poorly designed systems included, such as the tree damaging rope slings that come with the Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter.
Many of the expedition models come with suspension systems, such as the Hennessy Ultralite Backpacker and Expedition, REI Co-op Flash Air and the ENO SubLink Shelter System (though the Sub6 does not if you buy it on its own). Both Warbonnet models and the Dream Hammock Sparrow and Dutchware Chameleon all have a selection of optional suspension systems available for an additional cost, or you can choose to purchase just the hammock and attach it to another suspension system.
Many of the less-complicated models do not include suspension. While these models tend to be very easy to set up (merely clipping a carabiner or hooking an S hook onto your suspension system), their ease of setup depends on the suspension system you decide to buy. The only exceptions to this are the Sea to Summit models, which come with unique buckles that integrate perfectly with the manufacturer's own system. They require more forethought if you're building your own or have suspension from another company. The buckles have a hole that is too narrow for a standard carabiner, so we had to get creative with climbing slings. In most cases, you can use any suspension system with any model without issue, but with Sea to Summit we recommend sticking to their compatible components for your whole setup.
Several of the expedition models require a learning curve to be able to get comfortable. The Warbonnet Blackbird and Ridgerunner fall into this category, but after practice, we were able to set them up with relative ease and confidence. Additionally, some slings don't come with all the components you need to set them up — beyond just a lack of suspension system. Both the Warbonnet Blackbird, both Hennessey models, and the Sea to Summit options lack the stakes necessary for a complete set-up.
Overall, we found the Hennessy models to be the most complicated to set up, which is why we scored them some of the lowest ratings in this category. The suspension system requires a special lashing that, while easy to do once you've learned it, is a bit complicated at first. It's also tricky to get the right tensioning with these models, and you have to make sure that the asymmetrical tarp and the sling itself are correctly aligned. All of the instructions are printed right on the bag, but it reads a bit like a Dr. Bronner's label — wordy. You will want to practice setting these models up before going out into the backcountry.
Protection and Durability
Having a safe and fun time out in the wilderness depends on the quality of your gear. A backpack or pair of boots failing far from the trailhead can be a significant problem, and your shelter system is no different. If you are planning to sleep in a hammock, the protection it provides and the durability of its construction are extremely important. A rip in the fabric can be as bad as having no tent poles and may leave you laying on the ground stringing your shelter up in some haphazard fashion or putting it over you like a blanket. Not fun.
As you can probably guess, the ultralight models offered the least protection and durability. While hanging in the Grand Trunk Nano 7 and the Sea to Summit Ultralight we could feel even the slightest breeze moving underneath us, hence the low ratings. The Grand Trunk Ultralight Starter was marginally better, but not by much. The Sub6 fits into this group as well, but we tested it as part of the SubLink Shelter System, which provided us with a tarp and bug net, so we scored it a bit higher. You would still need a sleeping pad or an underquilt for cold nights, but at least we were protected from the day-to-day elements.
Some of the double models we tested, like the Kootek, ENO DoubleNest, and the Kammok Roo, which lack bug nets and have just single layer floors, have enough fabric to cocoon inside. This wrapping action provides a bit of protection from light rain or bugs, so we awarded those models a middle-of-the-road rating.
The best protection from the elements is offered by complete systems such as the Warbonnet models, Hennessy models, and the Sea to Summit Pro with accessories, so they scored the highest. These designs provide bug nets, and wind protection with a rain fly and in some, extra fabric. Compared to some of the other models we tested though, these systems aren't cheap!
Everyone has their reasons for purchasing and owning a 'mock, and we don't pretend to know yours! However, during testing, we found those that are better suited to specific situations as well as those that are very versatile. Many of these uses we have already discussed, such as lightweight models for folks eager to cut down on pack weight, like the Sea to Summit Ultralight, Grand Trunk Nano 7 and Grand Trunk Ultralight Starter. We found models with integrated bug nets to be less versatile than those without, as many bug nets don't come completely off, or restrict usage for anything other than laying down.
Some models though, we felt were quite adaptable to everything from backyard hangs to multi-night backpacking trips. Contenders that stood out in this category were the Dutchware Chameleon, Dream Hammock Sparrow, Sea to Summit Pro with accessories and the ENO SubLink Shelter System. All have many pieces of a whole system that can be added and removed as you desire, based on the conditions you anticipate. Awesome!
Each manufacturer offers a plethora of fun and functional accessories depending on your needs and preferences. Once you've decided on your brand, it's worth it to take some time and peruse your options, keeping in mind that many accessories will be compatible across brands.
Accessories that may be essential for your setup are unique mattresses, which provide wings to keep your arms and shoulders warm, under quilts for even colder temperatures, top quilts for extra coziness, and different styles of bug nets and rain flies. We detail more suggestions on accessories and alternate versions available from each manufacturer. Don't be afraid to mix and match!
Hammocks are not for everyone or every environment, but they can provide the ultimate sleep and relaxation experience for many outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to the novelty of floating above the ground and not having to find a flat spot as you do with a tent, they are often among the most compact and lightweight sleeping option and can negate the need for an expensive sleeping pad in favor of a simple foam option. We hope this review helped you narrow down the options and get closer to your perfect choice.
— Elizabeth Paashaus