Searching for the best backpacking/camping hammock? We've been on the hunt for six years, buying and testing over 30 models to bring you 16 of this season's best options. Our hanging experts spent hundreds of hours napping, lounging, and sleeping under the dappled moonlight in all kinds of weather, from chilly alpine nights to hot summer days. While comfort is paramount, we also evaluated each model's versatility, portability, and how easy they are to set up and take down. We battled bugs while scrutinizing the critter protection and determined which are best for hanging at the crag or in the park. Whether you're an ultralight hiker or backyard bum, we've found the perfect option for you and your budget.We've tested dozens of categories spanning hundreds of backpacking and camping products over the past decade. If you're interested in car camping, we've put together a list of our favorite camping gear to get you started. If you're an ounce counter who regularly delves deeper into the backcountry, check out our ultralight reviews, where we test everything you need to keep your pack light and your feet moving fast. We've cozied up in the top-rated ultralight sleeping bags and spent many nights in the most popular ultralight shelters, and we can share with you our picks. Regardless of your camping style, we can help you find the gear that will get you outside.
|Price||$155 List||$160 List||$195 List||$210 List||$100 List|
$99.95 at Amazon
|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||Superior comfort with a dedicated footbox, spacious fabric, and all the features needed for many nights of cozy sleep||This extremely customizable hammock is the perfect fit for even the pickiest hammock camper||A small cottage industry hammock that doesn't sacrifice on comfort and versatility||A luxurious and innovative hammock with spreader bars for a super flat lay, an integrated bug net, and lots of storage||This lightweight all-around model makes no sacrifices when it comes to comfort and versatility|
|Rating Categories||Warbonnet Original...||Dutchware Chameleon||Dream Sparrow||Warbonnet Ridgerunner||Sea to Summit Pro D...|
|Durability and Protection (20%)|
|Ease of Set Up (10%)|
|Specs||Warbonnet Original...||Dutchware Chameleon||Dream Sparrow||Warbonnet Ridgerunner||Sea to Summit Pro D...|
|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 (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|
|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|
Best for Backcountry Shelter
Warbonnet Original Blackbird
For multiple years running, the Warbonnet Blackbird has been our favorite suspended backcountry bed. Of all the end-gathered models we tested, its spacious asymmetric design lets you find the flattest position, and the foot box provides space to spread your hard-working extremities. The Blackbird has a roomy feel and gives you the freedom to move around and find your sweet spot. We love that you can choose exactly what features and components will be right for your style expedition when ordering from Warbonnet. 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 suspension systems even though it weighs a few more ounces than the whoopie sling-style, which is also an option from Warbonnet.
While this shelter is by no means a bargain basement price, we feel it's worth the money. The comfort, weight, customization options, and quality are on par. Depending on your needs, you can spend more or less. 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 Blackbird isn't a great option. For anyone serious about ditching the tent for a hanging shelter, the Warbonnet Blackbird needs to be on the shortlist.
Read review: Warbonnet Blackbird
Best for Backyards
Most travel 'mocks are a variation on a theme — lightweight fabric tied to a tree. ENO changes the game of portable hanging with the Skyloft. The spreader bar design opens the space up for unobstructed views, and the lowered 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 wayward belt buckles alike. The Skyloft includes two high-quality aluminum wire gate carabiners and is simple to hang if you add on any of ENO's suspension straps.
While the comfort is superb, the weight and bulk of this model make it a bit harder to take on your rambles around town or down to the crag's base. You won't be throwing the 18-inch long by 5-inch diameter package in your daypack without thought, so its use leans more toward intentional lounging at basecamp, the backyard, or in your neighborhood park. A narrower profile at only 3 feet, combined with a 250-pound capacity, makes the Skyloft poorly suited to snuggle up in with a buddy lengthwise. While sitting sideways is still pretty comfy, you aren't able to lean your head back like you would in a wider model.
Read review: ENO Skyloft
Great Value for a Backcountry Shelter
Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip
The Hennessy Expedition Asym balances comfort, weight, and price better than any other tested models. The weight is in line with most of the full shelters we tested, but its comfort and price far outweigh the less pricey options. The asymmetric design allowed our testers to achieve a reasonably flat lay for back and side sleeping, and the width gave plenty of room to curl up in the fetal position. The design is well thought out, with every component working precisely with the others. Even though the Hennessy isn't among the larger interiors, the integrated ridgeline and included storage pocket add to the livability of the space. We like that it uses more durable feeling nylon than other lightweight shelters. The weight capacity is somewhat low at 250 pounds, but the fabric feels ready to withstand more abrasion than others.
One downside: hanging the Hennessy isn't the most intuitive process. You have to learn a particular type of lashing for the rope, but after a little practice, the mechanics come easily. Admittedly, more fiddling is involved than with most of the other tested suspension systems, and adjusting the tension takes more time. Another drawback to this model is the relatively small rain fly. While it provides adequate coverage from moderate rain, blowing rain can sneak under the tarp.
Read Review: Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip
Great Value 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 durability among all of the nearly identical options online? Check out the Kootek Portable. It has seemingly identical fabric to similar models we tested, has triple-stitched seams, and boasts one of the highest weight capacities at 500 pounds. It's also among the largest in overall size, meaning finding comfort is a cinch whether you're 4 feet, 2 inches tall and reading a book, or 6 feet, 5 inches tall 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. Like other top straps on the market, it uses heavy-duty webbing and is triple bar-tacked for durability.
The quality of the carabiners is the only thing we don't particularly love. Like many other budget models, they are heavy steel carabiners with a sticky gate that must be closed manually. While you can find a plethora of other very similar slings available, it's hard to beat the value of this model.
Read review: Kootek Portable
Best Customizable Hammock
We tested many models that gave us options on color, size, fabric, and accessories. Still, none gave us the ability to customize almost everything about the system while also being extremely functional and comfortable. The Dutchware Chameleon provides discerning hammockers the options to design theirs just the way they want. We were able to select our fabric weights and colors, style of bug netting, type of suspension, and more. Versatility is maintained with fully removable bug netting. 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 and space of an asymmetric setup.
As it isn't as wide as some of the models we tested, therefore feeling a bit less spacious, the almost 11-foot length of the Chameleon makes up for what it lacks in width, allowing the fabric to spread more easily as you get closer to the ends. We selected the Chameleon as our favorite customizable hammock but also 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 a Cottage Industry Brand
Offering selective campers the ability to choose size, fabric, color, suspension, and features, the Dream Hammock Sparrow is almost twins with the Chameleon. Not only can you select options, but you can also request personal customization directly from this small business. At close to 11 feet in length, this end-gathered model is long, 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 design, around six weeks, but through collaboration with the owners, your design will truly be just what you dream up. For quicker turnaround, you can select from their ready-to-ship 'mocks that will be on their way to you in just a couple of days. If you like shopping small businesses with 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
Best 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 choice for ultimate comfort. It has spreader bars that help create the flattest lay possible, so flat our testers could get comfortable on their backs, both sides, and even on their stomachs. It's like laying in a floating cot made out of top-of-the-line materials. This was, no lie, the best night's sleep we have ever had hanging between trees. The Ridgerunner also has an optional integrated bug net. 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 end of the spectrum at 52 ounces for the whole system, making it less ideal for lightweight backcountry adventures. Also, it is disconcertingly easy to tip over compared to models without spreader bars. This tipsiness makes for excellent physical comedy with new users but cuts down on relaxation until you have some practice. We suggest giving the Ridgerunner a try if you've been dying to enjoy suspended camping but can't get comfortable sleeping in others.
Read review: Warbonnet Ridgerunner
Best for Ultralight Versatility
Sea to Summit Pro Double
The Sea to Summit Pro Double is sold without the accessories, but we love the combo we put together with their 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-ounce 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 can be pitched with the broader side into the wind for protection and retain 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 companion.
As they require more work to put on and off the 'mock as you pitch and take it down, bug nets that cinch at either end aren't our favorite option, but we do like that this one has a zippered entry for easy access. We feel that the netting would benefit from a slightly more durable material as it does drag on the ground. Be prepared that you will need to purchase the manufacturer's suspension straps when buying this model 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
Why You Should Trust Us
Elizabeth Paashaus has spent many backcountry nights and many backyard days just hanging around in various types of hammocks. She shares her love for adventure with her two kids in epic travels ranging from multi-week pack rafting trips in southern Utah to climbing the classic moderates of North Carolina to a rugged thru-hike of the Vermont Long Trail. When thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Elizabeth spent four months sleeping in her homemade 'mock, so she has some serious expertise about what features to look for or to avoid when buying your own.
Laying around in the backcountry, additional testers Maggie Nicholsand Penney Garrett provide expert advice on which 'mocks are best for you. 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.
In addition to these experts, we invited our friends to join the hang to form a comprehensive testing team comprised of various ages, and sizes. 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, weight, and features offered.
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, supporting your ultralight backpacking endeavors, making impromptu car-camping trips a breeze, and allowing you to sleep on sloped terrain that would be a nightmare for a tent.
To find the best model for each user, we've tested the top contenders and rated their comfort, versatility, durability, protection, weight, and ease of use. We've experimented with 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 info at your fingertips.
It's hard to find an outdoor enthusiast who doesn't own a hammock these days. Whether in the backyard or miles into the backcountry, they are a quick way to get comfortable and relax outdoors. A comfortable hang is a top priority, but most of us want to consider our 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.
We tested models that cost no more than a few cups of coffee up to systems that may require a savings plan to purchase. While the higher price tags typically translated to a better design, more comfort, less weight, and helpful features, we also found budget models that offered better than average comfort for a fraction of the price. We took into consideration the intended end-use for each model when considering its value. One designed to be your backcountry shelter may hold more value even when priced over three times more than a model 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 the Kootek. And some of the priciest models, like the Warbonnet Blackbird, held tremendous value due to the excellent comfort, protection from rain, wind, bugs, and features needed in a full shelter. Even the most expensive system tested, our pick for Ultralight Versatility, Sea to Summit Pro Double held value to those looking for the ultimate versatile combination of low weight, comfort for overnight sleeping, and simplicity for day use. But if you want a shelter system for a great price, it's the highly comfortable and very reasonably priced Hennessy Expedition.
Without question, the most critical component of a 'mock is its comfort. Why are you even in that swath of fabric dangling above the ground if you can't get comfy or get a good night's sleep? We guarantee you aren't thinking much about the ease of setup and the killer deal you scored if you are tossing and turning at 3 am with hyperextended knees.
We considered how flat we could position our bodies, headspace when sitting up, and overall size and roominess for each model. We sat in them, laid in them, slept overnight in each backcountry model, 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 lighter designs sacrifice comfort for a compact size that feels great in the pack but can impact your sleep quality. No matter what you're using yours for, comfort is king.
Taller and heavier folks will find the roomier designs more critical, while smaller campers can get comfortable in some of the models that may feel a bit tight for most. Some are labeled "double," but in the tested options, none were really all that comfortable for two people to sleep in, but they fit two day-loungers better than a single, and sleep one very comfortably.
While each person will find comfort differently, extra space and features that lend themselves to getting fully relaxed are rarely bad. Smaller, ultralight models may be appealing if you're taking on an adventure where weight is king, like thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail. At the end of a long day, a tired thru-hiker can nap reasonably well in even the most minimalist design; however, the lack of comfort is likely to become a frustration and impact your sleep quality quickly. We like the Hennessy Ultralight as the one model that crushes both the weight and comfort metrics at 32 ounces for the entire shelter.
For expeditions where you can stand to bring a few extra ounces, models like the Sparrow, Chameleon, and Blackbird offer comfort and protection in all kinds of weather for an additional 8 ounces or so. However, by adding either a little weight and/or a little money, you can find a much better night's sleep in roomier models such as the Warbonnet Blackbird, the Dutchware Chameleon, the Dream Hammock Sparrow, or the less pricey Hennessy Backpacker Ultralite or Expedition. And when you don't need a fully-featured shelter, we just loved the full comfort of the Kootek.
Overall, we found the most comfortable hangs were the Warbonnets and the ENO Skyloft, though for different reasons. The Warbonnet Blackbird is made of soft nylon and is quite wide with a built-in foot box, allowing a wide range of comfortable sleeping positions. At the same time, our side and stomach-sleepers loved above all else the Ridgerunner and ENO Skyloft and with head and foot spreader bars.
Whether down to the park, over 2,000 miles on a thru-hike, or somewhere in between, you will carry your suspended haven with you for most applications. The ounces and grams can be more or less important based on your personal preferences, so we consider both the end-use and the hammock's weight together in this metric.
Our weight metric scores take into account the hammocks themselves as well as their components. To get useful comparisons, we weighed the hammocks alone, with suspension straps, and, when applicable, as entire shelter systems. Many options come with straps, while 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 setup. We also rated them based on their end-use, so a 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.
One of the heaviest options, weighing a little over two pounds (35 ounces) without any detachable accessories, is the Warbonnet Ridgerunner. This is definitely on the hefty side, but also consider that this includes an attached bug net, spreader bars, and suspension system. When comparing as a shelter to 1 person tents, it's not entirely unreasonable. Because this model includes these features, we didn't dock its score too severely.
Clocking in at a featherweight 6.7 and 5.7 ounces, including the integrated compression stuff sack, the lightest setups we tested were the Grand Trunk Nano 7 and the ENO Sub6, respectively. This weight doesn't include suspension, but ENO offers a whoopie sling suspension for only 4.1 ounces.
Weighing in at 32 ounces for the entire shelter (not including stakes), the lightest full shelter on a budget is the Hennessy Backpacker Ultralite. The Sea to Summit Pro Double and its accessories and the ENO Sublink package were next in line but are 10 ounces heavier than the Hennessy Ultralite.
However, these latter two systems 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 and no rain in the forecast? 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 Double. The light and customizable nature of the Sea to Summit Pro system and ENO SubLink Shelter System with the Sub6 makes them both close contenders for the best option for ultralight versatility. Still, in the end, the comfort of the more spacious Sea to Summit beat the ENO.
When it comes to day use hammocks, you may not be entirely 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 Kootek and its close relative ENO DoubleNest weighed in 12 to 17 ounces heavier than the ultralight models. At 42 ounces, the ENO Skyloft was the heaviest day model. This isn't the kind you throw in your bag as an afterthought but choose intentionally for its comfort and durability.
Keep in mind that the longer distance you're hauling your hammock, the more important weight will be. Most backpackers and travelers opt for a lightweight sleeping option, which is why we made weight a high priority on the list. If you're intending to use your hammock for merely lounging around in the backyard or a park, this metric will be less applicable to you. In that case, a roomy design that chooses comfort over ounces will be a more suitable choice.
Ease of Set Up
Setting up a 'mock is essentially tying it to a tree, but the well-thought-out suspension systems on the market these days make hanging with a rope seem like a complicated and time-consuming task. Sometimes you don't want to spend your time learning how to hang your system best. We considered how easy each model was to set up the first time without reading any instructions and the tenth time after reading all the manufacturer's recommendations. Some of the models required more of a learning curve than others.
To get started hammocking, you need a suspension system, and many models don't include this essential component in their base price. While many manufacturers sell compatible suspension systems, several options don't have suspension systems factored into the cost.
Many expedition models, such as the Hennessy Ultralite Backpacker and Expedition, and the ENO SubLink Shelter System, come with suspension systems (though the Sub6 hammock does not if you buy it on its own). Both Warbonnet models, 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. The lack of included suspension may be a benefit if you want to select the style you prefer.
The ease of setup for most basic models depends on simply wrapping webbing around a tree and clipping a carabiner to a loop. There are variations on this theme, such as with the Sea to Summit Pro; it comes with unique buckles that will only work with the Sea to Summit suspension system. In most cases, you can use any suspension system with any model without issue.
When it comes to the expedition models such as the Warbonnet Blackbird and Ridgerunner, we found there's more of a learning curve. However, with a little practice, we were able to master the setup with confidence and ease. One thing to keep in mind is some models don't include all the components necessary for setup — beyond just a lack of suspension system. Except for the ENO Sublink and Kammok Mantis, none of the models included stakes needed for a full setup.
After years of testing, we've got this whole Hennessy lashing system down, but it is still more time-consuming than other suspension systems such as whoopie slings or webbing with loops. Because it's tricky to get the tension right until you have some practice, the process can take a while as you re-adjust each side to get it just right. All of the instructions are printed directly 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. The benefit of the lashing system? It's lighter than all but the whoopie sling suspensions, and because it is just cord, it helps keep the overall cost down.
Protection and Durability
Shelter falls into the most basic level of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, so if you're planning on using your 'mock as your backcountry home, you will want to make sure it provides adequate protection from the elements to expect to encounter. A rip in the fabric may leave you lying on the ground putting it over you like a blanket. Not fun. During our research, we read more than a few stories of folks being woken up by a smack on the back to find themselves outside on the ground with shreds of fabric hanging above them.
We considered the thickness of the fabric, the presence of ripstop materials, and the redundancy of stitching in both the fabric and the suspension when rating the durability. For protection, we assessed how well the netting would keep out bugs, the size and shape of the tarp, and the fabric's resistance to wind. We also looked at options offered for insulation.
As you can probably guess, the ultralight models offered the least protection and durability. While hanging in the Grand Trunk Nano and the ENO Sub6, we could feel even the slightest breeze moving underneath us, hence the low ratings. Because we tested the Sub6 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 cool nights, but at least we were protected from the rain and creepy crawlies. The thinner fabric of these models also led to a lower durability rating because a slight snag could tear a hole.
Some of the wider models we tested, like the Kootek and ENO DoubleNest, 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 sun 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, the Sparrow and Chameleon, the Kammok Mantis UL, and the Sea to Summit Pro with accessories, so they scored the highest. These designs provide bug nets and rain/wind protection with a fly and, in some, extra fabric. These systems aren't cheap, though, compared to some of the other models we tested.
Everyone has their reasons for purchasing and owning a hammock, and we consider many different ways you might be planning on spending time in yours. We came across models that fit particular situations perfectly, and ones that can adapt to a variety of end uses during testing. We have already discussed many of these uses, such as lightweight models for folks eager to cut down on pack weight and highly comfortable options for those who prioritize a solid night's sleep over all else. 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.
Certain models proved to be accommodating of everything from extended use as a shelter to casual campus hangs. Contenders that stood out in this category were the Dutchware Chameleon, the Dream Hammock Sparrow, the 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 your anticipated conditions.
Most brands offer a plethora of add-ons giving you the options to tailor your setup to your needs. Before selecting your 'mock, it's worthwhile to spend some time looking at what accessories are available and which brands they are compatible with, keeping in mind that many accessories are compatible across brands.
Accessories that may be essential for your setup are underquilts for colder temperatures, top quilts for cozy insulation that is lighter than a sleeping bag, 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 options. We hope this review helped you narrow down the options and get closer to your perfect choice.
— Elizabeth Paashaus
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