Review – Hennessy Hammock Ultralight Backpacker

posted in: Preparations, Shelter | 0

I finally got a chance to use my Hennessy on my trip last week to BNR in Arkansas. The short version is that it is awesome and I recommend it to anyone under 185 lbs. Big-boned folks can get more substantial versions that can handle higher weights.

The long version:

The first night on the trip, we got to the campsite when the sun had just gone down, so I did not mess with the hammock since I had never set it up in the field. I slept in a single wall Mountain Hardwear tent with my dad. The tent was fine but damp, like any single walled tent in a humid environment. My dad’s snoring was another matter. 3 1/2 minutes of sleep didn’t really cut it on a trip where I was constantly doing physical activity.

The next night I made sure we stopped early and in a spot with trees from which I could sling the hammock. My dad came over and helped me set it up, which took maybe 10 minutes. About 9 1/2 minutes of that was us trying to figure out what a hitch knot was, how to align the asymmetrical canopy, and where the best places were to tie the guy lines. I could easily have it up and ready in only a few minutes with what I now know.

After the fire died down, my dad wandered off to his tent, and I to my hammock. Getting in the thing is interesting. You split the velcro closure at the foot end, sit sideways in the hammock, and then turn 90 degrees to lay down. I have heard people wonder if they would fall out of the thing, but I can assure you that that is almost impossible. You are securely in the hammock. I would be impressed with anyone that could get out of the thing not using the proper exit without completely destroying the hammock. Also, there is a mosquito netting covering the entire top of the hammock, so you will have to tear through that as well.

I was slightly worried about the comfort, since I like to toss and turn, and sleeping on my side in a hammock did not seem like a brilliant idea. After lying on my back for an hour or so, I switched to my side, and was surprised at how comfortable it still was. A friend told me that it is even more comfortable with a Thermarest. I was only in my Mammut down bag, with no pad.

I slept great and was warm and dry the whole night. The warm part is not a huge feat, but the dry part was impressive. We would put our gear down on the ground after sunset and have it covered in dew in literally five minutes. The hammock stayed nice and dry inside the whole night. The canopy effectively blocked any moisture from above (it did not rain, but the trees liked to drip) and the hammock and canopy combined blocked all wind while still allowing for substantial airflow.

I woke up in the morning rested and refreshed. We got up about 30 minutes before sunrise so we could get an early start and avoid the rains that were coming in the afternoon. All of our gear was soaked with dew. My dad was not exactly happy with my tent, since he was pretty much soaked from all the moisture. Well, I told him not to touch the sides. Smile

While it was still dark, I moseyed over to the trees to pack up the hammock. The whole thing, including the canopy, was almost completely dry. There were a couple of spots on the cordage and the canopy with some slight moisture, but nothing noticeable. My down bag was in the hammock, still nice and dry. All of our gear and especially the tent were still soaked.

The only drawback that I can see with the hammock is that you cannot keep your gear inside with you. There is a small mesh pocket on the support line inside the hammock, but that will only hold a few small items. I would definitely recommend using this in conjunction with dry bags or a waterproof backpack. Also, if showing your naked booty to the world is a problem, you might want to consider something that you can change clothes or wash in a little more effectively. People recoil and run at the site of my hairy butt, so it is not a concern for me.

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