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Best Backpacking Hammocks

By BootsnAll | Permalink | 0 comments | March 3rd, 2009

Best Backpacking Hammocks – the best lightweight, feature-packed backpacking hammocks

When it comes to lightweight shelters that are packed full of features it is pretty hard to beat a backpacking hammock.

Many of the bast backpacking hammocks out there weigh just as much as the typical lightweight backpacking shelters, but their real selling point is that just about every backpacking hammock offers way more features than a simple lightweight shelter ever could.

So, just what kind of features are we talking about here?

For starters, sleeping comfort. Typical lightweight shelters tend to be nothing more than a tarp and maybe a foot print or ground tarp.  In order to have a comfortable sleeping area you have to bring along a sleeping pad, but with a backpacking hammock you get comfort right out of the box.  No need to bring along a sleeping pad alongside your backpacking hammock unless you insist on bringing one along for the added comfort.  As a result, you have cut out a sleeping pad from your packing list making your load a little lighter already.

Another great feature is the amount of protection some of the more popular backpacking hammocks can offer. A typical lightweight shelter will only going protect you from light rain or snow.  Not to mention that none of the lightweight shelters out there protect you from bugs. Many of the top of the line backpacking hammocks protect your from all of the above and then some!

Check out some of the popular backpacking hammocks we have reviewed:

I personally have a Hennesy Hammock and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I actually keep in my truck behind my seat for all those unplanned camp outs that come with being a whitewater rafting guide.   I have taken that sucker all over the world and slept in jungle rain in Costa Rica and through cold winter months in the North Georgia mountains without a single complaint.

The only major downside with backpacking hammocks is that there is only enough room for one person. Yes, this is an obvious fact, but I point it out for couples who backpack together. Many couples like to share a tent together, which means they probably wouldn’t enjoy a backpacking hammock so take a look here and find out how to choose the best tent for your travels.


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Comments

  • Paul Russell Says:
     

    I don’t have any experience in using backpacking hammocks, so perhaps this is a dumb question, but have you ever ran into situations where you couldn’t hang the hammock? Can they double as a bivy? If so, I assume they would be non-free-standing, correct? Thanks!

  • Paul Russell Says:
     

    Like a moron, I just read your review and noticed where you said that it could double as a tent if used with hiking poles. How sturdy is the “tent” in that situation?

  • Daved Brosche Says:
     

    @Paul They are great lightweight tents. Id use them for a good weather conditions only though. I have only ever set my hammock up as tent once and that was just so I could see how to do it. Never really stayed in it as a tent overnight.

    I hope that helps.

  • Aaron Says:
     

    They can double as a tent, you have the ends propped up with your walking stick or tied to anything. They actually have a better explanation on their website. And there’s no point in calling anybody moron if you haven’t used it or even researched it yourself.

  • Jessica Says:
     

    I used a hammock over the last week to sleep in while backpacking solo in the Sierra Mountains. The main problem I had was that I was unprepared for the cold temperatures. Because the hammock is off the ground (duh) it exposes you to the elements more and thus I was FREEZING cold. You will need a warm sleeping bag if you plan to sleep in a hammock in less than 40 degree F weather.

  • Jeff Says:
     

    There are ways of dealing with the cold factor:
    1) Take your poncho (you DO have a poncho, hopefully)and fill it with leaf-litter, pine needles, dead grass, etc. Dump as many piles as needed at the spot where you plan on setting up your hammock. Make sure it’s a good 12″ higher than the bottom of the hammock—which doesn’t need to be more than a 24″ off the ground. The set up the hammock right on top of it. Your weight will crush the leaf-litter down to the point where you don’t even feel it. Voila! Instant insulation!
    2) For those who don’t mind lugging a pound or two extra, go down to your nearest gear-addict’s supply house (REI, Sport Chalet, etc) and get yourself a self-inflating pad. The plusher the pad, the warmer the sleep.
    3) While your at said gear-addict supply house, get yourself a) an ultralite sleeping bag which stuffs into the size of a softball, then go home and rig yourself up some straps to hold it to the bottom of your hammock. It only needs to cover the area directly beneath where your bod makes contact with the hammock + a couple inches either side. Mountain Hardwear makes some ridiculously light bags that work nicely….so long as you’ve got a couple hundred bucks. The great thing about these bags, though, is that when you are on the ground (in snow, desert, beach, etc.) you can snuggle this extra bag inside your regular bag and have a monster subzero bag. Some folks poo-pooh this, saying you lose the loft and thus the insulation. They’re right, theoretically, but I know from experience, it works…big time. I’ve had more than one shivering buddy wake up dumbfounded to find me sleeping comfily, loungin with my arms outside the bag, in subzero temps.
    3a) You can do the same thing with any lightweight comforter.
    4) A THICK closed-cell foam pad will add a bit of insulation, probably enough for a nippy night, but insufficient for the really cold stuff.
    5) Lastly, if it’s REALLY cold, and you’re REALLY unprepared, make yourself a nice big blazing fire in a five-foot long fire pit, surrounded with the requisite rocks. As the fire burns put some more rocks into it till you’ve got a nice pile of rocks and coals. Once the fire has died out, smooth it out and tamp it down a bit, then rig your hammock up as high as it takes to keep your @$$ from burning. Depending on the size of your fire, you may need to actually take some of the coals out, and REMEMBER, if you can’t hold your hand at the same height as your hammock will be, then it’s TOO HOT! Take out some coals and/or rocks or RAISE your hammock!

    There are lots of ways to cheat (or slow down) the laws of thermodynamics, but the most energy-efficient is typically to construct anything that’ll build an inch-or-two layer of dead air space between you and the environment….whatever it takes.

    Happy (and warm) Camping!

  • Tom Glynn Says:
     

    I spent the better part of twenty years using a poncho liner and 550 cord as a hammock with the poncho and more 550 cord as the rain fly. The cost was zero as it was all issued items while I spent my career in the army. Now that I’m retired, I have tried just about every commercial hammock out there. Hey, pay me half of the price of whatever hammock you like, and I’ll teach you how to tie knots. The cost of the poncho and liner? About 50 bucks. The only hammock out there that I think is at all different…….. Jacks R Better’s Bear Mountain Bridge hammock. Otherwise, I’ll be waitin’ for your cold, hard cash.

  • Patrick Says:
     

    You can also do the water bottle trick. This works for any sleeping arrangement in that you boil water and put it in a water bottle and put the bottle in a sock and put it in your bag (before you sleep to warm up the bag). In most cases the bottle will still be warm in the morning. I like to place it at my feet because they are always cold.

  • Zach smith Says:
     

    Great article, i think i might just have to get on of these for my travels.