I can’t remember how long ago I discovered hammock camping, but ever since I spent my first night sleeping in a hammock it has been my preferred way to camp.
There are several key advantages to camping in a hammock:
- Light weight and take up little room in your pack
- Quick set up and take down (after some practice)
- Always comfortable (don’t have to worry about rocks and uneven surfaces)
- No more drying your tent out before packing it up
- Sleep above bugs, spiders and muddy surfaces
- Leave No Trace friendly
- Can set up out of the rain, under separate rain-fly
- Did I mention comfortable?
Research also suggests that sleeping in a hammock allows you to fall asleep faster, and achieve a deeper, higher quality sleep.
There are a few disadvantages to sleeping in a hammock. You are not able to share your shelter with anyone and, outside of the summer months, it is harder to retain heat in a hammock than a tent. But I still prefer spending a night in a hammock to a tent as much as possible.
Until recently I had been using a ‘regular’ hammock for sleeping. While comfortable overall, I found I would inevitably sink towards the center of the hammock over time, and the undersides of my knees would become a bit sore from the lack of support in the middle of the hammock.
Then I discovered Hennessy Hammocks. I read about Hennessy Hammocks in a fantastic book called ‘The Ultimate Hang‘. It is a great book with terrific illustrations if you want to get started with hammocking.
Hennessy Hammocks have a few unique features that help with the above discomforts. While they have models with different features, they all have an asymmetrical design which allows you to sleep diagonally across the hammock. This helps you to lay more flat and more comfortably, alleviating that awkward point under your knees.
Hennessy hammocks have a built in bug net, keeping out mosquitoes and flies, without the need to string up a separate bug net overtop the hammock. The net also deflects wind, keeping the area inside the hammock quiet and still.
The hammocks come with waterproof rain-flys which can be adjusted as needed for the conditions you’re camping in, or removed altogether if not needed on a clear night. The rain fly clip directly onto O-ring built into the support rope, making the setup easy and helping ensure the fly is hung centered over the hammock. Hennessy Hammocks also provides nylon webbing straps to tie the hammock support ropes to. This protects the bark of the tree, and extends the length of your rope.
The Expedition Asym Zip Hammock
I just had my first camping weekend in the Hennessy Hammock Expedition Asym Zip and was very impressed. Even for someone like me, who is terrible with knots, the setup was fairly straightforward. Hennessy recommends using a ‘lashing’ method to hang your hammock, which is easy and secure. The downside to lashings is they can become slightly cumbersome for making adjustments to the angle/length of the hang.
Inside the hammock, laying down diagonally was very comfortable. There is a nice mesh pocket which hangs from the support line above you, which is perfect for storing your headlamp, cell phone, keys, or whatever. There are also built in glove hooks so you can hang a water bottle or LED light. A very handy feature.
The built in tie-outs prevent the sides of the hammock from folding into the center, keeping things very spacious inside.
I also loved the snakeskins. They’re essentially two long tubes which sit on the rope at the end of the hammock. When you’re ready to pack up, you simple slide them towards the center of the hammock. The entire hammock is then encased in the skins. You can then untie from the tree and you’re all done! The hammock then will stay protected from dirt when you go to hang up your hammock then next time, protected from the ground during setup.
If you’re considering hammock camping at all, I highly recommend Hennessy Hammock. Best of all, I found out Hennessy Hammock is a local company, being from Galiano Island!