Q. I have heard about the Hennessy Hammock and it sounds like it is a very good hammock, but is it as good as it sounds?
—Trevor Tree, Cottonwood Heights, Utah
A. Like you, I too had heard about the Hennessy Hammock but I’d never used one myself. So I called them up and got a loaner hammock so I could test it out. For our test, they let us borrow the Deluxe Explorer Asym ($199; hennessyhammock.com). It’s actually the exact same model as their very popular Expedition Asym ($140) hammock, except it’s supersized (I’m over 6 feet tall). So let’s focus on the Expedition Asym. It weighs in at just 2 lbs. 12 oz. and fits inside a stuff sack about the size of a bag of potato chips—even smaller if you pack it inside a compression sack. These are indeed very cool shelters. They are lightweight all-in-one hammock tents with built-in mosquito netting and a detachable rainfly to protect you from the outdoor elements. The Expedition also has plenty of mesh ventilation for comfy summer camping. Like other hammocks, it gets you up and off uneven, rocky ground and/or away from poison ivy, mud, creepy crawlies and other potential inconveniences. But, again like other hammocks, it may not be the best choice for winter camping because the ground itself provides much needed insulation while the thin nylon bottom of the hammock lets the cold air zap away your body heat much more quickly. As for pitching the Hennessey, hopefully there are plenty of trees around. Just find a good spot with 12 to 25 feet space between a pair of sturdy trees. Pitching directions are printed right there on the stuff sack. Honestly, their diagram isn’t all that well drawn and makes it a bit confusing but once you figure it out, pitching the Hennessey is a breeze. You can also go on their website for a cool video tutorial. They recommend a figure-eight style lashing, basically wrapping the rope in a simple pattern, which is very handy. It won’t slip overnight and is easier to remove than most knots.
So, is the Hennessey Hammock as good as it sounds? I’d say: yep. The hammock itself seems durable, it’s easy to set up, and I can attest to the supreme comfort of hammock camping. The Hennessey is also ultralight compared to most backpacking tents and at $140, more affordable too. Sure, there are some situations when pitching a hammock is tough (no trees) but in many wilderness situations the Hennessey would make a great shelter choice.