Hennessy Hammock Ultralight Backpacker Asym

6

7 comments

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: I bought it new at Trail Days, at a special event price

Summary

Perfect for the solo backpacker in areas where there are lots of trees. Most comfortable sleep this side sleeper has had in the outdoors.

Pros

  • Light
  • Easy setup
  • Extraordinary comfort
  • Don't need a flat spot, just two trees.

Cons

  • Bit of a learning curve
  • Need to invest in specialized insulation
  • Limited to those < 6' and 200lbs


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I had been hiking the Appalachian Trail, in long sections, using a lightweight solo backpacking tent. I came to realize that there are no flat tent sites in the mountains. Maybe a bit of an overstatement, but I often woke up to find myself bunched up in one corner or another of my tent, my old hips hurting from side-sleeping on the ground.

I began to see these hammocks, purpose built for backpacking. The asymmetrical design allows one to lay a bit on a diagonal, and flat! Side sleeping is absolutely not a problem (and your hip bone won't be grinding into the ground.) They have integrated bug netting held overhead by a ridgeline, and a tarp over the whole thing for inclement weather. Hang it from the right height, and it is the ultimate camp chair

They do need insulation underneath. A sleeping bag provides almost no insulation underneath you once you've compressed the insulation. True on the ground as well as in a hammock. There are many options, but the trick setup is to have an "underquilt" suspended under the hammock, and snugged up to the feet and sides, and a top quilt, or sleeping bag inside the hammock.

I hiked into Trail Days in Damascus to find Hennessy Hammock, Jacks R Better Tarps, and Dutchware set up together in the vendor area. I bought the Ultralight Backpacker Asym Zip, had some simple modifications done by Dutchware to be able to rig the tarp separately, and bought an underquilt from Jacks 'R' Better. I downloaded the kindle version of "The Ultimate Hang: An Illustrated Guide To Hammock Camping" by Derek J Hansen to my smartphone, read it twice, practiced hanging the hammock a couple of times, and mailed my tent home.

My first nights back on the trail provided me with raging thunderstorms. I stayed dry, and learned a bit about tarp camping in the process. I had previously replaced my sleeping bag with a HammockGear top quilt to lighten my load, and together with the underquilt, I was warm, dry and comfortable.  Within a couple of days, I was hanging my hammock as quickly as I had ever pitched my tent. The hammock and tarp pack down to roughly the size of my tent, and the quilts together packdown to the size of my equivalent temp-rated sleeping bag.

The Hennessy Hammock Ultralight Backpacker Asym is excellent out of the box with appropriate insulation. It is definitely built for one. Hennessy specifies a max weight of 200 lbs. It serves well as the basis of a modular system of tarps and quilts to provide year-round backpacking comfort. And there is a robust online community of owners, and of cottage-industry manufacturers, to help you achieve whatever goal you have in mind. 

I subsequently hiked 438 miles with this system, with no apparent wear or failures. I ultimately purchased a new, lighter tarp, with greater coverage from HammockGear. When I get back on the trail this spring, I will be packing my Hennessy Hammock.

G00SE MODERATOR

Great review, Bill! Welcome to Trailspace.


9 months ago
KiwiKlimber

Great review. I'm a fan of hammock sleeping, but even more so when it's big enough for two, so my wife and I can snuggle. Is there enough room for two in this hammock or is it built for one only? If it does fit two, do you think the tarp and bug netting would still cover adequately? Thanks.


9 months ago
G00SE MODERATOR

KK, you're sleeping 2 to a hammock at night? I don't think I could get any sleep that way. I've napped with my kids a couple of times, but otherwise, I need my space.


9 months ago
Bill "L.Dog" Garlinghouse

KiwiKlimber, it is definitely built for one. Hennessy specifies a max weight of 200 lbs.


9 months ago
KiwiKlimber

Thanks Bill. Good to know. Goose, the biggest obstacle for my wife and I to sleep overnight in the hammock isn't lack of space, it's temperature. I like it cold, she likes it warm, so the temp has to be just right. Otherwise, it's a good night's rest.


9 months ago
Lah

I spent some time in the Yucatan where I observed whole families sleeping in hammocks together...they really are better than beds for the hot, humid conditions found there. I slept in one of these Mexican hammocks solo for 3 weeks straight no problem but I have never found my Hennessey to be quite as comfortable...still getting the hang of it I guess. Also, since I started using a neoair xlite thermarest, most of my ground ailments have dissipated. But still, I am determined to master this hammock for the instances where nothing else will serve...next challenge is to overnight inside a cypress dome with the alligators and pythons...a good reason to be off the ground :)


8 months ago
Bill "L.Dog" Garlinghouse

Some very good points ... Especially the ones pertaining to python and alligator avoidance!


8 months ago
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