Reviewers Paid: $99.00-$169.00
The Hennessy Hammock is a great idea, and perfect for warm-weather camping, but not quite perfect yet. What they say is true: it's lightweight, you can lie almost flat (the trick is to lie diagonally), it's more comfortable than the ground, and you don't have to worry about finding a level or dry campsite. (I have a knack for getting flooded, including when a glacier blew out in warm weather in Alaska and let a higher lake dump into the lower lake I was camped on: 8' water in 48 hours!) So I love the idea of hanging off the ground no matter what the slope, weather, etc.
But there ARE two drawbacks. First is minor: the ropes that came with mine weren't long enough. I bought some web straps at REI, tied them onto the end, and voila: plenty of line to tie it up. (Related issue: at first I thought I had to get it really taut to be able to lie flat. Not true: taut enough is taut enough; you don't need bulletproof trucker's hitches etc.) So with my little addition, setup is a breeze: under 2 min.
Second drawback is more significant, in my mind. The thing's amazingly cold. It's surrounded by air, with nothing but nylon to keep out the cold, so however cold the night air drops, that's how cold the inside of the hammock is. Plus, the bottom of your sleeping bag is flattened -- no loft in the insulation there -- so your underside is literally freezing. I've tried using my Thermarest and it doesn't work. The company recommends fastening a cheap space blanket to the underside of the hammock to reflect back body heat, and I've heard it works really well, but it seems mickeymouse to me. I'm hoping they come up with some better solution.
Oh, two more pluses. You can roll the hammock up around the ridge cord, which leaves plenty of room under the fly to sit, cook, read, etc. even in a drizzle. And (men only) -- forgive me, but this is a high point for me! -- if it's really cold or you're not feeling well, but need to answer nature's call, you can "lower periscope" through the entry slit and whizz away. Admit it: that's worth the price of admission alone!
Ease of Setup: Really easy BUT only after practice and adding simple extensions
Weight: 2.25 (I think)
Price Paid: $99
This is a fantastic new product ... Period.
It is what its advertisements say it is. Imagine hiking into an area ... setting up camp without looking for that perfectly drained, level spot ... without roots, without rocks. Just find a couple of trees ... easy in the eastern forests ... tie this sucker in place, hang your pack from a tree and you have home sweet home. You wake up in the morning and there is no stiffness or pain from that root or rock that wasn't there when you went to bed ... but came to visit about 3 a.m.
You can get into this baby, in the rain ... without soaking everything in it. It's roomy ... you can lay on the diagonal and you are vertually flat. The hammock angle is fixed by the design ... so no sagging, head down accidents.
It's light weight ... 2.25lbs. Leave your sleeping pad at home ... unless you need the insulation ... after all you're sleeping in the air. So far it has not bothered me and I've slept in 29F weather (no wind). It is truly one of the greatest things to come along in a long time for the weight concerned. It is lighter than most bivy shelters and light years more comfortable and roomy. You can roll and turn ... and you're not going to flip out of it. You even enter it through a self closing entrance in the bottom foot end. Very well thought out design. Ridge line to hang things from ... glasses, flashlight ... whatever.
I just lost my first one to a friend in Bolivia a couple of weeks ago ... that couldn't live another day longer without one after he saw mine. Now he's got an early birthday present and I have to order another ... and I think I'll order a spare ... just to have around. REI was selling them, but when I called ... they didn't have any or any on order. I think they must be crazy ... but you can get them directly from Hennessy.
Design: Hammock (3 season?)
Ease of Setup: Piece of cake
Weight: 2.25 lbs
Price Paid: $99
Very comfortable and light. Set up in five minutes between two hefty trees. Entry is through bottom rear. You are excreted in AM. Had light rain and stayed dry. No condensation problems. line inside mosquito netting good for gear. Better for minimalist backpacking than other, heavier models.
Very roomy, with side guy lines for hammock itself, not just fly.
Design: Hammock Tent
Ease of Setup: Easy
Price Paid: $169