Hennessy Hammock SuperShelter Insulation System

rated 3.5 of 5 stars (1)
photo: Hennessy Hammock SuperShelter Insulation System sleeping pad

Specs

Price MSRP: $139.95
Reviewers Paid: $100.00
Weight 16.7 oz / 474 g
Packed Size 5 x 15 in

Reviews

If you own a Hennessy hammock, and want to camp in the cold you might want to check out Hennessy Hammock's Super Shelter (HHSS) an economical solution to keeping the hammock side of the hammocker warm.

The HHSS is rated to be a 4-season solution to insulate the hammock. I have used it with success down to 25° and was toasty warm.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Relatively flexible for a pad when packed
  • Relatively lightweight at 19 ounces

Cons

  • A little difficult to learn to dial in
  • Pad durability

The Hennessy Hammock Super Shelter is a system approach to hammock bottom insulation, and a good one that with the use of a vapor barrier users can camp out in frigid cold and not only survive by stay warm and dry without the need to carry pounds of gear just to insulate the bottom of their hammock.

Hennessy does not advertise a low temperature rating. It is listed as a 4-season shelter insulation package. For best results users must purchase two additional components crucial to using the HHSS successfully in the cold, or in my opinion temperatures below freezing.

The HHSS system is comprised of four components, two of which are not included in the $150 retail package. The components included are an Under Cover (UC) and the open cell foam pad custom cut and sewn with edging and a diagonal reinforcement with the shock cord and mitten hooks necessary to clip into the matching Hennessy hammocks attachment points and the two mitten hooks that must be attached to the hammock with the two included zip ties.

However the two components that really help users extend the systems cold weather capacity are an Over Cover (OC) and a simple space blanket. The space blanket is a few dollars and the OC is available from Hennessy Hammock for $40. The OC and space blanked were once included in the HHSS but that was changed several years ago.

The HHSS is not really complicated or terribly difficult and it's almost a set-it-and-forget-it attachment. However in use users will find that the pad will require shifting, and the UC will need to be adjusted at times and the space blanket will require attention every time the hammock is set up and in a base camp situation the space blanket may require users to spread it out fully after each use.

Tom Hennessy does a fine job in his explanatory video below. The video is the first of four. You can just click on the next part when the video ends if you want a detailed step-by-step overview.

I part with Tom's setup in that I used a compression sack to stuff the complete shelter in minus the tarp and stakes. I was able to compact the package to fit across the bottom of my pack but I had the larger of the Hennessy hammocks and HHSS so that ate up over 1/3 of my 50L pack. That was OK for over night, but for multi day I chose to remove the HHSS and stuff if in a compression sack under my pack. Which lead me to bite the bulled and purchase a three-season UQ since I became unwilling to carry the bulk.

In practice the HHSS "IF" deployed with the space blanket really kept me warm in temps I camp in and below. If you were to compare the actual size of the HHSS to full length down UQ the HHSS would fare OK in its stock bishop sack with the UC and OC in the ends at about 6" x 16".

The problem was fitting the open cell pad which you could rip back into that sack. That required the user to fold the pad three or four times and then roll it while compressing it quite firmly. If camping at a campground that was never really an issue since a picnic table was usually available. However I never found a good campsite on the trail with said table which left me rolling the pad against my leg while trying to keep the debris magnet of a pad from collecting leaves and twigs. But when I followed that procedure and used a larger compression bag this became markedly easier and still yielded a compact and pretty light weight (25 oz.) somewhat flexible package.

The HHSS is designed in such a way that users can layer additional clothes leaves or other material beneath the pad inside the OC. I have added a 40° 2/3's UQ to be warm in 18° and am sure I could have went colder using a 15° REI sleeping bag using minimal winter sleep wear.

For car camping or when using other means of conveyance other than ones back the HHSS would certainly be a workable solution. A little less costly that a synthetic quilt and smaller too, and considerable less than a full length down quilt but bulkier and nearly the same weight.

The HHSS was my intro into insulation for the bottom of hammocks, and it was quite eye opening to the very real benefits of vapor barriers. And as such the HHSS schooled me on ways to stay warm swinging between trees comfortably above the cold wet ground. I have an affinity for the approach employed by the HHSS and a respect for the ground breaking product Mr. Hennessy introduced years ago. But my hiking style and desire to carry light weight and minimal bulk have eliminated the HHSS from the tools I choose to take in the field.

The OC and UC are great products and well made which should provides many years of trouble free service. The pad however is just an egg shell open cell pad, which is not all that durable and should be handled with care and is prone to ripping. And the space blanket is a cheap component that will require replacement on a regular basis dependent upon use.

Overall the HHSS delivers on the promise of four-season warmth. And if the packed size of 6"-7" x 15"-17" is not a problem for your bottom insulation the HHSS may be a product you find very worthy of purchase. Also you can find these at steep discounts during the annual sale in October which just happens to be going on now of they still have product.

Below you can see the HHSS on an Explorer UL, notice the UC connects on top of the OC and the OC's round ventilation hole that is intended to be placed above the users head to minimize moisture buildup inside the HHSS.


IMG_0097.jpg

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $100 during the annual Hennessy October sale.

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