Hennessey hammock with a bad back.

Anyone with a bad lower back use a Hennessey hammock? I have to buy an extra long and don’t have one to try.

Yes, to both!
I have a bad back and I find the hammock very comfortable. A ‘regular’ hammock would send me into back spasms if I was in one more than an hour or two. The asym design lets you lie practically flat.

Thanks! Potential Christmas present.

try others too

– Last Updated: Dec-02-08 9:03 AM EST –


The Hennessey is the best trade dressed hammock on the market, but it has two flaws. 1. The Fly is generally too small, although they have upsize options. 2. The bottom entry makes for easy entry and egress. This is good and bad. The good part is easy in and easy out, and the hammock makes a great bug proof chair. The bad part is when you end up standing on the ground in your sleeping bag at 2am. Eventually one learns to sleep across the bottom slit. I own a Hennessey and use it a lot. Final limitation after the learning curve is its inability to work with a full length foam pad in cold weather - the pad slips through the slit and there you are, standing in your sleeper at 2am. The best part of the Hennessey is the simple pitch; two trees and two side pegs and you're stable and dry.

Another option is the Clark Jungle Hammock. Again, the std fly is just too small. Get the OS fly. The Clark is a return to the womb, so not for the claustrophobic, but the under pockets for shoes, clothing etc are a handy option and it works w/ full length pads in shoulder seasons. My main grip is the numbr of ties: two for the hammock and six for the fly.

Crazy Creek also makes a neat hammock. It's got two aluminum poles, so its more spacious inside for those in fear of tight places. The hammock pitches just fine with two points, but again, the fly needs 6-8 more points, which are not always available.

All in all, hammock are better than tents for solo sleepers. No roots or rocks, almost always dry in rain, and way lighter and smaller in the pack. I have lower back problems, and sleeping on my side in a hammock is as or more comfortable than my Tempur-pedic.

If I had a suggestion, it would be for an asymmetrical, parallelogram, fly: two points to the trees used for the hammock. A short point on one side, usually pitched down for weather protection. The longer side pitched flatter to provide a place to dress, cook, hang out in rain and snow.


any better luck with the Wal Mart
cheapie roll up pads? No cover so they are a little “stickier”

I like my Hennessey for solo trips…but there is no privacy so its best to have a restroom handy or no neighbors.

My Thermarest keeps winding somewhere rather than under me. I have thought about putting in a sleeve to keep a 3/4 length pad in place. The pad is only for insulation in shoulder seasons…not necessary during the summer.

Boarding and deboarding takes a little getting used to. An oversize fly and a mini tarp under the opening allows you to don bag witout getting it filthy.

You sleep flat in a Hennessey especially if you remember to mount the foot end a few inches higher.

Of corse it depends on what your back problem is,But when sleeping in my Clark hammoc my back hurts less than any other sleeping situation-even my bed at home. I love my Clark.I have the largest fly and have spent many rainy times under it sometimes joined by other tent campers.The big advantage of a Clark is the insulation possible underneath which I have augmented.I don’t need a pad inside until 20 degrees or so. Yes the many lines can be a pain.


I tried a buddy’s Clarks a few years back and was astounded that I got a full 10 hours sleep. For some dumb reason I got sucked into a Hennessy because of what I perceived as benefits such as ease of pitching and the diagonal sleeping position. I found it a real pain chasing the pad and bag all around the Hennessy and sold it. I now have the Clarks Tropical and am back to enjoying 10 hours of sleep. I agree with Charlie the Clarks suffers from an insane system of tie-outs. I have abandoned the Clarks fly and now use a CCS 10x10 silnylon tarp over a ridge line.

All is well with the world.

I had all those issues, too
the Hennessey Hammock is a fine piece of gear, but Charlie and Kim are both right…it is VERY easy to get out the bottom slot when you least expect it. It’s also hard to get in when you have the undercover and underpad in place and the permanent bug net prohibits top entry. So much so that I switched to a ENO Double Nest hung under a Cooke’s Tundra Tarp. Best of all worlds. Easy up, easy to get in and out, plenty of hammock fabric so you can scoot into a diagonal (assymetrical) sleeping position that is very close to flat, and I can sleep on either side. I use a Big Agnes 30-degree Fish Hawk down bag with a Thermarest Prolite 3 slid into the sleeve. For colder nights I use a 45-degree Mountain Hardware Phantom down bag as a sleeping bag liner. Man, I never slept this good in my life! I now have the ENO hung in my bedroom. My back issues are completely gone. I haven’t slept in a bed or on the ground for a year, and I’ll never go back…well, maybe occasionally:)

Nice thing about a Hennessey
If Nature calls in the middle of a cold night, and you don’t mind relieving yourself around your tent, just stand up, in the sleeping bag, unzip the bag, do your thing, zip the bag back up, and flop back in bed. I’ve done this on several occasions and it’s nice to not have to get out of your warm sleeping bag!

Everything you’d like to know about all the hammocks there are to choose from…


Just remember, like anything else, EVERY Hammock has it’s Strengths and weaknesses…pick one that suits you…

I’m a Hennessey Hammock hanger myself, in the old Expedition 2.5 (Non-asym). I like Hennessey Hammocks, hate the A-sym models…go figure…


– Last Updated: Dec-02-08 11:33 AM EST –

seateks got one. i have tried them and personally find them just "OK". you are not sleeping FLAT no matter how angled you are or how tight the strings are. You also have limited sleeping positions. They are light weight and quick to set up. they just dont work well for me. Wish they did as i think they are cool.

double is hung in my basement for quick quality combat naps.

String, YMMV

– Last Updated: Dec-02-08 1:14 PM EST –

but I get the best sleep of all in a Hennessey. I nearly always sleep on my side, and the HH acommodates that very nicely.

I will not elaborate, as Charlie Wilson has hit every nail on the head. I do like HH's under pad and cover, as they solve the problem of keeping an interior pad in position.

A sleeping bag with a full double-zip is the bee's knees for a HH. That way you can pull the bag on with your footwear still in place, sit down, kick off shoes (Crocs are great) and retreat into the hammock. I have a (discontinued) REI fleece liner bag that has a drawcord foot that is fine for 40 deg and up. With your better half's sewing skills you could end up with a super bag!

I have back probs, and have three discs that are not what they once were. But the HH does a wonderful job of reducing the discomfort.


edit: My hypothesis is that since there are no pressure points (shoulder, hips) as with a camping mattress that your body relaxes allowing your back to loosten up - sort of like a muscle-relaxant without the pharmaceuticals.

I have a bad back and a Hennessy
I have not had a problem sleeping in the Hennessy Hammock with a bad back. I sleep on my side. I have not had any of the problems others have had (feet sliding through the slit inadvertently, or trouble getting in or out with an under-quilt). If you hang the foot end a tiny bit higher than the head end, you will not slide down and need to push back up with your feet. Maybe that is why some people had their feet go through when they were not expecting it. I made my under-quilt with some windproof ripstop and thick fleece and attached it with bungee cords. It is easy to push out of the way when getting out and pops back into place when getting back in, if you get the tension just right. I also get in and out of my sleeping bag in the hammock and do not stand on the ground in my bag. It took a little practice, but it is very doable. There is a hammockforums.net where you can ask questions and get tips on making your own gear and using hammocks.

Thanks everyone! Good advice,as usual.

one thing common to some hangers
is that after a full nights sleep and get out of the hammock your legs are so relaxed you have to pause a moment to let them catch up.

one more thing
In my Clark,if its above 40deg. I sleep with the zipper open in my bag and the opening under me so I an in direct contact with the hamoc.This stops the sliding that can happen during the night due to the nylon to nylon slipperyness if you havn’t hung totally level.I swear sometimes a perfectly level looking hang job is spoiled by a shift in the earth’s crust during the night! How do you hand the replacment tarp?Diagonal?


Big Anges System
For the folks with problems with the pad, give the Big Anges system a look. The pad is intergrated into the bag.

Canoedancing :
Yep! That is what I was alluding to in my post. No pressure points, fully relaxed legs. Standing up in the morning gives me a “Wow, I feel great!” feeling.


replacement tarp question?
“How do you hand the replacment tarp?Diagonal?”

Turtle, Im not sure your question was directed at me, but here’s an answer…the Cooke’s Tundra Tarp has a plethora of tie-out loops all around and across the center so you can tie it pretty much anyway you want. Diagonal, lean-to, square, windscreen, privacy screen, two or three together. It even has a pole tie setup in the middle so you can erect it like a Bedouin tent. I just use the basic square. It’s a 10x10 and gives me plenty of coverage for the hammock and for my gear and kitchen area.I’m solo most of the time, though, so others mileage may vary.

Where I travel mostly, bears are hunted and fearful of man so cooking and eating under the tarp is not an issue. I occasionally get a possum or coon in camp.

Charlie mentioned the wimpy little rainfly that comes with the HH and I agree, it’s not nearly big enough. I was already carrying a Tundra Tarp for my kitchen anyway so I started leaving the HH rainfly at home.

Kim is right about the Big Agness sleeping bag system, it’s convenient and when you wake up in the morning you’re not all upside down with the mat on top. I think it’s a lot warmer, too, when you can keep the insulated pad positioned properly all night.

Another question is about tying the hammock so tight you can sleep on your side. That method is pretty uncomfortable. Try tying the hammock with plenty of sag so you can flop around in there and get comfy. The trick is to have enough sag you can scootch into a diagonal. The thermarest helps level it off, too. I’ve found it helps if I tie the head about 4" lower than the feet, it helps keep me from migrating to the foot end all night.

One advantage of the HH is if you tie the system with the ridge line ppretty level then you almost always get the right amount of sag automatically.