In praise of hammocks

-- Last Updated: Jun-11-10 8:07 AM EST --

I do love sleeping in my Hennessey Hammock.

I recently had the opportunity to hang for three nights at Trap Pond in DE during sweltering conditions. 90+ during the day, and nights that caused one to sweat just taking a leisurly walk.

Climbing into the HH it initially feels close and humid, but after a couple of minutes the convection gets moving and you can feel the cooling effect. One night I even had to retrieve a fleece bag from the car to lay upon as my back was too cold.

Gotta love hammock hanging!


I bought a Clark NX-250 this spring and
used it at the Hugh Heward Challenge in April. WOW! I guess it is better to learn great stuff later rather than never, but I sure wish I had gotten on to this much sooner. With my meesed up back, sleeping on the ground is brutal. What a difference. Will spend two nights this weekend in it at the South Bass Island Kayak Rendezvous. I have actually been looking forward to the sleep. Pathetic yet awesome. Bill

hammock warmth
If you don’t insulate your back, in the hammock, you’re going to get cold. Even nighttime temps of 75F can cause you to chill.

I love my Hennesey hammock tent. Last time I traveled with a group I was the only one sleeping well, the rest were fiddling with placing their tents and sleeping pads trying to get comfortable. I was always set up first and sleeping pretty between my trees.

love mine too!
I think it is great so solo trips or whenever there are trees and we each bring our own tent.

I did get wet, though…
I had set the HH under my 15x15 Cookes tarp which also covered my picnic table. I had set the tarp high for ventilation, and on teh last night a doozy of a thunderstorm moved in at 0100. I was getting a horizontal air flow and mist soaked the foot area. Not the hammock’s fault - operator error. (Was not using the HH fly)


Not to thurn this into a hammock
forum (there is already a great one online) but I am experimenting with a rigging modification that shows much promise.

I bought two 20’ NRS cam buckle straps, and use a girth hitch at each tree. The buckle is 1-2’ from the tree, the free end of the strap runs through a ‘biner in a loop tied in the original suspension rope and back to the buckle. I called NRS about the strength - they rate the buckle/web interface at 1500 lbs. So far, no problems. This weekend I plan on making the loops permanent and cutting the ropes to about 2’ from the hammock ends.

This rig allows very quick set-up (no tying the HH Hitch) and can be adjusted super quick. The girth hitch around the tree, with two runs of 1" webbing pads just as well as a 2" Tree-Hugger.


Really that comfortable?
I have always been intrigued by the idea of hammock, but I thought they would be bad for your back because they appear to sag in the middle. Are you guys telling me they are as comfortable/ OK for your back? Any drawbacks other than the obvious small size?



what is a girth hitch? Thanks

Keep the Open Side Up,


A ‘belt’ that goes around the tree

– Last Updated: Jun-11-10 11:51 AM EST –

for you to hook the hammock to. Easier on the tree than using the hammock ropes.

Girth hitch, comfort etc

– Last Updated: Jun-11-10 12:26 PM EST –

The animation will give you the idea. Imagine the blue webbing to be the tree.

As for comfort, as an adolescent I spent numerous nights in an Army surplus jungle hammock. Not overly confy, but I was more limber then.

The HH has extra fabric in the ends, and a trapezoidal shape. After entering one turns about ten degrees from the hammock's axis. This puts your head and feet in the slack areas, and the effect is to put your body in a nearly level position. I can sleep on my side, or in a modified fetal position. I CANNOT sleep on my belly, but I don't do that at home.


Ooopsie - forgot the link.
Look at the set up videos.

If you think you
like your HH now, do yourself a favor and send it to Tim and Donna Weaver for a zipper mod.

Donna does PHENOMENAL work! I’ve had 2 hammocks modified by her and you’d swear it came like that from the factory.

I had her do the new mod #4 to my HH Desert Rat. Best mod EVER!

(Get over to to learn more than you ever wanted to know about hammocks and hammock camping.)

I wrote this article
for Seth Haber, owner of Trek Light Gear hammocks. I love my TL hammocks!

Also, check out the Warbonnet Blackbird hammock. I have one of those, too.

I am a member of that forum
Great place for ideas.

Interestingly, HH is now offering their models with zips and no slit. Did you have the slit sewn closed, or did you leave it intact? I really like the bottom entry - I like the fact that it closes so quickly to exclude skeeters. But being able to open the mesh for ventilation is an attractive option.


more comfortable
I camp alot and used to have lower back strain issues, I sleep more comfortably in a hammock than I do in a tent even with a fancy Exped pad. your entire body is supported evenly, rather than unevenly on a flat surface. You can sleep with your head and/or feet slightly elevated as desired, or on the diagonal to where your body is level. I’ve also discovered a couple odd but very comfortable sleeping positions in the hammock that aren’t possible on the ground.

From a paddling standpoint, it’s easier (and lighter) to pack a hammock & silnylon tarp than a tent and pad. The only drawback I’ve found is it can be tricky to get in a sleeping bag in the hammock. But, by rotating the bag slightly such that the zipper runs along the top, it’s not too hard.

I left the
slit alone when I sent it to Donna for the zipper mod. Some folks have it sewn shut. I decided to leave it alone so I could have the option of entering from the bottom.

Here’s the link to the #4 mod pictures of my Desert Rat

The #4 mod gives me endless possibilities. Hawk-eye and I worked closely with Donna when she was working out the kinks.


– Last Updated: Jun-11-10 9:50 PM EST –

Well, now that the "secret" is out, if you want the best, get a Warbonnet. If plunking down $700-$800 isn't a problem for you, you can get the complete setup, hammock, tarp, down top quilt, down underquilt. Just like anything else, if you try to save money on odds and ends with cheap stuff at first and like it, you'll end up spending more in the long run, might as well do it right, if you are able. There are a couple of other small businesses putting out products, Jacks R Better has quilts, tarps, a flat hammock, The Perfect Trees has quilts, Backwoods Daydreamer and Outdoor Equipment Supplier have tarps, Te-Wa makes down quilts and underquilts, Arrowhead Equipment (Kick Ass Quilts) makes more affordable synthetic quilts and underquilts, Speers got bought out by somebody and they made everything for hammocking, and a few others. Some things have to be specially ordered, but you are helping a small businessman make a living making a product in America, and you can deal with the owner yourself. Warbonnet and Jacks R Better usually have most of their products in stock w/o a wait. FWIW, the Hennessy guy is an @$$hole, and more and more of his stuff is made in China.

Ed Speers published a book about hammock camping, great for beginners. Not sure if it's still available.

The Warbonnet
sure looks like a great product. One of these days I will attend Trail Days in Damascus VA when they are there for demos. I like the idea of a double bottom - dealing with the HH UnderCover and pad is sometimes a hassle.


I have one of the original HH, when they were yellow and pre snakeskins. I haven’t ever tried it as I canoe/camp on creeks that have many sandbars and no trees. I’m thinking that some of my cam straps for canoe tie-downs would work as tree straps. Looks to me as though a clove hitch might be safer.


an a#$'hole?
First I’ve heard. My experience with them has been stellar. Maybe I got lucky, but this increasingly commercial thread is spinning out of control.