Jump to content

I'm planning on buying some type of Hennessey Hammock for the A.t.

Followers 0

Recommended Posts

Well, this is a good idea, sleeping in a hammock. At least I thought so when I first began to backpack. In fact, on my very first trip I used a small backpacking hammock to sleep in one night. :laughing: I also used one on my second trip :laughing: . BUT... I don't imagine I will sleep in a hammock ever again.


Why not a hammock? Have you ever tried to sleep curled up like a shrimp? I discovered that I need to lie on a flat, smooth and level piece of real estate. I only need 2X6 feet worth of space for me and all my gear. A small alpine style tent or bivy sack works just great and I get a great nights sleep.

Thats what works for me.

I've read raves about hammocks on other forums. Some people swear by a hammock. But for me it just doesn't work and I sleep poorly.


What I can say that is postive is that you can set a hammock up just about anywhere where there is something to support it- like two trees or boulders.


On that second trip I was bushwhacking up a peak in the Catskills and when I ran out of light and wanted to stop I just strung up my hammock, regardless of the rock and boulder strewn ground underneathe.


Only problem was later in the middle of the night some porcupines were walking around my camp and back then I didn't know from porcupines and I was scared half to death. It was almost as bad as the time that deer jumped over my tent as I was trying to sleep!.

Link to comment
What are the pros and cons of a hammock.


Pros are the light weight and that you can pitch it any place you have two trees


I'd say the big con is that they are cold to sleep in. Great in the summer, not so good for late fall and early spring. Some mfrs have systems to make them warmer but once you've added all that stuff then you are losing the advantage of light weight. I guess another con is that you might not be able to find two trees.


As far as the pack I always hang mine in a tree. Never had a problem with rodents. Leave the pockets unzipped just in case so they don't have to chew through to get inside. I hang the food separately so

the critters have no reason to try to get into the pack in the first place.

Link to comment

I was thinking about buying a hammock for the a.t.

What are the pros and cons of a hammock.

Also where would i put my pack.

Shouldn't i be afraid of rodents getting into it, ants, people, or bears?




Ok, I’ve slept in a Hennessey hammock for years and some of what people are writing is true, but some of it is just bogus. You don’t sleep in a ball if you lay diagonal; it is flat because your weight is distributed across the fabric. You enter from the bottom which is rather strange, but effective. Bugs are no problem with the bug mesh over the top.


Now the being cold can be true if you don’t prepare. I’ve slept in my hammock in 20 degree weather and stay warm enough, but prefer temps in the high 30’s to 40s’. (I use a 20 deg down bag) You need to have some sort of insulation underneath, if not you will get cold. They make a pad for the Hennessey and that works great, cot a few bucks though.


Trees can be an issue if you are above tree line, but if you improvise anything is possible. I would buy an 8x10 sylon tarp for the fly as the rain fly that comes with it is undersize for windy rain or snow.


They are lightweight. I put my pack underneath no problems with critters and I’m where raccoons, chipmunks, squirrel and bears are, (NW Washington, ONP and Cascades Mts)


Some of the best nights sleep in the woods have been in my hammock.

Link to comment

I'm not sure about long distance hikes, but for shorter distances I have switched to hammocks. I prefer an open lightweight hammock to the Hennesy. I have tried both. The Hennesy seems to be too confining to me. It's a personal preference. I've slept out a few cool but not cold nights with no problems. I have a windshield sun screen that I use for insulation. It's light and tends to wrap up on the sides in the hammock. The hammock I use is the Traveler from Campmor. It is considerably lighter and easier to hang, but lacks bug protection. Give it a try, you may like it.


Link to comment

I have backpacked alot with both tent, tarp, and hammocks (both hennasy and speer hammocks) I use a rayway tarp/net tent set up when I camp with my son. Its lightweight, and very stormworthy. Like a tent, its biggest drawback is you have to have a reasonably flat area to set up on. Where I hike in Alabama, that is a bit of a problem--its very rocky and can be tough to find a good spot to set up. Also, unless youre camping on a bed of pine needles, its not all that comfortable to sleep on the ground. ( or maybe I'm just getting old!) With a hammock youre in a very comfortable bed, and have almost unlimited capabilities --you can set up just about anywhere. The biggest drawback is, hammocks are pretty cold in the winter---no insulation on the bottom. There are lots of ways around this---underquilts, sleeping pads, vapor barriers etc. Do a google search for hammock camping. This is a new frontier in backpacking and there are lots of people pushing the envelope-----lots of experimenting going on! I think there is alot of room for experimenting and improvment---hammocks have the potential to be alot lighter and less bulky than a traditional tent set up. As far as which type of hammock, I really like the speer hammock. Its easy to make, (Ed Speer has a book "Hammock Camping " and sell kits---its a great book--worth the purchase price!) The speer hammock is flexible, and easily modified to fit your weather conditions etc. ( and its really comfortable and easier to set up than the Hennessey hammock) I own a Hennessey A sym explorer---Its a well made product, but never really worked that great for me. I used it a couple of years, but have retired it and now use my Speer Hammock all the time. One quick word of advice: Try it out at home before you hit the trail---there is a bit of a learning curve! Good luck!

P.S. When I use my hammock, I feel more a part of the landscape around me. Its almost as if the wildlife doesnt see you, or doesnt recognize you. Case in point, I was hanging in my back yard woods a few weeks ago, taking a nap, I woke up and watched a squirrel head down one of the trees I was tied off from. He got about 5 feet from the hammock(right above my head) when he realized somthing was wrong-he very carefully backed up the tree and retreated into the woods--it was really funny to watch! :huh:

Link to comment

I like sleeping in a Hennessy hammock and in Rocksylvania it certainly opens up more potential campsites. It is different from a regular hammock for diagonal sleeping vs. a curve. The enclosed bottom entry does bother some folks but not me. The attached bug net bothers some too, but in PA hammock weather is probably bug weather too so the non-separability of the bug net isn't an issue for me either.


Although I'm a member of Hammock Forums I find the information density over there to be a bit high. Lots of good info but I don't have the time to penetrate it.


I did have a quality issue with the Hennessy - screen tore off the bottom on the first night due to bad stitching. Seems others have had a similar problem. Two months and an expensive mail-back to Canada later, I got a better stitched replacement that's worked fine since.


One thing that's worked for me warmth wise hanging in 30 deg overnight is the Wal-Mart blue sleeping pad under a 0 deg bag, wearing my base layer inside I was plenty warm without resorting to the fancy add ons.


I've been keeping the pack under the hammock. Nothing else to set up or hang. I do carry a BearVault rather than hanging food/smellies. As someone else said the zippers etc. are left hanging open. If the pack has been explored in the night, the explorers don't stick around or leave perceptible evidence.


My own hammock issue is the set up. I am very very clumsy and the process of tying off is just very difficult for me. (That's also why I carry the BearVault rather than bothering with the food hanging process.) In fact on my next trip I'm trying a newer lighter tent (also anticipating colder weather).


I've also thought of trying a Speer (USA made) but I just don't get out enough to justify the expense of yet another hammock. Maybe soon!

Link to comment

I am madly in love with my Hennessey Hammock!!



If you sleep in it like you're supposed to, on a diagonal, then it's the best sleep I've ever gotten.

You don't have to carry tent poles, worry about rocks on the ground or a flat sleeping place crawling bugs, sand, etc.

You don't have to worry about tent stakes. Tent stakes don't work in sand, unless you get sand stakes,which won't work in hard dirt. Metal stakes bend. They add weight to a pack.



In colder weather the cold does come right up through the bottom. A pad inside the hammock helps. I've had trouble with the pad staying underneath me so in very cold weather I put my lightweight summer sleep bag over my warm sleeping bag and put the pad in between. Stays right in place.

Not the best if you're claustraphobic. (see below)

I've got the one person, and so don't get to use it much because I've got a partner to camp with now.


I first bought a cheaper lighter weight hammock. The first time I tried it in (luckily) my back yard it tore out. Rather than return it, because I sew outdoor gear, I modified the heck out of it so it wont' happen again.


The Hennessey Hammock I did not have that problem with, but I cant' deal with the floor entrance because of my severe claustraphobia. Before I could even get in mine for the first time I had to install a zipper on the side. I've left the velcro floor opening at this point because it's easier to enter that way, get into your sleeping bag first and then slide in through the bottom. However, after not sleeping in it for a while I tend to need to sleep with the zipper open a foot and my hand sticking out at first so I know I'm not stuck in there. I have the same problem with any small tents too, so my claustraphobia is by no means limited to hammocks. After I acclimate once more to the hammock, it's the best night sleep I get!!

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Followers 0
  • Create New...