Ready to exchange your tent for a backpacking hammock? It might be the best trade in you’ve every done. Hammocks are more comfortable, typically lighter, and safer than tents as well. They let you dispense with lots of superfluous gear—think pillow, sleeping pad, even sleeping bag in summer—and still have the potential to give you a better night’s sleep than you’d have even if you’d lugged all that stuff around.
• Being off the ground keeps you warmer in cold weather
• Being off the ground keeps you off sticks, stones, rocks, and whatever else might be in your terrain
• No more worries about the damp, boggy ground: you’re well above it
• Stay out of the way of small four-footers, as well as many creepy crawlies
• Carry a lighter backpack
Which hammock is the best? Opinions differ, but here we’ll look at three high-quality hammocks that are particularly well suited for backpacking adventures.
The Grand Trunk Double Parachute Nylon Hammock is a roomy, lightweight hammock that makes sleeping on the trail super comfortable. It is made of 100% nylon silk, the kind used for parachutes, which means that though it is thin and light it is also very durable. It is rated for 400 pounds; so you can even get in with a friend. At 10.5 by 6.5 feet, it gives you plenty of sleeping space and lots of extra fabric that you can even use to close yourself in if you like sleeping that way. At the same time it stuffs small in a little stuff sack, and only weighs 20 ounces. This hammock comes ready to use, with attached ropes and carabineers, so you can go straight outdoors, hang it up, and have a nice peaceful nap.
Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest Hammock is another very good option. This one also weighs 20 ounces and is rated up to 400 pounds. When you put it in its stuff stack it compresses a little smaller than the Ground Trunk Double; down to grapefruit size, but it is also a little smaller (9.4 by 6.2 feet). The nylon silk it is made of is advertised as breathable and quick-drying. It comes with metal carabineers; no straps, so you’ll have to buy them separately.
The Hennessy Hammock Expedition Asym is a little more expensive and a little heavier—think 41 ounces in weight versus the 20 pounds of the Grand Trunk and Eagle Nest Doubles—but as a trade-off it gives you some very good all-weather protection: you can sleep in this hammock no matter what it’s like outside. It may also be more durable, though it’s only rated to 250 pounds. It’s pretty much a tent and a hammock mixed into one—a hanging tent, one could say. Wind, rain, mosquitos, and all that comes with those—that built in tarp and no-see-um netting should keep you dry and comfortable. If the weather is really bad, you may want to use a light sleeping pad to help insulate your underside and keep you warmer.
Have fun backpacking, and let tossing and turning on rocks and stones be history!