I get it. You’re used to sleeping on the ground. It’s nice down here in your tent.
But there are better options.
Loftier goals, if you will.
I’ve compiled a list of backpacking hammocks that come highly recommended (either from my direct use or my scouring of Reddit and Amazon reviews).
The Best Hammocks for Your Next Backpacking Trip
They’re also great for lounging around the park or chilling at a backyard barbecue. My main consideration here is quality. I have a lot of positive experience with Eagles Nest Outfitters. They make quality products that last. You’ll see them a lot in the list that follows.
Which Hammock Should I Buy?
ENO makes hammocks in two sizes (generally): singlenest and doublenest. A singlenest is designed for one person. A doublenest is theoretically designed for two, if you’re really comfortable getting all in the other person’s business. You’d never sleep with two in a doublenest, so I really wouldn’t recommend one for backpacking purposes. It ends up being extra weight for not a lot of added benefit.
I use my singlenest almost every day. It’s hanging in my room. I’m typing this blog post from it.
This hammock clocks in at 16oz.
It’s a pretty reasonable compromise between weight and comfort for everybody but the ultralight elite. I’m 6′ 2″ and I have plenty of room in it.
The double is a tad more expensive (~$10 at the time I’m writing this).
It’s considerably wider than the single nest, length is roughly the same. My wife, Kinsey, uses one of these on the regular and really loves it.
It wraps around you, which can make you feel more secure than a narrower hammock.
At 19oz, it’s a heavier option. In my opinion, the extra material isn’t worth the extra weight.
The Sub 7 is a solid hammock that comes in at just under 7oz. It’s surprisingly comfortable for something so small. David, who you’ve heard on Mr. Muir Goes to Yosemite, uses one of these. He’s a big guy and has said he’s perfectly content in it.
This hammock is a testament to ENO’s commitment to no-frills, ultralight, ultra-efficient backpacking. If you combine this with some whoopie slings, you’ve got a seriously light camping setup.
How Should I Hang My Hammock?
Between two trees. *rimshot*
ENO makes two standard options for tree straps:
1. Slap Straps – These are the economical option. You lose a little versatility and they’re not super lightweight at 12oz. They’ll get the job done and you might notice the difference if you never use a better set of straps.
2. Atlas Straps – These are the straps I recommend. I use them and love them. The loops are right next to each other for maximum versatility. They won’t any awards for keeping your pack-weight down, however, at just over a pound. You get nine feet out of each strap (almost two feet more than you get from each Slap Strap), but that weight is still disappointing.
An Ultralight, Non-ENO Option:
I haven’t used these straps personally but they have solid Amazon reviews and were highly recommended on Reddit.
The Hummingbird Hammocks straps are an impressive 2.3oz. They’re a whoopie-style strap and retail for $30, the same as the Atlas straps from ENO. They’re a solid buy if you want to keep your weight under control.
The Right Add-Ons Can Make or Break Your Hammock-Camp Experience
Just like a refreshing sip of sud after a long day on the trail, the right hammocking accessories can make or break your experience. Here are a few of my favorite add-on items.
- A bug net – You don’t realize how many mosquitos and biting flies your tent protects you from until you wake up covered in bites (or, worse yet, can’t sleep because you’re covered in mosquitos). I have one of ENO’s nets and it hasn’t failed me yet. It’s just strong enough to hold a book or a flashlight above the ground right underneath you.
- A Tarp – You’ll want to set a ridgeline above you and put a tarp across it. You can use a crappy, $3 tarp from Harbor Freight. Or you can get a fancy ENO one. Just make sure you survive the drowned rat test.
- An underquilt – You need insulation from the wind in all but the warmest of conditions. I’ve slept outside without an underquilt to cut the wind. It was miserable. I didn’t get any sleep. Don’t be like me, a good night’s sleep is necessary to seize the next day!