Friday evening had finally arrived and my good friend Eric and I where taking two of our boys each — so four kids — camping on Reed Island in the Columbia River. To get to the island, we were boating out in three kayaks so space and weight were limited. I brought a huge and heavy six-man tent for me and the boys. Eric, being a little more savvy, brought his Hennessy Hammock and a small two-man tent for his boys. Since I had just used a Blue Ridge Camping Hammock on a climbing trip to Mount St. Helens — read my hammock review here — I was immediately interested in his Hennessy Hammock, which is one of the more respected hammock brands on the market.
Like a hawk, I watched Eric set up his hammock.
The first thing I noticed was that it had to be light because it came out of a very compact travel bag. The entire hammock is made out of ripstop polyester, no-see-um mesh, and 10 feet of nylon covered, 1500-pound, spectra rope (which doesn’t stretch much at all). As for weight, the many versions of the Hennessy Hammock generally weigh in at just over 2 pounds — perfect for backpackers looking to save weight.
The setup was fairly easy: tie both ends of the hammock to trees and you’re done. Total set up time was around 5 minutes, but to be fair, I was bothering him with questions while he worked. Tack on another 5 minutes for the rain fly, which is definitely big enough to cover the hammock in a multitude of ways. That night, Eric just tied it off on a couple of available trees and didn’t cover the hammock, but he had it ready should the weather turn.
The Hennessy Hammock is a bottom-entry hammock — not a middle, side entry. Confused? Yeah, me too. By bottom-entry, I mean you have to duck down under the hammock and stand up into it. Then, you sit back and zip up the hole in the bottom. It’s not too hard once you get the hang of it, though Eric did admit that learning how to keep his sleeping pad in place while he made this maneuver took a little trial and error to figure out.
The Hennessy Hammock is a cocooning banana-shaped style — if you sleep on your back, your feet will be elevated. Sleeping on your side is possible; however, it is unlikely you will be fully stretched out.
Best Features of the Hennessy Hammock
No tipping. No corners.
Easy set up, easy take down.
Durable construction that can handle up to 250 pounds.
Can be used as a lounge chair during the day.
And Not So Best Features of the Hennessy Hammock
Can’t say that I’m a fan of the center entry style (but Hennessy does make some side entry versions).
One person only (then again, the design is not aiming to accommodate two people).
All-in-all, the Hennessy Hammock is lightweight, durable, and delivers a dry, bug-free hammock experience — which is the point, of course.