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Hands-on Gear Review
ENO Reactor Review
Cons: Suspension not included, heavy, bulky
Bottom line: The Reactor is an impressively comfortable hammock with soft fabric and bomber insulation courtesy of a double layer of fabric which also makes a sleeve for your sleeping pad.
The ENO Reactor is a seriously comfortable hammock with superior insulation. Sporting a double layer of 70D high tenacity nylon taffeta, you are effectively shielded from the wind while your body is still able to breath. The double layer construction creates a sleeve for you to slide your sleeping pad into for even more insulation. Our testers noticed right away on a chilly day how much warmer this hammock was than any of the other models we tested — even without a pad. Yet on a warm day in short shorts we also didn't feel stifled and loved the way the supple fabric felt on our skin. A win-win in the comfort department.
At 5'6" wide the Reactor isn't considered a double model yet it's also wider than most single models. Two people who like each other a lot would have no problem getting cozy in here. For one person it's spacious without making it feel like you're drowning in a sea of hammock. Setup was easy and we found a lot of fun and comfortable positions. Really the only downside of this hammock is the fact that it's heavy. But if weight isn't an issue for you we know you'll love everything else about this hammock.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The ENO Reactor is comfortable, spacious, and simple to set up. Its construction allows for a sleeping pad to be stowed away between two thick layers of fabric, so it won't end up on top of you after a night of sleep. As long as weight is not your primarily concern, this hammock is highly recommended.
The chart below shows the ranks of all contenders in our testing, earning a score from 1-100.
As mentioned above, we loved the comfort factor in this hammock. We gave it first place marks in this category, along with the Warbonnet Blackbird and the Warbonnet Ridgerunner. All for different reasons though. The Blackbird's asymmetric construction and features allow for a superior diagonal lay and the spreader bars that come with the Ridgerunner mean side and stomach sleeping are possible and actually comfortable — a rarity for camping hammocks. But the Reactor is a regular boat-shaped open model and it soared above the other open models in large part due to the silky smooth and soft fabric and the fact that you get two layers of this divine material for added insulation and to create a sleeping pad sleeve. No other hammock made us feel more protected or insulated from underneath. For one person the size was also a perfect balance — not too big and not too small definitely just right.
This luxury comes at a price though, the price being heaviness. It's a burly hammock for sure, something our testers noticed right away. So while you won't be sliding this hammock into your back pocket with the Grand Trunk Nano 7, you will have a decidedly better sleep.
As we already alluded to above, this is not a light hammock. It tipped the scales at a whopping 26.5 ounces. Only the Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip and the Warbonnet Ridgerunner were heavier, at 33 ounces and 41 ounces respectively, but both of these models include a bug net and the Ridgerunner has spreader bars (these weight comparisons are for hammocks only and do not include the full weight of the expedition packages we tested).
For comparison with other hammock-only open models, the Grand Trunk OneMade Double Trunktech is only 15.6 ounces and the Kammok Roo is 23.1 ounces. However, these models do not offer a double layer of fabric and therefore are not as insulating and could potentially require additional expensive upgrades to make them truly warm.
Ease of Setup
As with all the open models we tested, setup is as easy as clipping the included carabiners into your anchor. A suspension system is not included with this hammock, so that is something you will have to decide upon and it may or may not complicate your setup. Keep in mind that this will also add weight to your final package.
Durability and Protection
While the Reactor doesn't come with a bug net or rain fly as expedition models like the Warbonnet Blackbird do, it is the most insulating right out of the bag. The fabric is breathable for warm weather and doubled up to add insulation and a space for your sleeping pad in cold weather. The dedicated sleeve area for your pad also means you'll never wake up with it on top of your face, a perk for sure.
The generous fabric width also allowed for us to find multiple comfortable positions both sideways and lengthwise, laying down and sitting up. We had enough fabric to rest our heads on the side and cocoon it around us like a blanket.
Additionally, the fabric layers are thick and the construction is solid. We feel no apprehension in recommending this hammock to people with larger bodies or with a small herd of kiddos; both in regards to safety and in our confidence that the material will withstand the test of time and use with no problem.
Without added features like a bug net or rain fly, this hammock is certainly not versatile like the burly Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip or the very customizable ENO SubLink Shelter System. But we rated it a bit higher than other similar models such as the ENO DoubleNest and the Kammok Roo because of it's double layered bottom, which allows for the addition of a sleeping pad in its own dedicated space. And the generous 5'6" width lends itself to more versatility than a narrow ultralight model, like the Grand Trunk Nano 7. Also keep in mind that there are many impressive accessories that can always be added on later to increase versatility for long trips with less-than-friendly weather.
The Reactor is ideal for car camping or short trips where weight isn't a primary concern and you know there won't be bugs or rain. It will handle drops in temperature better than many of the other hammocks we tested, especially if you choose to add a tarp to your setup later on down the road.
At $95 the Reactor is definitely a few steps up from a starter hammock, yet we still feel the price is competitive and reasonable for all the insulation you get. While you can get a similarly designed hammock for less, if you're serious about sleeping out overnight chances are you may get cold and need an upgrade of some kind. So if know that you're prone to getting chilly when sleeping outside, cut out an expensive upgrade later with this fine hammock.
Overall we found the Reactor the most impressive of the open model designs we tested. If you are still experimenting with hammocking and aren't sure you will need a full tent replacement but still want to be able to sleep outside in style and with impressive insulation, this is a great hammock for you to consider.
Other Versions and Accessories
If you don't need the added insulation of the double layered Reactor, consider the ENO DoubleNest at a cheaper price point of $70 and shed some ounces from your pack at the same time.
ENO offers an Underbelly Gear Sling for $30 that rigs up below your hammock to store your gear and keep it out of dirt.
Also available from ENO are cozy top quilts, inflatable pillows, various bug nets and tarps, and some impressive sleep systems. Any hammock can be upgraded to a sleep system, which adds to the hammock of your choice suspension, bug net, and tarp — all together in a convenient stuff stack.
— Penney Garrett
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