ENO SkyLite Review
Cons: Narrow, suspension not included, bug net not removable
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Of all the models in our tests, the spreader bar style hammocks have always impressed us with their ability to cradle you while keeping your body nice and flat. ENO offers another comfy sling with the Skylite which is a marriage of many years of hammock development from this highly regarded brand. ENO incorporates lightweight materials, zippered bug netting, and their easy to use helios suspension system to bring a backpackable spreader bar hammock to their array of options. It's really the comfort that sets this model apart from many on the market.
The Skylite offers superior comfort over most models tested due to its flay lay provided by the spreader bar and dropped foot design and offers weight savings over its sibling, the ENO Skyloft, our Editors' Choice for Day Use Hammocks.
Most hammocks allow for a comfortable side position while lying diagonally but only on one side. In our tests we found the spreader bar models to be the only options that work well for committed side sleepers assuming you want to be able to sleep on either side. The extra fabric incorporated into the shape of the foot area lowers the feet, eliminating any hyperextension of the knees so common to hammocks.
We appreciate the shock cord system that holds the bug net up, increasing the livable area inside. There isn't enough height to sit up fully but plenty for reading and moving around without having netting sitting on your face.
The one thing that can make lounging in the Skylite a bit less relaxing is its tippy feeling. When entering and exiting this 'mock, you'll need to be on alert as this style is known among our testers for being a little too easy to tip over.
One of the heaviest tested for just the hammock and bug net, the Skylite isn't a weight savings model but can offer some additional comfort to those who have trouble getting comfy in a traditional sling hammock. It still offers weight savings over many one-person tents and we feel this model is light enough for backpacking when comfort is your top priority.
Ease of Set Up
We wish that the Skylite came with the suspension system included, especially because the toggle on each end of the hammock doesn't easily accommodate other styles of suspension. The Helios straps that the hammock is designed to work with are lightweight and easy to use whoopie sling straps. Combined with a flat webbing tree protector, they integrate seamlessly with the Skylite and some other ENO models but, because they don't come with the hammock, we had to knock off a few points for ease of set up. If you don't have these specific straps you can use other straps by threading a carabiner through the small loop by the toggle, but it's not ideal.
The bars simply thread through a sleeve and hook to points near the hammock corners, and shock cord with clips on the ends makes suspending the bug netting a breeze.
Durability and Protection
Attached bug netting offers protection from flying pests. The netting zips open along one side giving wide-open access for entry but lacks the option to remove or even fully pull it back. You can roll it up and secure it at the ridgeline to keep it tucked out of your way when setting up your bed or gazing at the stars - well, half of them.
ENO uses a lighter weight fabric on this model than on the heavier duty Skyloft meaning reduced durability but also reduced weight. The fabric is ripstop nylon so even though it is light, we didn't feel any fear of failure during normal use. Like any lightweight model, you just want to be careful what you bring into your hammock with you.
The Skylite doesn't come as a complete system with a rain fly, but many options are out there from ENO as well as other brands to complete your shelter package.
While it isn't the lightest model we tested nor the best for sitting in with a friend, the Skylite does offer a decent amount of versatility. It's light enough to be your backpacking shelter when paired with a lightweight tarp and the ENO Helios suspension, but is easy enough to set up for a quick hang in the park. Although, since the bug netting only rolls back halfway, there isn't space to sit sideways.
With a weight limit of 250 pounds, the Skylite isn't the hammock for larger folks. This weight limit seems to be consistent with other spreader bar style models likely due to the force put on the hammock and poles.
While we reveled in the comfort of the Skylite, we feel a better value can be found in other models. This isn't to say anything bad about the Skylite because we think it's an excellent pick and certainly worth the cost but, in our test, we found the Warbonnet Ridgerunner to be very similar and offer the same design and comfort for the same weight and price but with added features standard and even more available for customization.
Overall, we have very few complaints about the Skylite. It is extremely comfortable and keeps the knees well-positioned for no hyperextension. The bug net is suspended for more livable interior and can roll back for easy entry but we do wish it could be tucked further away or removed entirely. The weight of this model is on the higher end of the backpacking range but is worth the extra ounces when comfort is your top priority. The Skylite should be on your list if you are on the hunt for spreader bar style hammocks.
— Elizabeth Paashaus