The ENO SubLink Shelter System with the Sub6 is a runner up for our Top Pick Award for Ultralight Versatility. ENO offers sleep system upgrades for all of their hammocks. These include suspension, a bug net, and a rain fly, all packed together in a convenient stuff stack. If you opt for a full system, you can get the lightest option for each of these components that ENO has available, making for a very customizable, versatile, and lightweight camping setup. The Sub6 is impressive in its own right, weighing a mere 5.7 ounces. It's not the most comfortable hammock we tested, but we love the versatility of being able to bring or use only the components we need at any given time, specifically the bug net. Most bug nets are permanently attached to the hammock body and, while they can roll out of the way, for the ultralight-obsessed camper it sweetens the deal to be able to leave it behind altogether if you know you won't need it.
ENO SubLink Shelter System Review
Cons: Hammock is narrow, made of very thin material
Manufacturer: Eagles Nest Outfitters
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
If you appreciate flexibility and love the idea of grabbing a featherweight hammock for a trail running break on a summer day or to fully protect yourself from wind, rain, and bugs, the SubLink Shelter System with the Sub6 might be your new best friend. This system was a close runner up for our Versatility award. We also recommend checking out the Top Pick for Ultralight Versatility Sea to Summit Pro shelter system.
For a narrow ultralight hammock, the Sub6 is decently comfortable. Because of the constricted space, it's hard for any super-light model to be extremely cozy, but we feel the Sub6 is a bit more comfortable than the Grand Trunk Nano 7 and nearly the same as the Grand Trunk Ultralight Starter and Sea to Summit Ultralight. The ultralight model that we find the most comfortable is the Hennessy Ultralite Backpacker, the Best Buy for Backcountry Shelter. But it's also considerably wider, so this doesn't come as a big surprise. More fabric generally means more comfort.
Adding a pad for sleeping is a bit tough in a narrow hammock like the Sub6, but it can be done. We recommend a simple foam pad over an inflatable one. The foam conforms to the shape of the small hammock better, allowing you to keep it inside.
The Sub6 is almost the lightest hammock in our review. At 5.7 ounces it is almost two full ounces less than the next lightest model, the Grand Trunk Nano 7. It's on par with the 5.8-ounce Sea to Summit Ultralight. Without its stuff sack, however, the Sea to Summit is only 4.8 ounces.
If you upgrade and purchase the SubLink Shelter System, as we did, you will still be below three pounds (42 ounces) including suspension, a bug net, and rain fly. This isn't the lightest expedition-style setup we tested, but, because you can leave everything behind save the ultralight hammock, we gave it a very high score in this category. The Hennessy Ultralite also includes suspension, fly, and bug net, and only weighs 32 ounces, but the bug net is not removable. The hammock alone with the bug net weighs 22.3 ounces — almost four times what the Sub6 weighs. Granted, that weight includes Hennessy's suspension system, but the Sub6 with its Helios Suspension System still only weighs 9.8 ounces because of the ability to ditch the bug net.
The Sea to Summit Pro with suspension, bug net, and tarp (all separate components like with the Sublink) stays just as light as the ENO at 42 ounces for the whole thing. Yet, it has a more spacious and comfortable hammock body. The only downside is that you will be out a whopping $335 to get this set up.
Deciding between the SubLink Shelter System and the Sea to Summit Pro is tricky and ultimately will come down to your style preferences and how important comfort versus cost is to you.
Durability and Protection
As with any high-quality ultralight setup, this system requires that you take proper care of it. The tarp is substantial, but the hammock and bug net could easily be ripped or snagged if you're not careful. With an entire hammock only weighing 5.7 ounces, you have to pay extra attention to keeping it off the ground, not using it with a sharp belt, etc. While this level of care is necessary to some degree for any camping gear, the Sub6 is more delicate.
The Sub6 by itself isn't very protective at all. And sometimes, like in the middle of summer in a location with no bugs, that might be perfect. But hammock camping doesn't have to be confined just to the summer months or non-buggy areas, and this shelter system allows you to push into more variable conditions.
Of the hammocks that come with stakes, the ENO ones are the least durable. We bent one easily during set-up. We would suggest replacing these with more durable stakes like the MSR Groundhog Mini.
The ProFly Sil Tarp is excellent — it has some of the best coverage of the tarps we tested and provides a very roomy and protective enclosure. The Guardian SL Bug Net does its job, but we aren't fans of sliding it on and off. The cinched ends are potential weak points. The gathered endpoints are also not as effective a barrier as a zipper. If you move around even a little, tiny entry points become exposed. Also, due to the narrowness and thinness of the Sub6 hammock, there are places that mosquitoes can potentially bite you through the fabric. The SubLink Shelter System isn't as protective as the Blackbird, Ridgerunner, or Hennessy Ultralite, but it's not far behind.
Ease of Set Up
Setting this system up is quite easy compared to other expedition setups we tested, especially considering how many separate parts there are. The Sub6 hammock by itself is a cinch to get pitched, especially with the whoopie sling-style Helios Suspension System that comes with the SubLink Shelter System upgrade. Wrap it around your anchors and clip the carabiners into the anchor loops, and you're good to go. It's easy to adjust and re-tension at any point.
The Guardian SL Bug Net is a bit of a weird design that fits over the whole hammock like a sleeve and cinches at the ends. It includes its own ridgeline that clips onto the hammock carabiners. Getting in and out means lying in the hammock and pulling the bug net on like a sock. This may not be as simple as having an integrated bug net like with the Warbonnets or the Hennessy, but it also offers more versatility as far as removal.
The ProFly Sil Rain Tarp is simple to set up and doesn't require a separate ridgeline. It is instead tensioned by six guy points (two that go to your anchor and four to the ground), and stakes are included. As with any involved system, there is a tiny learning curve as you figure everything out. But, for how many components this system includes, we find it quite straightforward and user-friendly.
We gave this system high marks for versatility. The Sub6 hammock by itself is not versatile at all, but upgrading to the shelter system provided us with a ton of great options.
The neat thing about the Guardian SL Bug Net is the way you can partially or completely slide it out of the way. It can even serve as a shade for just your head. It is a bit tricky, however, to cinch down completely from the inside. Moving and changing ridgeline tension can cause the ends to open up a bit, creating an access point for bugs. It's also a little bit of an ordeal to get out of when it's dark. You can trace the ridgeline back to the endpoint, but then you have to feel around for the strings to loosen it and wiggle the whole thing down to get out. We liked the design, but it's certainly not as easy to navigate as a zipper right down the middle.
Another fun feature of this shelter system is the fact that the stuff sack is lined with soft felt, so you can turn it inside out and re-stuff it to make a pillow. This gives you a place to store some of your clothes overnight and keep them warm.
The ProFly Sil Tarp that comes with this system is one of our favorites. It is easy to pitch and adjust, covers a nice large area, and even comes with stakes. (Stakes are only included when you purchase a shelter system, not when you buy a tarp a la carte.) All in all, we like this system and find it extraordinarily versatile, because we can bring only the components we need or want at any given time and leave the rest behind.
The ENO SubLink Shelter System with Sub6 hammock is best for people who want to be both lightweight and prepared for various conditions. Do you sometimes need to go ultralight and, at other times, need all the bug and rain protection? If so, this system is probably a great fit for you. Other lightweight expedition setups to check out are the Warbonnet Blackbird and the Hennessy Ultralite.
The SubLink Shelter System will put you out $250, which is an investment but, for a hammock with suspension, bug net, and rain fly, is a pretty good deal. If versatility isn't as much of an issue for you and you still want a full backcountry shelter hammock, check out our Best Buy for Backcountry Shelter, the Hennessy Ultralite Backpacker or the bargain-priced REI Flash Air.
The Sub6 upgraded to the SubLink Shelter System is a versatile and bomber setup that will allow you to be lightweight and ready for all kinds of weather. All the components are easy to set up, well made, and completely independent of each other, so you take only what you really need and leave the rest behind. From a 5.7-ounce hammock to an entire backcountry setup under three pounds, this system has got you covered.
— Elizabeth Paashaus and Penney Garrett