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ENO SubLink Shelter System Review

For true hammock camping versatility take only a shockingly light hammock or all the pieces for a complete sleeping shelter
ENO SubLink Shelter System
Photo: Eagles Nest Outfitters
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Price:  $250 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, stuff sack doubles as a pillow, package includes suspension, bug net, and rain fly
Cons:  Hammock is narrow, made of very thin material
Manufacturer:   Eagles Nest Outfitters
By Elizabeth Paashaus & Penney Garrett  ⋅  May 7, 2019
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55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 16
  • Comfort - 40% 3
  • Weight - 20% 8
  • Durability and Protection - 20% 6
  • Ease of Set Up - 10% 9
  • Versatility - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The ENO SubLink Shelter System with the Sub6 is a runner-up for our Top Pick Award for Ultralight Versatility. The Sublink system includes lightweight suspension straps, a removable bug net, and a rain fly, all packed together in a convenient stuff sack making for a versatile and lightweight camping setup. The Sub6 hammock 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.

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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award 
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$155 List$159.95 at REICheck Price at Backcountry
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$21.99 at Amazon
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Pros Lightweight, stuff sack doubles as a pillow, package includes suspension, bug net, and rain flySpacious, comfortable, easy to set up and use, integrated bug net, customizableComfortable asymmetric design, budget friendly, package includes full shelter systemVery comfortable flat position, easy to set up, durable material and construction, attachable pillowComfortable, large, easy to use, versatile, surprisingly low cost
Cons Hammock is narrow, made of very thin materialSuspension sold separately, can't remove bug net completelyMore complicated set up, small rain fly, bug net is not removableBulky, heavy, narrow for sharing, suspension straps sold separatelyNot the lightest, sticky carabiner
Bottom Line For true hammock camping versatility take only a shockingly light hammock or all the pieces for a complete sleeping shelterSuperior comfort with a dedicated footbox, spacious fabric, and all the features needed for many nights of cozy sleepThe trimmed-down design of the Expedition offers a comfortable asymmetric shape and keeps both the weight and the price lowReady for kicking back with a cold one or napping alike, the Skyloft is a durable and comfortable hammock for relaxing at the park or cragA great way to save money but still find all the comfort, simplicity, and webbing suspension straps that you expect from top hammock brands
Rating Categories ENO SubLink Shelter... Warbonnet Original... Hennessy Expedition... ENO Skyloft Kootek Portable
Comfort (40%)
3.0
9.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Weight (20%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
3.0
5.0
Durability And Protection (20%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
Ease Of Set Up (10%)
9.0
7.0
4.0
8.0
9.0
Versatility (10%)
6.0
5.0
4.0
4.0
5.0
Specs ENO SubLink Shelter... Warbonnet Original... Hennessy Expedition... ENO Skyloft Kootek Portable
Measured Weight - Package (ounces) 42 oz (hammock, suspension, bug net, tarp) 27 oz hammock, bug net, webbing/buckle suspension 42 oz 44 oz 23 oz
Measured Weight - Hammock Only (ounces) 5.7 oz 26 oz hammock, bug net, webbing/buckle suspension 30 oz (hammock, bug net, suspension) 42 oz 23 oz
Measured Weight - Hammock and Suspension (ounces) 9.8 oz 26 oz hammock, bug net, webbing/buckle suspension 30 oz (hammock, bug net, suspension) 54 oz with atlas straps 37 oz
Measured Weight - Shelter System (no stakes) 42 oz (hammock, suspension, bug net, tarp) 42 oz with Mini Fly tarp 42 oz (hammock, bug net, tarp, suspension) N/A N/A
Capacity (weight) 300 lbs 350-400 lbs depending on options selected 250 lbs 250 lbs 500 lbs
Hanging Straps Included? Yes, 8'2 no, can add onto purchase for extra $ Yes No Yes, 10' straps
Hammock Size 8'9" x 3'11" 10' x 5.25' 10' x 4.92' 7' x 3' 9'10" x 6'6"
Size Compact 12" x 6" x 3" 10" x 4" 9" x 7" x 4" 18.5” x 4.5” x 4.5” 9.8" x 7.4"
Connectors Wiregate carabiners on dyneema loops Whoopies/straps or buckle/webbing (sold separately) Polyester rope Aluminum carabiners Steel carabiners
Material 70D Nylon Taffeta Ripstop 40D or 70D Nylon (depending on options selected) 70D Oxford Nylon NewWave nylon 210D nylon
Construction Single panel, interlocking triple-stitched end loops with dyneema connection to carabiner connectors. End gathered, asymmetric hammock, single or double layer fabric, zipper along 1 side, integrated bug netting. Storage shelf and foot box Single panel double-stitched seam connection to zipper and 30D polyester No-See-Um netting. 3mm integrated ridgeline. 5mm cord connected to hammock anchor point to tie around tree strap. Dual stretch cord attachments to pull hammock body away at sides. Durable ripstop nylon with aluminum spreader bars Triple interlocking stitching
Sizes / Colors 3 hammock color variations, 2 rain tarp color variations, 4 Guardian SL bug net color variations 27 colors, 3 fabric layering configurations Multiple other sizes/configurations available under other Hennessy product names 1 size, 4 colors 1 size, 5 colors
Capacity (height) Not stated 6' 6' Not stated Not stated
Accessories (compatible, not included) Top quilts, under quilts, insulation pads, permanent anchors, hammock stands Rain flies, bug net, carabiners, fish hooks, under quilts, top quilts, suspension systems Tree straps, larger rain flys, insulation, "snakeskin" stuff sacks Suspension straps, rain fly, bug net, top quilts, under quilts, insulation pads, permanent anchors None
Accessories (included with hammock) Helios suspension system, Guardian SL bug net, ProFly Sil rain tarp, stakes Guylines, bugnetting, storage shelf, continuous loops (for attaching suspension system to), stuff sack Tree straps, 70D polyurethane coated polyester ripstop rainfly, integrated bug net Aluminum wiregate carabiners Tree straps, steel carabiners
Extra Accessories Tested None Mini Fly tarp, webbing with buckles suspension, None Atlas straps None

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.

Performance Comparison


If you find two trees by a creek, deep in a canyon, you'll be happy...
If you find two trees by a creek, deep in a canyon, you'll be happy you brought your hammock.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Comfort


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 some of the other ultralight models due to its silky fabric. More fabric generally means more comfort, so don't expect to easily lounge out in the Sub6. It's going to take some practice to get in a decent position.

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.

For a tiny hammock weighing only 5.7 ounces, the Sub6 is really...
For a tiny hammock weighing only 5.7 ounces, the Sub6 is really quite comfy for taking a break. Not roomy or plush like some of the other models we tested, but definitely comfortable enough to lounge in.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Weight


The Sub6 is almost the lightest hammock in our review. At 5.7 ounces, it is barely something a lightweight backpacker would notice in their pack and certainly not something you'll blink an eye at throwing in for a day hike.

If you purchase the SubLink Shelter System, as we did, you will still be below three pounds (42 ounces), including suspension, a bug net, and a 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.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

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 the shelter system allows you to push into more variable conditions.

There isn't a ton of space in the Sub6 hammock, but the ridgeline...
There isn't a ton of space in the Sub6 hammock, but the ridgeline keeps the tarp up off your face for better livability.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

The ProFly Sil Tarp in the Sublink package 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.

The ENO Profly SL has excellent coverage from sun, rain, and blowing...
The ENO Profly SL has excellent coverage from sun, rain, and blowing wind. Pitch the tarp down for bad weather or angle it up to take in the views and a cooling breeze.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

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. 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. This adds difficulty for getting in and out of the hammock, but it retains the versatility that allows you to remove the bug net completely. Our favorite style of bug netting zips on but can also be completely removed and left at home.

The Helios straps are a shockingly light and simple set up.
The Helios straps are a shockingly light and simple set up.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

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.

Integrated line tensioners and trekking pole holder let you quickly...
Integrated line tensioners and trekking pole holder let you quickly pitch the tarp. These are two reasons we loved the ENO tarp.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Versatility


We gave this system high marks for versatility. The Sub6 shelter system provided us with a ton of great options. Our highest ratings for versatility were reserved for models like this that offer a rainfly that can be removed and pitched multiple ways, a fully removable bug net that can be left at home for weight savings, and suspension straps that can be swapped out for other styles.

A fun feature of this shelter system is 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.

It might not be the most luxurious 'mock, but we would throw the...
It might not be the most luxurious 'mock, but we would throw the Sub6 in any pack without a though due to its lightweight and easy hang.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Value


The SubLink Shelter System is a little on the pricey end, but it is a pretty good deal for a hammock with suspension, bug net, and rain fly. If versatility isn't as much of an issue for you and you still want a full backcountry shelter hammock, check out the Hennessy models we tested.

Conclusion


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 & Penney Garrett