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Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip Review
Cons: Heavy, bulky, more complicated set up
Bottom line: The Expedition is a burly and durable hammock that will serve you well in varied terrain and inclement weather.
The Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip is an innovative hammock that comes with an integrated bug net and a rain fly. It is an incredibly versatile camping hammock, that you will be able to take into all kinds of terrain. It's a rather burly setup, definitely heavier than our Editors' Choice award winner, the Warbonnet Blackbird, and a bit less feature heavy, but the Blackbird doesn't come with a rain fly unless you order it separately (as we did).
The Hennessy Expedition weighs 33oz not including the tarp, and just over 3 pounds with the tarp; this is the heaviest model we reviewed, and the 70D oxford nylon is the burliest fabric. Overall, we feel that this is a great runner up to the Blackbird for serious camping and variable weather. Campers who don't mind the bit of extra weight and that are heading into a wet climate will undoubtedly be happy to have the included tarp.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Of the expedition models we reviewed, this one and the Hennessy Ultralite Backpacker Asym Zip are the only ones to come with a rain fly. While the Blackbird from Warbonnet won our Editors' Choice for best camping hammock because of a few unique features, many users may prefer the durable material and extra storm-proof build of the Hennessey Expedition.
The Henessey Expedition Asym has extreme comfort potential, due to its asymmetrical design. It lacks the foot box of the Warbonnet Blackbird but does have guylines to stake the sides of the hammock out, which helps provide extra shoulder space. Finding a comfortable hang took a bit of experimentation, but we got there. The unique zippered bug net also pulls completely away from the field of view for when you want to look at the stars, though there is no way to secure it like there is with the Blackbird or the Warbonnet Ridgerunner, so it just kind of sits bunched up next to you.
Like other hammocks with a ridge line and bug net, we found that this was not an ideal hammock for sitting up perpendicularly, though it is possible, and you can watch helpful videos online to learn more about this. The ridge line also comes with a mesh organizer, a great upgrade that some users found very helpful for storing a headlamp, book, or other small items that can be difficult to stash otherwise. The stiff, heavy fabric is less comfortable than thinner materials, like the parachute nylon of models like the ENO Reactor, but this is a problem that goes away once the user crawls into a sleeping bag.
Great features and incredible durability tend to come at a cost, and the Hennessey Expedition Asym is no exception. The massive hammock, at 33 ounces by itself and 49.3 ounces with tarp and stuff sack, has a weight comparable to a lightweight backpacking tent, though the heavy rain fly can be ditched when the weather is clear. Despite its weight, this is a pretty ideal hammock for cold and miserable conditions, especially if you add an underquilt to the package.
Before committing to the weight of this model, it's a good idea to think about the conditions it will be used in. If rain or cold are potentials, this is a great purchase to make, even with the extra weight. You'll be glad to have the fly and thick fabric in a storm. If you like everything about this hammock but absolutely need to cut weight, look into the Hennessy Ultralite Backpacker Asym Zip, which is practically identical to the Expedition but a full pound lighter for the whole package and 9 ounces lighter for the hammock alone.
Ease of Set-up
The Hennessey Expedition and the Hennessy Backpacker were the most difficult models to pitch of all we tested. Unlike the Blackbird, there is nothing built in to allow easy tension adjustments while the hammock is hanging and stakes are needed for the elastic guy lines on the sides but are not included. The fly also has an asymmetrical shape that needs to match the shape of the hammock, but there are no markings or color-coding to tell you what corner lines up with what. It's relatively easy to figure out in the daylight but is a pain when it's dark outside, so we recommend marking the tarp in some way. Additionally, the suspension straps that come with the hammock are small, so if you're surrounded by large trees, you may have a problem. We recommend either upgrading to longer straps or bringing extra webbing of your own.
Durability and Protection
While any hammock can be upgraded to have a fly, only the Hennessey models came with a system to suspend it on the ridgeline. The small clip and friction knot are surprisingly strong and make micro adjustments fast and simple. When needing more or less tension on the rain fly, the user need only slide the knot further up the polycord, closer to the tree or anchor.
Like the Blackbird, the Hennessy Expedition comes with elastic guylines that open up space inside the hammock without static tension. This is a great feature so long as care is taken to avoid tripping over the small clips and cord, which are fairly weak.
The Expedition had the heaviest and burliest fabric of all the models we tested, a 70D oxford nylon with double stitched seams. If taken proper care of, this hammock will be around for many years and can be relied on for extended trips when trust in gear is paramount.
This hammock excels at protecting during stormy weather, though the rain fly is a little on the small side. Ultralight backpackers may not desire the bulky fabric of the Expedition, and car campers might want something easier to sit up and lounge in. But for any camping where weight is not as much of an issue as protection, this hammock is a great option. For a more versatile hammock that can be shared with children or a friend, consider something fun and easy, like the Kammok Roo or our Top Pick for Ultralight Versatility, the ENO SubLink Shelter System.
There are a variety of upgrade options for all Hennessey hammocks, and we chose the zip rather than the classic floor entry. We felt that this made for a more versatile hammock that can be opened up in good weather or clear nights for stargazing as well as allowing easier entry with sleeping gear.
Campers looking to head into adventurous environments during all four seasons will appreciate the burly fabric and included rain fly of the Hennessy Expedition, provided there is space in your pack for the large and relatively heavy package.
The Expedition Asym Zip runs $170, and considering the inclusion of a rain fly and integrated bug net, this is a great value. Campers that purchase an open model hammock like the ENO DoubleNest and then later have to upgrade it for weather will find themselves spending the same amount or easily more and still may not be as well protected.
There are lighter hammocks on the market but few are as durable or weatherproof right out of the bag as the Hennessey Expedition. While we prefer the comfort and features of the Warbonnet Blackbird, this hammock camps extremely well and is our go-to for tough terrain or bad weather.
Other Versions and Accessories
The Jungle series hammocks from Hennessy all come equipped with a double layer bottom to create a sleeve for a sleeping pad so you can be better insulated on cold nights and at altitude.
The Scout hammock is meant for those 5'8" and under, comes with a rain fly, and is only $100! Great for kiddos that want to hammock camp along with you.
The Leaf is Hennessy's first open model hammock for those that don't want or need a bug net. It's only $70 and can also be used as a sling under your expedition model to collect condensation, hold gear, or create a bed for your dog!
Hennessy also offers many options for larger tarps and straps, top and bottom insulation, and SnakeSkins to help you set up and tear down without ever touching the ground.
— Penney Garrett
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