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The Best Hammocks of 2020

The temperatures were chilly and we still had some snow on the ground but our tester stayed warm in her cocoon of down  swinging above the wet dirt.
By Elizabeth Paashaus ⋅ Review Editor
Tuesday April 14, 2020
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Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
Searching for the best backpacking/camping hammock? We've been on the hunt for 6 years, testing 30+ models to bring you this season's 16 best options. Our hanging experts spent hundreds of hours napping, lounging, and sleeping under the dappled moonlight in all kinds of weather, from chilly alpine nights to hot summer days. While comfort is paramount, we also evaluated each model's versatility, portability, and how easy they are to set up and take down. We battled bugs while scrutinizing the critter protection and determined which are best for hanging at the crag or in the park. Whether you're an ultralight hiker or backyard bum, we've found the perfect option for you and your budget.

Top 16 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 16
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Editors' Choice for Backcountry Shelter


Warbonnet Original Blackbird


Editors' Choice Award

$155 List
List Price
See It

84
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 40% 9
  • Weight - 20% 8
  • Durability and Protection - 20% 9
  • Ease of Set Up - 10% 7
  • Versatility - 10% 7
Size: 10.5 x 5.25 ft | Includes: Bug net, continuous loops
Spacious and comfortable
Easy to set up and use
Integrated bug net
Customizable from manufacturer
Suspension sold separately
Can't remove bug net

Awarded the Editors' Choice for multiple years running, the Warbonnet Blackbird is our favorite backcountry 'mock! A spacious asymmetric design lets you find the flattest position of all the end-gathered models we tested and the foot box provides space for your hard-working extremities. The Blackbird has a roomy feel and gives you the freedom to move around until you find your sweet spot. We love that you can pick and choose exactly what features and components will be right for your style expedition when ordering from Warbonnet. We tested the webbing and buckle suspension system and found it to be one of the quickest and easiest to set up, adjust, and takedown of all the tested suspension systems even though it weighs a few more ounces than the whoopie sling-style which is also an option from Warbonnet.

This hanging shelter is not inexpensive, but we feel that for the comfort, weight, customization options, and quality, the system is well worth the price. A less (or more) expensive set up can be purchased depending on which options you need. Other than the price tag, the only thing we don't love is that, because the bug netting isn't removable, lounging sideways in the hammock isn't really a great option. For anyone serious about ditching the tent for a hanging shelter, the Warbonnet Blackbird needs to be on the shortlist.

Read review: Warbonnet Blackbird

Editors' Choice for Day Use


ENO Skyloft


66
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 40% 9
  • Weight - 20% 4
  • Durability and Protection - 20% 5
  • Ease of Set Up - 10% 8
  • Versatility - 10% 4
Size: 7 x 3 ft | Includes: Wiregate carabiners, continuous loops, spreader bars
Comfortable flat position
Easy to set up
Durable material and construction
Narrow
Bulky
Suspension straps sold separately

Most travel 'mocks are a variation on a theme — lightweight fabric tied with a rope to a tree. ENO changes the game of portable hanging with the Skyloft. The spreader bar design opens the space up for unobstructed views, and the lowered foot box allows you to lay almost completely flat so even a side sleeper can get comfortable for a nice long nap. The heavier nylon material feels durable enough to stand up to visits from excited dogs and wayward belt buckles alike. The Skyloft includes two high quality, aluminum wire gate carabiners and is simple to hang if you add on any of ENO's suspension straps.

While the comfort is superb, the weight and bulk of this model make it a bit harder to take on your rambles around town or down to the base of the crag. You won't be throwing the 18" x 5" package in your day bag without thought, so its use leans more toward intentional lounging at basecamp or in your neighborhood park. A narrower profile at only 3 ft makes the Skyloft harder to snuggle up in with a buddy lengthwise. While sitting sideways with a friend is still pretty comfy, you aren't able to lean your head back like you would in a wider model.

Read review: ENO Skyloft

Best Buy for Backcountry Shelter


Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip


Best Buy Award

$159.95
at REI
See It

68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 40% 7
  • Weight - 20% 7
  • Durability and Protection - 20% 8
  • Ease of Set Up - 10% 5
  • Versatility - 10% 5
Size: 10 x 4.9ft | Includes: Rain fly, bug net, suspension rope, tree straps, guylines, storage pocket
Comfortable asymmetric design
Budget-friendly
Package includes full shelter system
More complicated setup
Small rain fly
Bug net is not removable

The Hennessy Expedition Asym balances comfort, weight, and price better than any of the other tested models. The weight is in inline with most of the full shelters we tested, but its comfort and price far outshine the less pricey options. The asymmetric design allowed our testers to achieve a reasonably flat lay for back and side sleeping and the width gave plenty of room to curl up in the fetal position. The design is well thought out with every component working precisely with the others. The integrated ridgeline and included storage pocket add to the livability of the space even though the Hennessy isn't among the larger interiors. We like that it uses more durable feeling nylon than other lightweight shelters. The weight capacity is somewhat low at 250lbs, but the fabric feels ready to withstand more abrasion than others.

One downside: hanging the Hennessy isn't the most intuitive process. You have to learn a special type of lashing for the rope; but after a little practice, the mechanics come easily. Admittedly, there is more fiddling involved than with most of the other tested suspension systems and adjusting the tension takes more time. Another drawback to his model is the relatively small rain fly. While it provides adequate coverage from a moderate rain, blowing rain can sneak under the tarp.

Read Review: Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip

Best Buy on a Budget for Day Use


Kootek Portable


Best Buy Award

$28.99
at Amazon
See It

58
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 40% 6
  • Weight - 20% 6
  • Durability and Protection - 20% 4
  • Ease of Set Up - 10% 9
  • Versatility - 10% 5
Size: 9.8 x 6.5 ft | Includes: Suspension tree straps, steel carabiners
Comfortable and large
Easy to use
Versatile
Surprisingly low cost
Not the lightest

It's easier than ever to find affordable 'mocks. But how do you find one that doesn't sacrifice comfort, versatility, and durability among all of the nearly identical options online? Check out the Kootek Camping Hammock. It has seemingly identical fabric to the similar models we tested, has triple-stitched seams, and boasts one of the highest weight capacities available at 500 lbs. It's also among the largest in overall size, meaning finding comfort is a cinch whether you're 4'2" and reading a book or 6'5" and snoozing in a sleeping bag or snuggling with the kids. The Kootek has the longest straps with the most loops, providing plenty of attachment options. The straps use heavy-duty webbing and are triple bar-tacked for durability just like the other top straps on the market.

The only thing we don't love is the quality of the carabiners. Like many of the other budget models, they are cheaply made steel carabiners with a sticky gate that often has to be closed manually. While you can find a plethora of other very similar slings available, we dug through the listings on Amazon, ordered the most popular models, measured all the parts, and spread-sheeted the numbers to find you the best bang for your buck in the Kootek.

Read review: Kootek Portable

Best for Customizable Hammock


Dutchware Chameleon


Top Pick Award

$160 List
List Price
See It

78
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 40% 7
  • Weight - 20% 8
  • Durability and Protection - 20% 9
  • Ease of Set Up - 10% 7
  • Versatility - 10% 9
Size: 10.6 x 4.8 ft | Includes: Continuous loops
Versatile
Ultra customizable
Comfortable
Can get pricey depending on options
Ridgeline not removable

We tested many models that gave us options on color, size, fabric, and accessories, but none gave us the ability to customize almost everything about the system and were also extremely functional and comfortable. The Dutchware Chameleon provides discerning hammockers the options to design theirs just the way they want. We were able to select our fabric weights and colors, style of bug netting, type of suspension, and more. Versatility is maintained with fully removable bug netting. The symmetry of the 'mock and reversible asymmetric bug net gives new campers the ability to figure out which direction is most comfortable for them rather than committing to "head left" or "head right" and retains the comfort and space of an asymmetric setup.

The Chameleon isn't as wide as some of the models we tested and therefore feels a bit less spacious but the long, almost 11-foot length makes up for what it lacks in width, allowing the fabric to spread more easily as you get closer to the ends. We awarded the Chameleon Top Pick for Customizable Hammock but want to be fair and say that the Dream Hammock Sparrow was so similar in all features and customization options that it was almost splitting hairs to pick between them. Both are more than worthy options to check out for their comfort, versatility, and customizable features.

Read review: Dutchware Chameleon

Notable for Cottage Industry Brand


Dream Sparrow


Top Pick Award

$195 List
List Price
See It

78
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 40% 7
  • Weight - 20% 8
  • Durability and Protection - 20% 9
  • Ease of Set Up - 10% 7
  • Versatility - 10% 9
Size: 10.6 x 4.8 ft | Includes: Continuous loops
Versatile
Extremely customizable
Comfortable
Can get expensive depending on options
Fixed ridgeline
Long wait for customization

The Sparrow is almost twins with the Chameleon. It offers selective campers the ability to choose size, fabric, color, suspension, and features and not only can your select options, but you can also request personal customization directly from this small business. At close to 11 feet, this end-gathered model is long, and so even though it has less width than some, it feels spacious and comfortable. Asymmetric bug netting shifts space to the foot and head areas where it is needed. Zip-in removable bug netting allows the Sparrow to transition seamlessly from backcountry to backyard.

The wait is a bit long for a customized hammock, 5 weeks, but through collaboration with the owners, your design will truly be just what you dream up. For quicker turnaround, you can select from their ready-to-ship 'mocks that will be on their way to you in just a couple of days. If you like shopping small businesses and their unbeatable personal service but don't want to sacrifice on choice and quality, take a close look at this notable model, the Sparrow.

Read review: Dream Hammock Sparrow

Best for Ultimate Comfort


Warbonnet Ridgerunner


Top Pick Award

$210 List
List Price
See It

80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 40% 10
  • Weight - 20% 5
  • Durability and Protection - 20% 9
  • Ease of Set Up - 10% 6
  • Versatility - 10% 6
Size: 10.1 x 3 ft | Includes: Spreader bars, continuous loops
The most flattest, most comfortable sleeping surface
Bug net and double-layered bottom optional
Large pockets all around to keep you organized
Customizable from manufacturer
Suspension system sold separately
Not for the lightweight crowd
Vulnerable to tipping

Hammocks are fantastic for back sleepers and can be decent for side sleepers, but, for the most part, you can forget about sleeping on your stomach. Until now anyway! Enter the Warbonnet Ridgerunner, our Top Pick for Ultimate Comfort. It has spreader bars that help create the flattest lay possible, so flat our testers were able to get comfortable on their backs, both sides, and even on their stomachs. It's like laying in a floating cot made out of top-of-the-line materials. This was, no lie, the best night's sleep we have ever had hanging between trees! The Ridgerunner also has an integrated bug net (optional). We tested the whoopie sling suspension system and found it among the easiest to hang and adjust, not to mention one of the lightest out there!

On the downside, the suspension system is sold separately, upping the price point overall. This model is also on the heavy end of the spectrum at 52 ounces for the whole system, making it less ideal for lightweight backcountry adventures. Also, compared to models without spreader bars, it is disconcertingly easy to tip over. This tipsiness makes for excellent physical comedy with new users but cuts down on the relaxation factor until you have some practice. If you've been dying to enjoy suspended camping, but can't get comfortable sleeping in any others, give the Ridgerunner a try!

Read review: Warbonnet Ridgerunner

Best for Ultralight Versatility


Sea to Summit Pro Double


Top Pick Award

$84.85
at Amazon
See It

72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 40% 6
  • Weight - 20% 8
  • Durability and Protection - 20% 8
  • Ease of Set Up - 10% 7
  • Versatility - 10% 9
Size: 10 x 6 ft | Includes: Compression bag, buckles for suspension attachment
Lightweight yet spacious
Quick and easy hang
Versatile for day use or lightweight backpacking shelter
All components sold separately
Can only use branded suspension system

The Sea to Summit Pro is sold without the accessories, but we love the combo we put together with their components so much that we feel it should be included as a package. Combining the comfort and space of the Pro Double with the weight savings of the Ultralight Suspension Straps, tarp, and bug net gives you a 42 oz package that will have you protected from the weather, avoiding the pests, and enjoying a happy back. The tarp is a unique 5 point design that can be pitched with the wider side into the wind for protection and retain a more open view on the leeward side. Because you can pick and choose what to take, this sling is also easy to throw in your bag for a relaxing afternoon by the river without having to tote along unnecessary pieces that get in your way. And it's spacious enough to sit comfortably with a companion.

Bug nets that cinch at either end aren't our favorite option as they require more work to put on and off the 'mock as you pitch and take it down, but we do like that this one has a zippered entry for easy access. We feel that the netting would benefit from a slightly more durable material as it does drag on the ground. When buying this model, be prepared that you will need to buy the manufacturer's suspension straps because the unique buckle attachment won't work with other brands. But for someone not willing to sacrifice comfort or carry the extra ounces, this system is sure to make you smile.

Read review: Sea to Summit Pro Double

Notable for Ultralight


Sea to Summit Ultralight



$75.95
(16% off)
at REI
See It

52
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 40% 4
  • Weight - 20% 10
  • Durability and Protection - 20% 2
  • Ease of Set Up - 10% 8
  • Versatility - 10% 4
Size: 8 x 4 ft | Includes: Compression bag, buckles for suspension attachment
Ridiculously lightweight
Compression stuff sack
Patch kit included
Breathable
Fragile material
Small dimensions
The material isn't the softest
Suspension system not included

Are you one of those backpackers that weighs in grams every item that goes in your pack? Are you traveling for an extended period and space in your bag is highly limited? If you answered yes to any of that, then the Sea to Summit Ultralight might be your golden ticket. This impressively tiny option weighs a mere 5.8 ounces, including its integrated compression stuff sack and a shocking 4.8 ounces without it. Even better? It packs down to about the size of a can of soda. It doesn't include suspension, but Sea to Summit offers an ultralight option for that too, weighing less than 3 ounces and small enough to fit in the stuff sack with the Ultralight.

Keep in mind that this contender is so thin that it's see-through and you'll need to hang it with Sea to Summit's suspension as it won't work with other brands. The dimensions are small and will be tight for anyone taller than about 5'10" or broad-shouldered folk. You also can't get a comfortable diagonal lay, so overnight use may not work well for most folks. But for the right-sized individual who wants to be as light as humanly possible, this model is a solid winner.

Read review: Sea to Summit Ultralight


Why You Should Trust Us


Elizabeth Paashaus has spent many backcountry nights and many backyard days just hanging around in hammocks. Elizabeth shares her love for adventure with her two kids on epic travel from multi-week packrafting trips in southern Utah to climbing the classic moderates of North Carolina to a rugged thru-hike of the Vermont Long Trail. When thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Elizabeth spent four months sleeping in her homemade 'mock so she has some serious expertise about what features to look for, or avoid, when buying your own.

Some hammocks were tiny while others were comparatively massive.

Laying around in the backcountry, Maggie Brandenburg and Penney Garrett provide expert advice on which 'mocks are best for you. Maggie is a water-loving adventure enthusiast guiding canoe and kayaking trips since she was a teenager. Penney is a nature lover who loves to backpack and rock climb, spending most of the summer months in a tent or camping by a river.

In addition to these experts, we invited our friends to join the hang to form a truly thorough testing team. We scoured the market, bought the best products at full price, then tested them to get an unbiased review of each. We hung around in the backcountry, testing in a variety of weather conditions. Comparing them side-by-side, we look at essential metrics like comfort, weight, and features offered.

Related: How We Tested Hammocks
When it's hard to find a dry place to land  stringing up a comfy hammock is one of life's great joys.
When it's hard to find a dry place to land, stringing up a comfy hammock is one of life's great joys.

Analysis and Test Results


Hammocks are staples of relaxation, but these creative hanging systems are not just lazy afternoon enablers. They can actually replace your tent, supporting your ultralight backpacking endeavors, making impromptu car-camping trips a breeze, and allowing you to sleep on sloped terrain that would be a nightmare for a tent.

Related: Buying Advice for Hammocks

We've tested the top contenders and rated their comfort, versatility, durability, protection, weight, and ease of use. We've experimented with these models over hundreds of hours from chilly alpine nights to hot summer afternoons. We also keep our eyes on the market and test new contenders as they appear, ensuring that you always have the most up-to-date 'mock info at your fingertips.


Value


It's hard to find an outdoor enthusiast who doesn't own a hammock these days. They are a quick way to get comfortable and relax outdoors whether in the backyard or miles into the backcountry. A comfortable hang is the top priority but most of us want to consider our wallet to some extent. While it may not make sense to drop a few hundred dollars on an expedition model for relaxing by the creek on a day hike, paying for a better night's sleep and protection from storms can be critical to a good backcountry experience.

We tested models that cost no more than a few cups of coffee all the way up to systems that may require a savings plan to purchase. While the higher price tags typically translated to a better design, more comfort, less weight, and helpful features, we also found budget models that offered better than average comfort for a fraction of the price. We took into consideration the intended end-use for each hammock when considering its value. One designed to be your backcountry shelter may hold more value even when priced over three times more than a model designed for day use. It isn't always apples to apples when comparing 'mocks, so we get into details about best uses and how the performance stacks up against the price.

Some of the most comfortable day models were also some of the least expensive, such as our Best Buy award winner, the Kootek and runner up Wise Owl. And some of the priciest models, like our Editors' Choice for Backcountry Shelter, the Warbonnet Blackbird, held tremendous value due to the exemplary comfort, protection from rain, wind, and bugs, and features needed in a full shelter. Even the most expensive system tested, our Top Pick for Ultralight Versatility, Sea to Summit Pro held value to those looking for the ultimate versatile combination of low weight, comfort for overnight sleeping, and simplicity for day use. But for the best bang for your buck if you want a shelter system is the highly comfortable and very reasonably priced Hennessy Expedition.

While many of the hammocks we tested have room for two people to sit in together  you have to be really  REALLY into snuggling to overnight in one as a pair.
While many of the hammocks we tested have room for two people to sit in together, you have to be really, REALLY into snuggling to overnight in one as a pair.

Comfort


There's no question, the most critical component of a 'mock is its comfort. If you can't get comfy or get a good night's sleep, why are you even in that swath of fabric dangling above the ground? Taking a 'mock along is a great way to relax comfortably off the ground during the day and when used as overnight shelter, a good night's sleep is almost the only thing that matters. If you are tossing and turning at 3 am with hyperextended knees, we guarantee you aren't thinking so much about the ease of set up and the killer deal you scored!

We considered how flat we were able to position our bodies, headspace when sitting up, and overall size and roominess for each model. We sat in them, laid in them, slept overnight in each backcountry model, put sleeping bags and pads in them and even tested their capacity for adding a friend. Roomier models tend to sleep a bit better, while some of the lighter designs sacrifice comfort for a compact size that feels great in the pack but can impact your sleep quality. No matter what you're using yours for, comfort is king!


Taller and heavier folks will find the roomier designs to be more critical while smaller campers can get comfortable in some of the models that may feel a bit tight for most. Some are labeled "double" but in the tested options, none were really all that comfortable for two people to sleep in they fit two day-loungers better than a single, and slept one very comfortably.

Laying in a hammock is easy  but sometimes balancing your sleeping gear in a hammock is more challenging. We fell out of the Grand Trunk Ultralight Starter more than once trying to use an air-filled sleeping pad with this narrow hammock!
Laying in a hammock is easy, but sometimes balancing your sleeping gear in a hammock is more challenging. We fell out of the Grand Trunk Ultralight Starter more than once trying to use an air-filled sleeping pad with this narrow hammock!

While each person will find comfort differently, extra space and features that lend themselves to being able to get fully relaxed are rarely a bad thing. Ultralight models, like the ENO Sub6 and the featherweight Sea to Summit Ultralight sacrifice extra space for lighter weight and smaller packed size, which is why these models aren't very comfortable. At the end of a long day, a tired thru-hiker can nap reasonably well in even the most minimalist design. However, by adding either a little weight and/or a little money, you can find a much better night's sleep in roomier models such as our Editors' Choice Warbonnet Blackbird, Dutchware Chameleon, Dream Hammock Sparrow, or the less pricey Hennessy Backpacker Ultralite or Expedition. And when you don't need a fully-featured shelter, we just loved the voluminous comfort of the Best Buy Kootek.

The Blackbird offers a really comfortable lay with a lot of great features. Here you can see how the bug net conveniently ties out of the way and also the superior insulation provided with the addition of the Yeti underquilt.
The Blackbird offers a really comfortable lay with a lot of great features. Here you can see how the bug net conveniently ties out of the way and also the superior insulation provided with the addition of the Yeti underquilt.

If you're taking on an adventure where weight is king, like thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail, the smaller, ultralight models, like the Grand Trunk Nano 7 may be appealing, however, the lack of comfort is likely to quickly become a frustration and impact your sleep quality. We like the Hennessy Ultralight as the one model that crushes both the weight and comfort metrics at 32 ounces for the entire shelter. For expeditions where you can stand to bring a few extra ounces, models like the Sparrow, Chameleon, and Blackbird offer comfort and protection in all kinds of weather for an additional 8 ounces or so.

The addition of spreader bars in the Ridgerunner creates a wider  flatter sleeping surface that is comfortable for side sleepers too.
The addition of spreader bars in the Ridgerunner creates a wider, flatter sleeping surface that is comfortable for side sleepers too.

Overall, the hangs that we found the most comfortable were both of the Warbonnets and the ENO Skyloft and Skylite, though all for different reasons. The Warbonnet Blackbird is made of soft, nylon and is quite wide with a built-in footbox, allowing a wide range of comfortable sleeping positions. The Ridgerunner and ENO Skyloft and Skylite come with head and foot spreader bars, which our side and stomach-sleepers loved above all else.

This ultralight hammock was surprisingly strong and comfortable for its weight and size  though getting comfortable enough to sleep was much more challenging.
This ultralight hammock was surprisingly strong and comfortable for its weight and size, though getting comfortable enough to sleep was much more challenging.

Weight


For most applications you are going to be carrying your suspended haven with you, whether down to the park, or over 2000 miles on a thru-hike, or more likely, somewhere in between. The ounces and grams can be more or less important based on your personal preferences so we consider both the end-use and the weight of the hammock together in this metric.

There is a wide weight range between the heaviest and lightest setups we tested. Our weight metric scores take into account the hammocks themselves as well as their components. To get good comparisons, we weighed the hammocks alone, with suspension straps, and as entire shelter systems (when applicable). Many options come with straps, and others have to be purchased separately so you can choose whether you put more importance on the weight of your straps, their price, or their ease of set up. We also rated them based on their end-use so one day-use model may weigh less than a shelter model yet have a lower score for this metric because the heavier model also included straps, bug netting, and a rain fly.


The heaviest option was the Warbonnet Ridgerunner, weighing a little over two pounds (35 ounces) without any detachable accessories. This is definitely on the hefty side, but also consider that this includes an attached bug net, spreader bars, and suspension system. When comparing as a shelter to 1 person tents, it's not completely unreasonable. Because this model includes these features, we didn't dock its score too severely.

The lightest setups we tested were the Sea to Summit Ultralight and the ENO Sub6, clocking in at a featherweight 5.8 and 5.7 ounces respectively — and that included the integrated compression stuff sack! This weight doesn't include suspension, but Sea to Summit offers a compatible ultralight suspension that will add less than 3 ounces to your setup and ENO offers a whoopie sling suspension for only 4.1 ounces.

The Hennessy Ultralite even sacrificed zippers to save weight. One less thing to break right?
The Hennessy Ultralite even sacrificed zippers to save weight. One less thing to break right?

The lightest full shelter is the Best Buy on a Budget, the Hennessy Backpacker Ultralite, weighing in at 32 ounces for the entire shelter (not including stakes). The Sea to Summit Pro and its accessories, and the ENO Sublink package were next in line but are 10 ounces heavier than the Hennessy Ultralite.

These latter two systems, however, have the bonus of versatility. Because the components are separate, you can take what you need and leave the rest. Are you going out in the middle of the summer for just one night and no rain in the forecast? Grab the Sub6 and the 4.1-ounce Helios Suspension System that comes with the system, and you're good to go. Are you heading to a buggy area? Bring the 13 ounces Guardian SL Bug Net and ditch the tarp (the heaviest component, at 16 ounces). You get the idea.

The same goes for the Sea to Summit Pro. The light and customizable nature of the Sea to Summit Pro system and SubLink Shelter System with the Sub6 makes them both close contenders for the Top Pick for Ultralight Versatility, but in the end, the comfort of the more spacious Sea to Summit beat out the ENO.

The Hennessy Backpacker was the lightest system we tested and still one of the more comfortable hammocks for getting a full night's sleep.
The Hennessy Backpacker was the lightest system we tested and still one of the more comfortable hammocks for getting a full night's sleep.

When it comes to day use hammocks, you may not be quite as focused on weight, but the ability to stuff a small, light package into your backpack has its advantages. The lightest day models tend to be the smallest like the Sea to Summit Ultralight and ENO Sub6, where the more spacious comfy options like the Best Buy Kootek and it's close relatives Wise Owl and ENO Doublenest weighed in 12 to 17 ounces heavier than the ultralight models. The heaviest day model was ENO's Skyloft at 42 ounces. This isn't the kind you throw in your bag as an afterthought but choose intentionally for its comfort and durability.

We placed a decent amount of importance on the weight metric because many people want to purchase a lightweight option for sleeping out while backpacking or traveling. However, if your motivation for owning a hammock is based more on wanting to relax in your backyard or take a nap a short distance from your car, then this metric probably is less relevant to you. If you aren't overly concerned with weight, then, by all means, go for more fabric and a roomier design! With what you'll gain in comfort, we don't think you'll be sorry with that decision.

While comfort may be king when it comes to hammocks  the suspension is also an important part of your selection.
While comfort may be king when it comes to hammocks, the suspension is also an important part of your selection.

Ease of Set Up


Setting up a 'mock is essentially tying it to a tree, but the well thought out suspension systems on the market these days make hanging with a rope seems like a complicated and time-consuming task. Sometimes you don't want to spend your time learning how to best hang your system and so we considered how easily each model was set up the first time without reading any instructions as well as the tenth time after we had read all the manufacturers recommendations. Some of the models required more of a learning curve than others.

To get started hammocking, you need a suspension system and many models don't include this essential component in their base price. While many manufacturers sell compatible suspension systems, several options either don't have suspension systems factored into the cost or have poorly designed systems included, such as the tree damaging rope slings that come with the Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter.


Many of the expedition models come with suspension systems, such as the Hennessy Ultralite Backpacker and Expedition, REI Co-op Flash Air and the ENO SubLink Shelter System (though the Sub6 does not if you buy it on its own). Both Warbonnet models and the Dream Hammock Sparrow and Dutchware Chameleon all have a selection of optional suspension systems available for an additional cost, or you can choose to purchase just the hammock and attach it to another suspension system. The lack of included suspension may actually be a benefit if you want to be able to choose the style you prefer.

The ease of set up for most of the basic models depends on simply wrapping webbing around a tree and clipping a carabiner to a loop. There are some variations on this theme such as with the Sea to Summit models; they come with unique buckles that will only work with the Sea to Summit suspension system. In most cases, you can use any suspension system with any model without issue.

The Hennessy lashing technique is a smart tie-off system that  once you've learned it  is quick and protects your rope. There is a bit of a learning curve up front to learn it though.
The Hennessy lashing technique is a smart tie-off system that, once you've learned it, is quick and protects your rope. There is a bit of a learning curve up front to learn it though.

Several of the expedition models require a learning curve to be able to get comfortable. The Warbonnet Blackbird and Ridgerunner fall into this category, but after practice, we were able to set them up with relative ease and confidence. Additionally, some slings don't come with all the components you need to set them up — beyond just a lack of suspension system. Other than with the REI Flash Air and the ENO Sublink systems, the stakes necessary for a complete set up are not included.

After years of testing, we've got this whole Hennessy lashing system down, but it is still more time consuming than other suspension systems such as whoopie slings or webbing with loops. Because it's tricky to get the tension right until you have some practice, the process can take a while as you re-adjust each side to get it just right. All of the instructions are printed right on the bag, but it reads a bit like a Dr. Bronner's label — wordy. You will want to practice setting these models up before going out into the backcountry. The benefit to the lashing system? It's lighter than all but the whoopie sling suspensions and because it is just cord, it helps keep the overall cost down.

The Warbonnet hammocks are the go-to spot to weather the storm. Large tarps and integrated bug netting keep you well protected
The Warbonnet hammocks are the go-to spot to weather the storm. Large tarps and integrated bug netting keep you well protected

Protection and Durability


Shelter falls into the most basic level of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, so if you're planning on using your 'mock as your backcountry home, you will want to make sure it provides adequate protection from the elements to expect to encounter. A rip in the fabric may leave you laying on the ground putting it over you like a blanket. Not fun. During our research, we read more than a few stories of folks being woken up by a smack on the back to find themselves outside on the ground with shreds of fabric hanging above them.

We considered the thickness of the fabric, the presence of ripstop materials, and the redundancy of stitching in both the fabric and the suspension when rating the durability. For protection, we assessed how well the netting would keep out bugs, the size and shape of the tarp, and the fabric's resistance to wind. We also looked at options offered for insulation.


As you can probably guess, the ultralight models offered the least protection and durability. While hanging in the Grand Trunk Nano 7 and the Sea to Summit Ultralight we could feel even the slightest breeze moving underneath us, hence the low ratings. The Sub6 fits into this group as well, but we tested it as part of the SubLink Shelter System, which provided us with a tarp and bug net, so we scored it a bit higher. You would still need a sleeping pad or an underquilt for cool nights, but at least we were protected from the rain and creepy crawlies. The thinner fabric of these models also led to a lower durability rating because a slight snag could tear a hole.

The Nano 7 was among the lightest models we tested. Here you can see by the sun shining through the fabric how thin it is.
The Nano 7 was among the lightest models we tested. Here you can see by the sun shining through the fabric how thin it is.

Some of the double models we tested, like the Kootek, ENO DoubleNest, and the Kammok Roo, which lack bug nets and have just single layer floors, have enough fabric to cocoon inside. This wrapping action provides a bit of protection from sun or bugs, so we awarded those models a middle-of-the-road rating.

The best protection from the elements is offered by complete systems such as the Warbonnet models, Hennessy models, the Sparrow and Chameleon, and the Sea to Summit Pro with accessories, so they scored the highest. These designs provide bug nets, and rain/wind protection with a fly and in some, extra fabric. Compared to some of the other models we tested though, these systems aren't cheap!

The extremely comfortable ENO Skyloft is quite versatile.
The extremely comfortable ENO Skyloft is quite versatile.

Versatility


Everyone has their reasons for purchasing and owning a 'mock, and we consider many different ways you might be planning on spending time in yours. During testing, we came across models that fit very specific situations perfectly and ones that have the ability to adapt to a variety of end uses. Many of these uses we have already discussed, such as lightweight models for folks eager to cut down on pack weight and highly comfortable options for those who prioritize a solid night's sleep over all else. We found models with integrated bug nets to be less versatile than those without, as many bug nets don't come completely off, or restrict usage for anything other than laying down.


There are certain models that proved to be accommodating of everything from extended use as a shelter to casual campus hangs. Contenders that stood out in this category were the Dutchware Chameleon, Dream Hammock Sparrow, Sea to Summit Pro with accessories, and the ENO SubLink Shelter System. All have many pieces of a whole system that can be added and removed as you desire, based on the conditions you anticipate.

The a la carte components by Sea to Summit allowed us to put together a light  comfortable  and well protected sleep system. Leave un-needed pieces behind to save weight.
The a la carte components by Sea to Summit allowed us to put together a light, comfortable, and well protected sleep system. Leave un-needed pieces behind to save weight.

Accessories


Most brands offer a plethora of add-ons giving you the options to tailor your setup to your needs. Before selecting your 'mock, it's worthwhile to spend some time looking at what accessories are available and which brands they are compatible with, keeping in mind that many accessories are compatible across brands.

Accessories that may be essential for your setup are underquilts for colder temperatures, top quilts for cozy insulation that is lighter than a sleeping bag, and different styles of bug nets and rain flies. We detail more suggestions on accessories and alternate versions available from each manufacturer. Don't be afraid to mix and match!

Pink clouds means it's time to settle in for another night's sleep in our suspended cocoons.
Pink clouds means it's time to settle in for another night's sleep in our suspended cocoons.

Conclusion


Hammocks are not for everyone or every environment, but they can provide the ultimate sleep and relaxation experience for many outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to the novelty of floating above the ground and not having to find a flat spot as you do with a tent, they are often among the most compact and lightweight sleeping options. We hope this review helped you narrow down the options and get closer to your perfect choice.

Elizabeth Paashaus