Hennessy Ultralight 

The Hennessy Hammock

   I've been a backpacker for over 37 years so I've seen a lot of changes, mostly good, in the equipment available. There have been vast improvements made in backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, stoves, boots, fabrics, food -- in fact almost everthing is lighter, stronger, and better designed now. But in my opinion one of the greatest inovations of recent years has been the introductiun of the Hennessy Hammock! One of the worst experiences I can think of after a tough day of backpacking or cycling, is to lay your aching body down on the cold, hard ground!

 My first use of a hammock was about 1975 when I found what was then called a backpack hammock at our local surplus store. It was a sheet of nylon fabric with a cross bar at each end to keep it open. I thought it worth a trial so on my next overnight hike I carried its 3+ pounds on my back 20 miles in to camp. BIG mistake! The cross bars that looked so sensible prevented the hammock from conforming to my body so that it was impossible to lay flat -- instead I was forced to sleep(?) curled up in a half circle! Not comfortable! After that I had no thought of hammocks until I saw an article in National Geographic about the Hennessy Hammock in 2002. This stated that by its design the Hennessy Hammock allowed one to sleep flat -- even on one's side! This sounded good! So I ordered two -- one for me and one for my wife -- from Hennessy. When we received them we tried them out in our back yard (getting smarter?) and they seemed to be very comfortable.
 On our next backpacking trip my wife and I carried our Hennessy Hammocks rather than our usual tent, saving weight and bulk in the process. So far we had not actually slept in them and we had only put them up once. Hennessy's instructions as to how to erect their hammocks are a bit confusing so it took us about 20 minutes this first time at home. Also, Hennessy's instructions don't mention that -- even though you don't have to be precise -- the distance between trees determines how taut your hammock will be. The Hennessy Hammock is designed to keep the same degree of sag every time you put it up -- it does within reason -- but if the trees are too far apart you get excess sag. This doesn't bother my wife (a back sleeper anyway) but as I sleep on my side I need to be more precise. This first time camping I chose trees a bit too far apart and slept poorly as a result -- about the same as if I had slept on the ground. Also, we found that one needs planty of insulation under the sleeping bag as hammocks are prone to having cold bottoms -- an advantage in the tropics but not in the Sierras! On this first trip we had carried only 3/8 in. foam pads to go under us. Not enough.

 After several more backpack trips and two cycle tours, I have finally learned what it takes to properly erect the Hennessy Hammock. First, if you sleep on your side, make sure your hammock is taut enough so that when you lie in it you get as little sag as possible. To do this, your chosen site should have trees close enough so that your hammock -- with fly attached -- will just fit between them allowing up to a foot and a half extra space at each end. Second, attach the Tree Huggers supplied with your hammock tightly to the trees and tie your hammock ropes -- using Hennessy's method -- tightly! If you don't tie tightly, when you lie in the hammock the knots will tighten themselves and your hammock will sag. Third, try to have the head end either level or slightly lower than the foot. And, last but not least, tie only to live trees at least five inches in diameter!

 Insulation: I have tried several methods of getting enough insulation under me, including regular backpacking type foam pads, fleece blankets, reflective space blankets, extra clothing, a double bottom with air space between, and Thermarests. I have found that, for me at least, the 3/4 length Thermarest works the best. It supplies a little bit of extra comfort and gives plenty of insulation for my torso where it's most needed. So as long as I either have a bit of fleece blanket under my feet or wear long wool socks, I'm toasty at night. Also I have found that using either a quilt or unzipped sleeping bag over me works best as this makes entering the hammock much easier.

 In conclusion, I've determined that the Hennessy Hammock is much superior to any other shelter option that I've tried or heard of in that it supplies a good night's sleep irrespective of ground conditions. As long as there are two trees within 15 feet or so of each other, I'm certain of a place to sleep even if the ground is overgrown, rocky, steep, or wet. The Hennessy Hammock is lighter than most tents, easy to erect, bug proof, snake safe, compact, very well made, and extremly comfortable. Give it a try -- you'll like it.


Hennessy Adventure Racer

The Hennessy Hammock

Wife's addendum

 My back is so straight that any straighter would be abnormal. At 5'6" I weigh 125-130 pounds with big female hips and slender limbs. So, of course, I sleep differently. My first real backpacking experience took place 37 years after my birth, a couple or so exhausting miles. I always cycled, with fatigue.

 Try the opposite. I do. Only a fleece blanket under my sleeping bag (or quilt) tides me overnight in bliss. Bear terrify me, so I wear my super-strong eyeglasses, which influences my sleeping posture. For sag, my trees are somewhat closer. I often drape the fly lopsided as a wind-break. I enjoy seclusion and nearly touch the ground, which seems to radiate ground temperature rather than so much air (wind) temperature. Often, I spread Go-lite clothing over or under me. My ceiling night light is a tiny LED lamp draped from the Hennessy top cord, on which can be seen other hanging parafanalia, including cycling/hiking shoes hung beyond nasal awareness near the trees. Handy always is my "I'm scared" whistle. You'll like it--give it a try.


Hammock Specifications:
Model  Ultralight Backpacker
Weight  30 ounces


Features   Bottom entrance, complete netting coverage, side pull outs, inside cord,  waterproof fly              
Accessories Tree Savers (webbing straps), Snakeskins (Silnylon tubes for carrying hammock)
Pack size  5"x12"



Model  Adventure Racer
Weight 15 ounces
Size  3"x8"
Features  Bottom entrance, complete netting coverage, side pull outs, inside cord, waterproof fly
Accessories Tree savers, Snakeskins
Pack size 4"x11"