In the past couple of years I have been talking to some friends who do minimalist camping. They told me they hammock camp. They said it was the only way to go. Light weight, and no back problems when getting up in the am. Air mattresses are comfortable but heavy and if they leak they are deflating in the middle of the night. So my research started.
I searched you tube and watched some cool hammock camping and minimalist camping videos. I saw the Hennessey Hammock and thought I’d give it a try. The idea of no bugs was appealing thanks to the no see um mesh netting and Velcro enclosure. Also they had a Boy Scout endorsement portion to their web site.
This summer I had the pleasure of camping with my son and his fellow Boy Scouts. Knowing this camping was coming up I saved up and purchased two hammocks, the Expedition for me, and the Explorer for my son. He is ten, and a husky ten too. So I didn’t order the Scout hammock because it’s rated for 150 pounds and If he grows through a hammock like he would shoes, I wanted him to have a hammock rated to accommodate him for several years. One of the negatives about these hammocks is they are expensive. So I watched for sales and got what I felt was a good deal on both. Also I wanted to have them early enough to set them up in the back yard so I wasn’t fumbling around like a fool in front of the other guys and their scouts. I’m sure I still looked foolish. I definitely recommend familiarizing yourself with the hammock before heading out. The company brags a quick set up and tear down thanks to the snake skin and ease of set up. I must say some of my buddies with pop up tents set up just as quick. The reason being, picking two trees with adequate spacing and ground clearing took some time. Plus I wanted my son next to me too. So I wanted a triangle type set up with heads close together. This was his first time sleeping on his own and the woods can be creepy for a ten year olds imagination. Setting the height so my butt isn’t touching the ground took 2 tries. After all this is only the second time setting up the hammocks. The lashings used to tie to the tree are easy to learn, referring to the web site video instruction. The straps that support the hammock are not adequate for large tree diameters. I improvised, which I don’t mind using some ingenuity in the woods while camping. My set up was pretty cool. I finished in about 5 minutes per hammock. I made some adjustments (minor) to secure the lashings and then did not have to touch anything for the next three days till packing out to go home.
I got a lot of inquiries from campers; the hammocks are an eye catcher. The sleeping was comfortable, but as for my back I strained it carrying the cooler and then swimming in the cold lake before sleeping in it. My back didn’t get any worse though and my son never complained. Getting in the hammock at night was tricky. My son and I had to figure out how to get in a sleeping bag before fully entering the hammock completely. We forgot pillows as we normally forget something when we camp. But the sleeping was comfortable. June was a relatively mild June as compared to previous years. The days were low 70’s, the nights were 50’s. The breeze at night was uninhibited due to the mesh and the way we set up our rain flies. Warmth is in the pillow and sleeping bag. We stayed dry and the storage hooks located in the hammock supported a flashlight and a small tent fan (in case it was hot). Other scouts tried the hammock and liked it. A few dads tried too.
Over all, unless there is a cabin with beds, my son and I will be hammock camping. Packing in and out is simple once learning how to do the lashings. The snake skins made easy work of packing and unpacking the hammocks. Tent stakes work fine if no trees to tie the rain fly to. The Price is a bit steep, $159.95 for the Explorer and $219.95 for the Explorer, so like I mentioned I looked for a sale. Getting in the hammock with a sleeping bag takes some getting used to but we figured it out the first night. The gear hooks inside are a cool feature and the mesh worked awesome for keeping bugs out. As for the sleep experience, we both slept sound and were rested well when we woke up.
My Overall rating on a 5 scale is 4.5 with price as the biggest factor.