Tent No More
I was given this hammock as a Christmas Gift from my brother. I had been looking at hammocks for some time, afraid to make the jump because I wasn't sure I would like the change from a tent. I am happy to report that I am more than thrilled with my hammock. About the actual hammock.
The few nights that I have spent in this hammock have shown me that the construction of this hammock is done well. It is rated to 200 lbs and I weigh in at just over 200 and the hammock held up with no noticeable strain.
I have said it is both easy and difficult to set up. The difficulty is in the first few times trying to figure out the little nuances of the hammock set up such as guy line angles, placement of the fly, etc etc. Once those get figured out the set up is really a breeze. I would recommend getting the snake skins from the manufacturer. They make the set up and tear down so fast it's awesome. Around a minute in some cases. A couple of other caveats are that the included tree straps are really too small for most trees. You can get bigger ones from Hennessy. The other thing I would say is that you need to be careful using this for camping in most car camp grounds. The sites are not designed to be hammock friendly which means a few things. First you have to hope to get lucky and have two good trees in your site, second you end up back in the woods behind your site, or third you end up completely out of luck. This is no fault of Hennessy, just something that needs to be considered. The last thing is that the hennessy relies on guy lines to give the hammock form and the fly stability. In car camping scenarios I would advise carrying a couple of extra tent stakes with you. I would bet that if you find suitable trees to hang from that yo won't find two more trees or some brush close enough to run your guy lines to which is where the tens stakes come in. It seems like I have had more bad than good to say so I need to say something good. For hiking trips you can set up just about anywhere you want, in places that you would never dream of putting any tent. You can set it up over rocks, roots, downed trees, on the side of a hill, you could probably pitch it over a small stream. The versatility of this hammock is unmatched.
This is the biggest selling point for me. I am used to waterproof, windproof, basically bombproof tents. I have not set this hammock up in foul weather so I have no idea how it will fair but I think it will do well. The fly can be placed at different angles to meet changing weather conditions depending on how you place your guy lines. The lines that run out from the hammock are elastic so that they maintain form without sacrificing the nice rocking motion so characteristic of a hammock. Actually sleeping in the hammock requires a whole new skill set. Getting into a sleeping bag, for me at least, was a tricky affair my first time, a whole lot of wriggling and moving which would have looked funny to anyone watching. But after a time or two things get easier. Once inside the bag and the hammock I was more comfortable than in any tent. I had a pillow under my head and I am not sure I really needed because of the great support. I have had problems too with my back sleeping in a normal tent. I have had no such back problems with the hammock. The only real drawback is that there is zero warmth in this system. On most nights the bottom of the hammock becomes a heat sink. I could feel the warmth getting drained out of the hammock. This can be fixed in a number of different ways. I personally just put on most clothing. There are other strategies out there. Lastly this already versatile hammock doubles as a chair too. Just undo one of the guy lines for the hammock body and you can sit back on the hammock under the rain fly. This means no more sitting on the ground around a tent.
Overall I am a definite hammock convert and wherever possible I will not sleep in a tent ever again. The versatility of the hammock and it's comfort just cannot be match by either hammock or tent out there.
I used this for a weekend hike in Florida. It actually belongs to my friend, who has the Expedition Asym model for himself. He bought the Scout for his wife who is much smaller. I'm a pretty short guy, so I didn't have much of a problem fitting in a getting comfortable. Since I hadn't really played with this at all, I needed a little help setting up. Since then, we've utilized a different method of setting up that takes even less time and is even easier.
As far as comfort goes, it got down in the 40s during the nights we were out there, and so the draft under the hammock was a little chilly, even in a 20* sleeping bag. I've just stepped up my sleeping pad, though, so hopefully that will no longer be an issue. I still slept comfortably.
With the snake-skins, tear-down was even easier than setting up.
For the sake of being able to get my pack under the hammock, I think I'll upgrade to a bigger fly when I buy mine, as well as perhaps a bigger, more highly-rated hammock. But I have no intention to return to a tent any time soon.
Will never go back to a tent
Never has camping been so comfortable. On a flat bed or in a tent, I wake up with a tight neck and shoulders, but sleeping in a hammock gives my body a gentle curve. I usually don't need a pillow. I try to find excuses to sleep outside, even when not camping.
Setup took a long time when I first used the hammock, but after that it was quick and smooth. The videos on Hennessy's website are very helpful.
The straps included are small for the trees in my area, but they still work--it just means the ropes touch the trunk more. It's important to note that no stakes are included! I usually find small sticks and use those to secure the two support ropes and rainfly.
Getting situated inside is tricky at first, especially with a sleeping bag and gear. The first few times I used my hammock I woke up frequently, trying to get in the right position. Now I sleep through the night.
This is my first hammock and definitely a favorite piece of gear.
Easy to use, sleeps great
I'm just getting in to hiking, with an eye to long-distance hiking and backpacking. I know someone who has one of these, and decided rather on a whim to buy one. I've only used it once so far, in my parents' woods (where I could easily go inside). After getting the hang of keeping warm enough (I get cold really easily even though it was July), I ABSOLUTELY loved it! It was easy to set up and take down, easy to get in and out of, and very comfy. I also was able to baffle the extended family who were visiting by sleeping in the woods. :) I hope to use it again next weekend, but will bring my sleeping bag this time.
It took a minute to set it up at proper height and angle for my body's comfort. But I have never set up a hammock before. I used the caribeener/downrigger ring set up that I also ordered through REI. The hammock performed flawlessly from the zipper to the tarp. It kept me so warm that I had to sleep with my sleeping bag open. (believe it or not but the netting holds in a lot of heat) I also complimented the hammock with an REI sleeping pad. All said and done, my back felt great in the morning and it was much better than trying to clear the ground of rocks and debris for my tent.
Never sleeping in a tent again!
I thought I was pushing it buying the scout as I am 5'9" and 160, but I'm cheap. Took this hammock out for the first time in February in the Columbia Gorge and I have never slept more comfortably while camping in my whole life. With a good sleeping bag I was able to stay dry and warm and even slept in! I probably would do better with a regular sized Hennessy, but I have no complaints.