One of the most popular, and in our opinion coolest, camping gadgets on the market is a lightweight packable hammock. These ultra comfortable, take-a-nap-anywhere, devices are great for backpacking, overlanding, cycling, and even international travel. Most weigh only a pound or two, and almost every version on the market will eat up less space than a traditional dopp kit. They even make for a great tent replacement if conditions are mild and trees are readily available. If you’re a sucker for a comfortable place to kick up your feet and rest; check out our picks for the best backpacking hammock to suit your needs.
ENO DoubleNest Hammocks
Eagles Nest Outfitters (aka ENO) is the leading brand in the world of lightweight backpacking hammocks, and their most popular product to date is the DoubleNest. It’s perfect for one, but has the space and strength for two (up to 400lbs). At each end of the hammock you’ll find a strong aluminum wire gate carabiner connected to nautical-grade cord. The “nest” is a woven nylon material that reminds us of parachute fabric. The hammock even has an attached stuff sack. We’ve used a couple DoubleNest Hammocks for years without issue. They’ve travelled with us on every road trip, vacation, and overland adventure. If there’s room we bring along our hammock.
Fun fact: The company started in a “ramshackle” minivan back in 1999, by two brothers from Florida.
Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro
If you’re headed to, or live in, an area where with a prolific bug population; check out the Skeeter Beeter Pro from Grand Trunk. It features a built-in, fine-mesh, screen to keep mosquitos at bay. And, when combined with a tarp this hammock creates the perfect ground tent alternative. In fact, some of our friends with back problems prefer this setup over a tent/sleeping pad combo. Either way, we think this product is a great way to relax without the chance of a bug wrecking your nap. If we were bikepacking, on an adventure motorcycle trip, or planning an overnight fly fishing float trip… this is the hammock we would choose. It’s light, compact, and easy to set up (as long as there are trees).
Hennessy Hammock Expedition Series
In inclement weather a tarp is a great way to stay dry and keep the weather at bay. Think of it as a rainfly for your backpacking hammock. Expedition Series hammocks from Hennessy include both a rain fly/tarp and a hammock in a single package. Hennessy even includes tree straps, and features a built in bug screen. the system can support 250 lbs. yet weighs only 2.75 lbs. This expedition-ready, rain-shedding, and bug-proof backpacking hammock has it all. If we were looking for a complete tent alternative and did not already have another hammock, this would definitely be at the top of our list.
Tree Straps and Suspension
When you choose a hammock be sure to see if straps are included. Many manufacturers do not package straps with hammocks, and while it seems as though they should – doing so gives the end user much more flexibility. For example, if something bad does happen to your hammock; you can replace the hammock itself. Speaking of bad things happening… please ensure that you use straps around trees. Using rope, wire, or other small-diameter options can cause damage to a tree’s bark.