Gear Review: Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip Hammock

by Ben Atkinson on August 8, 2013

Hennessy Hammock

Over the past year I have been experimenting with sleeping in a hammock instead of a tent. Not your normal backyard nap hammock though, a Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip Hammock. Ditching a tent and taking to the trees provides a few notable advantages:

  • No need for a sleeping pad
  • No need to clear the ground
  • Doesn’t disturb ground cover
  • No water seeping in from underneath
  • Comfortably hang over uneven ground, rocks, or on the side of a hill
  • Very comfortable sleeping- once you get situated
  • Less trouble from insects

Of course no rose is without its thorns. Sleeping in a hammock is a solo affair, there is no way that even these expensive hammocks would take the weight of two adults and there simply isn’t enough room to be comfortable. Getting into a sleeping bag and a hammock at the same time can be a little tricky, but you get the hang of it rather quickly. Sleeping in a hammock and keeping your back straight requires you to lay diagonally. I usually sleep on my stomach so this was a bit of an adjustment for me, and while you can roll around a little, you usually end up on your back in the end.

It goes without saying that you will need two trees a suitable distance apart, so forget about using this baby in a desert or any other place out in the open. The other main thing to keep in mind when deciding on a shelter is the temperature. Sleeping in a hammock, with open air beneath you, will cool you down significantly. This worked great for me in Costa Rica- I slept in the hammock with no sleeping bag and there was only one night where I was a little chilly. But after 100 degree days in the tropical sun that was a blessing! When I took the hammock on a trip to the Boundary Waters I paired it with a North Face Cat’s Meow sleeping bag and I was pretty comfortable every night.

Hennessey Expedition Asym Zip Hammock

As far as stormy weather goes, I slept through a couple rainy nights, but nothing too crazy. The fly does an excellent job at keeping you dry, however this is largely dependent on the angle at which you stake it down. If there is some wild sideways rain you might end up getting a little wet. Another potential drawback is the lack of a true vestibule, instead you get the space on the ground underneath you. While this works pretty well at keeping things dry, it isn’t quite as nice as rolling over in your sleeping bag and zipping open your tent door to a covered vestibule during a rain storm.

Taking all of this into account I would recommend the Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip Hammock to anyone looking for a simple and comfortable ultralight solution to their shelter needs. If you like the idea of sleeping in a floating tent without any poles, then try a hammock the next time you hit the trail!

 

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