10 Best Backpacking Hammocks of 2018

You know who’s a backcountry baller? That guy kicking back in a hammock by a pristine alpine lake with a pint of whiskey and some chocolate-covered toffee. That's dude's an evil genius. 

Well now you can be that evil genius! We'll provide the hammock recommendations, but you'll have to figure out the whiskey, chocolate, and world domination on your own.

For more of our top gear recommendations, have a look through these popular CleverHiker Gear Guide links:


DAYTIME HAMMOCKS

These hammocks are excellent for day-use on any adventure. If you feel really comfortable in them, you could always get an aftermarket bug net and tarp to make them suitable for sleeping. But first and foremost, these hammocks are light, highly packable, and great for chilling anywhere. 

 

Hummingbird Single

WEIGHT: 5.2 oz

DIMENSIONS: 104 x 47 in

MAX WEIGHT: 300 lb

The Hummingbird Single is incredibly light and small, making it an excellent choice for anyone with an active lifestyle. Hummingbird Hammocks are designed by an FAA certified parachute rigger, so they really know their stuff. They utilize the lightest materials and designs to keep their hammocks as light, packable, and comfortable as possible. 

We prefer the Hummingbird Single (5.2 oz) because we like to hike light. The Hummingbird Single+ (7.6 oz) is longer and wider (116 x 63 in) for increased comfort. The Hummingbird Double (10.2 oz) is an ultralight hammock large enough to fit two (116 x 85 in).

Hummingbird Ultralight Tree Straps (2.1 oz) are also the lightest straps we've found and they work great. They're adjustable, quick to setup, and built to hold up to 400 lb. There are no tree straps included with Hummingbird Hammocks, so make sure to pick these up or check out our other strap recommendations below.


WEIGHT: 7.4 oz

DIMENSIONS: 108 x 48 in

MAX WEIGHT: 300 lb

At just over 7 oz, the Grand Trunk Nano 7 is a hammock that's light enough to travel on any adventure. It packs down down to the size of a softball and comes with bent wire carabiners that make it easy to attach to any tree straps.

There are no straps included with this model, so make sure to check out our tree strap recommendations below. 


WEIGHT: 6.5 oz

DIMENSIONS: 105 x 47 in

MAX WEIGHT: 300 lb

The Eagles Nest Outfitters Sub6 is another hammock that falls into the rare category of "insanely light and highly packable." This hammock is a fantastic companion for any trip where saving space and keeping weight down is important. 

There are no straps included with this model, so make sure to check out our tree strap recommendations below.


WEIGHT: 12 oz

DIMENSIONS: 114 x 54 in

MAX WEIGHT: 200 lb

The Grand Trunk Ultralight Hammock is a good budget buy for anyone looking to keep cost and weight down. The polyester material of this hammock is less comfortable than the nylon models we recommend and we're also not wild about the S hooks it comes with. That said, It's still a good hammock with a tough price to beat.

There are no straps included with this model, so make sure to check out our tree strap recommendations below.


WEIGHT: 19 oz

DIMENSIONS: 112 x 74 in

MAX WEIGHT: 400 lb

The spacious and durable Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest is an excellent hammock for outdoor lovers. It's wide and tough enough to fit two people comfortably. It also comes in a bunch of different color combinations. It's heavier than the hammocks we prefer to backpack with, but it’s perfect for camping, hiking, and trips to the park. For the same dimensions but nearly half the weight, we recommend checking out the ENO SuperSub Hammock

There are no straps included with this model, so make sure to check out our tree strap recommendations below.


WEIGHT: 24 oz

DIMENSIONS: 120 x 67 in

MAX WEIGHT: 500 lb

If extreme comfort is your main goal, then you should get to know the Kammok Roo. The Roo is one of the largest, toughest, and most luxurious camping hammocks on the market. It's built with durable materials, is big enough to fit two comfortably, and it even comes with a lifetime warranty. It's heavier than the hammocks we prefer backpacking with, but it’s perfect for camping, hiking, and trips to the park.

There are no straps included with this model, so make sure to check out our tree strap recommendations below.

NIGHTTIME HAMMOCKS

Many backpackers quickly fall in love with hammock camping and never look back. Others have a tough time getting comfortable and end up back in their tents. It really does depend on your personal style and preference. 

Hammock camping is a learning process and it's usually a bit more complicated than people think. If you suspect hammock camping would be a good fit for you, we highly recommend giving it a try. It could be a huge game changer for your outdoor adventures. Below are our recommendations for getting started.


SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR CAMPING HAMMOCKS

INSULATION - If you're planning to use your hammock as a shelter, insulation is critical. Hammock sleeping can get cold very quickly, even on summer trips. There are many options for adding insulation to a backpacking hammock. The three most common methods are:

  1. Sleep on top of a foam or blow up pad in your hammock. This is a good option for beginners that already own pads. The downside of this is that you may squirm off your pad during the night, which is a common annoyance. Using a mummy-shaped pad will help reduce pad sliding. 
  2. Get a double layer hammock. Double layer hammocks have a separate compartment for sleeping pads. This makes it easier to sleep on a pad, because it will be held in place under the hammock. This is a solid option for pad users, but will add weight. 
  3. Use an underquilt. Underquilts hang beneath your hammock and insulate your body from the cold air outside. For experienced hammock backpackers, this is the preferred method. The main downside is additional cost. 

DESIGN - Getting a "flat lay" is the main goal for sleeping hammocks. Camping hammocks use asymmetric designs to achieve this. Sleeping diagonally in an asymmetric hammock will allow your head and feet to lie lower than they would in a traditional hammock. Most camping hammock users find asymmetric designs to be more comfortable than traditional hammocks for sleeping. 

PROTECTION - Day use hammocks don't require much protection, but if you're planning to use your hammock as a shelter in the backcountry, you'll need it to protect against bugs, rain, wind, and cold. A backpacking hammock that doesn’t protect against the elements is worse than worthless, it’s dangerous.

TERRAIN - If you plan to use your hammock as a shelter, you'll want to be sure there will be good trees for hanging it up at night. This can be an issue if you're camping above treeline, in the desert, or in any area without strong and well-spaced trees. So make sure to plan accordingly.  


TOTAL WEIGHT: 1 lb 14 oz (no tarp)

DIMENSIONS: 126 x 60 in

MAX WEIGHT: 400 lb

The Skeeter Beeter Pro is a good budget buy for people looking to dip a toe into hammock camping without a big financial investment. It has a traditional hammock shape, so it’s not as easy to lie flat, but it’s long enough to still be comfortable. It also doesn’t come with a tarp, so you’ll have to get an aftermarket tarp to protect against rain and wind. The Skeeter Beeter Pro isn’t our favorite camping hammock, but it’ll definitely get the job done and the price is tough to beat.


TOTAL WEIGHT: 1 lb 12 oz

DIMENSIONS: 120 x 59 in

MAX WEIGHT: 200 lb

The Hennessy Hyperlite is a minimal, comfortable, and insanely light camping hammock for backpackers. It has an asymmetrical shape, which allows campers to lie flat. It comes complete with a rain tarp, bug net, and nice extras like an interior pocket. It's offered in a bottom entry or side zip model - we prefer the side zip.

The Hennessy Hammock Hyperlite, Ultralight Backpacker, and Expedition are all great hammocks and have the same dimensions. The main differences between them come in materials and cost. The lighter the materials, the greater the cost. The Hyperlite is the lightest and most expensive with a total weight of 1 lb 12 oz, then comes the Ultralight Backpacker at 1 lb 15 oz, and finally the Expedition at 2 lb 12 oz. The heavier the model, the more durable it will be, but all three of these hammocks will last for thousands of trail miles if treated well. The Hyperlite and Ultralight Backpacker are rated to hold up to 200 lb and the Expedition will hold up to 250 lb. If you’re a backpacker, keeping weight down is important, which is why we prefer the Hyperlite. That said, the Expedition is still a great value buy.

It’s also important to note that these models will work best for those 6 feet tall and under. More room is usually more comfortable when it comes to hammock sleeping. So if you’re tall or right on the edge, go with the Explorer Ultralight model instead.

You can also add the popular Hennessy Snakeskins for easy setup and takedown.


TOTAL WEIGHT: 1 lb 2 oz (no tarp)

DIMENSIONS: 120 x 63

MAX WEIGHT: 200 lb

The Warbonnet Blackbird is one of the most comfortable camping hammocks on the market. It has an asymmetrical design for flat sleeping and a convenient shelf panel for gear storage. It comes in a single-layer or double-layer design and two different fabric thicknesses. The double-layer design increases the max weight rating and provides a compartment to hold a sleeping pad in place. Choosing the thicker fabric will increase durability and max weight rating as well. Both of those options will add weight to the hammock, but it’s a light design any way you slice it. The Blackbird doesn’t come with a tarp, so you’ll want to add one of Warbonnet’s tarps or buy an aftermarket tarp. It also doesn’t come with carabiners, which need to be purchased separately.

The Warbonnet Blackbird will only work for those under 6 feet tall. More room is usually more comfortable when it comes to hammock sleeping. So if you’re tall or right on the edge, go with the Warbonnet Blackbird XLC instead.


TOTAL WEIGHT: 2 lb (no tarp)

DIMENSIONS: 132 x 52 in

MAX WEIGHT: 250 lb

The Jacks ‘R’ Better Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock has a unique design that achieves a truly flat lay. This suspension bridge design keeps tension along the top edges of the hammock, which allows your feet and head to hang much lower than traditional hammocks. This flat-sleeping design also lends itself well to sleeping pad use. The downside of this design is that it adds weight. It’s also a wider design than many hammocks, so you’ll need a wider tarp for rain and wind protection, which will also add weight. The Bear Mountain Bridge doesn’t come with a tarp, so you’ll want to add one of Jack's tarps or buy an aftermarket tarp. This hammock is among the heavier backpacking hammocks we recommend, but the unique comfort it offers is worth the weight for some campers.


HAMMOCK STRAPS

It's a bit of a shame, but most day-use hammocks don't come with straps these days. That means you won't be able to use your shiny new hammock unless you already own tree straps or know how to hang a hammock with rope - which is actually trickier than you might think. 

And then there are hammocks that do include straps, but far too often they're low cost and low quality. Meaning you'll probably end up buying hammock straps anyway. So our advice is to save yourself the hassle and pick up one of the following hammock strap options listed below.

There are also many online guides that will teach you how to string up a hammock with lightweight rope and simple knots. Our preference is to go with hammock straps because they're faster, easier, and more convenient to use.   

SUSPENSION TYPES

WHOOPIE SLINGS - Whoopie slings are an adjustable, lightweight way to hang a hammock. Designs for whoopie slings have slight differences, but in general they use a simple loop and knot system that holds tension with weight, but can be easily adjusted when not under pressure. We like the products listed below, but there are a lot of options for lightweight whoopie slings.

STRAPS - Hammock straps are about as simple and convenient as hammock hanging gets. They are made up of two strong straps with many small loops. Simply wrap each strap around a tree and clip your hammock into one of the loops on each side. Straps are not as light or adjustable as whoopie slings, but they’re less complicated and quicker to set up.


Hummingbird Ultralight Tree Straps are actually a whoopie sling design. They are among the lightest suspension systems we've found and they work great. They're highly adjustable, quick to setup, and are built to hold up to 400 pounds. Each strap is 8.3 feet long and their combined weight is 2.1 oz.


The Eagles Nest Outfitters Atlas Straps are strong, durable, and convenient. They are two 9-foot long straps with 30 different adjustment points. Weighing a total of 11 oz, the Atlas Straps that can hold up to 400 lb. This is an excellent option for convenience.


The Eagles Nest Outfitters Helios Suspension System is another good whoopie sling design. They weigh 4.1 oz and have a 300 lb capacity. They’re 8.1 feet long and are easy to set up.


CRITICAL HAMMOCK CONSIDERATIONS

PRICE - You shouldn’t have to spend a fortune to get a great hammock. That’s why we provide an array of solid options in different price ranges. If you plan to use your hammock a lot, it makes sense to spend more for a quality product that will get lots of use over many years.

WEIGHT - A few ounces might not seem like a big deal, but keeping pack weight down is critical for enjoying outdoor adventures. We recommend a wide range of hammocks, from ultralight slings you'll hardly notice in your pack, to beefy two-person hammocks perfect for any park or campsite. 

DIMENSIONS - In general, the wider and longer the hammock, the more comfortable it'll be. That's especially true when it comes to sleeping hammocks. Day-use hammocks don't need as much extra space, so it's good to keep those nice and light.

STRENGTH - Quality materials and construction are essential in a hammock. If you don't have those, you could get dropped on your butt. Literally. The hammocks we recommend come from trusted manufacturers and are built to last for many years if treated with care.

CAPACITY - Do you plan to use your hammock solo, or are you looking for an outdoor snuggle sesh? Two-person hammocks are wider and stronger but they're heavier as well. Both options are a lot of fun, so we recommend a few of each type below. 

BEST USE - Do you plan to sleep in your hammock, or just use it for chilling? Hammock shelters can be very comfortable, but they do come with a different set of needs. We recommend both types below and break down the best use for each.

STRAPS - Once you zone in on a solid backcountry hammock, you'll need a way to hang it. Many hammock straps are sold separately, so we recommend some of our favorites below under the hammock recommendations.

BUYING ONLINE - Check the seller's return policy before you buy, but you can almost always return an unused hammock within a certain time frame after purchasing. We recommend buying your top choice, testing it at home, and returning or exchanging if it doesn’t feel quite right. We've been buying lightweight hammocks online for years and we've yet to have any problems.


MORE INFORMATION

If you enjoyed this review you'll probably like our other gear lists as well. Here are some popular resources from the CleverHiker Backpacking Gear Guide.

We hope this guide was helpful for finding the best hammock to fit your needs. Thanks for reading and happy trails!

Cocktails Anyone?

 

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