9 Best Backpacking Hammock Tents in 2017 - Greenbelly Meals

9 Best Backpacking Hammock Tents for 2017


Guide to the best hammock tents for ultralight backpacking and camping.
Tested and written by Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers.

best backpacking hammock tents

Credit: Hennessy Hammock

OVERVIEW: Known by a variety of aliases - 'camping hammocks', 'backpacking hammocks', 'hammock tents', etc - these babies are just airborne tents tents suspended between two trees. This guides focuses on overnight shelters designed for sleeping, NOT daytime loungers designed for relaxing.

Hammock tents are sometimes preferred over traditional 'ground tents' for two main reasons:

1. Flexible Location. Assuming trees are abundant, hammocks can be setup anywhere which is crucial in rough terrain (steep slope, muddy ground, etc).

2. Comfort. Some people dislike sleeping on flat ground and find the hammock sway to be very comfortable.


Your Hammock Tent Requirements...


LIGHTWEIGHT: Depending on the type of backpacking you are doing, there are a variety of gear components your hammock tent might need. These additional items can make calculating a suggested hammock tent weight all the more difficult. Therefore, let's define up front what we consider a "complete hammock tent system". A complete hammock tent system includes a) hammock b) tarp/ rainfly c) bug/ mesh net d) suspension system/ straps.

For lightweight backpacking, this system should be less than 3 lbs. If not, consider packing a tent instead. Eh hmm... sorry to bring that dreadful ground-bound shelter into this enlightening hammock chat. But, it is a serious consideration if you are really counting the ounces.

All backpackers know that ounces add up to pounds. Extra pounds will slow you down, cause you to exert an unnecessary amount of energy, and make for a potentially miserable trip. In short, please keep your hammock as light as possible.


SPACIOUS: Some ultralight backpacking hammocks get down to a mere handful of ounces. Great. But, these can be tiny. You need adequate space to move around and sleep comfortably. Here are some suggested dimensions.

Length: minimum of 8 and 1/2 ft (102 in). The tension of your suspended weight will cause the ends (your head and feet) to squeeze together. If you are taller than 6 ft, for every inch of additional height, add about 2 inches of hammock. Example: If you are 6' 4", then add 8" to the 102 inch minimum for a new minimum of 110 inches in length. 

Width: minimum of 4 ft (48 in). For a day lounger, less than this is fine. To sleep in though, I want adequate width to feel properly cradled in and not fall out.


STRONG: This puppy needs to be strong enough to hold up your body weight and any gear you want to sleep with. I always add a good 25 lb cushion, if not more, to that total as well. Example: I weigh 165 lbs and will sleep with about 10 lbs of gear. Add the 25 lb cushion and I come to a necessary capacity of 200 lbs minimum.

Most companies call this number the "maximum weight capacity" which can be found in the product specs. Single person hammocks typically range from 200 to 500 lb maximum weight capacity.

backpacking hammock tent suspension system carabiner python kammok straps

Credit: cleverleverage

QUALITY MATERIAL: Nothing cotton, please. Most hammocks are made out of some sort of nylon or polyester fabric. Nylon is the more durable and more popular, yet more expensive option. Polyester can feel more fibrous and, debatably, less comfortable. There are a variety of blends and weaves of both materials though that can be as stiff or stretchy as you want.


SLEEP-ABLE POSITIONING: There are several sleeping positions for hammocks. Know which one you prefer and make sure your hammock is compatible.

1. The Crescent Moon: on your back, in the natural banana or "crescent moon" shape parallel with the hammock ridgeline. This position is not my preference after a long day of backpacking hunched over.

2. Asymmetrical: on your back diagonally at about 45 degrees like this. Lying at an angle is ideal for sleeping flat on your back. Some models are better setup (extra guylines attachments) for asymmetrical sleeping than others.

3. 90 Degrees: on your back perpendicular at a full 90 degrees like this. Uncommon, but some love it.


SIMPLE SETUP: As mentioned, hammock tents can come with a lot of moving parts (more on this below) and can be a hassle to setup. Getting the hammock securely strapped to the trees at the desired level of tension with minimal guylines and stake down points is the goal. I find that an easily adjustable suspension system is the best way to ensure a fast setup. 


hammock underquilt insulation warbonnet

Credit: Warbonnet Outdoors


Hammock Gear Considerations


BUG NET: Sleeping exposed with mosquitoes flying around all night is not fun. You could wake up with swarms of swollen bite marks from their uninterrupted midnight feast. Bugs and mosquitoes are present in most backpacking terrain. Therefore, a full hammock enclosure is highly recommended. Note bug spray is an alternative and, of course, some places do not have many insects.


TARP (OR 'RAINFLY'): For rain and weather protection, you will need a tarp. I do not recommend getting the everyday blue tarp from Walmart for this either. Those are heavy, bulky and difficult to efficiently cover the entirety of your hammock. Runoff from the guylines can also be an issue.

Most brands will come integrated with a tarp specific to each model. This cover will be the last outermost layer strung up on the ridgeline. In order to maximize coverage and minimize weight, the most popular designs are the 'diamond' and the 'hex cut'.

hammock tent tarp design and shapes for backpacking

Hexcut (left) and Diamond (right)


INSULATION: One of the biggest problems with hammock sleeping is the cold... or really, a lack of insulation. Your underside is completely exposed to the circulating air below. If you are backpacking outside of the warm summer season, you will want to sleep with some sort of extra insulation underneath you. Note this is in addition to a sleeping bag. The two main options:

1. Sleeping Pad. Sleep on top of a foam or air pad just like you would on the ground. As you roll around at night, these can slip and slide around though. To keep them in place, you should either a) get a double layered hammock with slip holders or b) get a pad with 'walls' like this.

2. Underquilt. This is like a sleeping bag that hangs underneath your body on the outside of your hammock. Very warm, but heavy and bulky to pack. 


SUSPENSION SYSTEM: This comfy sleeping machine is hung from two trees with using a 'suspension system'. Think of a suspension system as, simply, the method used to tie and secure a hammock to a tree. Most companies will offer compatible suspension systems with their hammocks - sometimes included, sometime not. The most common types:

1. Whoopie Sling. This is rope that has been manufactured with an adjustable loop on one end (attach to the webbing around the tree) and a fixed eye on the other end (attach to the end of the hammock). See here.

2. Daisy Chain. This is a style of strap with fixed loops, similar to a chain. Once wrapped around a tree, your hammock will hook into one of these loops based on desired tension

3. DIY. You can always use some rope to tie up you hammock directly. This is obviously the lightest option. However, it will take time adjusting the fixed knots for an optimal hammock tension as well as require some knot knowledge.


Hennessy

Hyperlite Asym Zip


best camping hammock tents for ultralight backpacking

Weight: 1 lb 12 oz

Price: $279.95

Dimensions: 120"L x 59"W

Max Capacity: 200 lbs

Why It's Awesome:
Hennessy Hammock's Hyperlite Asym Zip is one of the best backpacking hammock tent on the market today. It can be confusing navigating around all of the compatible components of a company's hammock system. Not this guy. This model is a well-integrated system, complete with everything you need to hit the trail. I personally love the easy access zippered bug net.

My only concern is the 200 lb max capacity. Anyone above average size and weight will have an issue here. Founded in 1999, Hennessy makes loads of other models though. Be sure to check them out here if need be.

See Hennessy Hyperlite Asym Zip.


Humingbird Hammocks

Single Hammock + Warbler Net + Tree Straps


best camping hammock tents for ultralight backpacking

Weight: 13.8 oz (w/o tarp)*

Price: $159.85*

Dimensions: 104"L x 47"W

Max Capacity: 300 lbs

Why It's Awesome:
That weight ain't no typo - this entire setup is under a single pound. Simply put, this is the lightest hammock system out there. And, as you would imagine, it is ultra compact and packs down tiny. Hummingbird's Tree Straps is an extremely popular suspension system as well. This whoopie sling system is light, easy to setup and packs up in the palm of your hand. Hummingbird offers a strong, lightweight system without breaking the bank

Note the length might be an issue for taller hikers. The nylon hammock is also a litttle stiffer and, possibly, less comfortable than others on this list. 

*Custom system breakdown: Single Hammock (5.2 oz, $79.95), Warbler Net (6.3 oz, $49.95), Tree Straps (2.3 oz, $29.95). Optional: Heron Tarp (8.6 oz, $144.95). 


Kammok

Wallaby Hammock + Dragonfly Net + Python Straps


best camping hammock tents for ultralight backpacking

Weight: 2 lb 0.5 oz (w/o tarp)*

Price: $169.00*

Dimensions: 100"L x 50"W

Max Capacity: 400 lbs

Why It's Awesome:
Think of Kammok as the 'Cadillac of hammocks' - big and comfy. They offer two hammock models, the Wallaby and the Roo. The Wallaby is ultralight and compact, while the Roo is more spacious and uses a cozy LunarWave material. 

One of the best things about Kammok is their Python Straps. These long daisy chain straps are super easy to setup and are wide enough to not cut into the tree. They are also super tough and able to hold up to 500 lbs. 

*Custom system breakdown: Wallaby Hammock (10 oz, $65), Dragonfly Insect Net (10.5 oz, $75), Python Straps (12 oz, $29). Optional: Kuhli Tarp (10 oz, $65). 


Jacks 'R' Better

Bear Mountain Bridge Ultra-Light


best camping hammock tents for ultralight backpacking

Weight: 1 lb 11.8 oz (w/o tarp)

Price: $194.95

Dimensions: comfortable for individuals "up to 6 foot and 3 inches tall"

Max Capacity: 250 lbs

Why It's Awesome:
Unlike most hammocks, Jacks 'R' Better does not bunch together at the head and toe (aka - no "gather end"). Instead, the ends corner out into a rectangular shape using unique "spreader bars". By maintaining a rectangular shape, these spreader bars create a true flat lay. This flat lay requires carrying poles though which can be too  bulky for some hammock backpackers aiming to get away from the heavy poles of a traditional ground tent.

The Bear Mountain Ridge (Ultra-Light model) comes as a complete system with an integrated bug net as well as 1 inch polypropylene webbing suspension straps.

See Bear Mountain Bridge. Optional: Tarps.


Warbonnet

Blackbird Single Layer


best camping hammock tents for ultralight backpacking

Weight: 1 lb 6 oz (w/o tarp)

Price: $170.00

Dimensions: 120"L x 63"W

Max Capacity: 250 lbs

Why It's Awesome:
Warbonnet has been around for nearly a decade and makes highly reputable gear. The Blackbird is one of their best sellers and has become a rather iconic backpacking hammock. I personally love the storage shelf and footbox for extra leg room. This hammock is ultralightweight, provides a huge amount of space, has competitive price tag and a good max capacity. The bug net can be easily zipped open and rolled back when desired. They offer 2 types of suspension systems - webbing or a whoopie sling - as well as a load of tarps and underquilts. Also, check out their Double Layer model for extra insulation.

See Blackbird Single Layer. Optional: Tarps


Grand Trunk

Skeeter Beeter Pro


best camping hammock tents for ultralight backpacking

Weight: 2 lb 2.45 oz (w/o tarp)*

Price: $104.98*

Dimensions: 126"L x 60"W

Max Capacity: 400 lbs

Why It's Awesome:
Grand Trunk makes the most affordable hammock tent on this list. If you are wanting to test if hammock camping is for you, here is a quality setup for around $100. With a 400 lb maximum weight limit and a length of 126", this thing is extremely strong and spacious. The Skeeter Beeter Pro comes with a unique double ridgeline. The two ridelines lift the bugnet and maximize interior space which can be great for reading on a rainy day. If you are like color designs, see all Grand Trunk models

*Custom system breakdown: Skeeter Beeter Pro Hammock (26.45 oz, $84.99), Tree Slings Hanging Kit (8 oz, $19.99). Optional: Rainfly (20 oz, $79.99). 


ENO

SubLink Shelter System


best camping hammock tents for ultralight backpacking

Weight: 2 lb 6.9 oz*

Price: $269.04*

Dimensions: 105"L x 47"W

Max Capacity: 300 lbs

Why It's Awesome:
ENO is known for their comfortable, day-hiking 'loungers' available at most hiker stores. They make high quality overnight sleeping systems though. Everything about the SubLink is good - good strength, good weight, good price, good comfort, good setup, etc. But, the ProFly tarp is great. This large, hexcut Sil Nylon rainfly is designed to stay suspend above the ridgeline of your hammock. This provides space below, room for gear storage, a stool to sit, etc. Note there are an overwhelming amount of gear options for the SubLink. We listed their lightest combination.

*Custom system breakdown: Sub6 Hammock (5.8 oz, $66.80), Helios Suspension System (4.1 oz, $33.37), ProFly Sil Rain Tarp (16 oz, $114.54), Guardian SL Bug Net (13 oz, $42.92).


Exped

Scout Combi UL


best camping hammock tents for ultralight backpacking

Weight: 2 lb 0.1 oz

Price: $328.95

Dimensions: 84.6"L x 55.1"W

Max Capacity: 265 lbs

Why It's Awesome:
Exped really excelled in a few areas with their anticipated Scout Combi Ultralight. Afterall, here is a complete system with a large rectangular tarp weighing right around 2 pounds. They added some unique features like sleeves for your trekking poles to open up the bug net. The suspension system is a beauty - daisy chain like loop without the usual bulk. This lightweight baby surprisingly comes with a sleeping pad sleeve and 2 internal pockets.

The length is short though and not recommended for anyone over 6 ft. With a $300+ price tag, it is the most expensive hammock on our list.

See Scout Combi UL.


Jungle Hammocks

Tracelite


best camping hammock tents for ultralight backpacking

Weight: 2 lb 4.7 oz

Price: $249.00

Dimensions: N/A

Max Capacity: 250 lbs

Why It's Awesome:
Marketed as a military hammock, Jungle Hammocks always seems to fly under the backpacking community's radar. The Tracelite is extremely well constructed and durable. Both sides have zipper entry and exit access. The doors also have a large amount of no see-um mesh for better visibility. The setup is simple and well integrated. One of my favorite things is the two pockets underneath for easy small gear storage. It can be short in length so taller backpackers be cautious.

See Tracelite.



chris cage greenbelly

By Chris Cage
Chris launched Greenbelly Meals in 2014 after thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail for 6 months. Since then, Greenbelly has been written up by everyone from Backpacker Magazine and Bicycling Magazine to Fast Company and Science Alert. He recently wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail and currently works from his laptop all over the globe.



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