The hammock is the ultimate icon of rest and relaxation.
Laying in a hammock, with the straps tied between two trees on a summer afternoon. Gently rocking back and forth in the wind as the cool summer breeze gently caresses your face. Not a thought on your mind or a worry in the world other than enjoying the moment at hand.
There are not many places in this world that are more enjoyable to fall asleep on than in the loving embrace of a hammock. After a long day of backpacking, sweating, and burning mile after mile. Having the comfort of a hammock strung between your two new favorite trees is a welcomed reward.
Whether you’re considering a hammock as a shelter replacement or a supplement to your backpacking gear this will give you the answers to make an informed and educated decision.
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Backpacking Hammocks
- How to hang your hammock
- Backpacking Hammock Buying Guide
- Downside of Backpacking Hammocks
- Best backpacking hammocks
Benefits of Backpacking Hammocks
Trading in your tent for a hammock is not as big of a sacrifice as it sounds like. A backpacking hammock offers wide a range of benefits that their 4 walled counterparts simply can’t compete with.
Gone are the days of sleeping on rocks, lumps, uneven surfaces, mud, and anything that crawls on the ground. A hammock elevates you above all those tiny nuisances that you have grown to tolerate over the years.
You’ll never be concerned with what the ground looks like again. You can set up on a muddy, rocky, 30° incline and you’re still going to be living in the lap of luxury.
You know what the best part about hammocks is? The ground conditions may change, but your hammock stays the same.
Restful nights sleep
Napping in a hammock is one the most enjoyable pleasures of summer. Sleeping in a hammock throughout the evening is one of the most delightful experiences on a long backpacking trip.
There are scientific reasons as to why sleeping in a hammock is rejuvenating. According to current biology,“A swinging motion exerts a synchronizing action in the brain that reinforces endogenous sleep rhythms.”
Basically, what they are trying to say, is that a gentle rocking or swinging motion helps you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper.
Pitch perfect and lightweight
At the end of a long, hot, full day of hiking the first thing on your mind are a tasty hot meal and a big glass of clean water or beer. The last thing on your mind is where to set up the tent and how much of a pain in the ass it’s going to be.
With a backpacking hammock, you get to skip the stress of finding the perfect place to pitch, while abiding by the Leave No Trace principles. All you need is two tree trunks and a few minutes. Even if it’s only your second time setting it up, it won’t take you any more than 5 minutes from start to finish.
The next best part is breaking it down in the morning. It takes 2-3 minutes once you get the hang of it and most hammocks break down into the size of a grapefruit. Not only is set up and break down easier, being off the ground means very little room for physical damage to the hammock.
Your view is second to none
The breathtaking landscapes that make up our planet are truly incredible to experience. The four walls that a tent has to offer are truly boring to experience. If you’ve seen one tent wall, you’ve seen them all. This is where hammocks come in and steal the show.
There is a great saying from the Center for Outdoor Ethics that says a great campsite is found not made. Backpacking and preservation of the environment go hand in hand, and with a hammock, you’re guaranteed to Leave No Trace with all the glory of nature right in front of you as icing on the cake.
Set up your hammock in a way that you wake up to the kaleidoscope of colors that the morning sunrise has to offer. Enjoying nature in all its beauty with a 360° view of everything that guy or gal in the tent doesn’t get to experience. There’s beauty in everything and being fully immersed in nature while resting is a special experience.
Feel the breeze
Those “ventilated” tents on hot summer evenings end up feeling like your sleeping in a Florida swamp. No matter how much ventilation you have, a tent still has its limitations and they are notorious for keeping the heat in. A sweaty nights sleep is never a good night’s sleep.
Hammocks are suspended in the air, meaning that not only are you safe mud and bugs, but you’re also not going to overheat. You have a natural fan in the form of the constant breeze that nature has to offer running on clean energy throughout the evening.
Not every night is going to be the ideal temperature, so it’s pertinent that you plan ahead with insulation and tarps to protect you from the elements.
How to hang your hammock
Any good night in any hammock begins with a proper and secure hang. Each model has subtle differences, however, most hammocks can be hung following a few simple steps that apply to 99.9% of hammocks.
1. Find strong anchor points
First things first, you want to find two anchor strong anchor points. 9 out of 10 times it’s going to be tree trunks when you’re camping and backpacking. Anything will work, as long as it’s strong and secure.
The supports are going to be roughly 10 to 15 feet apart for most hammock straps. You can find extensions that will give you a wider spread if you find yourself struggling to find trees 10 to 15 feet apart, but that’s the desired distance.
2. Fix your anchor points
This is the point at which your hammock will attach to the tree straps. You want to attach each of the tree straps around the tree trunk roughly at eye level. This will ensure the proper angle of the hang.
Hang the hammock a few feet from the ground. This makes getting in and out easier. If you have the unforeseen accident and fall out, the closer you are to the ground the less hurts when you hit the ground. You can adjust the height accordingly based on how tall you are.
3. Adjust the angle
A common desired angle is a 30° degree angle. The flatter the hammock rests the more unstable and uncomfortable it is going to be. One common mistake that people make the first time they sleep in a hammock is making it lay flat like your bed at home.
Hammocks are not designed to lay flat, they have a natural bend. This bend is where the comfort is found, whether you’re camping, backpacking, or just
4. Get comfortable
You can read all the guides to hang a hammock until you’re blue in the face. The best way is to give it a dry run and hang it in the backyard or around the neighborhood. You can make adjustments as you go and figure out what works best for you.
Different strokes for different folks. The best way is to get out there, get your hands dirty, and get comfortable. You can test out what angle works best for your body.
Backpacking Hammock Buying Guide
When making the transition from a tent to a backpacking hammock there are a number of things to take into consideration. Weight, rated capacity, strength, and whether or not straps are included are just a few of the considerations to make. We have put together a list to help answer any questions that you may have.
When we’re talking backpacking every ounce counts. Some people go as far as shaving down the handle of their toothbrush to cut weight.
When looking at a making the switch to a backpacking hammock you want to take into account the FULL weight of the setup. This includes the hammock itself, the bag the hammock packs into, tree straps, and a tarp. Aim for the everything to weigh less than the tent you’re replacing.
Setting it up
After a long day of hiking the last thing you want to do is to spend 20 minutes setting up your tent.
Ease of set up is one of the hallmarks of using a hammock. You can get your hammock out of your backpack and hanging well before you would have a tent pitched. If it takes longer than 5 minutes to get up, you’re doing something wrong or you need a better hammock.
If your 6 foot 5 inches tall a standard hammock is going to be terribly uncomfortable. Your size and weight translate into the dimensions of the hammock that is right for you. Generally speaking, the longer and wider the hammock, the more comfortable it is to sleep in.
If you’re going to be suspended in the air while you sleep, the security of knowing you’re not going to end up on the ground is important.
All hammocks come with a suggested maximum weight rating. It is best to find a hammock that is made of quality and durable materials that can stand up to anything mother nature throws at you. Sleeping in the air is great, ending up on the ground in the middle of the night… Not so much.
Not all hammocks are created equal, in fact, some are downright cheap and uncomfortable.
One of the biggest reasons that people choose to go with a backpacking hammock is the comfort. There are a number of factors that figure into the comfort equation of a hammock…
- Sleeping position
An equal balance of all of these qualities will determine the overall comfort of a backpacking hammock. The best way to check how it feels is to give it a test run to make sure it’s position and design work for you. Most places take returns for at least 30 days, don’t settle for an uncomfortable backpacking hammock.
Without tree straps, your hammock isn’t much more than a large piece of cloth. Believe it or not, hammocks don’t always come with tree straps. Either way, before you take a hammock backpacking, make sure to check that it comes with straps.
Warranty information varies from hammock to hammock and finding a lifetime warranty is rare these days.
Any time that you make a purchase it’s a good idea to check the manufacturer’s warranty information. It will say a lot about their belief in their own products and save you a handful of curse words in the future.
Many hammocks come with add-ons or parts and pieces that set it apart from the competition.
These features include bug nets, ripstop fabric, balancing lines, double insulation, storage pockets, and increases length and width.
Sleeping in a backpacking hammock has immediate advantages over a tent and one of the biggest advantages is breathability. You want to make sure the hammock is breathable so you don’t sweat throughout the night. The only thing worse than a hammock covered in dew is a hammock covered in human sweat.
Downside of Backpacking Hammocks
As great as it sounds to sleep in a hammock not everyone is able to make the conversion. Sleeping in a hammock has stark differences from laying flat on the ground with a backpacking pillow and sleeping bag.
When making the move to sleeping in a hammock there is always going to be a short adjustment period. There are logistical differences sleeping in a hammock. Movement can be tricky and the angle you rest at is completely different than anything you’re used to.
When camping on cold and brisk evenings the importance of layering and insulation becomes obvious. With any backpacking hammock, you need to ensure that you have proper insulation underneath you as you rest. “Cold ass syndrome” is the effect that occurs when you sleep in a hammock without insulation.
The location of the supports should be relatively uniform. There are rare instances where it’s a challenge to find two trees that are the correct length apart to hang your hammock.
Backpacking hammocks have their downside, just like everything else. Taking a little time in preparation will nullify the disadvantages.
Disadvantages of sleeping in a hammock
- The adjustment period for sleeping
- Require specific distance between supports
- Need to insulate your underside in cold weather
- Single person occupancy
- Getting in and out takes practice
Best backpacking hammocks
This is a list of the 7 best and highest rated lightweight backpacking and camping hammocks that are available today.
Winner Outfitters Backpacking Hammock
- Weight: 2.2 pounds
- Dimensions: 188″L x 78″W
- Maximum Capacity: 500 pounds
Winner Outfitters backpacking hammock comes in at 118″ x 78″ making it the same size as a double hammock. With the increase in size, there is more than enough room for one person. It has great length and high walls to ensure a comfortable night’s rest.
This hammock is made with the super strong 210T parachute nylon. This makes the hammock lightweight, breathable, and mildew resistant. When you are in a hurry to pack in the morning and you have no time to dry, it’s nice to be able to put it away damp and not worry.
It includes two tree straps that are tree-friendly. In other words, designed to make a minimal impact on the trunk of the tree. Customer service is quick and prompt when dealing with any return or damaged product issues that may occur.
- Lifetime warranty
- Short straps
- Rope quality could be better
- Challenging to sit in
- Comfortably Supporting Up To 500 lbs: This double hammock fits 2 persons, You can lay down with your friend or loved one and you will still have plenty of room. Because of the new 210T nylon parachute fabric, the BACKPACKING hammocks provide relaxing support up to 500 lbs
- Super Lightweight And Easy Setup: The backpacking hammock can be used for camping, travel, beach, yard. You will have everything you need for quick and easy hanging setup. It will take less than 3 minutes to hang your camping hammock on a tree or nearby objects using the ropes, strips and carabiners
- Great Gift: Adults, kids, people who travel, beach visitors, tent campers and fellow Winner - all say they LOVE IT! A great gift for traveling, camping, backpacking, or just hanging it and relaxing on it in the patio
- Package: Includes one double camping hammock 118"(Long) x 78"(Wide), two ropes(each 137"(Long)), two tree friendly straps (each 52"(Long) x 1"(Wide)) and two solid steel carabiners
Honest Outfitters Camping Hammock
- Weight: single – 2.1 pounds
- Dimensions: single – 108″L x 58″W
- Maximum Capacity: single – 400 pounds
Honest Outfitters camping hammock comes in two sizes, single and double. The double hammock is large enough for two people to relax in during the day or one large person. You technically could attempt for two people to sleep in the hammock, but in reality, it would be uncomfortable and morning breath is gross.
It comes with installation instructions that are an easy read and understand. Once you get the “hang” of this hammock it can go from the bag to a tree in just a few minutes.
It’s built out of 210T parachute nylon which is extremely strong and durable. It comes with tree straps and carabiners, however, the one downside is that the straps aren’t adjustable. Overall this tent is well worth the investment, and when compared to the more famous brands, this is equal if not better.
- Straps included
- Awesome warranty
- Straps not adjustable
- Durability issues
- Straps are thin
- Comfortable And Support 500 pounds: This double hammocks fits 2 people comfortably, Lay down with your friend or loved one and still have plenty of room. Because of new 210T nylon, the BACKPACKING hammocks provide relaxing support for 500 pounds
- Great Gift: Adults, kids, people who travel, beach goers, tent campers, they all LOVE out hammock! It's a great gift for traveling, camping, backpacking, or just hanging and relaxing in the patio
- Package: Include a double camping hammocks(118L * 78W inches), two hammock straps (10 feets) and two solid steel carabiners
Wise Owl Outfitters Backpacking Hammock
- Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Dimensions: 108″L x 54″W
- Maximum Capacity: 400 pounds
Wise owl warranties each one of their products with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you are unhappy with your purchase at any point in time they offer your money back no questions asked.
The hammock is made of 210T parachute nylon which is the same stuff skydivers use. If skydivers can trust their life with it, you can trust your rear end with it. The hammock comes in two sizes, single and double and they have detailed instructions online on the exact process to hang a hammock.
The hammock comes with carabiners and tree straps which are designed to protect the trees. A lot of campsites these days aren’t allowing people to use a rope to hang a hammock because over time the trees become visibly damaged. The carrying bag that’s included fits all the parts and pieces for an ultraportable backpacking hammock.
- Great warranty
- Hardware included
- High quality material
- On the heavy side
- Lacks breathability
- Thin strap material
- UNLIKE OTHER HAMMOCKS ours are made of high quality heavy duty 210T parachute nylon. This extra soft yet super strong material gives you the most comfortable and relaxing experience ever.
- RELAX IMMEDIATELY W/SUPER FAST & EASY SET UP: Tree straps & carabiners are included w/this hammock making set up a breeze. No need to tie any knots. The hammock straps are 9 ft long (not 2 ft like others) and come with 5 separate loops so you can adjust your hammock to the perfect height and comfort level. You can attach them to anything sturdy, like trees and get to relaxing in just one minute! It's that fast.
- WE WON'T EMPTY YOUR WALLET FOR ESSENTIALS! We love the outdoors just like you and we know that the cost of gear can really add up, therefore, we offer the same quality products as other well-known brands for a much more affordable price. Trust us, our gear is just as good! It's also a great multifunctional inexpensive gift for your mom, dad, sister, girlfriend, boyfriend, son, daughter or even the dog 🙂
- LIGHTWEIGHT AND COMPACT - So you can take them anywhere. The SingleOwl (1 person) is 9ft long by 4 1/2 ft wide, weighs 16 oz. and packs down to about the size of a grapefruit. Want a bigger one? Check out our DoubleOwl (2 people) that is 10ft long by 6 1/2 ft wide, weighs only 26 oz. and is about the size of an eggplant so you can just throw it in your backpack and go.
Bear Butt Hammock
- Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Dimensions: 120″L x 72″W
- Maximum Capacity: 500 pounds
Bear Butt’s warranty covers literally any damage that may occur, here it is in their own words…
“That means that at any time for any reason – seriously.. anytime and any reason you aren’t stoked with your Bear Butt Gear or a ninja comes by and chops it to pieces. We will give you a FULL REFUND or a REPLACEMENT.”
The hammock itself is made of 75D nylon taffeta which is another common type of nylon for tent flooring. The hammock is legally rated for 500 pounds, however, the company claims to have tested it at 900 pounds and it still holds up.
With the all the parts and pieces the entire hammock system weighs just over 2 pounds, meaning it can be added to an ultralight backpacking system with no concerns. The fabric is comfortable to sleep in and the 10′ by 6′ size is perfect as a bed for one.
- Great warranty
- Rare tearing
- Messy stitching
- Weak straps
- LUXURIOUS & DURABLE - This big 10 ft long 6 ft wide original Bear Butt Hammock is made from specially formulated 210T 75D Nylon Taffeta the strongest and most comfortable fabric available - much more durable than any net or mesh. Also the panels have reinforced triple stitching to provide extra strength durability and safety. So with a legal weight capacity of 500 lbs (we've tested it for over 800lbs) it comfortably holds one or two people so you can hang worry free between any two trees
- EVERYTHING YOU NEED - This BearButt comes with all the hardware: 2x 10 ft (others use 8 ft) high quality tactical grade rope suspensions specially formulated reinforced polyester end straps (holds a whopping 2000lbs) and a set of two solid steel d-shaped carabiners. This large backyard hamock does not require a special stand stands or equipment to be set up. It works great in any setting whether outdoor or indoor or between two poles or two trees so you can feel confident hanging like a pro
- FOR ALL LIFE'S ADVENTURES - Perfect for men women and kids who love backpacking traveling hiking & camping or even just taking a nap and sleeping on the patio porch deck beach by the pool tree in your own back yard or even your bedroom. Weighing only 1.5lbs this folding packable ultralight hammok packs up small for storing and is the perfect 1 person or 2 person hammock to take on any trip hike camp or adventure
- PERFECT PRICE - We know that price matters to you. So we found a way to make the highest quality and best rated hammock in market at the perfect price point for you. We're literally half the cost of our competition called eno. Check out the reviews to see for yourself. We promise you won't be disappointed. Plus it's perfect for cool gadgets, college student gifts, adults, couples & teens
Hennessy Hammock Expedition Series
- Weight: 2.8 pounds
- Dimensions: 99″L x 63″W
- Maximum Capacity: 250 pounds
The Hennessy Expedition Hammock comes with everything you need on a long distance trek. Included with the hammock are a ridge line, tarp, and built-in bug net. This hammock is popular among adventurers, trekkers, and campers alike.
It sports an asymmetrical design that gives it a flat lie while making the most out of the space available. The guy lines can be set up to give you added shoulder space so you don’t feel rolled up like a burrito. The material it is made of is tough and therefore can be a little less comfortable than other models, but, a sleeping bag is a simple solution.
The hammock itself has weighs in at 31 oz without the rainfly, so it’s on the heavier side of backpacking hammocks. While it isn’t exactly lightweight, it is built for extreme conditions and is designed for almost any weather conditions. The set up takes a little getting used to, however, once erect this hammock is one of the most durable on the market.
- Comes with bug netting
- Includes a rainfly
- Challenge to hang
- EXPEDITION ZIP is our most popular zip model hammock designed for anyone up to 6 ft and 250 lbs / 183 cm and 114 kg; Side entry with a full length heavy duty #10 YKK zipper and two double sliders Famous for durability and comfort
- COMPLETE system includes: 70d high density nylon bottom; Elastic "hold open" for 30d No-See-Um mosquito mesh; Gear loft slides on ridgeline; 70d polyester ripstop rainfly; 1200 lb / 545 kg test polyester ropes; Complimentary webbing straps
- LEGENDARY camping shelter uncompromising in design, materials and workmanship. There are countless tiny improvements that only 40 years of effort could achieve but you can feel as soon as you stretch out in this hammock and close your eyes
- ASYMMETRIC shape conforms to your anatomy providing exceptional comfort when lying on the diagonal; Structural ridgeline assures the exact same bed every night and a perfect setup every time; US Patent US6865757B2; US patent US20090165205A1
Eagles Nest Outfitter
- Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Dimensions: 110″L x 74″W
- Maximum Capacity: 400 pounds
Eagle’s Nest SingleNest tent is wildly popular among backpackers, campers, and casual use. The hammock itself weighs just over a pound at and is a little narrower than the other hammocks on this list. It’s light enough for an ultralight backpacker and super easy to set up.
It’s built with durable high tenacity nylon with triple-stitched seams, as well as, a stretchy material for added comfort. It doesn’t come with suspension so you’re going to have to find tree straps sold.
During the summer the hammock works well with just a sleeping pad underneath you. In the winter more insulation is required to keep your backside nice and toasty. It’s a well made 3-season hammock, unfortunately, it doesn’t come ready to hang out of the box.
- Variety of colors to choose from
- No straps
- Small for a 2 person hammock
- HAMMOCK FOR TWO: The DoubleNest is versatile, durable, and compact, making it perfect for camping, hiking, or lounging around with a friend.
- ADVENTURE READY: Weighing only 19 ounces, the DoubleNest stuffs easily into attached storage bag. Packed Dimensions: (L x W) 5" x 5"; Unfolded Dimensions: (L x W) 9' 4" x 6' 2".
- TRUSTWORTHY MATERIAL: Falling is not an option, unless it's to sleep. Made from 70D High Tenacity Nylon Taffeta, this breathable, quick drying nylon supports up to 400 pounds. (HAMMOCK STRAPS NOT INCLUDED)
- MASTER THE ART OF LOUNGING: Includes Aluminum Wiregate Carabiners and nautical grade line with stainless-steel snap links allowing you to secure the DoubleNest to trees, poles, boat masts, or even the wall.
Legit Camping Double Hammock
- Weight: 2.2 pounds
- Dimensions: 120″L x 79″W
- Maximum Capacity: 400 pounds
The Legit Camping Hammock is a double hammock giving you more room to relax. It is made of military grade 210T nylon and is spacious enough for two people to chill out in during the day.
It comes with everything that is necessary to hang it right out of the box. The packaging includes tree straps, rope, and carabiners. The carrying bag is small yet large enough to hold all the accessories that are used to strap the hammock up and swing away.
The Legit double hammock is built with material that will last for years.
- Simple set up
- Straps are included
- Straps hard to adjust
- Short straps
- Carrying bag is weak
- QUALITY YOU CAN CRASH ON: With this Double Camping Hammock from Legit Camping, you'll have everything you need to relax in complete comfort on your next camping or hiking trip. Heading to the beach or taking in a festival? Don't leave home without your parachute hammock. With its lightweight, spacious design and 400-pound capacity, it's the camping companion you can't go without.
- STUFF IT IN A SACK: This portable hammock redefines grab-n-go camping. No need to take along a bulky pad and heavy sleeping bag; just stuff the hammock into the small attached sack, put it in your pack and off you go. When you've found the best camp spot, setup is a breeze with the included steel carabiners, rope and tree friendly straps. You'll be swinging in utter bliss in no time. (No need to buy hanging straps separately like with other camping and hiking hammocks)
- A CUT ABOVE: There are all kinds of camping accessories out there, but very few can compete with the quality you'll find at Legit Camping. We create camping gear designed to stand up to the rigors of windy days, rainy nights and the wear and tear that comes with outdoor survival. When you go Legit, you say goodbye to shoddy construction and poor performance over time. Your hammock should work just as well five years down the line as it does when you take it out of the sack for the first time.
- WRAP, SNAP AND SWING: We wanted to ensure that our backpacking hammock was easy for anyone to setup - whether you've worked with backpacking gear before or not. The first time you unpack your travel hammock, you'll be blown away by just how simple it is. There's plenty of room for two, and the military-grade 210T nylon fabric makes both a durable and comfortable bed.
Finding the best backpacking hammock is about matching your needs with the proper backpack that works for you. Any concerns you have about replacing your tent with a hammock will be long gone after the first night you fall asleep under the stars.
The transition period may be a little challenging for some, but the reward comes in the form of a lighter pack and a better nights sleep.
Try it out and if you don’t like it simply return it. Keep calm and hike on.