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Q:

What Are the Best Ultralight Hammocks?

On a humid night in July, I slept in friend’s hammock on the trail. The cool breezes were great, but I wondered about weight. How do they compare with other shelters?

There's nothing like a hammock. (Art of Backpacking/Flickr)

On a humid night in July, I slept in friend’s hammock on the trail. The cool breezes were great, but I wondered about weight. How do they compare with other shelters?

A:

For all-around ventilation in hot weather, nothing compares with a hammock. They also set up faster, leave a lighter footprint on the ground, and provide a more comfortable option in campsites with rocky soil than tents.

But are they lighter? All by themselves, most ultralight hammocks weigh less than 2 pounds (compare that with 2.5-pound tents for single sleepers). But that’s sleeping out in the open air. The bug and rain protection really add weight, so that even the lightest hammocks weigh around 4 pounds fully loaded.

Recent hammock designs use performance synthetics and new geometries to increase comfort. More and more through hikers and minimalist adventurers are starting to prefer swinging gently over the campsite to pounding stakes. There’s even an app for calculating the most comfortable setup for your body.

Here are our summer picks for lightest, and most care-free camping hammock.

Best Hammocks: ENO OneLink ProNest

ENO OneLink ProNest Hammock (Courtesty of ENO)

One of the lightest hiking models on the market, the ProNest  weighs just 21 ounces (including the straps) and packs down to the size of a citrus fruit. We like the quick drying nylon on this one. Overall, it’s a comfy design from one of the most experienced companies in the field.

Grand total weight: 50 ounces (13-ounce hammock, 13-ounce tarp, 16-ounce bug net, and 8-ounce straps)

Packability: 4 by 4 by 4 inches (hammock alone).

Price: $214.95 (price for complete kit, ENO also sells the hammock, rain tarp, and bug net on their own.)

Best Hammocks: Kammok Roo

Kammok Roo Hammock (Courtesy of Kammok Roo)

What began as a Kickstarter project a couple years ago is now a full-blown company with one of the roomiest hiking hammocks on the market. We like the Kammok Roo’s smooth diamond ripstop material (known as LunarWave), its four bold colors, and the easy setup. There is a 10.5-ounce insect net available for an extra $75, but to get a rain tarp, you’ll have to wait until fall when the company’s latest Kickstarter project produces one.

Weight of total package: 46.5 (including 24-ounce hammock, 12-ounce straps, 10.5-ounce insect net.)

Packability: 6 x 6 x 6 inches. (Insect net is an additional 4 x 4 x 3 inches.)

Price: $99 (straps cost $29 extra)

Best Hammocks: Hennessy Hyperlite Backpacker Asym Classic

Hennessy Hyperlite Backpacker Asym Classic (Courtesy of Hennessy )

With Hennessy’s lightweight suspension system, you get everything you need at a single price. The Hyperlight comes with the webbing straps, 20D silicone nylon rain fly, and 20D no-see-um netting. We like how the design lets you set it up as a chair or even as a tent if you have two trekking poles.

Weight of total package: 58 ounces (including 27-ounce hammock and 31-ounce straps)

Packability: 4 by 8 by 4 inches.

Price: $259.95

Best Hammocks: Jacks ‘R’ Better Bear Mountain Bridge Ultra Light

Jacks ‘R’ Better Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock Ultra Light (Courtesy Jacks Bear Mountain )

The Bridge Hammock is the only lightweight model that lets you lie flat, thanks to aluminum bars that give the model structure. It especially suits those who don’t feel comfortable being squeezed by the traditional hammock shape. We like the sturdy 70D ripstop nylon in this USA-made model, as well as the handy gear pockets on each side.

Weight of total package: 50.8 (31.8 ounces for hammock, straps, and bug net; 19 ounces for rain tarp. )

Packability: Keep in mind you need to haul the two 8-ounce aluminum bars.

Price: $179.95 (Unit comes with bug net, but the tarp is an extra $136.95.)

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