Buying new gear is a commitment, both financially and emotionally. Kind of like dating. Our idea of the perfect date? Hanging in the trees with a cold brew and shaky cell service. But that’s the easy part. Deciding what to hang in is a bit more challenging.
We took these five camping hammocks into the forest above Santa Fe to watch the first wildfire of the season burn on the horizon (it was very romantic). Now that we’re back on terra firma, we can give a detailed roundup of our favorite nests. Need a summer fling? Here you go.
Byer Easy Traveller ($50)
The Easy Traveller is the hammock equivalent of a no-pressure first date. It’s also easy on the wallet. The parachute nylon fabric feels flimsy at first, but it proved durable when it scraped against trees during setup. And it’s plenty supportive when holding weight. The cutouts near the built-in hanging mechanism provide ample room to move around. It’s big enough for two, but just barely, so get cozy.
Attaching it between two trees was simple and only required looping the rope around the trunk and through a metal adjuster—no knot-tying needed. The light-colored body got dirty quickly, but the material is easy to wipe clean. We liked that everything needed to use the Easy Traveller was included, and it all packed into a small sack that you can toss into a backpack.
ENO DoubleNest ($70)
The DoubleNest is for lovers or those who just want extra space to lounge. Our tester took this one climbing at a local crag and found it light enough to haul up the wall and unobtrusive when hanging off a harness. Setup is easy enough while suspended on a rock face or when assembling it between two trees. Like the Roo (below), loop the webbing ($29, not included) around a tree trunk and hook the carabiners through the slots.
Bug nets and rainflies are available to customize this nylon nest and protect you from the elements. Pro tip: The supplied carabiners “aren’t burly enough to catch a whipper.” It’s a good idea to swap them out for hardware that’s up for the task before taking this one climbing.
Kammok Roo ($100)
The Roo is a great all-around hammock with some awesome upgrade options. You can buy the Dragonfly mosquito net, which encompasses the entire hammock while still affording plenty of room to sit up. Then there’s the weather shield, featuring Kammok’s own sun-, snow-, and rain-proof fabric.
Nice touch: The Roo was the easiest nest to set up. All it required was swinging the straps ($29) around a tree and snapping the carabiners through one of the loops. The ripstop nylon is tough, and the hammock is spacious enough for two people (if you’re ready for that, of course).
Hennessy Deep Jungle Hammock ($220)
Looking to get a little wild? Check out the Deep Jungle, suited for the “buggiest jungles on the planet.” The mosquito-proof ripstop fabric is durable and lightweight and has a built-in mesh zipper over the top for 360-degree protection and breathability.
Slide in the included insulation pad for chilly nights, or pitch the detachable rainfly for stormy ones. The Deep Jungle is best suited for solo pursuits, so look to the Safari Deluxe model for suspended camping with a pal.
Clark NX-250 Hammock ($429)
If you’re in it for the long haul, the NX-250 is the hammock for you. At $429, it’s not cheap, and it took more effort than the others to hang (though our ineptitude could be to blame), but once it was up, it was worth it. A pole system on either end of the hammock creates a roomy nylon cocoon and built-in ways to customize: Lie in it like a basic hammock, zip the mesh layer shut to keep bugs at bay (the fabric is mosquito resistant), or close the waterproof layer to stay dry. (You can put up the rainfly in severe weather.) Plenty of pockets will keep beer and other necessities at hand.
The NX-250 is more like a hanging tent (hence the price) than a hammock. It can also be used in cold weather with an insulated liner (not included). Want to take it to the next level with a significant other? Clark’s Camo Vertex has room for two.
The Disco Hammock ($108, ENO and Betabrand)
For the couple who like to keep it funky, the Disco hammock merges Betabrand’s “disconium” fabric with ENO’s DoubleNest design. We think its super-reflective outer could be good for keeping unwanted wildlife away, though it will likely attract other partygoers. The more the merrier, right?
Byer Traveller Lite ($24, ByerOfMaine.com)
For loungers looking for cheap thrills, the Traveller Lite is the younger sibling of the Easy Traveller and a simple option for first-timers and minimalists.