Here it is, our first guest review. The goal with these types of reviews is to get more information out on good gear than we can possibly do on our own. Let’s face it, most of us have limited budgets and time for our hobbies. Also, just because NMBL and I don’t use a particular item doesn’t mean it isn’t of value to another. This point is important for the following review.
While NMBL and I did try the Hennessy Explorer Asym Classic, we didn’t much care of it. Others love these hammocks. It’s all about what works best for you. This is why we’re including this particular review provided to us by NG, whom we met in Nakusp on our latest trip. He and his riding buddy were both sporting the Hennessy’s on their bikes along with loads of other great gear.
So here it is, NG’s Hennessy review!
Me: Male, 6’0″, 90 Kg (natural back sleeper), no back issues
I cannot lie, when I first heard about a hammock as a sleeping shelter, I was REALLY skeptical. I mean, hammocks where those nylon mesh things you would see on vacation as a kid and were cool at first until it started to dig into your skin and would get uncomfortable in about thirty minutes or less. Of course I was worried, yet at the same time, my best friend was swearing by it. He has NEVER steered me wrong in terms of gear (outdoor, tech, vehicle, etc) and I just trust him. Considering I got a motorcycle to do some camping in the first place it was just making sense. So I dove all in and I got the list of items above.
I liked Hennessy right away because I they had lots of online, self help resources. I was concerned because outside of a double figure eight knot at the climbing gym and tying shoelaces, I was pretty much useless. I watched the tutorials like crazy (how to tie a simple hitch) and I dove in. I trialed the hammock by going car camping first and I brought my familiar tent and air mattress, just in case a hammock was not for me.
It was late May in the pacific northwest and we were in the valley between some mountains, elevation was about 300m above sea level. It took me a couple tries on tying either side (twice per side, I mean) to get the tension where I liked it, although I admit I was psyched that it supported my ample frame. I got the classic entrance, and unbeknownst to me, my friends loved resorting to David Attenborough -like commentary when I emerged (ie- the alien pod birthed the confused human-like creature…) I also did not realize how nearly flat I would lie in it. As the design is asymmetrical and I really don’t move when I sleep, I have to admit (as one of the co-authors of this blog stated, I am born to sleep in a hammock) I was lying relatively flat. I also slept nearly nine hours. this i because I had the insulation system and it made the 5C evening manageable. The sleeping bag I was using was relatively light, a 5C bag that was about 10 year old at the time. I liked the tent-like structure so it felt cozy and familiar.
So today I have had a handful of trips and I still really enjoy the sleep experience. Here are my thoughts about the elements I have:
The hammock: darn near perfect for me. I think I am going to get a zipper modification, so it will make getting a sealed underquilt more viable.
The underquilt/insulation: the Hennessy underquilt, in my experience, is not easily compatible with the classic entrance. Maybe I set up it wrong, but I have had all sorts of issues with placement when I enter into the hammock and I have tested the construction of the underquilt to the point that i have strained part of it and they are giving up. The elastic on the foam insulation is stretched and wearing. The hooks that were supplied to hold it in place that attach to the ridge line are stretched and giving up. When I look at the space the item consumes, I am convinced there is a better option and I am going to seek it before the start of next camping season.
The rain fly: As a west coaster, this is great option. I love the privacy and versatility. I can still tie the sides to something higher than the ground (like my motorcycle) and create better airflow, while in the rain it’s perfectly suited for our climate.
All in all, I am large advocate for sleeping above the ground and I only caution anyone to give it a chance and figure our what works for you. I just happen to be really lucky in that it was easy for me to to adapt.
Happy adventures, all. Thank you for your time.