As I get prepped for a thru hikes, a friend lent me a 'Workbook for planning thru-hikes' which appears to have come out in 2000.
In the Luxury Gear section, the part on Hammocks reads:
'For the truly comfort-conscious, a fold-able hammock could be the pinnacle of luxury. Some varieties don't need to be screwed into trees and trees as support posts are everywhere. I heard of one fellow who slept in his hammock every cloudless night and rigged up some no-see-ums netting over himself as protection against insects. I heard he was quite happy'
I really have no idea where hammock camping was truly at back in 2000. My first time seeing one in use was last year on a stretch of the AT.