After many years of trailer and car camping, my wife and I just started back-packing. We’ve been slowly getting our feet wet and picking up gear along the way. Then I read somewhere about hammock camping so I started to do some research. Last weekend we were travelling and stopped at an outdoors store - they had a Hennessy Expedition Zip on sale so we pulled the trigger and brought it home. The idea is, we’ll try it out and if things go well, we’ll pick up another. I set it up in the backyard a few times when we got home to experiment. Then last night, I ventured back into the yard for my first overnight adventure!
The hammock is totally stock except I added some rings and carabineers. I used my cheapo Canadian Tire self-inflating sleeping pad and 0 degree synthetic sleeping bag. The low last night was +4C with a light wind. Here’s what I found…
- By far, the biggest pro so far has been ‘HammockForums.net’! I came into this a total newb. But after lurking around here for a few weeks, I learned enough to make an informed purchase, got great information on suspensions and set-ups, and got a lot of great tips to prepare me for my first outing. A big thank you to all the members here for sharing this wealth of information!
- All-in-1 – the main reason I went with the Hennessy as our starter hammock was the all-in-1 approach. And so far – it has been great. In minutes I had everything set-up and functioning. And tearing down was also simple and fast. The entire rig is compact and although not the lightest available, should pack quite well.
- The rings and carabineers – fantastic addition! These were cheap and super easy to add to the stock suspension without making any permanent changes. They totally eliminate any lashing and made adjustments very easy. I may eventually switch to longer straps and move the rings to the hammock end. But for now, this setup works very well.
- Temperature – my cheapo pad and sleeping bag worked very well. At one point I was actually too warm. If we start thinking about colder temperatures, I know I’ll need to look at much better UQs and OQs. But for milder spring and fall trips, looks like I can go with what I already have.
- Comfort – The hammock was very comfortable! I have never been that comfortable in any tent.
- The stock tarp – it worked as advertised and provided good coverage. But for heavy rain with some cross-wind, I can see some problems. I think I’ll eventually need to replace it with a larger tarp but then I lose some of the “all-in-1” advantage. For now, I’ll likely carry a cheapo poly tarp in my pack as a backup.
- Tarp tension – I really like the simplicity of having the tarp attached directly to the suspension but I could not get it to stay tight. Even after adjusting, when I got into the hammock it would sag – especially on the zip side. The light breeze I had last night made it flap a bit and I could see real wind really blowing it around. Maybe replacing the stock tie-outs with shock cord would help? Has anyone tried this?
- Size – I’m just under 6 feet. Although I was comfortable, there was not much extra room – especially with the sleeping pad and bag. I could see the Expedition becoming my wife’s hammock and me switching to an Explorer. A little more weight but I think the extra space would be well worth it.
- Slippery pad – I did wake up early in the morning with cold shoulders. I thought my pad wasn’t holding up. But when it started to get light, I saw that the pad had shifted sideways and my shoulders and feet were right on the hammock bed. Lesson learned – pay more attention to make sure my pad is in place when changing positions ;>
- I think I’m hooked! So far, I feel very happy with my choice for our starter hammock. Like any of my other hobbies, I’m sure endless additions and upgrades will follow ;> I just hope my wife has the same positive experience with her first hang. I don’t think I could go back to sleeping on the ground after this!
Thanks again for all the great info on this site. If it wasn’t for you folks, I never would have gotten this far.