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Reviews > Shelters > Hammocks > Hennessy Hammock Deep Jungle Hammock > Test Report by Coy Ray Starnes
Hennessy Hammock Deep Jungle A-Sym-Long
Test Report Series by Coy Starnes
Initial Report: Nevember 3, 2009
Field Report: January 17, 2010
Long Term Report: March 23, 2010
The Hennessy Deep Jungle A-Sym Long Hammock
I live in Northeast Alabama. I enjoy biking, hunting, fishing, canoeing, and most other outdoor activities but backpacking is my favorite pastime. I enjoy hiking with friends and family or solo. I hike throughout the year and actually hike less in the hot humid months of summer. My style is slow and steady and my gear is light. However, I will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability. A typical 3-season load for me is around 20 lb (9 kg) not counting food or water.
Initial Report: November 3, 2009
Individual Item Weights
The Deep Jungle Long is basically the Explorer with the addition of a double bottom and a full length side zipper for side entry. Of course with the side entry, the bottom entry slot is no longer needed. The Long is made for folks up to 7 ft (213 cm) tall and 300 lb (136 kg). The information on the weight limit is not very consistent as the website and hang tag list the weight limit at 250 lb. (113 kg) but the storage bag has the correct weight limit of 300 lb (136 kg) printed on it. The extra weight capacity is achieved by using wider tree huggers and heavier duty suspension ropes. The web site also just says for folks over 6 ft (183 cm) tall, while the hang tag has it listed for folks up to 7 ft (213 cm) tall. At 6 ft (183 cm) and 240 lb (109 kg) I don't have any worries but I'm sure a taller or heavier person would like the site to be more consistant.
split image showing correct weight limit on stuff sack and the
stuff sack beside my Mountainsmith Day waist pack
The material for the hammock body is not specified but I called the manufacture and was told it is the same 30D high tenacity, high thread count nylon taffeta with heavy duty ripstop used on the Hyperlite models. But what I noticed right off was how soft the material feels. Not quite cotton like, but soft still the same.
The rain fly is a weight saving 1.1 oz sil-nylon and features catenary cuts along each of the four sides. The fly fits over the hammock with the long and short sides of the fly matching the long and short sides on the hammock below. It measures 112 in (284 cm) down the two long sides and 72 in (183 cm) down the two short sides. The long diagonal is 11.7 ft (3.56 m) or as some like to say 140 in (356 cm) while the side diagonal measures 126 in (320 cm). There is an extra strip of fabric sewn onto each side of the fly to achieve the extra width. Look closely at the top photo to see the extra material I am referencing.
The side entry is the biggest departure in design from all previous Hennessy hammock models and I think it is an excellent addition. I have often been in my Original or Expedition and wished for a side zipper just to be able to reach out to the ground to get something from my pack during the night. The zipper on the Deep Jungle is located on the left side and goes from end to end. I'm not sure what size the zipper is but it is substantial. It has two identical sliders and each slider has two pull tabs so it is easy to open the hammock up from the outside and then easy to close it back up from the inside. So far it seems natural to let the two sliders meet at the low point which is near the middle of the hammock.
The side entry also makes using the Deep Jungle as a camp seat easier. Just unzip the netting all the way and flip it back out of the way. I am also very pleased to note that the ridge-line is not hitting me in the back of my head because when I set in the hammock, my torso is naturally behind the ridge-line. In fact the ridge-line does not even get in they way as I lean back. This is because the ridgline is higher on my Long compared to my older Hennessy Hammocks and perhaps the regular Deep Jungle since the body is longer. Anyways, here is the Deep Jungle in chair mode.
Deep Jungle in chair mode
I am also really excited about the double bottom. The side entry zipper allows the double bottom to be continuous (no slit needed) and should make it almost impossible for insects to bite through. I would say absolutely impossible but I've learned to never say never.... But to me, even more practical is that it makes it easier to add insulation under the hammock by inserting a pad between the layers. This should also make it easier to stay on the pad as I won't be directly on the pad. In fact, this was always one of the major draw backs when using a pad in my other Hennessy hammocks or even my homemade ones.
Speaking of pads, I am also testing the bubble pad made especially for this hammock. The shipping invoice says the pad is the Large so I am assuming the regular Deep Jungle Hammock uses a smaller pad. This one measures 36 in (91 cm) wide at the head end and 18 in (46 cm) wide at the foot end but it is straight down one side so the other side has all the taper. I am also curious if the double bottom will allow me to insert something like an under-quilt in between the layers without smushing it so much that the insulation value is negated.
In addition to the bubble pad, I received a # 4 pair of snake skins. The # 4 is the largest size listed on the website. I say pair because the snake skins are actually two identical long skinny tapered cylinders of material. To install, simply push the suspension rope inside the sleeve starting at the big end. Do this with the other snake skin at the other end of the hammock. Once the hammock itself reaches the small end it will not go on through the opening. Once installed the snake skins can be left on the hammock. They even help protect the suspension ropes from rain which can work its way down the rope and into the hammock. When I am ready to strike camp it is a simple matter to pull the snake skins over the hammock. I usually also pull the fly up inside the snake skin unless the fly is wet. On huge advantage of the snake skins is that when the ground is wet I can set my hammock up without it ever touching the ground. In other words, it is hard to set up and take down a hammock without letting it touch the ground but if it is inside the snake skins this is not a worry because only the waterproof snake skins touch the ground. Here is a picture the snake skin over the Deep Jungle and fly. As the photo shows, it is a pretty tight fit with the extra mass of the fly added but it is still fairly easy to pull on.
snake skins deployed over the hammock and fly
As far as I know, all Hennessy Hammocks come with a storage pocket that slides along the ridge-line of the hammock. This pocket is made of a net material and is divided into three sections to help keep small items organized. There are two hooks also attached to the ridge-line for hanging gear overhead at night. I plan to hang my small LED lantern from one. I also like hang my shoes over the ridge-line to keep critters like scorpions from getting in them or other animals from chewing them or even stealing them. It also keeps them protected from rain and handy if I need to get up in the middle of the night. Here is a photo of the storage pocket and the two gear hooks just to the right of the pocket. If you look closely you will notice my reading glasses inside the middle compartment.
net storage pocket on overhead ridge-line
All Hennsssy Hammocks now come with tree hugger straps. As already noted, the Deep Jungle Long comes with the 1.5 in (4 cm) wide straps. About the only thing not included are stakes for tying out the fly. I can usually find a tree or large rock for the tie-out but I don't like to take chances so I just take two stakes. I am using aluminum gutter nails but just about any tent stakes will do. And of course it is easy enough to sharpen a stick.
I haven't really said much about the mosquito netting but as with all previous Hennessy Hmammocks, the Deep Jungle top is completely enclosed with the netting unless the zipper is open. The netting is black and easy to see through. It blocks some wind but still allows good ventilation. Did I mention I really like the fact that I can now unzip the netting and have a camp chair or reach out in the night...I did but it bears repeating...
The above is pretty much my take on the Deep Jungle Long. Here is what the manufacture says. "An "Explorer"-sized hyperlight hammock with a side zipper and a breathable double-layered body. Optional radiant reflecting bubble pad attaches on the diagonal between the layers to convert the hammock into a 3-season shelter. Includes free 1 1/2" x 42" webbing straps."
I am very familiar with Hennessy Hammocks as I bought an original non-A-sym in canary yellow when Tom Hennessy first introduced his hammock. I have since bought two Ultralight Hikers for my kids and acquired an Expedition for myself. The Deep Jungle looks so much like the three A-Sym models that I would never guess it was any different just from a casual look. The one difference most visible is the fabric used for the double bottom which has a checkered look.
The side entry zipper is not very noticeable and from a few feet way it blends in. Other than that, the Deep Jungle appears very well made with no loose threads hanging around. The extra width of the fly also caught my attention. Once I had the hammock set up I looked and was pleased to see I had more coverage past the edges of my hammock than the older models I have had.
I am not going to give a detailed step by step set of directions for set up but will offer a few tips a first time hanger might not be aware of. The instructions printed on the stuff sack tell most of the basic stuff and the website gives details on tying the knots etc. There are even links to videos which are a big help for anyone not familiar with hanging a Hennessy Hammock. I did notice that the printed directions on my stuff sack still mention how to enter a bottom entry hammock and does not include information on putting in the bubble pad.
The first step is picking a good place to hang the hammock. Finding two trees the right size and the proper distance apart is not always as easy as it might seem but I can usually find a good place to set up within a few minute of reaching my destination for the night. With the side entry, it is a little more important to pick which side the entry opening will face as there might be a hole or nasty stump on one side of the hammock location. In fact I found this out my very first try when I wasn't sure which side the zipper was on as I started hanging the hammock. I ended up with the entry side right by a hole created by a rotted out stump but I was careful not to step in it as I tried out the Deep Jungle. Also, if I am camping with someone else I will want to be able to sit in my hammock facing them and the campfire if we have one.
As for tree distance, I usually make do with trees as close as 12 ft (3.6 m), but the fly for the Deep Jungle Long is nearly 12 ft (3.6 m) long, Therefore, I think about 13 ft (4 m) is a good minimum distance. I don't like trees too far apart because to get a proper hang, I have found that the further the trees are apart, the higher I need to hang the hammock. When the trees get to around 20 ft (6 m) apart, I have to really reach to get the hammock ends high enough. Much further apart than that is not really practical. I also don't pull the ridge-line super tight. I may have to tighten it slightly after getting in and settling everything but also may need to just raise the ends a little if it ends up hanging lower than I want. The reason not to pull the ridge-line real tight is it creates a lot more stress on the suspension system. Experience will help determine how tight to pull on the ropes but it is something to keep in mind when starting out. I use the figure 8 knot Hennessy recommends to attach the suspension ropes to the tree huggers.
I usually hang my hammocks with the foot end a few inches (about 6 cm) higher than the head end. This seem wrong but experience has shown it keeps me from sliding towards the foot end more than needed. I will see how the Deep Jungle works in this regard but since it lays just like the older models I will be surprised if it works differently. If you look closely at the top photo in this review you will see the foot end on the left is slightly higher than the head end.
To get the fly hung right, I generally pull it out on the sides very tight before worrying with pulling it tight along the ridge-line. Then I either tie the hammock body side pull outs to the ring in the fly or tie it off at the same stake I used for the fly. I will use the stake especially if I want to tie the fly off high on one side. With the side entry I expect I will do this even more often in good weather. Both ways give good results.
Once hung it is easier to put the bubble pad in before pulling the fly out to the side. If the fly is already in place inside the snake skins, just pull everything out and leave the fly hanging loose, or perhaps flipped over the ridge-line to the other side where the zipper is located because the double bottom area is accessed by a 21 in (53 cm) long slot on the non zippered side. It is also located along the short side and what will be the foot end. There is a much shorter 8 in (20 cm) slot on the other side. The pad has two stretchy cords with plastic hooks that attach to the hammocks side pull out rings. The cord on the head end will hook up on the side with the small opening.
One last tip for now. When getting ready to take the hammock down, it helps to loosely roll the hammock body, fly and cords up a little before pulling on the snake skins. And as I roll it up I try to work the mass of everything away from the center. If I don't do this I will have a harder time getting the last little bit inside the snake skins as I approach the center of the hammock. It is also nicer because I don't have to cram the the side pull out cords and fly stings in as I finish up.
A Few Random Thoughts...
I thought I knew my way around a hammock...so to speak, but the Deep Jungle has already shown me a thing or two. For instance, I put the bubble pad in the long slot by folding the pad in half making the 36 in (91 cm) width 18 in (46 cm) wide, but I later discovered it is easier to just put the pad inside while it is still rolled up. Doing it this way is easier and there is no need to fold it in half. I also did not notice the shorter slot on the other side of the hammock so I was feeling around inside the double bottom hunting for a place to hook the two cords the pad has on it. I decided to just give the manufacture a call and see what they had to say. After Tom explained this little detail he divulged the secret of leaving the pad rolled up to put it in the slot.
Another trick is to leave the stuff sack at home once the snake skins are installed. Not so much to save weight but more so because the snake skins become quite stiff if put on the hammock and fly together. Then it does not like to bend to fit in the stuff sack real easy. I'm sure that as I use the Deep Jungle it will reveal more things I did not know but I will be sure and share any discoveries I make in my reports to come.
Field Report: January 17, 2010I have used the Deep Jungle for five nights so far. On the first two nights I was using my down Valandre La Fayette which is not rated like most bags, but I would say it is a solid 20 F (-7 C) bag. On the last three nights I was using my Eureka Kaycee which is a 0 F (-18 C) synthetic bag. All five nights were in local woods where I can literally be on the trail as soon as I leave my yard. I usually hiked a few miles late in the evening and then set up camp right before or even shortly after dark because at this time of year the nights are long. Below is a brief summary of each nights use.
Hennessy Deep Jungle setup for the night
closeup of same setup
11/6/09: low of 43 F (6 C), slight breeze, very clear night, bubble pad, 20 F (-7 C) bag,
11/8/09: low of 52 F (11 C), cloudy, rain but nothing major, bubble pad, 20 F (-7 C) bag.
11/18/09: low of 35 F (2 C), cloudy and damp but no sprinkles. bubble pad, 0 F (-18 C) bag
11/24/09: low of 44 F (7 C), cloudy but no rain, bubble pad and 0 F (-18 C) bag
1/2/2010: low of 14 F (-10 C), clear, 28 F (-2 C) at 3 pm when I left, 22 F (-6 C) at 5 PM, 17 F (-8 C)at 11 PM and 14 F (-10 C) at 5 AM when I packed up. According to the weather reports, there was a 7 mph (11 kph) breeze, but I probably had a little less in the woods. I noticed the fly rustling constantly but not really moving much. I was using the Kaycee 0 F (-18 C) bag with the bubble pad in between the layers of the hammock bottom and a 25 x 72 x 1.5 inch (64 x 183 x 4 cm) self inflating pad laid on top of the hammock bed. I also used my ColdAvenger face mask and a bogin over my head. I had on a medium weight base layer, light fleece jacket, sweat pants and 2 pairs of socks. Being dressed proved to be handy as I kept waking up needing to pee. All I needed to do was pull my feet out of the bag, grab my camp shoes and put them on before even sticking my feet over the side of the hammock.
I included a little more detail for the last night because this was the coldest night during the testing. But what I can say about every night is that I slept very well and felt rested the next day. On more than one occasion, after spending the night in a tent on the ground, I have come home and felt very tired, often ending up taking a nap to recover.
And how did the Deep Jungle perform? Well, first of all, I was impressed with how well the bubble pad worked. And by worked, I mean how cool it could get before needing any additional pads under me. I used it down to 35 F (2 C) by itself and made it OK but I could tell I was a little cool on the underside of my hammock. So from now on I will probably use an additional pad anytime I expect temperatures below 40 F (4 C). If the forecast is wrong and it gets colder than expected, I guess I will have to tough it out. However, with the double bottom I might be tempted to try some natural insulation like dry grass or leaves. I might even put my pack in under my hips and back to see if that helped. However, not every pack would fit inside, but my Osprey Talon 44 is small and pretty flexible. I slide it in between the double layer out of curiosity and it fit fine but I took it back out. I get the feeling that sleeping on the pack would not be real comfortable plus it might put stress on the double bottom hammock that the smooth surface of a pad would not. My best bet is to correctly plan ahead and have the needed pad(s) for each trip.
I also found the zipper for the netting towards the foot end to be difficult to reach once I got settled in my bag, so, I learned early on that if I wanted to close it, I needed to pull it part of the way closed as soon as I sat down, leaving just enough room for my feet to pass as I got in and then pulling it on down some more before laying on down and adjusting my sleeping bag. Getting back out was really no problem because I could open the zipper far enough to exit by just setting up in the hammock. If I wanted it opened all the way I could push the zipper with my feet.
The first couple of nights that I used the hammock I attached the fly to the ridge line using only the sliding prusik knots on the short piece of string (one at each end) made for just this purpose. This is one of the strings in question but the prusik knot is up under the snakeskin. It would look great initially, but by morning the fly was sagging on the sides a little more than I prefer. To get it to stay tight I started using the loose ends of the suspension rope to pull it tight. There has always been enough rope left after making my figure 8s at either end but if my trees were further apart or even just bigger, I might need to use some spare rope, like the 50 ft (15 m) piece of twine I keep in my pack at all times. The good thing is, I have had no more trouble with the fly sagging during the night.
I mentioned in the Initial Report that it is good to know which end is the head end when setting the Deep Jungle up, but since I have been using the snake skins, once the hammock is stored inside it, it is might near impossible to tell which end is which. I have heard of folks sewing a little white thread into one of the hammock suspension line or tree huggers to keep up with which end is which, but for now I have decided to just tie a knot in the head end tree hugger as I take down the hammock. So far I have remembered to do this but I get the feeling I may forget one day. Oh well, if I do and end up hanging it facing the wrong way I can always turn it around if the direction is that important to a particular hang.
I guess I should mention a little more about how comfortable the Deep Jungle sleeps, but I've used a hammock for so long now that I take it for granted. I did say earlier that I slept so good that I was not tired the next day but it is more than that. For starters, I find that I go to sleep much easier in a hammock, in fact, sometimes I go to sleep before I want to. The Deep Jungle also feels softer than my previous Hennessy hammocks. I'm not sure exactly why but my best guess is that the material is a slightly more stretchy. I know that once I get in the diagonal so that my knees are not hyper-extended it is usually just a matter of minutes before I am asleep. I then sleep pretty much through the night, only waking up ever so often to pee. I have thought about using a pee bottle but so far I just get up. The last night when it went down to 14 F (-10 C) made me consider it strongly for the next time I expect it to be that cold.
The convenience of the side opening zipper has also been a highlight of my trips so far. I like to keep my pack under my hammock for rain protection but now I can easily reach down and grab it to get anything out if I need it. I also usually keep one of my water bottles in the overhead net storage pocket but if I have water in one and a flavored drink in the other, I can get to the one on the ground easily. I also think it is just easier to get out of a hammock with side entry.
The good so far:
* The bubble pad is amazingly warm.
*The side entry is very handy.
*Easy to stay dry under the oversized fly.
The not so good:
*Fly tends to become loose if not secured at the ends with something besides the prusik keeper strap.
*Hard to close zipper at foot end after laying down in the hammock. But to be honest, both the negatives I listed have easy workarounds.
This concludes my Field Report. Please check back in about 2 months for updates on how the Deep Jungle has performed. I would like to thank Hennessy Hammock and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test this hammock.
Long Term Report: March 23, 2010
The Deep Jungle saw some pretty high winds during testing
Testing Locations and Conditions
I have used the Deep Jungle for four more nights since the Field Report for a total of nine nights since getting the hammock. All testing has been here in local woods near my home in north Alabama. All nights were single overnighters that involved hiking around 4 to 6 miles (6 - 10 km) total depending on how early in the afternoon I was able to start. I did pack it in real early on a couple of the nights but not after at least 8 hours in the hammock and at least 6 hours sleeping time. Mainly because the nights in January and February were so long that when I turned in shortly after dark it would have meant around 12 hours in the hammock had I waited until daylight to pack up. Those nights also happened to be the coldest during this last stage of testing at 23 and 26 F (-5 and -3 C). Then on a different night in a much lighter sleeping bag I was getting just a little chilly at 27 F (-3 C) and called it a night at round 4 AM. It helped that it was clear and bright outside so I managed to take the hammock down without even using my headlamp, but by the time I finished my hands were really getting cold. It stormed heavily on the last night I used the hammock but the temperatures were very mild with a low of only 51 F (11 C).
Long Term Test Results
Now that I have used the Deep Jungle quite a bit I have formed a pretty strong impression of the hammock and it is mostly positive. But first, I have a beef with the name. Deep Jungle makes me think of hot sweltering nights, and my testing conditions have been anything but. In fact five of the nine nights have seen below freezing temperatures. I think it does so well due to the double bottom, but I just know that this hammock seems better suited for cold weather than the single bottom hammocks I have used previously. I have been using the bubble pad in between the layers and a couple of other pads (on different trips) on top (inside the hammock). However, on the milder nights I used just the bubble pad and was amazed it kept me warm down into the mid 30s F (around 2 C)
I really don't have anything new to offer when using the hammock with the 0 F (-18 C) Kaycee sleeping bag but I did try a new sleeping system which seems tailor made for hammock camping. This would be the 15 F (-9 C) Brooks Range Elephant Foot sleeping bag I used on the last two nights in the hammock. As anyone who has ever used a hammock can attest, getting into a sleeping bag while laying in a hammock is not the easiest chore. But the neat thing about the Elephant Foot bag is that it is really just a half bag and relies on a good warm jacket to complete the sleeping system. The photo below pretty much speaks for itself.
Using the Elephant Foot Bag in the Deep Jungle
In my Field Report I mentioned tying a knot into the head end tree hugger strap so I would know which end was which and more importantly which side the entry zipper would end up on when hung the next time. I got an email form someone who read my review who suggested I just keep up with this by pulling the snakeskin coming from the head end over the snake-skin coming from the foot end. This worked OK but on my next to last hike the snake-skin had separated in the middle so I had to pull the hammock out and figure out which end was which. I think I just didn't pull enough overlap but the idea is a good one and I plan to continue using it to keep up with which end is which.
I also found a new and better way to hang my shoes up on the ridge line. It involves the hanger from the store that held my latest pair of Crock knockoffs. Actually, I need another one so I can hang both my hiking shoes and camp slippers but suffice it to say, it works much better then tying them over the ridge-line and weighs very little. You can see my New Balance trail runners hanging from the device in the photo below.
Shoe hanger I used to keep my shoes off the ground but out of my way
Also, since my Osprey Talon 44 is such a light pack I have been hanging it off the ridge-line. Actually this is something I have done before, but with my old beater pack I was using at the beginning of the Deep Jungle test I usually just let it sit on the ground, especially if there was no rain in the forecast. The Talon 44 is not a delicate pack but I've had animals chew holes in my stuff sacks so to be on the safe side I prefer to keep it hanging. It is also a very light pack and by the time I get most of my gear out it does not put much stress on the ridge-line. Not that I think a heavier pack would cause a problem but the lighter the better IMHO. It was very handy to reach in it to retrieve my snacks and also my rain jacket on one night when I needed a little boost to my sleeping system. And last but not least, I was able to keep my pack dry in a driving rain which was actually wetting the back side of my hammock on a very stormy night. I had the pack hanging on the front side (side where the entry zipper is located) and it stayed dry all night. Here is the pack hanging off the ridge-line
Hanging my pack on the ridge-line
Which brings me to my last point for this review. I was very lucky to have ,mostly good weather and not much rain on all eight nights prior to the last trip when it did storm a lot. My wife even fussed about me going but I told here I really wanted to see how this hammock would handle heavy rain. When I first set up camp it was 55 F (13 C) and raining gently. After I got settled into the hammock the rain started getting harder and the winds really picked up. I was beginning to wonder if the fly might not come loose but it held, although it was flapping mightily. At around 11 PM I began to hear thunder off in the distance and just a little later it arrived with a bang. I was glad I inspected the trees overhead because I could hear limps falling over the constant clatter of rain on my fly. I also noticed that the netting on the side the wind was blowing from was getting just a tad damp but no water passed through to wet me and none soaked through the hammock body. This storm passed quickly and I took a much needed bathroom break. I finally went back to sleep but it wasn't long before another storm rolled in. This one seemed just as violent as the first and I began to think maybe I should have listened to the wife. By around 3 AM this storm also passed and the rain settled down to a slow drizzle. It was still raining the next morning but I went ahead and packed up the hammock inside the snake skins. Then as soon as I got home, I hung it out in the garage. I don't know if it was because the air was so damp but the fly did not completely dry until late that afternoon because I checked it at around 4 PM (still damp) and finally was able to pack it up at 10 PM, some 14 hours after hanging it up. But most important to me was the fact that the hammock kept me dry in just about the worst conditions imaginable. I have been out in storms before but I also got wetter than I did this night. The extra width of the fly doesn't seem like much but it really pays off when the wind is blowing the rain like it was.
The Hennessy Hammock Deep Jungle is certainly a nice hammock. The fly is slightly bigger than the ones I have used on my previous Hennessy Hammocks. It sleeps like other Hennessy Hammocks which is a good thing but the kicker for me is the side entry zipper. It just makes the whole hammock experience more enjoyably. In fact when summer rolls around I am sure I will spend more time resting in the hammock in the cool of the evening and the ability to sit in this hammock will be a big plus.
This concludes my reporting on the Hennessy Hammock Deep Jungle. I would like to thank Hennessy Hammocks and BackpackGearTest.org for letting me test the Deep Jungle. I hope my finding are beneficial to all who read this review.
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