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Reviews > Shelters > Hammocks > Hennessy Hammock Deep Jungle Hammock > Test Report by Dawn Larsen

Test Series
Hennessy Hammock Ultralite Deep Jungle A-sym

Initial Report - 5 November 2009
Field Report -  19 January 2010
Long Term Report - 27 March 2010

 
Name: Dawn Larsen
Age: 48
Gender: female
Height: 5' 4" (163 cm)
Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
Email address: vicioushillbilly AT gmail DOT com
Florence, South Carolina USA
 
Backpacking Background:
I used to backpack in college a zillion years ago and just in the last few years have backpacked some private trails in Tennessee, Missouri and most recently South Carolina. I have been an avid car-camper for eleven years and I have kayak/canoe camped for four years, both in South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. I use a lot of the same equipment for both. I hike hilly/rocky trails especially in Missouri (my home state) and Arkansas. I live in South Carolina and am busy checking out the terrain here with my sixteen year-old son.
 

hammock with kid
 hammock with kid in it

Product Information
Manufacturer: Hennessey
Year of Manufacture: 2009
URL:  www.hennesseyhammock.com
Listed Weight of Hammock: 2 lbs 8 oz (1150 g)
Color: coyote brown
Packed Size in stuff sack: 12 in (30.48 cm) x 9 in (22.86 cm)
Weight Limit: 250 lbs (115 kg)
Height Limit: 6 ft (182.9 cm)
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $269 US
 
Measurements
Dimensions (all measurements are approximate)
Hammock: About 85  x 47 in (216 x 119 cm).
Fly is a parallelogram: 65 x 90 in (165 x 229 cm)
SnakeSkins: 6 ft 7 in (201 cm) long; diameter .75 in (1.91 cm) short end, 3 in (7.62 cm) long end
TreeHuggers: hammock - 41 x 1 in (104 x 2.54 cm); fly – 46 x 1 in (117 x 2.54 cm)
Stuff Sack flat: 14 x 10.5 in (35.56 x 26.67 cm)
Bubble Pad: 67.5 long x 30 wide tapering to 13 in (171 x 76 to 33.02 cm)
 
Weights
Hammock: 1 lb 13.65 oz (841 g)
Fly: 1.1 ounce 30 D silicone nylon – 10.45 oz (295 g)
Stuff Sack: ripstop nylon - 0.95 oz (33 g)
SnakeSkins (pair): 1 oz (29 g)
TreeHuggers (pair): 0.85 oz (24 g)
Bubble Pad: 10.55 oz (299 g)
 
Product Description
The Hennessey Deep Jungle A-sym is advertised as a "mosquito-proof three-season shelter."  It has a double-layered bottom that can accommodate a reflective "bubble pad" in order to reflect body heat back to the sleeper.  It also has mosquito netting to protect the sleeper while in it.  It is a side-entered hammock, different from earlier Hennessey models that were "birth canal" (I saw one review call it) entered, which means there was a hook and loop closure, middle hammock entrance.  The complete package came with:  the hammock and its TreeHuggers (or straps used to wrap around a tree in order to save damage to the bark, and then the hammock attaches to them), the canopy and its slightly longer tree huggers, a reflective bubble pad, 2 Snake Skins (waterproof tubes used to collapse the hammock for quick set up and take down), and a t-shirt. 
 
contents
 
Initial Report
5 November 2009
 
Initial Impressions
The fabric is so soft.  It almost feels like silk.  The finish work on two places near the entry zipper had frayed threads and caught in the zipper.  The support rope is very stiff, but seems sturdy.
 
Set ups
 
SnakeSkins
The first thing I did was to install the Snake Skins on the hammock.  The printed instructions were easy to follow and I was able to slide the skins on the ends of the hammock threading the rope into the large end first.  The Snake Skins stay on the hammock even while it is hanging.
 
skins

Hammock
I then attempted to set up just the hammock. The lashing instructions printed on the stuff sack were not easy to follow (I used to own and operate a traveling tent show, so I think I'm pretty good with knots).  So, I went to Hennessey's website and the lashing video solved my problems.  I had used a camping hammock before, but it used a different hanging technique.  The Hennessey company suggests a lashing that uses a figure-8 technique and ends with 2 half hitches. See the picture of my lash-job below.  The ropes of the hammock actually pass through the loops at the end of the TreeHugger straps and then lash around the straps instead of the tree.  This is supposed to save the tree's bark.  Rather than try to explain it in words, the website does a great job of showing an actual person doing the lashing.  It took a couple of tries, but then I got it right.  The instructions suggested that I raise the foot of the hammock up higher than the head end in order to position my body correctly.  I had to re-lash one side in order to do that. 
 
lashing         wout fly
 
Once the main support ropes were in place, there are two smaller, lighter ropes on either side of the hammock that I used to alter the width of the hammock, although the position of my body is ultimately what determines the width of the hammock.
 
Canopy
I then attempted to put the canopy up using the instructions for "sunny weather," which directed me to attach the canopy to the hammock support ropes using the large hook on the tensioner slider tied on the main hammock support rope to the o-ring on the canopy.  Then I hooked the smaller hook on the canopy to the hammock support rope.  This probably does not allow for enough tension on the canopy in a steady rain.  The instructions say that if it is raining, to actually use the canopy tree huggers and attach the canopy higher to the support trees and then weight the corners of the canopy. There are two elastic cords on the sides of the canopy that I can tie to trees or to the hammock itself depending upon the weather and the amount of coverage that I want.
 
I think the setup is much more complicated than what I am used to, BUT once I know how to do it, as well as how it should be adjusted for my body, I think in the long run it will be easier and faster than my other hammock.  I will test for that, as well as how long it takes to learn how to adjust it for my body.  I don't think that I tested it with enough distance between the tree and the porch swing frame that I used.  The website suggests that I should have had at least 12 feet between what I was hanging the hammock from.  The ridgeline was not tight enough and the canopy drooped.  That was fine on the sunny, breezy day that I set it up, but I will need to work with it more to get the right tension and shape of the hammock in rain and/or wind.
 
Mechanics
 
Lying down
Once I got it set up, getting in it was much like what I am used to. The hammock was at about chair height. I unzipped the side zipper, and I sat in it a little higher on the head side like the instructions suggested. Then, I swung my legs around to place them in a fold of fabric.  After that, I laid my head down.  The instructions say that the side tie-out should be between my shoulder and elbow.  It wasn't the first time and that's why I had to re-lash the head side a little lower. The instructions directed me to sleep on the diagonal.  That way, the hammock and the position of my body flatten the sleeping surface out.  I could even almost turn over on my stomach.  I am a side-sleeper and I was able to lie on my side very easily and comfortably.
 
The ridgeline kept the mosquito netting off my face, which is absolutely necessary.
 
Sitting
I really like the fact that a sleeping hammock can also act as a lounge chair.  This Hennessey, when the mosquito netting is unzipped and functioning as a chair back, is especially comfortable.
 
Mesh pocket
There is a mesh pocket suspended from the ridgeline to hold small things like glasses, keys, headlamp, etc.  
 
Reflective Bubble Pad
bubble pad  insert pad Insert Space
This thing, while a fabulous idea, is a little cumbersome.  First, there are no instructions that told me how it worked.  I found a review of the Deep Jungle that said that the reflective pad was to be inserted between the layers on the bottom of the hammock.  I knew it was double-layered, but couldn't initially find the openings.  Then, I didn't know how to get the thing inside because the openings are very small.  So I bent it in half.  There are hooks on two places on the pad.  I first had it upside down.  I was looking for places to hook it to on the inside of the double layers.  Instead, when I turned it over, it hooks to the o-rings on the side tie out lines.  Also, the pad kept rolling up as I was trying to install it.  I know that my body weight will flatten it down when I am in the hammock, but it was annoying to have to keep rolling it out while I was inserting it between the layers.  Instructions would have been very helpful for a Hennessey novice.
 
Take Down
The function of the SnakeSkins is ingenious!  What a quick take down and packing job.  I just reached under the hammock, grabbed the 4 cords (2 of the fly and 2 of the hammock), rolled them up in the hammock and slid the SnakeSkins over it all.  See the picture of the hammock in the SnakeSkins below.  Then, I unlashed it, coiled it all up and stuffed it along with the TreeHuggers in the stuff sack.  It took all of 3 minutes!
 
skins
 Snake Skins and Packed

I like the fact that I can hand wash it with mild detergent.  Tents can get so disgusting.
 
Summary
I have hammock camped before and the worst problem for me is the cold on my backside while sleeping.  I am so excited to test this 3-season system.  I think hammocks are so much more comfortable than ground sleeping.  If Hennessey has solved the cold problem, this will be fabulous!  I am anxious to take it out this weekend!
 
This hammock is much heavier than my other hammock.  Since this is a system, and if it takes care of the cold, I will test to see if the extra weight is worth it.
 
What I Like So Far
It is comfortable to lie in
It is easy to pack up
The fabric is very soft
 
What I Don't Like So Far
It is heavy
No instructions for the bubble pad
The openings in the double layers are very small


Field Report
19 January 2010

Field Conditions

Camping at Dreher Island State Park, Sumter, South Carolina in October: There are several hiking trails at this park.  The park is on an island surround by a big lake.  The wind from the lake carries a lot of moisture into the campsites and trails.  Temperatures were about 55 degrees F (7 C) during the day and dropped to around 36 degrees F (2 C) at night.

Camping on private land near Sumter, South Carolina in November:  Temperatures about this same as above except that it did not get below freezing, but hovered near there.  It was also not nearly as windy as on the lake, just a slight breeze.

I backpacked a trail along the Buffalo River, Arkansas in December: Trail was hilly, rocky, slushy with snow and mud.  This trail was 12 miles (19.3 km) that generally wound around and followed the Buffalo River.  Temperatures averaged about 35 degrees F (2 C) during the day and below freezing at night. There was some sleet and snow when we were hiking, but not much.  Mostly, it was just cold.  Because it was so cold, it was very still.

Camped on private land in southwest Missouri in December.  Temperatures and weather conditions were about the same as in Arkansas.

Field Observations
The first time I took the hammock out, we went camping right on a lake shore in Prosperity, South Carolina.  First, let me preface this part of the story.  I only watched the videos on the Hennessey website and read the instructions provided with the hammock prior to my first trip out because as a novice Hennessey user, I wanted to see if I could set the hammock up correctly only using Hennessey instructions.  I had to get up at 2:30 am to situate the Tree Hugger straps that had slid down the very rough bark of the tree that I had it tied to.  One tree (near my head was just the right size to wrap the Tree Hugger around twice and the other tree was bigger,  too big to wrap the Tree Hugger around twice.  That is where it slipped.  I re-adjusted it, which required re-lashing in 36 degree F (2 C) weather in my long johns and in 2 hours (at 4:30 am) I had to get up and do it again.  When I finally got up at 8:30 am, my rear end was just about touching the ground. Since the weekend was supposed to be clear, I took a Tree Hugger from the rain fly and attached it to the other Tree Hugger and was able to loop it around the tree twice.  That held all through the night on the second night of the trip.  Nowhere that I could find (after the trip) on the website or in the instructions does it specify that I would have to make sure to loop a Tree Hugger around the tree twice.  The Tree Huggers were not long enough for most of the trees at our campsite. After this trip, I went on the "Hennessey Channel on YouTube and watched some other set up videos.  On one, the guys says, "If it's a bigger tree, it will only go around once," meaning that once is OK.  I couldn't make that work, which was frustrating. After watching the YouTube video, I also think that my trees were too close together.  However, those were the widest apart that I could find.
tree tie

The first night it got down to 36 degrees F (2 degrees C) and I was worried about the cold. I thought I set it up correctly and the bubble pad kept me warm, but if I slid off I could feel the cold under me.  

I used the rain fly to keep the wind off me that was blowing in from the lake.  I tied my hammock parallel to the shore because those were the only 2 trees far enough apart to tie the hammock to.  The fly was too slack.  The instructions say if it is rainy to tie the fly directly to the trees.  OK, with what?!  Hennessey provided a set of Tree Huggers for the fly, but there are no ropes attached to the fly to attach to the Tree Hugger.  Again, I'm a novice.  There are not enough instructions for a first time user.  

The second night of the trip, I actually took the tie out line on the shore side of the fly, wrapped it under the hammock and to a tree on the other side to keep the wind off me.  That worked, but the condensation of the fly touching the mosquito netting made my sleeping bag damp.  

I had no problem lying in the hammock correctly.  I think because I had used a hammock before and knew how to lie on the diagonal.  This hammock does not seem to be as wide as my other and so it was more difficult to sleep on my side in the Hennessey.  HOWEVER, wowee, this hammock is so comfortable.  It beats sleeping on the ground all over the place.  

The next time out, I tied it a little better and I got faster at it.  However, because my trips were spaced apart, I had to refer to the picture that I had downloaded off of the Hennessey website each time.  The learning curve is a little high for me, evidently.  But, I actually got better and faster with each use.   I used it four times in this testing period and I had to relash it in the middle of the night all four times.  When I was able to find two trees far enough apart, the hammock worked much better and so did the rain fly.  I still question what I'm supposed to do when I can't find two trees far enough apart?  I'm not sold on the Tree Huggers.  I have used other hammocks and other tie systems that are much more stable and easy to work with.

After re-watching the video once I was back home, I thought that I should have tied the hammock with a little more tension so the ridgeline would be tenser.  That way the fly would not have been so slack.  The next time out I tried to tie the hammock a little tenser and tied the fly directly to the tree using rope that I brought with me.  That worked out much better, though the wind was not as problematic as it had been on the lake.  

The first two times out, I used the hammock with a sleeping bag rated 40 degrees F (4 C).  The hammock and pad kept me plenty warm.  The second two times out, I used it with a 0 (-18 C) degree F rated bag.  It was almost too warm in there even though it was below freezing on both occasions.  

It is heavier and bulkier than my summer hammock.  That is to be expected. The pad was a little cumbersome to attach to my pack as well.  I had to attach it vertically because I kept catching it on brush when it was attached to my pack horizontally.  I did not try to bend it down the middle, and will next trip.  


Summary
I really like this sleep system.  I don't like the way it attaches to trees, however.  I'm sure a lot of that is user error, but I have to get up in the night and relash it at least once because my rear end is nearly dragging the ground. I am going to keep working with it.  It keeps me so very warm.  I am hoping that it will warm up here in South Carolina so that I can try it out to see if it keeps me too warm.   I really like a hammock versus a tent for backpacking.  

What I like so far...
It keeps me very warm.
This system is so comfortable, much more so than a tent.
The Snake Skins make tear down a breeze.

What I don't like so far...
The Tree Huggers slip.
It has taken me several tries to learn how to lash the hammock to the trees.
It is difficult to find two trees that are far enough apart as well as big enough around to make the Tree Huggers work best.
 

Long Term Report
26 March 2010


Field Conditions
Unfortunately, I only got out on two camping trips this reporting period, both on private land near Sumter, SC. Both were over weekends.  First was a car-camping trip in February, very cold and clear, 40 F (4.4 C) degrees during the day and 30 degrees F (-1 C) at night.  The second was a backpacking trip in early March, conditions were chilly and wet, 45 (7 C) degrees F during the day and 35 (1.7 C) degrees F at night. On the first trip, I took a tent and the hammock because I was testing a sleeping bag and I wanted to see how it would function in both a tent and hammock.  On the backpacking trip, I took only the hammock system.

Observations
Car camping - Let me begin by saying that I really prefer the hammock over a tent now that I have used both.  The hammock is so much more comfortable to sleep in when I get it lashed correctly (more on that below). I don't wake up stiff and sore.  However, I also don't have a place to store my gear with the hammock.  I brought a small rug that I put under the hammock so that I could set my pack, boots, book, etc. on it and not on the ground.  I positioned the rug under the rainfly of the hammock.  I also drug my camping chair under the rainfly to store things on and also used it as a sort of nightstand.  It worked great.

Backpacking - This trip I folded the bubblepad in half to lash onto my backpack and that seemed to help with it catching on limbs and trees while I was walking.  I like the hammock to backpack with even though it is heavier than the hammock that I have used on backpacking trips before. I am always so snug in this hammock compared to a small tent or my other hammock. This system really retains heat very well.  This hammock is also more bulky and takes up more pack space than the one I've used before.  However, the benefits of the rainfly, bubblepad, and snakeskins outweigh (no pun intended) the increased weight and/or bulk.  I will be interested to see which hammock I prefer in warm, clear weather; the lighter one or the Hennessey. I brought a small square of plastic to set my pack on.  I drug that under the rainfly.  It worked fine.  It was a little damp in the morning, but not completely wet. 

Lashing and Tree Huggers -  I have watched the videos, read the blogs, and am still having trouble with the Tree Huggers slipping.  I know how to do the figure 8 lash. It's really the Tree Huggers that are the problem.  The only time one side worked the first time is when I found a tree that I could double it around.  Then, that side stayed up, but the other side, which was wrapped only once, slipped twice during the night.  I also think how far the trees are apart has a lot to do with its stability.  But, I could not always find two perfectly spaced trees.  The first night the trees were too close.  It slipped after about 3 hours each time.  I will probably use different straps.  I have some that are much easier to use and don't slip down the tree at night no matter the size of the trees or how far apart they are.

Rain Fly - On the backpacking trip, it rained some during the day and on and off at night.  The rain fly worked very well because I tied it to the trees using my own cord rather than hooking it to the hammock.  I was able to adjust tension much better that way.  I stayed dry and snug.

Sleeping - I used a sleeping bag that did not unzip all the way around the bottom.  It was also a mummy bag that fit a little too tightly in my shoulders.  It was very difficult to get comfortable once I was in the hammock.  I mention this because, since the hammock does such a good job of keeping me warm, I will make sure that I use my sleeping bag that zips all the way around the bottom and is looser on me.  I find that I can get in the hammock and get comfortable more quickly than with the tighter bag.

Snake Skins - I think this invention is about the coolest thing going.  These work so well, making packing the hammock up a breeze.

Summary
I really like this hammock system.  I will definitely use it, especially in cooler months.  However, I will probably not use the Tree Huggers.  Instead I will use other hammock straps that I purchased for a different hammock.  

What I liked.
It is so comfortable to sleep in.
It is very warm and snug

What I didn't like.
It is heavy and bulky.
The Tree Huggers don't work for me.

This concludes my long term report. Many thanks to Hennessey and Backpackgeartest.org for allowing me to test this hammock.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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