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Reviews > Shelters > Hammocks > Hennessy Hammock Hyperlight > Test Report by Andrew Preece

Hyperlight Backpacker A-SYM hammock
Test Series
by
Andrew Preece

Initial Report May 16th 2008
Field Report August 16th 2008
Long Term Report Due September 2008
the hammock
Hammock set up at my home.
Contents
Initial Report

Field Report
Long Term Report
 
Personal Details
Name: Andrew Preece
Age: 46
Gender: Male
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight: 188 lb (85 kg)
Waist: 39 in (100 cm)
Sleeve Length:  20 in(53 cm)
Chest: 42.5 in (108 cm)
Neck:  16 in (40 cm)
Email: andrew_at_teamgunnparker_dot_com
City: Perth.
Western Australia.
Australia.
Backpacking Background
I have done a lot of hiking over the years but now carry a hammock and gear for over night stays of one to two nights. I normally carry approximately 35 lb (16 kg) which includes food and water. My trips are usually between one to two days duration mainly over weekends. I hike all seasons with winter temperatures ranging from 39 F (4 C) to 64 F (18 C) including periods of heavy rain at times to summer conditions with the temperature ranging from 68 F (20 C) to 95 F (35 C) and very dry.
  Hennessy Measurements.   My Measurements.
Weight: 1 lb. 10 oz  (600 gm)   1 lbs 11.37 oz (776 gm)
Weight limit: 200 lbs (91 kg)    
Suspension System: 1450 lb (658 kg) test Spectra reinforced ropes with tightly braided polyester covering.   Suspension length 79 in (2 m)
webbing straps: 42 in long and 1 in wide 1 5/8 oz (46 gm)   25.59 in (65 cm) x 1 in (25 mm) 1.13 oz (32 gm)
Hammock dimensions: 100 in x 48 in (254 cm x 122 cm)   102 in (259 cm) x 41 in (104 cm)
Hammock fabric: 30D high tenacity, high thread count nylon taffeta with heavy duty ripstop  13 7/8 oz  (394 gm)   Total body weight  (458 gm)
Canopy dimensions: a parallelogram with - long side = 92 in (234 cm) - short side = 65 in (165 cm) - long diagonal = 122 in (310 cm) - short diagonal = 105 in (267 cm)   Ridgeline 124 in (315 cm) x 49 in (124 cm) at widest point,
Canopy fabric: 1.1 ounce 30 D silicone nylon 8 1/4 oz (236 gm)   Weight 7.51 oz (213 gm)
Mesh: 1 oz (28.35 gm) 20 D polyester No-See-Um netting    
Stuff sack: 5/8 oz (18 gm)   0.60 oz (17 gm)
Set up time: 2 minutes   Not tested enough as yet
Packed size: 4 in x 8 in (100 cm x 200 cm)   11 in long x 16 in diameter (27.94 cm) x (40.64 cm)

Manufacturer: Hennessy Hammocks
Place of manufacturer: China
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: www.hennessyhammocks.com
MSRP: US $229.95

Initial Report
May 16th 2008

When I received my hammock and took it out of the stuff sack I was very surprised. The hammock looks much better in the flesh than it does on the Hennessy website. The first thing that screamed out at me was the quality of the manufacturing and the quality of the materials used. The hammock body is made of thirty denier, high thread count nylon taffeta and feels like silk to touch. Inside the stuff sack is; one complete hammock, one silnylon tarp ("Silnylon" is silicon impregnated ripstop nylon. It is extremely waterproof, and extremely lightweight) a set of nylon webbing straps and a set of silnylon snakeskins.

The hammock itself is comprised of two parts, one the lower part where I will sleep and an upper part that is bug netting. The bug netting is twenty denier polyester No-See-Um netting and has holes so small that nothing could crawl through it I am sure. Both sections are sewn together along the long sides of the hammock and do not separate. The hammock body has side ties outs that pull the sides of the hammock out. One is near where my left shoulder would be and the other is on the opposite side near my right foot when lying in the hammock. The hammock is designed this way so that I can lie diagonally in the hammock with my head to the left of the centre line and my feet to the right. What this means to a user of these hammocks, is that I am able to lie a lot flatter in the hammock and not shaped like a banana so there is no excess curve in my spine. This in turn means much better night’s sleep.


Another very important part of this hammock is the thin cord that runs from the head end through to the foot end. This cord ridgeline is important for three reasons. The first and most important is that it sets the amount of sag that the hammock body has. Too much sag means when I lie in the hammock my back is bent like a banana which means a bad night’s sleep. Even worse is that if this banana bend is too much my knees will bend backward against the normal movement of my knees and it will be very painful. The second reason is that if the hammock is pulled too tight when set up the user will feel “shoulder squeeze” which means that when the hammock is pulled too tight the sides of the hammocks are pulled in and will squeeze your shoulders together causing a very unpleasant night’s sleep.


The third reason is that whenever I set up this hammock I know that the amount of sag will be the same every time. It does not matter if I am on a multi day hike or if I have just pulled the hammock out of the cupboard after a month, when I set it up it will have just the right amount of sag and will feel just right. This amount of sag is preset during manufacturing and is not adjustable by the user.

The stuff sack.
The stuff sack
The silnylon tarp is designed in the shape of a parallelogram and this is to match the asymmetrical shape of the hammock body. So that when the tarp is setup over the hammock at the wider shoulder area and the wider foot area the hammock body is still covered by the tarp and stops any rain getting through to me.
The whole body and tarp is in a very nice coyote brown colour.

The webbing straps supplied are designed to be placed around the trees that I will be hanging from and protect the tree from any damage that may occur. The hammock body has a suspension cord line running from each end of the hammock and is made from 1450 lb. test Spectra. This cord is then tied or more, lashed around the webbing in such a way as to make sure that I am able to easily untie the hammock after my weight has been on it all night long.

The silnylon snakeskins are a cone shaped tube of silnylon that is threaded over the suspension line when the hammock is first setup and allows me to wrap the hammock body up in the tarp and slide the wide mouth of this cone down over the hammock encased tarp. Then I do the same to the opposite end of the tarp/hammock before I untie the body from the webbing. This allows me to then wrap up the whole thing in one long “snake” and pack it into or onto the out side of my back pack.
The hammock side tie outs.
The side tie outs
 
 
Initial setup
When I first went to setup the hammock outside at the front of my house in a couple of trees that I have and have used plenty of times before for testing of my own hammocks I found a couple of things. First was the webbing, it would not fit around my trees. After checking the length of the strap and finding them to be 25.5 in (65 cm) long and then checking the website and finding that they should be in fact 42 in (107 cm) long I had to resort to getting a set of webbing that I have made myself for my own hammocks.
Once I had this webbing and started to tie the hammock to the webbing I was happy that I had checked with the Hennessy website to learn how to do the lashing. The image and instructions on the back of the stuff sack where not a lot of help as far as the lashing goes, but very good for setting up of the rest of the hammock.
I had the hammock body tied to the tree when I found that the lower ripstop material had three small holes in it, I was then worried about getting into the hammock to try it for fear of the holes ripping and ending up on my head.
After a couple of very short and quick emails to Hennessy’s Customer Service they have told me they will be sending another hammock body and replacement straps out to me. I am very happy with the amount of service from Hennessy so far.
The tarp side and end tie outs.
Tarp ends

 

After I had the webbing in place the rest of the setup is fairly straight forward. I tied one end of the hammock to the webbing and then walked to the other tree and tied the other end in place. The tarp clips onto the plastic hooks tied to the end of a Prusik knot that is over the main suspension line. This knot allows me to clip on the tarp then slide the knot toward the tree and thereby tightening the tarp but not allowing the knot to slide forward and become loose.

The A-sym tarp must align with the hammock and I found that if I clip the tarp onto the hammock and pull out the side tie outs and it does not align with the hammock I can just flip the tarp over and it will line up perfectly. The tarp clips to the suspension line with a ring that clips onto a hook on the end of the Prusik knot. There is also a little clip that clips directly onto the suspension line that will keep the tarp and hammock lined up. The side tie outs on the tarp are similar and also clip to the side tie out on the hammock to ensure a good coverage.



 

The inside of the opening and the contents of the stuff sack.
The contents
 
Hammock entry on the Hennessy is through a slit in the underside of the hammock at the foot end. Entry is made by pulling apart the Omni tape (similar to hook and loop) that is attached to each side of the slit. Then I pull the hammock over my head and down to my waist. Then I turn to face the foot end and sit down into the inside of the hammock. I Lift my feet and lay back into the hammock and the slit will pull closed by itself. See photo above of the slit and the reinforced area of the hammock entry.
This ends the basic hammock setup, this hammock has many different ways that it can be used so
please check back in about two months when I have had time to spend a few nights in the hammock and report my findings.
The end of the hammock and start of the suspension line, with the inside storage pocket. hammock and storage

 

Testing Activities
During the expected test period I will doing something a little different. I will be attempting to section hike the full length of the Coastal Plains trail. This trail runs from near the coast, then inland for about 34 mi (55 km). The elevation is about 130 ft (40 m) to 330 ft (100 m)
It is now our winter and during this time I would expect a minimum temperature of 50 F (10 C) with highs of 66 F (19 C), over the next few months to September. Rainfall in this period would be on average 5.31 in (135 mm)
 

 

 

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Field Report
August 16th 2008
 

I received the replacement hammock body and webbing in about three weeks which I was very happy with as the parts had to ship to Australia where I live. The staff at Hennessy are very good and very helpful.
I have now been using this hammock for about two months and during that time I have used it three times out camping and two times at home to familiarise my set up as per the instructions on the stuff sack. I would also not want to go into the bush with a hammock not knowing how it would perform, for my own safety's sake.
I have used it down on the flat at my house which is at an altitude of about 82 ft (25 m) up to a spot near Mundaring called Paton which is at about 984 ft (300 m). It has not rained during my time testing the hammock. But the temperature has been cold, down to about 41 F (5 C) overnight. The beauty of this hammock is that as long as I have two trees I can hang it any where I choose.


 

The webbing
The hammock is attached to the webbing using the recommended lashing. This is basically a figure eight wrap of the cord around one side of the webbing and the cord from the hammock. It is easy to lash in this manner but it took me a little while to get the hang of it at first.
I have started to notice that the ends of the webbing are looking a little worse for wear, the lashing is not overly tight but the full weight of the hammock with me in it is on the two loops of webbing where it passes through the loops before I lash it in place.
After one night of sleeping I was packing up the hammock and found that the cord had bitten into the inside of one of the loops and I had to pull quite hard to get the webbing and cord to separate. This worried me a little as I would hate for the cords to wear through the loops. The outside of the cord is tightly braided polyester and I find it very course to touch. The length of webbing between the loops is 39 in (96 cm) which means that the webbing will fit around a tree trunk that is 12 in (30 cm) at the most. Until now I have not been unable to wrap the webbing around suitable trees in the areas I have been hiking, although a couple of times I had to search a little for two matching trees.
I find that the lashing can be a little bit of a nuisance when I first set it up. Because I like to have the hammock placed in the centre of the two trees with equal cord at each end. This means lashing one side up then the other side, then taking a look to see that the hammock body is positioned centrally then if not, I have to undo one end and if I have to lengthen this cord this is not too bad but If I have to tighten it then I need to undo the other end then tighten it and go back to the opposite end. Some times I have to go back and forth a few times. I will be changing the lashing to another system once the trial period is up.


 

The start of the lashing and the finishing half hitch.
the lashing
The damage at the ends of the webbing

The hammock body
Once the hammock is securely attached to the trees I then slide back the snake skins to open out the hammock. I am undecided whether to continue to use the snake skins or not. I find that the hammock does not pack down as small as it does in the stuff sack but it is much easier to set it up from snake skins. I am caught between wanting a small package in my pack and being able to have it up in a matter of minutes. After staking out the sides of the hammock and tarp it is all ready to use. This can be done with stakes or some sticks I have found or even just by tying to a near-by branch.

Entering the hammock is easy to do but a couple of times in the beginning I set it too low to the ground and this made entry hard because I was trying to sit down into the hammock as I would a chair, but then also trying to bend down backward. I soon learnt to make sure to set the webbing up high on the tree so that the bottom of the hammock is about chair height. Once inside the hammock it is very nice, the soft feel of the material is very nice and the hammock feels roomy to me. At five foot ten inches (178 cm) I am not short and neither very tall but feel like I have plenty of room. I had expected the bug netting to make me feel closed in, maybe a little claustrophobic but this has not been the case at all. I think the black colour of the netting and the fact that I can see out easily makes it seem larger than perhaps it is.

Because the weather here has been cold and because I do not have an under quilt to suit this hammock I have had to use a closed cell foam pad to insulate my back and legs from the outside cold air. It is just a cheap blue foam pad that does the job and keeps me warm enough with a sleeping bag opened out over me like a quilt. I have the bottom couple of feet zipped up to keep the bag over my feet. The problem with using a pad on this hammock is the bottom entry I have to stand up and pull the hammock over me and then spread the pad out inside, then turn around and face forward and sit into the hammock. What happens most of the time is the pad moves or bunches up under me while getting in which means a bit of hammock gymnastics to get it all flat again.
When this is all done the pad does not seem to move too much during the night unlike in my own hammock. The first few times using this entry I was a little worried about the Omni tape coming apart during the night and me falling out but it holds very well and at no time have I had to worry about it. The tape is quite sharp though and I have found that if I am wearing shorts or even if I reach my arm in to get something from inside or put something inside the tape scratches my legs and arms, not enough to mark the skin but enough to feel it. When I have long pants on I am fine. A couple of times this tape has pulled my woollen beanie off when I have been getting into the hammock.

The hammock in the snakes skins and almost opened up.
The snake skins

 

The tarp
The tarp attaches to the suspension line with a ring on the tarp and a hook on the suspension. One thing that has been very well done is the hook, on the inside of the hook and a part of it is a little dimple of plastic that firmly holds the ring in place while setting up. So if I had the tarp and hammock packed separately I would clip this ring on to the hook and the plastic dimple holds the ring in place so that I can then walk to the other end of the hammock and not have to worry about the tarp coming off the hook and falling on the ground, This is very nice indeed. One thing I have noticed with the rings is that if I pull back on the cord attached to the suspension line to tighten the tarp I can pull the rings out of shape. The rings will bend out of shape quite easily if I try to get the top ridgeline of the tarp very tight.

The tarp can be set up in a couple of different styles; one way is to clip it to the side ties out of the hammock body and batten down the hatches. But if the weather is nice I like to open the tarp up by tying the cord from the sides of the tarp to one or both of my trekking poles. This really opens out the tarp and allows me to look out through the netting, which is surprisingly see-through.
On one of the first nights in this hammock I was making sure to lie diagonally within it and I think I went a little too far. I had moved during the night so much so that my shoulder was on the bug netting of the edge of the hammock body. I was worried about it at first, but the netting showed no sign of tearing or stretching. Of course I did move away from the netting straight away. One thing I did notice was the dampness of the condensation on the inside of the tarp. Because the tarp when clipped right down is only about three inches (75mm) away from the netting it is easy to touch the tarp through the netting and get a little wet. I sleep at times with my hands up over my head and my arms became a little damp one night as I moved around in the hammock. The tarp when it becomes wet with dew or condensation becomes heavier and can sag on the sides and come in contact with the netting.
The hammock can be used as a chair while in camp or as a lounger to just lay around on with out getting into the hammock. Both ways are easy to set up. The chair is set up by releasing one of the body tie outs at the stake and letting the cord just fall, then I reach under the hammock to the reinforced section where the entry ends near the middle of the hammock then flipping the side of the body over toward the netting. Then I just hold the reinforcing section and sit down. Sitting this way is good for lunch on the trail so that I do not have to sit on the ground, or in camp to eat or rest or whatever. The only problem with this method is the cord ridgeline that now passes behind me and holds up the netting can dig into the back of my neck. In this photo below the top of the netting can be seen directly behind my neck.
As a lounger the set up is the same as for a chair but then I just lie on the hammock instead of sitting. There is no worry about the ridgeline when used in this way.

The hammock in seat and lounger mode.
Hammock seat and longer mode

I can also remove the stakes on one or both sides of the hammock and flip the sides up over the ridgeline and use the space below the tarp for cooking, sitting out of the rain, shade from sun, anything. The other photo here shows the hammock without the tarp attached. I can set it up this way during the day if I need to get way from bugs and eat. Or at night if the weather is fine and it is not going to rain I can lie here at look up at the trees and stars.

The hammock flipped back over the ridgeline and with out the tarp in place.
no tarp mode

So far I like this hammock a lot, it's easy to set up and take down. It can be used in a few different ways. I like the coyote brown colour. I really like the weight at 1 lb 10 oz (600 gm), I love the feel of the hammock body.
 
I do not like so much the scratchy Omni tape. The lashing method. And the ends of the webbing loops becoming damaged.

I will be using the hammock on my final two sections of the Coastal Plains trail I am trying to complete and for any other trips that may come up, and I look forward to getting some more use with it.
Long Term Report
November 4th 2008

In the last two months of my testing of this hammock I was at last able to test it out in the rain. My testing was up in the hills of Perth near Mundaring on both occasions at an altitude of 1083 ft (330 m) and it was 44 F (7 c) over night. The first night out I was expecting a lot of rain as it had been forecast, and after climbing in and getting comfortable the rain really started to come down. During the night it rained a lot and the wind blew enough to make the hammock sway. As this my first experience in the rain with this hammock setup I did not sleep too well as I was expecting to get wet during the night.

I’ll go back a bit and just explain how I set up the hammock and tarp that night. Once I had the hammock body set high enough in the trees so that the entry was at chair height, I set to getting the tarp in just the right position over the centre of the hammock body. Once I was happy with the position I would get into the hammock and lay back and look over my head to look through the netting and check that the tarp was covering the body enough on the head end. It took about three attempts before I was happy that I had good coverage at the head end and still had good coverage at the foot end.

A photo showing the entry slit and under the tarp packing away my gear.
Entry and looking inside
I tried to find trees that enabled me to be at right angles to the direction that I guessed the rain and wind would come from and maybe in hindsight I could have been on a little more of an angle. This way the rain will hit the side of the tarp and not the narrow end of it and maybe blow into the body and I would become wet.
During this night it rained a lot and blew a gale and as I mentioned before I was being blown back and forth in the hammock and the rain was so heavy it was crashing down on to the tarp. I got out at one point during the night to check the side tie outs of the tarp and I had to reposition one of the stakes because the wind side stake had pulled out a little. I have added a small length of bungee cord to each side of the tarp and tied the cord to that because I found that overnight when there was a lot of dew the tarp would sag and it would rest on the netting, so now with the bungee supplying constant tension the tarp stays up off the netting.
In the morning I awoke and got out of the hammock to take a look at the damage and I checked to see just how wet everything had become, what I found surprised me. The tarp had faired very well and showed no sign of damage at all and the only wet spot was the head end of the hammock suspension line just where the sil-nylon cover is. The rain must have been coming in on such an angle that it wet the top 6 in (150 mm) of the hammock body but not enough to make me wet at all. I awoke nice and dry.
The biggest problem I had was packing the hammock up in the morning; try as much as I could the hammock body was blowing around and made it very hard to roll the body and tarp up into the snake skins. It seemed impossible to be able to pack everything away and keep the body dry, had I have been camping out another night I may have had a wet bed.

On the last night out in the hammock I took a hiking buddy up to my spot in the hills to camp out over night. My friend Ralph, a fellow gear tester had not camped at this spot in the hills before so I was looking forward to showing him this area. Rain was forecast for the night and the following morning. We got into camp only to find about fifty other men camped there for a secret ceremony, so we decided to push on to another spot about 1640 ft (500 m) away and on the Bibbulmun track. During the night it started to rain but just a nice steady rain not too heavy at all, I wrapped my pack in another small tarp I have and placed it on the floor under the middle of the hammock just back a little from the end of the entry slit, hoping my gear would stay dry. I slept a lot better that night knowing that I could with stand lot worse conditions. In the morning I woke earlier than Ralph so I went and had a walk around the creek and took a few photos, but after a while it started to rain again so I went back to my hammock and climbed right in and just laid there listening to the sounds of the bush and the rain falling on the tarp.

The hammock body and netting did not become wet at all this night and I am very happy with just how water proof the whole set up is. When it was time to pack up and the tarp was all wet again I tried something new, what I did this time was to undo the tie outs for the hammock body but leave the tarp tied out so the body hung under the tarp nice and dry. Then I took one of the ties for the body and passed it under the body and up and over the other side of the netting and back down to the ring on the body. I passed the bungee through the ring and pulled the whole thing tight. Then I did the same for the other end and what this did was to pull up the body and tie it fairly tight to the ridgeline. This means that when I rolled up the tarp the body was nice and dry inside and I am happy now that I could camp out a second night and be confident of a dry bed.
In this photo I show how I wrapped up the hammock body to keep it dry.
Tied up for packing
The netting has kept me free of any bugs in all of my nights out, but to be fair once I am tucked in I do not know if there are a lot of bugs outside or not.
The only thing that niggles me a little about this setup is the size of the tarp, it is very small as it is supposed to be and so does not give me a lot of room under it to get dressed or move around much at all. For example, putting boots off and on while bending over is hard work under the tarp, I have a small cheap blue tarp that I would normally use to sit on under the tarp but this time I had to place my pack on it to keep it dry. But I think that the small size of the whole thing and the weight is so good that I will just have to look at doing things a little differently from now as I would not want to use another hammock.
Likes
Very small pack size and weight.
Just how flat I can lie in it.
The very soft body material.
The bug proof netting.

Dislikes
The rings on the suspension lines that the tarp clips onto.
They bend out of shape.
The lack of bungee cord on the sides of the tarps.
The body has them and the tarp could too.


I would like to thank Hennessy and Backpackgeartest for giving me such a nice piece of gear to test, this is my favourite item so far and one I will continue to use all of the time while camping. Hopefully for a very long time.
Thanks
Andrew Preece

 


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