Hammocks have become more and more popular the last few years. A hammock is the ultimate chill spot for many outdoor enthusiasts. For others, it takes sleeping under the stars to a whole new level. But how do you choose the best bikepacking hammock?
Luckily our friends over in the backpacking community have done quite a bit of research and below I’ll share what I have found to be the best bikepacking hammock. But first let’s go over a few things that will lead you to choosing the best one for yourself.
Consider the following when choosing a bikepacking hammock:
- Size: The key difference here is single vs. double; most people go with a double for comfort, not because they plan to hang with a friend. I don’t have any friends.
- End use: For bikepacking, weight should be a key factor; for camping and general hanging out, strength matters most.
- Accessories: You gotta have some straps to help set it up; other options include an under quilt for colder temps, a tarp for rain, and a net for bugs.
- Hammock tents and sleep systems: Hammock tents typically come with a hammock and all the accessories you need. You can also build your own, start with the hammock, and then add accessories later to make your own backcountry shelter.
Sizes and Specs
Do you want a single or a double?
Here are some tips for deciding between a single or a double bikepacking hammock:
- Single hammocks: Singles usually have a width of 4 to 5-feet. Getting a single saves weight over a double, but the tradeoff being that the single offers less space for lounging or sleeping. The weight limits range from 300 to 400 pounds, but the ultralight versions capacities closer are to 250 pounds.
- Double hammocks: Most double hammock versions have a width of 5 to 6-feet. They also offer a roomier sleeping experience than a single, and a double gives you the option to sleep two people. Doubles usually have capacities from 400 to 500 pounds, ultralight models are closer to 350 pounds.
Length: Hammock lengths differ much less than widths, unless you’re extra tall, you don’t need to be concerned about this aspect. Ideally you will be looking for a hammock that’s at least 2 feet longer than your height.
Fabric: Usually referred as “denier.” Heavy-duty materials have a greater denier number than ultralight materials. For example, ENO hammocks uses 70-denier fabrics in stronger versions and 30-denier in lightweight models. The downside to having a lower denier number is that that material will wear out faster whereas hammocks with a higher denier number will last longer but will weigh more.
Most accessories will work with any hammock, but you should read the product descriptions thoroughly to be sure.
Suspension system: Most hammocks come with carabiners that have an adequate strength rating. A pair of tree straps, your suspension system, is most likely sold separately. Make sure that the straps you buy are at least 0.75 inches wide since thinner straps dig into bark and damage trees.
Under quilt: If you’re going to be sleeping in your bikepacking hammock it will feel icy cold if there’s no insulation under you. What most people do is to slip a sleeping pad into their hammocks. But a separate under quilt is warmer because it hangs outside the hammock, where you won’t compress the insulation between you and the hammock.
Rain tarp: A rain tarp hangs above the hammock and uses guylines to keep it tight and shed rain. Bigger models offer more protection, in windy conditions rain can sneak in underneath it occasionally, bigger is better here.
Bug net: Models with 360-degree protection are the best option because they hang underneath to protect your back. Be sure that the net has “no-see-um mesh” so that it will keep out the gnat-sized bugs.
Bikepacking Hammock Tents and Sleep Systems
For sub 24-hour bikepacking trips to camps where trees are abundant, a hammock is a great alternative to a traditional tent.
For most the decision between a hammock tent and a traditional tent just comes down to personal preference. A hammock provides a different sleeping experience that some people love while others don’t. Before you commit to a purchase, try to borrow a hammock from a friend and sleep in it a few times to see if you like it.
Hammock tent/system pros
- Doesn’t require level ground to setup
- Less impact on surrounding vegetation
- Ultralight options are lighter and much smaller than most tents
- Stays cooler than a tent, better as a summer shelter option
- Can also be used as a camp chair
Hammock tent/system cons:
- Can’t camp anywhere without sturdy trees
- Colder and less rainproof than a tent
- Tough to sleep two in a hammock comfortably
- Virtually no interior storage
What you need for a bikepacking hammock sleep system:
You can buy your system components individually, or you can buy a hammock tent package that includes the following:
- suspension system
- insulating under quilt
- rain tarp
- bug net
Some bikepacking hammock tents come with lightweight poles to build a more tent–like structure. Ultralight sleep systems can weigh as little as 2 pounds, while more rugged systems can weigh over 3 pounds.
Bikepacking Hammock Setup Tips
- Aim for a 30-degree strap angle: A hammock hung at that 30-degrees will be the most comfortable. You don’t want so much sag that your back bows uncomfortably. If you can’t get 30 degrees go steeper because a little sag will feel better than a flat pitch.
- Sleep at an angle: Minimize the amount your back bends by sleeping diagonally, turn your body 10-15 degrees away from the centerline of the hammock.
- Expect to be colder than in a tent: When you sleep in a hammock, the surface area that’s exposed to cold air is more than what is exposed in a tent. Consider taking a warmer sleeping bag along with a good under quilt.
Top 5 Best Bikepacking Hammocks
Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro
Made out of tough parachute nylon, this mosquito hammock has a weight capacity of 400 lbs. It includes a starter rope kit, two nautical-grade carabiners, and a suspension cord to make it easy to put together. You can flip it over and use it as a regular hammock, and the triple-lock stitched seams mean it will last for years. The material dries fast and is soft and breathable as well. Comfortable even for people who don’t like closed-in spaces. And its double-sided zipper makes it easy to maneuver regardless of which side you’re using.
Available in numerous sizes and colors, this hammock is both attractive and comfortable, not to mention sturdy. It is made out of 40-D rip-stop nylon and fabric that is both UV- and water-resistant. It is super easy to install, so you can have it ready to go in less than a minute. The company is so sure you’ll love this hammock that they offer a lifetime guarantee, and the storage bag makes storing it away a piece of cake every time. Lightweight and breathable means it’s perfect for those shorter trips in warmer weather.
ENO Eagles Nest
Available in more than a dozen different colors, this lightweight but super-strong hammock is made out of 70-D high-tenacity nylon taffeta, and it can support a weight of up to 400 lbs. It comes with a storage bag, and its breathable, quick-drying nylon makes it super convenient. If you need a high-quality hammock but you’re on a budget, this is the one for you. It also has aluminum wiregate carabiners and a nautical grade line for an easy way to hook onto trees and poles. It can even accommodate people who are very tall.
Grand Trunk Ultralight
Super light and comfortable, the Grand Trunk hammock can accommodate up to 300 lbs. and is easy to transport thanks to its handy storage bag. It has triple-lock stitched seams for extra reliability and includes two nautical-grade carabiners to make setting everything up easy. It is well-made, super comfortable, and built to last. Because of its size, weight, and low price it makes a great starter bikepacking hammock. It is also built to take a lot of abuse and keep on going.
This hammock is made out of rip-stop nylon taffeta, which makes it both sturdy and breathable. The material also dries quickly in case you’re caught out in the rain, and it can accommodate up to 300 lbs. It costs just under $70 and is designed to take a lot of abuse and keep on going. The aluminum toggle and Helios suspension system mean it is very durable, and the storage bag is conveniently attached to the hammock. It also comes with a limited 2-year warranty and takes up very little space. You can even place the folded hammock in your back pocket.
The best overall would have to go to the ENO Eagles Nest. It’s perfect for 3 season bikepacking hammocking with the additional accesories. Whatever you choose I’m sure you’ll love the dynamic a hammock brings to your adventures.