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To Bridge Or Not To Bridge (Hammock)?

Hey all you hammock campers! Would love to start a discussion around the pros and cons of “traditional” (gathered-end) hammocks vs. bridge hammocks.  

What do you use? Why did you settle on it? What advice do you have to give? 


My experience is varied. I own a few traditional parachute-style hammocks (eg. ENO), an asymmetrical Hennessy Hammock, and most recently, an REI bridge. (Quarterdome Air?)

What I’ve found is that most hammocks just aren’t great for tall campers. I’m a 6’3”, 220lb side-sleeper and I just cannot sleep comfortably in a gathered end hammock. I find that the general hammock sizes just aren’t designed for us taller folks.  Try as I may, I just can’t get comfortable, even in my Hennessy (but the Hennessy is definitely better than a gathered-end).  Honestly, I had just about given up on hammock camping and reserved the hammock to an afternoon-nap solution when I finally bought a bridge. I’m hooked!

For me, the bridge hammock presents a much flatter lay which allows me to sleep on my side with comfort and ease!  I’m so glad to be back in the “hangin’ crowd!”

I must say though that a bridge hammock is a bit more of an inverstment than say, an ENO, because there’s just a lot more to it. Bridges take more time to setup and usually require more distance between trees, and they definitely require more space in a pack. But all in all, they are my new choice and I would definitely recommend a bridge hammock to any tall campers  and/or anyone who wants a really flat lay or prefers side-sleeping. 

So what are your thoughts? What style of hammock do you use and why would you choose one style over the other? 


2 Replies

I use a Hennessy Hamock for overnights and backpacking trips.  When I bought it I was a bigger guy so I got the XL.  I'm 5' 8" and down to 165ish.  Having said that I love the Hennessy.  I'm a moving sleeper... side, back, front... I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me I slept standing on my head.  The Hennessy is comfortable through it all (may not be room for the headstands, so milage may vary).  I have recently been considering a downsize for weight purposes, but I'm nervous about the loss of the extra space due to the amount of tossing and turning I do.

I also use a Wilder & Sons hammock to nap/rest in on Craig days, and at the house as my permanent bed.  Also a very comfy hammock if I don't need the bug net/rain fly. 

I have not had a LOT of experience with "bridge hammocks, however I found them to be less stable.  I feel like I'm about to flip on the ones I have tried out.  It is important to note I have not tried a bridge hammock in several years, and I understand the new ones are less flip prone... just haven't tried them yet.


My brief experience with bridge hammocks was just felt more tippy to me.

I like gathered-end hammocks because I can often pull the extra fabric around me like a cocoon...perfect for taking naps in the backyard or the woods. I am a side-sleeper and haven't had too many issues in a gathered-end hammock, but I would like to try bridges again.