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?
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 similar...it 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.