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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? 


17 Replies

I would have to agree with Greg A on the fact that bridge hammocks seem to limit you to sleeping in the center.  I also sleep I’m the diagonal which is really comfortable.  Plus, there is just something very freeing about not using poles after tent camping for so many years!  

I use a gathered end hammock and tarp system by sierra madre reserch and we have the nube.  The tarp and bug net are attached and you can hang 2 hammocks in it bunk style.  It takes some practice but we sleep good and warmer then in a tent, and the pup loves it.  I did try REI's bridge hammock but I returned it the tarp was to small and the tree straps were limited.  I now also have a haven tent and it's awesome and super flat lay.  It's on the heavy side but it's so worth it and now they make a xl version.  

Another you could try it's a gathered end again by sierra madre reserch called the ninox it is supposed to be a flat lay but I haven't tried that.  But all there hammocks are the most comfortable I've tried and the pares is there biggest, then the solo then xplor (those 3 are there regular gathered end hammocks) the ninox has a removable bug net and you can also get a double layer ninox if you want to use a air pad.

Happy hanging 



I've got an Outdoor Vitals and a Warbonnet Blackbird.  I'm a bigger guy and a side sleeper and I like the Warbonnet a little more than the OV.  It did take some getting used to but I've got it dialed on.  I've never tri d a bridged hammock though. 

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sorry, but is a bridge hammock?  Any pics?  thanks!

REI Member Since 1979

There's a lot of styles of hammocks, but for long term comfort, there is a choice between "banana style hammocks where there is no spreader bar and one lays in the hammock at a diagonal to get a "flat lay."

The other choice is a "bridge style" hammock where the hammock has a spreader bar usually at both ends, and one lays in the hammock straight from end to end. 

The "bridge style" might be more comfortable but usually has to have a longer space between trees, might weight a little more and be a little more expensive, the banana style is lighter, usually needs a little less room between trees.Bridge StyleBridge StyleBanana styleBanana style

@Wayeyness Thanks!

REI Member Since 1979

That is a parachute hammock, not a banana hammock...


 A bridge hammock is like the porch hammocks with the wood holding the ends wide.