@Dnachman I personally love the Pro Hammock by Sea to Summit. It's not completely flat, but as long as your trees aren't the same distance apart as the length of the hammock (meaning there is space to extend the hammock straps), you can make this hammock quite flat so you don't banana in it. I love using this hammock for backpacking because it is very light, durable, dries quickly, and takes up barely any space. This hammock, in my opinion, is great for not only sleeping/laying down in, but for relaxing and sitting in as well. By far the best hammock for backpacking that I've come across thus far!
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
I had the same problem with hammocks, I didn't like being a banana in it. I asked some of my Hammock friends and found out, if you lay diagonal in it you tend to be more flat. I use an ENO singlenest and the ENO suspension straps for backpacking, although I am 5 foot 11, someone who is taller might need the double nest. I will say its not the lightest set up but it sure is durable. In the end its all personal preference on hammock set up and sleeping style, good luck.
@Dnachman Would second ENO, though that's what I've experienced most of. Siblings & I have ENO singlenests & they can be really great. I absolutely agree with Bryndsharp's note about tree distance as a factor in bananing (what a word).
As far as weight goes, I think there are UL suspension straps, but I think any hammock is bound to be lighter & more compact than even the most efficient backpacking tents!
There's already some great suggestions here, but one thing I'd add is that you might like to check out a hammock design with a spreader bar like the ENO Skyloft or the ENO SkyLite. The spreader bars can help with the bowing that can be common with bunched end hammocks.
Finally, check out our article on How to Hang a Hammock, which has a few other tips. I hope this helps! Enjoy!
I'm very happy with my Warbonnet Blackbird XLC:
The body of the hammock is designed so that you lay at an angle offset to the line of the hang, resulting in a much flatter sleep than "banana" hammocks. The bug netting has 100% zip around the perimeter, and can be removed. Enter on one side; the other has a storage area for stashing items for easy access. Tarps are sold separately. For cooler temps I highly recommend an underquilt, as opposed to trying to position a pad inside the hammock or between the two bottom layers (if you go for the double fabric).
(35 years experience here, land and sea, 10 years hammock camping)
You said "backpacking" (which in our context, suggests both hiking and camping), so I'll have to infer you meant you wanted a hammock suitable for camping in, as opposed to camping in a tent AND lounging in the hammock.
I have a multi-purpose "gathered-end" hammock (hammock-tarp-poncho, I think it's made by American Inovations, one of the MANY recommendations I would make to REI Buyers!) which I've made a few mod's to and I string it up in a way that not only gives me protection from sun, wind, rain, cold, and falling debris from birds and squirrels, but with my setup, I can lay essentially "flat", side-sleep, even lay on my stomach if I want (yes, laying slightly on a diagonal does yield a slightly 'flatter' feel). But then I specifically bought my hammock for camping, not lounging.
As to your "Comfort", this is something you're just going to have to find out for yourself. I hate to state the obvious, but do your research, read the personal reviews (by people who have ACTUAL, first-hand EXPERIENCE using the product for a reasonable length of time), buy what you're interested in, try it, if you don't like it, REI has a VERY liberal "no explanation required" return policy.
There are a lot of good products out there, HOWEVER, no one product is meant to satisfy EVERY person! The key question you need to ask yourself is, exactly WHAT do you demand from your gear? I am a wilderness hiker, I often go deep into the backcountry for weeks, even a month or more, SOLO! So, I demand dependability above all else!! Distance hikers are weight weenies... sorry, I meant "often obsessed with base weight"... so, they tend to lean toward "ultralight" gear. Fair enough, they're usually not more than a day from the next town and their hotel.
As to "weight", sure I'm weight conscious, no matter what kind of hiker you are, ALL hikers are weight conscious. I've tried ultralight tents and hammocks, but I also returned them to REI because they failed! (tore). To be fair, this is not a reflection on REI's buyers or the product makers or the design of the products. My standards are just higher because I'm almost always solo in the wilderness and, for safety's sake, I can't have any gear that fails!!!
For me, it's not about the money, or having this season's latest-and-greatest. I'll happily pay top-dollar for gear that meets my needs. As I like to say, I don't mind spending money, but I DO mind WASTING money! A "bargain" that fails in a bad situation is NOT a bargain.
So, to be of any REAL help, you need to tell me/us what kind of hiker you are and what your priorities are.