A good hammock offers more than just a place to nod off in the woods. Science shows adults fall asleep faster and sleep deeper when suspended in the air, gently rocking to and fro. The hammock comes with quite a history, too: Early iterations protected Native Americans in the West Indies from poisonous critters on the ground; for hundreds of years, sailors in the British Navy used hammocks as hanging cots; Apollo-era lunar modules were equipped with them so astronauts could sleep between moonwalks. Lately, the hammock has taken on a new dimension of utility: Campaign versions offer a free-floating, ultralight shelter on the go. And new design innovations make it easier for you to lie flat or sleep comfortable on your side. Consider any of these options for your next hanging home.
Author: Chris Wrightwww.wired.com
Whether you’re looking for a simple sling to swing in the breeze or a full-on camping shelter for two, Kammok’s Sunda Tent Hammock has you covered. The hybrid tent-hammock can be broken down into any of its elements: a spacious two-person grounded mesh tent, a vestibuled rain fly shelter, or a standalone hammock. But the best version combines them all into a one-person hanging shelter. The tent’s floor transforms into the hammock itself, with mesh covering and the rain fly hanging above from a guyline. For more capacity, second hammock can be bunked underneath the hanging rain shelter. Best For: Utilitarian campers. $349
Hate feeling scrunched-up? Consider a bridge-style hammock, which uses rods to spread the fabric for a lie-flat feeling. The Warbonnet Ridgerunner does it best. For $190, you get a hammock with a lofty mesh covering, a headrest area to sleep slightly propped, and a footbox to spread out your feet. Large saddlebag pockets on either side can be accessed from inside the hammock without opening the mesh netting. Pair it with any of the company’s separate tarps to turn it into a rainproof shelter. When you’re done with it, the whole thing unzips and stuffs into one of the storage pockets. Best For: Lie-flat sleepers. $190
For camping in treacherous conditions, consider the DD Hammocks Jungle Hammock Modular System. It integrates aluminum tent poles directly into the hammock for stability; a side-grommet system creates a tube of bug protection; a knot-free suspension system allows for easy height adjustment. Best of all, you can use the built-in weather cover as a tarp or hang it underneath for “splash protection” during heavy storms with a separate tarp pitched above. It’s relatively light at just over three pounds, and it costs slightly more than two Benjamins, making it one of the most affordable all-in-one options on the market. Best For: Heavy weather. $215
The traditional hammock leaves side sleepers miserable. Their savior is the perpendicular-aligned or “Brazilian-style” hammock, which forms a narrower channel at the hammock’s bottom for more support when lying on one’s side. The Amok Draumr 3.0 has a range of cool design features, like an easy-cinch suspension system and a foam divider that blocks water from running down the straps and into the hammock. You get storage pockets aplenty, including one made for a water bottle and another containing a bug net. Adjustable straps prop the hammock upright like a chair, a configuration fittingly called “beer mode.” A specialized sleeping pad, which Amok lists as “required,” bumps the price from $300 up to $500. So while the package is easy on the eyes, it’s not so easy on the wallet. Best For: Swingin’ side sleepers. $300 & up
Hennessy’s Ultralite Asym remains the top choice for ultralight backpackers. Together, the hammock and tarp weigh just 2.25 pounds, and at $250, it’s also affordable. But the real beauty comes in its asymmetric design. The hammock itself forms a rectangle, but dual pull-out points near the shoulders and knees create a diagonal “pocket” to help you lie flat, with extra breathing room on either side. The nylon taffeta fabric on the hammock and heavy-duty ripstop on the rainfly and stuff sack make it durable enough to withstand any adventure. Best For: Minimalist backpackers. $250
Hammock enthusiasts like Dutchware so much that they forked over $200,000—almost ten times the original crowdfunding goal—for the company’s latest model. The Chameleon continues Dutchware’s obsession with modularity. A reversible zipper system lets you swap between a bug netting and a water-resistant, vented top cover; adding a tarp provides waterproofing. D-rings let you attach multiple storage pockets, peak lofts that hang above either end of the hammock, and tie-outs that expand the real estate inside. A new suspension system, the titanium “beetle buckle,” can be paired with a spreader bar to hang two Chameleons between the same pair of trees. And, true to its name, the hammock comes in four colors. Best For: Accessory enthusiasts. $175