Hennessy Hyperlite Hammock Asym Zip Review

hennessy-hyperlite-snow2

Hennessy Hyperlite Hammock Asym Zip

Tom sent me a Hyperlite to review in connection with research for an update to my book, The Ultimate Hang. Over the past year, it has slowly become my “go-to” hammock that really fits my backpacking and hammock style: lightweight, streamlined, easy-to-use, and complete.

The Hennessy Hammock is one of the first-ever commercially-available jungle hammocks ever produced and remains one of the most recognized hammock brands, thanks to the visually-stunning asymmetric tarps and all-in-one hammock design. The Hennessy Hammock is one of the standards by which other jungle hammocks are measured, yet the Hennessy line garners both praise and criticism: folks either love or dismiss the hammock. Ironically, just about everything on the Hennessy has been copied, augmented, and adapted to other hammocks, from the asymmetric pull outs to the guyline stow pockets on the tarps. Regardless of where you stand for or against Hennessy, you can’t deny Hennessy’s contributions to elevate hammock camping to a modern audience.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one jungle hammock, or even if you’ve considered the Hennessy but shrugged it off, I hope to share some insights, tips, and tricks that have helped make the Hennessy among my favorites.

Product Description

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@theultimatehang” suffix=””]The Hyperlite is the lightest, fully-featured jungle hammock in the Hennessy line[/inlinetweet], and among the lightest jungle hammocks on the market. The Hyperlite uses a 30D high-tenacity, high thread count nylon taffeta with heavy duty ripstop fabric for the body. That sounds pretty heavy-duty, but it’s a great balance of durability and weight. The fabric feels comfortable and doesn’t have the static problem common with other polyester hammocks.

The Hyperlite retains all the standard Hennessy features, including a full bug net, ridgeline organizer pocket, copious mitten hooks, shock cord pull outs, and spectra suspension lines. The model I’ve been using has a side zipper, that when fully open allows the bug netting to be pulled open and pulled out of the way. A shock cord and mitten hook can then be used to clip and hold the bug netting open if the netting is not needed.

The asymmetric side pull-outs can clip to the matching tabs on the asymmetric tarp.

The asymmetric side pull-outs can clip to the matching tabs on the asymmetric tarp.

All[1. The Scout model, designed for youth, does not have asymmetric pull-outs.] of the Hennessy hammocks have the signature “asymmetric” design, complete with a structural ridgeline. In my opinion, these two features are what really helped break hammocks out of backyard playthings to viable sleeping options. In my writing, I have tried to articulate the “why” of hammocks to an audience who is somewhat familiar or even unfamiliar with hammocks generally. The key to a comfortable lay in a hammock is to step back in time and see how folks have slept[2. Actually, people in South America, particularly in Brazil and in Mexico, still use hammocks as their primary beds. Western cultures are notorious for hanging hammocks incorrectly, trying to flatten them out or string them so tight as to render them unusable.] in hammocks for a millennia by visiting the birthplace of hammocks: South America. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@theultimatehang” suffix=””]Hanging a hammock with a good sag and laying diagonally across the hammock allow for a flatter, more ergonomic lay[/inlinetweet]. It’s these two features that Hennessy built into each hammock so you don’t have to think about or worry whether the hammock is set up correctly. Regardless of how tight you pull the suspension, the hammock will retain right sag, and no matter how it is hung, the hammock has the asymmetric pull-outs that show you where and how to lay your body in relation to the hammock. The simplicity in the Hennessy Hammock design is absolutely brilliant.

Now, this “asym” design has confused many people. The hammock fabric itself is not asymmetric. In fact, the hammock is just a rectangular piece of fabric—there is nothing asymmetric in the hammock fabric at all. Instead, the hammock has pull-out points that are situated asymmetrically on the hammock. The bug netting is also shaped and cut asymmetrically to match the pull-outs. These two factors create the asymmetric appearance and “pocket” that indicate where you need lay. All the Hennessy models have a standard left-to-right lay orientation. Trying to lay with your head on the right side and feet on the left will result in getting cramped up into the bug netting.

hennessy-hyperlite-tarp-coverage

This ground view of the hammock shows the asymmetric pull out points that are clipped to the tarp. These side pull points not only direct the proper lay angle, they help pull the fabric out, making it easier to enter the hammock, and also keep loose fabric from drooping in your face.

Overal Impressions

Interestingly enough, the main feature I wanted to inspect on the Hyperlite when I received it was the zipper. My very first jungle hammock I purchased was a Hennessy Expedition Asym Classic with the signature bottom entry. It was this hammock that inspired and converted me to hammock camping. But over time, the bottom entry became a challenge, especially in cooler months when I needed more insulation and I ended up wrestling with the hammock in frustration.

For me, the bottom entry is ideally suited for warm-weather climates that are infested with bugs. The bottom entry seems to prevent bugs from flying into the hammock and getting trapped inside with you. The bottom entry uses Velcro that “snaps” shut when you pull your body inside. However, the zipper models are far and away my favorite for all-season hammock camping. The convenience of opening the netting and being able to have more control over bedding and access to the outside cannot be overstated.

The Hyperlite has a few trimmings that help keep the grams down, like removing the metal zipper pulls and replacing them with strings. I “upgraded” these strings with some high-visibility line. Some of the fabric trimmings are also using lightweight materials. The biggest weight savings is the use of the lighter Spectra line. Ultralight purists can take this hammock even lighter by removing unused mitten hooks, fabric end caps, and overhauling the suspension with Dyneema. In my opinion, none of these extreme measures are necessary.

However, if you are interested in upgrading the suspension or if the Spectra gets damaged and you need to replace it, the process is easy. The end caps are secured by a zip tie and can be clipped off. Under this end cap you’ll find a webbing loop. The suspension is tied to the loop with a Bowline knot.

hennessy-hyperlite-end-cap

While I don’t want to counter Hennessy’s stated comfort ratings, I’ve always felt that the standard Hennessy hammocks feel somewhat tight inside. I am 70 inches (178 cm) tall (5’10”) and feel just about as snug as a bug as you’d want to go in a jungle hammock. I’m very careful about projecting comfort ratings as I recognize this is a very individual measurement. Still, if you are 6 ft (1.8 m) tall, this hammock might be a little snug. Part of the reason for this is thanks to the asymmetric pull-outs.

If there is one “flaw” in the Hennessy design, it is that the pull-out on the foot end of the hammock is situated right about where your knees align to the hammock. The hammock pull-outs are sewn perfectly symmetrical, but the human body doesn’t necessarily conform to those dimensions. If the pull-out on the foot end were a little further down, right where the feet are located, it would be ideal. As it is, the fabric begins to pull back to the end point from the pull-out (from the knee), which strains the fabric across your feet.

hennessy-asym-foot-box

The hammock comes with a stuff sack for easy packing, or you can use the Hennessy Snake Skins—long, tapered tubes that help to pack up a hammock quickly and easily. Wrapping up this “snake” can sometimes be unwieldy, but with practice it isn’t too difficult. I actually prefer the Snake Skins and wrap them up around my shoulders, thus keeping the hammock off the ground for the entire set-up and take-down process.

Recommendations and Rating

In the coming weeks I’ll be publishing a longer post documenting most of the other tips and techniques I use with the Hennessy Hammock. Here are a few highlights specific to how I use the Hyperlite:

The Hyperlite came with a loop of shock cord tied on the inside of the hammock that can be used to pull back the bug netting when it is unzipped. This shock cord often got in the way inside the hammock. You can clip this long shock cord on the outside so it doesn’t get in the way. I took a tip from the Hennessy Deep Jungle, which uses a plastic toggle and ribbon instead. I adapted this and put the shock cord on the outside of the hammock and use the toggle to attach to the donut clips inside.

Ridgelines are very helpful for keeping the hammock set up correctly, and they are extremely useful for clipping gear and storing items. You can easily hang out clothes to dry while you’re sleeping, clip shoes up in the peak area, or attach a mobile device for hands-free viewing.

I use one or two large rubber bands to attach my mobile phone to the ridgeline for hands-free viewing.

I use one or two large rubber bands to attach my mobile phone to the ridgeline for hands-free viewing.

The hammock comes with a stuff sack for easy packing, or you can use the Hennessy Snake Skins—long, tapered tubes that help to pack up a hammock quickly and easily. Wrapping up this “snake” can sometimes be unwieldy, but with practice it isn’t too difficult. I actually prefer the Snake Skins and wrap them up around my shoulders, thus keeping the hammock off the ground for the entire set-up and take-down process.

I prefer to use a double slippery Becket Hitch to tie off the suspension line to the webbing. It’s faster and easier than the figure-8 lashing, both in set-up and take-down.

Criteria Rating Notes
Suspension and Anchor System ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Hennessy is committed to the long-term viability of hammock camping and includes webbing tree straps free with every hammock. I can’t praise them enough for taking this stance and I hope more manufacturers follow suit. The long rope suspension line system isn’t the easiest for most folks to figure out, and I understand that. I think it is a good skill to learn, but I recognize most beginners prefer a clip-and-go system. The lashing or Becket Hitch doesn’t weigh anything, which is helpful for gram-counters, but you can always replace the suspension for other systems.
Construction and Craftsmanship ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  The construction of all the Hennessy’s is among the best in the market. Every seam is trim and finished with precision. I like how the zippers are edged with bias tape that turns the zipper inward when not in use.
Modularity ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  The zipper models make the Hennessy’s more modular by allowing a “net-less” option, but the other components are pretty well stock. Hennessy does have add-ons for winter camping.
Aesthetics ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  I think the Hennessy profile is stunning. The asym tarps are not always appreciated, but they sure look cool.
Price and Value ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  I feel the hammocks are priced appropriately. There are so many models to match different needs and wants.
  • Manufacturer: Hennessy Hammock, made in China
  • MSRP: US$279.95 (hammock + netting + tarp + suspension)

Available Features/Specifications

Features

  • All-in-one jungle hammock kit (complete with hammock, bug net, tarp, suspension, and webbing tree straps)
  • Built-in ridgeline and asymmetric tie-outs for easy set-up and comfort position
  • Integrated, zippered bug netting (some models feature a bottom-entry with no zipper)
  • Ridgeline storage pockets
  • Predefined diagonal lay
  • Asymmetric side pull-outs

Specifications

  • Hammock: 10 × 5 ft (3 × 1.5 m)
  • 1 in (2.5 cm) polyester webbing straps
  • Tarp parallelogram: 63 × 99 in (160 × 252 cm)
  • Tarp ridgeline length:  132 in (335 cm)
  • 6 ft (1.8 m) height limit
  • 200 lbs (90 kg) rated weight capacity
  • Suspension: 1200 lbs (544 kg) rated weight capacity
  • Hammock Fabric: 30D high-tenacity, high thread count nylon taffeta with heavy duty ripstop, 13.875 oz (393 g)

Weight

  • Hammock: 28 oz (793 g)
  • Stock Tarp: 8 oz (232 g)

Similar Products

My view out of my Hennessy Hyperlite at the Texas group hang.

My view out of my Hennessy Hyperlite at the Texas group hang.


Disclosure of material connection: The author (Derek Hansen) was provided with a free sample from the manufacturer for testing and evaluation purposes. The comments in this post (written & spoken) are of my own opinion, which I formed after personally handling the gear. I was under no obligation to publish a review of this item.

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15 Responses

  1. vance thomas says:

    Derek, do you have a video of you tying a Hennessy with the Becket knot?

  2. Mark says:

    Tom Hennessey is an ultralight hiker and I suspect the stock flies are tiny for that reason. It’s also certainly easier to leave the fly attached to the suspension with only two side tieouts. (The do look sharp!) Hennessey is, of course, quite willing to allow upgrading to a larger tarp or skipping it if you prefer something else. I agree the hammock tieouts could be closer to the suspension as I have issues with the bug net brushing against the left side of my face since I am aware mosquitos are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale. I intend to use that double slippery Becket Hitch on a Scout we got for gear stowage but on the Explorers my wife and I sleep in, I couldn’t resist switching to whoopie slings and wiregate climbing carabiners for quick and easy attachment and adjustment. Snakeskins are great for helping to keep the hammock off the ground during setup and takedown. I just wish Hennessey would stop showing their products with taunt suspensions instead of hanging them at thirty degrees!

    • Derek says:

      Good points! Yes, the asym tarps do appeal to the light crowd. I agree that the hammock should be hung about 30 degrees for an optimal performance. This also allows a tarp to be attached to the suspension without going saggy.

    • Derek says:

      I think the Scout model uses the thicker rope. If so, a single becket hitch will hold fine on the webbing.

  3. Alex says:

    You mention that the HH Hyperlite is one of the lightest jungle hammocks. What is the lightest jungle hammock?

  4. Alex says:

    Cool, thanks!

  5. Vernon says:

    Derek,
    If you were to reverse the pullouts (since the cut is rectangular), could you effectively transform the HH to a right side sleeper…..Oh, and I guess change the Fly to a cat style. My HH is the bottom entry so the zipper side wouldn’t be a problem. I brought up the idea of a mirror engineered model to HH right after purchasing mine, but they said they had never heard of such a thing….(I am a right side sleeper). Warbonnet on the other hand said “no problem we do it all the time, just mention you want a mirror image model in the comments area before check-out”……. You’d think HH would just move the pullouts and sell you a mirror cut fly (for an additional fee of course).

  6. Neruda says:

    I have the HH scout and my children love it. I also own hammocks from other companies. Hennessey makes great stuff but they’re biggest stroke of genius maybe how they have successfully marketed the explorer with REI contracts etc.

    I see them as a company that keeps coming up with variations to they’re one asym home run innovation. It’s been working so good for them.

  7. Kim says:

    sky bliss bug free vs HH asym – your choice?

    • Derek says:

      Probably the Hennessy. The all in one kit provides everything you need. But, the pad option in the sky bed does help flatten the hammock and is a good option if you want to use a pad.

  1. May 19, 2016

    […] brand is one of the most well-known all-in-one jungle hammocks on the market. In my review of the Hennessy Hyperlite Asym Hammock, I go into more detail about the basics of the Hennessy asymmetric design and what that means, […]

  2. October 8, 2016

    […] Hennessy Hyperlite […]

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