Hennessey Hammock Explorer UL Zip
Editor: Cory McLaughlin
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Just the Facts:
New side entrance zipper closure with a strong #5 YKK zipper and two double sliders.
The Explorer Ultralite Zip was designed for anyone up to 250 lbs. (114 kg) and 7′ (213 cm) tall and has our patented asymmetrical shape and structural ridge line to ensure exceptional comfort and a perfect set up every time.
It also has the same high performance materials, proportions and protection as the smaller Ultralite Backpacker A-sym. If you are really close to 6 feet (183 cm)tall and you want the luxury of extra space, this would be a good choice.
- Height Limit: 7′ tall (213 cm)
- Weight Limit: 250 lbs (114 kg)
- Packed Weight: 2 lbs 4 oz (1008 g)
- Packed Size: 4″ x 8″ x 10″ (10 cm x 20 cm x 25 cm)
- Hammock Fabric: 70D nylon taffeta, 160 x 90 high count
- Bottom Fabric Dimensions: 132″ x 59″ (335 cm x 150 cm)
- Zipper: Heavy duty black double slider YKK zipper
- Mesh: 20D polyester No-See-Um netting
- Suspending Ropes: Two10’ (183 cm) long 1500 lb. (681 kg) test spectra ropes.
- Webbing Straps: 1.5″ (3.8 cm) wide by 42″ (107 cm) long polyester
- Rainfly Weight: 11.7 oz (328 g)
- Rainfly Fabric: 30D High tenacity PU / Silicone coated nylon ripstop66
- Rainfly Dimensions: A parallelogram short side 72″ (183 cm), long side 110″ (280 g), short diagonal 118″ (300 g), long diagonal 136″ (345 g)
- Color: Bark (Greyish, Brownish Green)
- Stuff Sack: Logo and set up instructions printed on ripstop polyester bag 0.6 oz (18 g)
This is not my first rodeo with a Hennessy Hammock. I had the great privilege of testing and review the Explorer Deluxe Classic last summer and I loved it. If you would like to see my thoughts on that you can follow this link- http://ireviewgear.com/camp/hennessy-hammock-explorer-deluxe-classic/ and if you are more interested in what I have to say about this ultralight version please keep reading.
This year I wanted to look at a more enticing version of these great hammocks as it pertains to backpacking and a more UL type of trip. I also wanted to look into the side zip as I do sometimes like to use my hammock as a chair and this is not really an option with the bottom entry style hammock I tested last year. So, after a great conversation with Tom at the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show in Denver we made arrangements to do just that.
I was barley over the madness of the show when my hammock arrived and I was very grateful for the timing as I had a backpacking trip coming up just 3 days later. With gear packed and my two best companions riding in the car with me we set out for Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness and a trip that would prove to be one of our best to date.
I decided that I would make this whole trip a Hennessey trip and so I packed along both the Explorer Deluxe Classic and the Explorer Deluxe UL. My girls were excited to again sleep in the hammock they loved so much last year and I was excited to test out the new one. We soon found ourselves at the bank of an alpine lake with water so clear you could see the brook trout swimming around searching for food. As enticing as the fish were I had work to do and so I started to unpack our things and set up camp.
The first thing I noticed when setting up the hammock was that the included straps were way to short for the trees we had to work with. Luckily I had brought along another set of hammock straps and I was able to use them to get a good secure setup. Setting the hammock was really self-explanatory and after a couple solid bowline knots we were in business.
As I said before this is not my first time using a hammock and because of this I was aware of the issue of waking up freezing in the middle of the night. I learned this the hard way on a Montana trip and ended up using my hammock as a ground mat to sleep with for the majority of the trip. So, this time I was more prepared and I brought along an insulated inflatable sleeping pad. Did it work? The short answer is yes, but it was certainly not an ideal situation. In my previous review I mentioned having the pad squirt out from underneath me and though this Explorer UL is a different design I found that the issue was the same. I would suggest a different option from Hennessey Hammock such as a the SuperShelter 4-Season Insulation System (which I hope to test soon) or another option from an outside company would be the Klymit Hammock V which pictured below from another trip. Whatever you decide just make sure you have some insulation even if the daytime temps are warm.
Aside from the few moments of being chilly the hammock provided me with comfortable sleep. I was able to set it in an area that gave me a great view of the lake and the attached bug netting kept the vampires away while I enjoyed the view.
The hammock with the side zip also allowed for some sitting opportunities that my daughter took full advantage of while eating breakfast.
We swam, fished, hiked, and bonded in ways only the thrills of shared adventure can provide. One such adventure was sharing the panic of trying to put on the rain fly’s of the hammocks. WE were right in the middle of catching some trout when we heard thunder. The trees had been blocking our view of an incoming storm and we ran to camp so try and get ready for what we thought would be a wet afternoon. The rainfly was very self-explanatory, having previous experience helped too, and we were able to get them set up with ease. Alas, all our hustle was for not as the rain skirted us and never actually fell. I appreciated the ease of use with the fly though and it was great to know we were ready if it came back.
The trip was a great success in so many ways. The father daughter time was an invaluable experience that no doubt created memories that will last a life time. This was only possible because we had the right gear to allow us the opportunity to make this trip comfortable and stress free. It is my opinion that the Hennessy Hammock Company makes the best fully functional hammocks that I have ever used and I would whole heartedly recommend them to anybody that asked. Fine job Hennessy Hammocks!
What can be done better?
I’m not even sure it’s possible or even cost effective but it would be nice to see the hammocks equipped with two retention straps or something similar for use with a standard camping pad. Many people making the transition from tents to hammock likely already have the pads and it would be great to be able to use them without them squirting out one side or the other. Overall this product functions as well if not better than advertised and should not disappoint.
I give the Hennessey Hammock Explorer Deluxe UL an enthusiastic 5 stars!