Whether you’re heading to a campsite, park, mountain, or beach, a hammock can make your day that much more relaxing. We spent more than 35 hours testing and researching lightweight, packable hammocks and decided that for everything from an afternoon catnap to an early morning sway with coffee in hand, ENO’s SingleNest Hammock is the best camping hammock for most people. It’s extremely comfortable, easy to use, durable, lightweight, and stylish.
Weighing just 1 pound and folding out to a reassuring cocoon of 9 feet, 4 inches long by 4 feet, 7 inches wide, the SingleNest Hammock from ENO is light enough to be used while hiking or camping in the backcountry but comfortable enough for everyday backyard use, too. Made from stretch nylon material and reinforced with triple stitching at the seams, the ENO SingleNest Hammock has a stable yet silky feel that our testers identified as the most comfortable option in our lineup. Its attached compression sack works flawlessly, smooshing the hammock down to the size of a softball when closed and acting as a pouch for a phone or a book when the hammock is open. The SingleNest also comes with strong wire gate carabiners and a nautical-grade line to hang the hammock, allowing it to safely and securely support up to 400 pounds. To top it all off, this hammock comes in 26 color schemes. Like with nearly all of the models we tested, you’ll need to buy hanging straps separately.
If our top pick is sold out or you can’t find it at a store near you, the Trek Light Gear Single Hammock is a solid backup option. Weighing just 1 pound and able to support up to 400 pounds, it is slightly longer and wider (10 feet long by 5 feet wide) than our top pick, but we didn’t notice any increase in comfort given those extra inches. The S-hook attachment system of this hammock worked better than expected, but we still preferred the carabiners on our top pick—Trek Light’s hammock didn’t feel quite as secure as our top pick once it was hung up. It’s also missing a compression sack, which means it can’t be packed up quite as small. Like with nearly all of the models we tested, you’ll need to buy hanging straps separately.
At 5.4 ounces, the Sea to Summit Ultralight is one of the lightest hammocks on the market. While most day hikers and campers won’t need a hammock this light, this pick is great for people who are planning to embark on long outings where weight is key. Sold at a slightly higher price than our other picks, this Sea to Summit hammock is made with highly breathable monofilament fabric that keeps you cool in warmer weather and allows it to dry more quickly in damper conditions, too. Unlike most other packable hammocks, this model requires that you use specific Sea to Summit Suspension Straps and Tree Protectors, each sold separately.
If you’re looking for an affordable, starter camping hammock, we recommend the Ultralight Hammock from Grand Trunk. It weighs 12 ounces and measures 9.5 feet long by 4.5 feet wide. Unlike our other test models, this one will hold only up to 200 pounds, so it’s a bit more limited in terms of who can use it. On the plus side, though, it is made of polyester material, which repels water better than the traditional nylon.
Why you should you trust us
For this guide, I consulted with backpacking and camping experts at the Mountain Shop in Portland, Oregon, the oldest outdoor store of its kind in the city. I spoke with Gary Lawton, an accomplished hiker who has successfully completed the triple crown of thru-hikes (the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Appalachian Trail). I also spoke with Steve Korpi, the camping gear buyer for the Mountain Shop. Korpi curated the store’s selection of packable hammocks, so he knows a lot about them. Finally, I chatted with Seth Haber, the founder of Trek Light Gear, to understand the biggest misconceptions about hammocks.
As for me, I’ve written several Wirecutter outdoors guides so far, my favorite of which was all about telescopes. I also managed the Outdoors Gear Cooperative at my college. And before that I was the kid in high school who petitioned his parents to ditch his bed and instead sleep full time in a hammock. While more sensible heads prevailed and I kept my bed in its rightful place, I never let go of my love for the simplicity of swinging in a hammock—to me, if feels like being rocked in a cradle or gently floating out in the ocean. Since those early years, I have gone on to use hammocks endlessly in my travels across South America, Europe, and the US.
I’ve also suffered from chronic lower back pain for most of my adult life due to an accident that occurred many years ago, so I’ve turned to hammocks time and again for an important reason: They relieve the pressure on my back, which is often made worse by sitting in a normal chair. I am also 6-foot-2, so I was able to test out the hammocks with the slightly taller user in mind.
Who should get this
According to market research from Ad Age, hammock sales in the United States doubled between 2014 and 2016, increasing 30 percent to $53.8 million during the 12 months leading up to March 2016. Whether they’re being used on the summer music festival circuit or in the great outdoors, hammocks are clearly having a bit of a renaissance.
For this guide, we decided to focus on single, packable camping hammocks for people who want the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and portability. These hammocks are primarily meant for lounging, not sleeping, although you can easily catch some shut-eye in a packable hammock in good weather. If you do plan to sleep in any of our picks, see our notes in the Hammock extras section about what else you’ll need to bring along.
Our top pick, the ENO SingleNest, offers many benefits over a typical rope hammock.
Why focus on camping hammocks, specifically? Seth Haber, founder of Trek Light Gear, argues in a company blog post that if your traditional image of a hammock is thick rope construction and two wooden spreader bars, you’ve been brainwashed. Haber said thick rope hammocks are more prone to flipping over and in reality, they’re less comfortable and less practical than the packable models we’ve reviewed here. Lightweight camping hammocks, on the other hand, are traditionally made from nylon or polyester. They’re much more akin to the traditional style of hammock that millions of people throughout Central and South America sleep in every night. You can definitely set up these compact hammocks in your backyard, but we like that they can easily be packed up and transported to your favorite destination, too.
We chose to review only single camping hammocks, rather than doubles, because our experts told us that most of these models can actually fit two or more people (our testing proved that in most cases, this is true). Single hammocks also pack down smaller, making them a better choice for day hikers and beachgoers. However, double hammocks might be worth a look if you’re planning to frequently sleep in your hammock overnight, or if you plan to sleep in the hammock with someone else. “The extra width [of the double hammock] is what allows your body to get flat and overcome the C-shaped curve of the hammock,” Haber said.
The buck for this guide doesn’t stop at adults, though: When we set up our hammocks in a park for testing, young kids came running. They piled in and refused to stop swinging—and all of the hammocks in our testing pool proved their mettle in this first durability challenge. So whether you’re tailgating, heading to a family event, hiking backcountry trails, looking for some relaxation at the beach, or hoping for a makeshift swing for your kids, these hammocks are for you.
How we picked
All the hammocks we tested packed up to smaller than the size of a water bottle.
First, I scoured the Internet, wading through all of the reviews and recommendations I could find from reputable sources. Next, I interviewed camping and hammocking experts Gary Lawton and Steve Korpi from the Mountain Shop in Portland, Oregon. I also got some expert advice and analysis from Seth Haber, the founder of Trek Light Gear. In our efforts to be as thorough as possible, we also pored over other hammock reviews from CleverHiker, OutdoorGearLab, and The Adventure Junkies.
Next, I took into account each hammock’s price, weight, weight-bearing capacity, dimensions, material construction, and available attachment systems. Based on all that research, we decided that the best camping hammocks needed to be comfortable, water-resistant, durable, and secure in their attachment systems. Bonus points were given for stylishness and ease of set up. Unfortunately, we did not find any hammock models that included high-quality suspension straps, so we researched and tested straps, too.
How we tested
After the research phase, I ended up with 10 models to test for versatility, comfort, and ease of use.
Video: Caleigh Waldman
First, I removed each hammock from its package and examined the stitching and materials. Was the fabric abrasive? Did the stitched seams feel raised and harsh, or were they smoothly woven into the hammock’s design?
Next, I set up all the hammocks in my yard. I didn’t know much about hammock design when I started this guide, but I had each of the 10 models up and ready to go in less than two minutes without any significant problems. Each hammock in our testing pool can be easily pulled out of a stuff sack, allowing it to go from packed to unfolded in a matter of seconds. After the hammock was fully spread out, I slung the hammock straps around two trees, clipped the carabiner (or hook, depending on the model) from the hammock to the suspension strap, and adjusted the height to get it fairly taut and ready for use.
If you plan to take your hammock outdoors, it will need to withstand the elements—so I started my durability tests by laying out the hammocks, spraying them with water, and leaving them to sit in direct Southern California sunlight for a week to see if they would fade or discolor. This also helped me judge how the different hammock materials handled getting soaked, and I was happy with how well most of the hammocks beaded water rather than allowing it to penetrate the material and drench the fabric.
I know how hard it can be to follow best practices for packing a hammock—after a long backpacking trip, I’m not very likely to lay the hammock out to dry before packing it up again. So to test how the hammocks might deal with this all-too-common issue, I packed damp hammocks in their bags and let them sit for a week before unpacking them and giving them a good whiff. All passed the smell test.
I also took the hammocks to Forest Cove Park in Agoura Hills, California, where I got feedback from all kinds of random passersby. The kids at the park took fondly to swinging in the hammocks, but adults also hopped in, many of them reminiscing about childhood memories of family picnics with hammocks. I crowdsourced valuable opinions that day, gathering input about which hammocks felt the most comfortable and secure for many different body types.
Billy Murphy testing a hammock near the author’s home in California.
Finally, a friend and I (both of us are tall, adult men) piled into each single hammock to ensure that they could withstand some extra weight. While some hammocks definitely felt more comfortable and secure than others with two adults, I’m happy to report that there were no hammock failures or ground falls during our testing.
Our pick: ENO SingleNest
Photo: Caleigh Waldman
After testing and researching packable hammocks for more than 35 hours, The SingleNest Hammock from ENO rose to the top as the best all-around lightweight hammock for most people. It can be used in any context, ranging from a permanent backyard setup, to car camping, to backcountry travel. When fully set up, the SingleNest measures out to 9 feet, 4 inches by 4 feet, 7 inches. This size gives some welcome extra legroom for those of us who are 6-plus feet tall, while still curving around enough to be form-fitting for shorter people, too. Made of 70-denier high-tenacity nylon taffeta and weighing 1 pound, this robust hammock is also rated to support up to 400 pounds safely, which was more than many of the other hammocks we tested. When we put two adult men in the ENO hammock together, this weight limit proved to be true—we swung safely and it was by far the most comfortable option for two people.
Compared with most other hammocks we tested, the SingleNest felt especially comfortable and breathable on hot summer days. Unlike with other models, we were able to lay in the hammock in just a bathing suit without the hammock feeling abrasive on the skin or the nylon material getting too sticky with our sweat.
The SingleNest also packs down easily because of a multipurpose stuff sack that goes above and beyond. Unlike other comparable models, the SingleNest stuff sack comes with compression straps that shrink the hammock to nearly softball size (4 inches by 5 inches). When set up, the stuff sack serves another purpose, too, hanging attached to the middle of the hammock and acting as a great pouch to store snacks, your phone, or other small gear. Putting something with a little weight in the stuff sack even allows you to fold the sack over the hammock for cocoon-style protection from the sun or bugs.
The SingleNest’s stuff sack turns into a storage pouch when the hammock is open.
The SingleNest also proved to be exceedingly durable during testing. The nylon material performed especially well on our water tests, beading water and not soaking through, even under the spray from a hose. The SingleNest is triple-stitched at the seams for reinforcement, making it feel more sturdy—and yet, unlike some of the other stitched models, the seams were not very noticeable or abrasive on the skin.
The ENO SingleNest had the most comfortable, non-abrasive stitching. Photo: Caleigh Waldman.
One thing to remember is that you will need to buy suspension straps separately for this hammock (this was the case with all the hammocks we tested). To attach the hammock to suspension straps, the ENO SingleNest offers small aluminum wire gate carabiners at the end of a short nautical-grade cord to make for easy and secure setup options. Compared with the open-ended S-hook attachments on some of the other models we tested, these carabiners snap completely shut and hook firmly on the hanging straps, giving you an extra layer of security when swinging in your hammock. And when compared with the stainless steel carabiners of some other models, the SingleNest aluminum carabiners promoted smoother action, meaning they were less prone to getting jammed.
The carabiners on the SingleNest felt the most secure of all the hammock attachment systems we tested, even when we piled two adult men into the hammock at the same time. Photo: Caleigh Waldma
The icing on the cake: The SingleNest comes in 26 color schemes, leaving its competitors in the dust as far as available options and giving you many color combinations by which to express your personality. While stylishness is not essential to a hammock’s function, we were surprised by how many people noticed this hammock’s fun colors while trying it out.
Overall, the SingleNest is neither the cheapest nor the most expensive lightweight nylon hammock we tested, but the way it handles the core details of comfort, safety, durability, and style makes it our top pick.
Runner-up: Trek Light Gear Single
Photo: Caleigh Waldman.
If you can’t find our top pick at a store near you, the Trek Light Gear Single Hammock boasts similar dimensions to the ENO SingleNest. Weighing 1 pound and unfolding to 10 feet by 5 feet, the Trek Light Single is a nylon hammock without any stitching or seams. This makes for a super comfortable hammock that can also support up to 400 pounds.
Instead of wire gate carabiners to attach to the tree straps, the Trek Light hammock uses S-hooks. At first, we were skeptical of the S-shaped hooks. After several rounds of testing, though, we’re happy to say that they worked fine—that being said, we still preferred the quality carabiner attachments found on our top pick because they fully attach to the hanging strap and leave absolutely no room for your hammock to unhook and drop you.
\Photo: Caleigh Waldman
The Trek Light hammock performed well across all durability testing, and it beaded water well. But if you’re looking for a wide variety of color options to choose from, you won’t find as many options here. Our runner-up is also missing a compression sack, which means it doesn’t get quite as small when it’s packed up. Like with our other picks, you’ll have to buy suspension straps separately for this hammock. We recommend you take a look at our hammock strap section below and forgo Trek Light Gear’s proprietary Go Anywhere Rope Kit, which we felt did not work as well as the daisy chain design straps that we recommend.
Also great: Sea to Summit Ultralight
Photo: Caleigh Waldman.
The Sea to Summit Ultralight Hammock is lightweight and strong, weighing just 5.9 ounces. When it’s packed down into its stuff sack (which is included), the Sea to Summit hammock is smaller than a can of beer. It unfolds to 8.5 feet by 4 feet, meaning that it’s noticeably smaller than both our top pick and runner-up. That being said, we managed to easily fit two people facing one another in the hammock, exceeding its recommended 300 pound weight limit by at least 50 pounds.
The Ultralight isn’t for everyone: If you’re a car camper or a backyard user, or even a day hiker, the high expense of this hammock probably isn’t worth it. But if you’re looking for an extremely packable option for longer backpacking trips, you’ll love this thing. We were most impressed with its innovative design, which we haven’t seen anywhere else.
Rather than using parachute nylon or polyester, this hammock is made from nylon 66 monofilament fabric, which looks like tightly woven fishing net. Photo: Caleigh Waldman
The buckles are made from lightweight aluminum 6061, which shaves extra grams off the hammock’s total weight, and the webbing loop is triple bar-tacked to the hammock to ensure long-term durability. While the wind whipped right through the meshlike fabric, making it a bit more questionable for colder temperatures, it excels on warm days when breathability is key. In addition, this hammock handled our water tests seamlessly, drying out faster than all the other models.
This was also the only hammock with an integrated stuff sack found attached to one end of the hammock, rather than at the midline. This design makes the setup even easier and allows you to attach the hammock to one tree and then pull it out of the sack and directly over to its second attachment without letting it touch the ground at all.
For this hammock, you must also buy specific Sea to Summit Suspension Straps, sold separately. The suspension system is actually bulkier and heavier than the hammock itself, so it’s important to incorporate that weight in your overall tally—the suspension straps weigh 6 ounces and extend nearly 10 feet. They use a series of buckles to connect the straps to the hammock. These straps are made using 15-millimeter non-stretch webbing with reflective thread for visibility at night—and rather than a series of attachment points along the suspension straps, this Sea to Summit setup allows you to tighten and loosen the straps for precise distance adjustments.
You’ll have to buy specific Sea to Summit suspension straps for this hammock, sold separately. >Photo: Caleigh Waldman
In addition to the suspension straps, the hammock’s Tree Protectors are also sold separately. At 1.5 inches wide (4.8 ounces), the tree protector straps are wider than the suspension straps and are meant to avoid stripping bark off of the trees you hang from. With both the suspension straps and tree protectors, you can get about 14 feet of length in total on each side of the hammock, giving you some serious hang options.
Budget: Grand Trunk Ultralight
Photo: Caleigh Waldman.
Grand Trunk’s Ultralight Starter Hammock weighs 12 ounces, offering a nice, lightweight option for newbies who are looking for an affordable hammock to try out occasionally. It measures 9 feet, 6 inches by 4 feet, 6 inches, but it has a 200 pound weight limit. With its polyester taffeta construction, this hammock also stretches less than the other nylon-based models (which means it’s about half as strong). On the plus side, polyester is super water resistant which meant that even after leaving this hammock outside for three weeks in Portland, Oregon, it showed little evidence of being weather worn. With S-hook attachments and a relatively thin-feeling material, this budget option definitely feels less strong than our top pick and less durable than our runner-up—but for its weight and price tag, the Ultralight Starter Hammock from Grand Trunk is a nice place from which to launch a new hammock obsession.
During my research, I quickly found that most hammocks don’t come with high-quality hammock straps. While you can certainly fashion your own hammock hanging straps out of spare rope or cord for a fraction of the price, hanging your hammock with nicer suspension straps is a safer and more durable option.
During my hammock testing, I also took a look at some of the most popular hammock straps on the market. I tested each set of straps with all of the different hammocks I had, working to understand how much weight they could support and how durable they felt. Most hammock straps work with any hammock—although our Sea to Summit pick requires that you use the company’s proprietary straps.
There are several designs of hammock straps on the market: daisy chain–style suspension straps, and thinner cord-style straps with knots tied every few inches. If you’re looking to buy a set of straps, I recommend gravitating toward the daisy chain style—I found them to be the most durable and versatile option of the two because they extend longer distances and offer exponentially more preset options to clip into. With this many loops, you can make micro-adjustments to the hanging height of the hammock, leading to the most comfortable hanging position possible.
Any daisy-chain strap set will do, but during my testing I was especially impressed with Rallt’s Hammock Straps, which offer good value for their price and versatility. If your hammock will be supporting extra weight, you might look into the slightly burlier HangTight Hammock Straps from Nature’s Hangout. Both of these strap systems make it ridiculously easy to slip a knot around a tree and attach a carabiner to the different loops to adjust the hanging height. They’re also wide enough to prevent excessive wear and tear on trees made by thin rope lines, which is another important thing to look for in hammock straps (wider straps are better because they prevent girdling—also called ring-barking—which can cause lasting damage to trees over time).
As far as length goes, most hammock users should be fine with a standard-size 10-foot strap set. But if you plan to hang your hammock between large trees or wider distances, check out the HangTight XL—it gives you 28 feet in total strap length. (We used similar long-distance models from both ENO and Grand Trunk, and while we liked them both, their higher price tag seemed unjustifiable.)
Due to hammocks being suspended in the air, you’re also likely to lose some extra heat while lounging—so if you’re purchasing a hammock as a primary sleeping space, you may also want to add insulating layers to keep yourself warm. We didn’t include these extras in this guide, but hammock experts say that carrying a pad, a tarp cover, and some extra insulation can make sleeping more pleasant. Be wary, though, as all of these extra pieces can add up in weight and can actually make your hammock system heavier than a comparable ground setup.
Hammock setup tips
Good hammocks should be easy to set up and take down. After one or two trial runs, you should be able to go from a fully packed hammock and strap set to a fully ready lounger in less than two minutes, no problem. The hardest part of the setup process is finding two trees or fixtures that are both the proper distance apart from one another and can also support your weight in the hammock.
To start out, find two suspension points that are 10 to 20 feet apart and that are thick enough to support the weight of you in your hammock. Be sure to use tree-protector straps that are wide enough so as to not dig into the bark—otherwise, the straps can cause permanent damage to the tree. ENO’s guide to responsible hammocking practices is a great place to start. After using your hammock for a while, you’ll start to get a feel for the best distances to look for between trees or poles for hanging your hammock. But while you’re getting started, you can also check out this awesome Hammock Hang Calculator. Just plug in your weight and the distance between your attachment points and the guide will calculate how high to set your suspension points.
Care and maintenance
Inevitably, your hammock will be exposed to the elements while in use. Whether someone accidentally drags their muddy shoes onto your hammock or spills their morning coffee before they’ve fully woken up, you may have to wash your hammock every once in a while to keep it looking and feeling fresh. To wash your hammock, simply remove the carabiners or attachment hooks, add a small amount of detergent to a washing machine, and wash your hammock by itself using cool water on a delicate wash cycle. To keep your hammock clean and smell free, you’ll want to make sure it’s dry before storing it in its stuff sack for extended periods of time.
Wise Owl Outfitters Single: This model doesn’t come with any kind of carabiner or attachment device—instead, basic cords act as tree straps, to which you’re supposed to attach your hammock with knots. This feels less stable and also means extended setup times. Plus, the hammock itself didn’t stand up to the comfort of our top picks due to its more abrasive raised stitching.
Fox Outfitters Neolite Single: Compared with its competitors, this model’s carabiners are of poorer quality, which makes the hammock itself less durable and less safe. Plus, the materials on this hammock felt more abrasive on the skin compared with the silkier feelings of our winners.
Grand Trunk OneMade Freedom: This limited-edition hammock, while comfortable and breathable, is overpriced for what you get—plus, it’s a limited edition that may soon be off the market. In the end, we simply couldn’t justify its cost, even though it would be pretty cool to have an American flag hammock at a July 4 BBQ.
Hummingbird Single+: This hammock is ultralight and easy to set up. But during our multiple outings with the Single+ and it’s unbelievably lightweight Hummingbird Tree Straps, we repeatedly heard from our testers that this model was less comfortable and the attachment system more concerning than its competitors due to its minimalist connection to the tree straps.
Rallt Single Hammock: This hammock initially led the pack on comfort and affordability, but it tanked during our water and spillage-based tests. Instead of repelling and beading away even the slightest amount of water, this model absorbed the liquids and stayed soaked for longer than any other models.
Kammok Wallaby: Weighing just 10 ounces, this is a solid lightweight option—but at only 8 feet and change in length, it left something to be desired in allowing tall people to fully stretch out.
- 10 Best Backpacking Hammocks of 2017, CleverHiker, May 10, 2017 ,
- The Mountain Shop, interview, April 10, 2017 ,
- Trek Light Gear, email interview, April 25, 2017 ,
- Best Hammock Straps Reviews and Guide, The Hammock Expert