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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Spending the Night in My Hennessy Hammock

I've finally bitten the bullet and bought a camping hammock. I elected to purchase a Hennessy
Scout Classic from Hennessy Hammocks in the US, they're a great company with a long­standing reputation of making great hammocks. They even graciously offered me their "Prodeal" discount of 50% when I told them about my upcoming cycling tour across Canada.

The Scout Classic that I have chosen is Hennessy's "original, non­asymmetrical model", since
Hennessy sell their hammocks based upon a certain height and weight limit, I was easily able to
select the right hammock for me ­ and boy, did I get it right! The Scout Classic has a weight limit
of 150lbs, and a height limit of 5'8" tall. Since I'm around 125lbs and 5'6", that was the one for

I was initially very sceptical of hammocks ­ in general, as shelters, and especially as permanent
shelters that could be used over the long­haul, on an expedition such as my own. My father
purchased his Hennessy Hammock in late 2013, and immediately fell in love with it, after literally
his first night of sleeping in it... I also tried to sleep in it, but found it to be far too uncomfortable
and discarded the hammock as the shelter I would call my 'home' next year.

But, after many discussions with my father, and a friend of mine who also has a hammock ­
although he has an ENO hammock from another American company, Eagle's Nest Outfitters. And both of their arguments were persuasive enough for me ­ and they made total sense. And so, I contacted
Hennessy Hammocks, having decided against buying an ENO, their staff were most helpful and I
was able to quickly ascertain which hammock would be best for me. I ordered and paid for it,
and it was shipped with utmost expediency to my door.

The Scout Classic comes with attached mosquito netting, a detachable rain fly, support ropes,
and a stuff­sack. Hennessy also provides, as standard, two 42" webbing straps to hang your
hammock in the trees, and an extra­large set of snakeskins, which slide over your hammock
when you break camp (see pictures below).

When it comes to hanging your hammock between two trees, many will use the ropes that
comes with the hammock, which is fine. But, I chose to use an alternative system which allows
for far greater adaptability and adjustment. This hanging system uses two carabiners that I
purchased off Ebay and "Atlas" slap­straps from Eagles Nest Outfitters ­ these are tree­hugging
straps provide you with fifteen adjustment loops per­strap. They are sold as a pair and cost me
$30 (before shipping), directly from ENO themselves ­ although they can be found on Ebay.

Using the carabiners and slap straps, I'm able to put up my hammock in about five minutes, you
simply put your strap around a tree, sliding the one loop at the end, through one of the other
loops and pull ­ that's one strap in place, do the same for the other tree ­ you then attach your
slip your carabiners through the roped loop on both ends of your hammock ­ attach each
carabiner to a loop in your slap straps, depending on how far apart your trees are (there are thirty
to choose from, so adaptation and adjustment isn't a problem).

After setting it up, I simply left it hanging in the snakeskins until dark, before swinging in, laying
back and relaxing before slipping into a deep slumber, only to be woken by the occasional car
zooming past ­ you know those ones which lead you to believe that the driver is compensating
for something...

I was amazed, and pleasantly surprised by just how comfortable the Hennessy was, both to
sleep in, and to lounge around in. The mosquito netting didn't allow for a single mosquito to break
through and begin it's raid on my bloodstream, I was kept warm, comfortable, and

I did take the hammock away again, this time for a weekend to a far more beautiful and
picturesque location than my back garden, I set it up and managed to sleep for a while in it the
last night that I was there.

This is without doubt the shelter that I'll be taking with me on next year's cross country tour.
Brilliant work, Hennessy Hammocks!

About the Author

Jack Hawkins is a freelance travel writer and touring cyclist. Originally from the UK, he swapped one seaside town for another in 2006, and has been living in Canada for eight years. Jack has always had a fondness for writing and after graduating from Bonar Law Memorial High School in Rexton, Jack decided to pursue a freelance writing career, and implemented his love of cycling into his work shortly after a chance-meeting in 2013 with a fellow Englishman who had cycled across Canada.

Jack currently writes for this webzine, but is also a monthly contributor Mike's Bike Shop's E-Magazine, "The Rider's Edge". He recently worked on and published a series of thirty-one articles for revered bicycle touring guru, Darren Alff, for his website: http://gobicycletouring.com/. Jack also writes articles, journals, gear reviews, and interview pieces for his own website - http://jackonabike.ca/.

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