View Full Version : Hennessy or Speer???

2005-08-01, 22:27
After some less than ideal backpacking weekends sharing tentsites in NH's white mtns. with college-age kids breaking out their bongs, and others chatting with their friends and family on cellphones, and being awakened at 5AM with a lovely little ditty from said cellphone, I have decided to take the plunge and go hammocking to try to re-create a real "wilderness experience." I have been gathering info with regards to two hammocks I'm interested in, a Hennessy ultralite backpacker a-sym and a Speer 8.0A. I can't decide between the two and was hoping for some input/recommendations. I posted the same ??? a whiteblaze.net and got some good advice but no consensus between the two brands/models. I am 5'6", 155lbs, will use the hammock during July/Aug/early Sept. in NH's white mtns, will probably not encounter lower than 35 degree temps overnight, can get anything from cool dry evenings to all night rains, though I will be less inclined to use the hammock if heavy rain is predicted. I own a Big Agnes Horse Thief and matching insulated air core pad, the bag has no down on the bottom, but has a sleeve for the pad to slip into. Which hammock should I get, comfort while sleeping is paramount, ease of setup is important, ability to use it with my current bag/pad arrangement would be preferrable but not mandatory. Also, does top entry as opposed to bottom entry really matter and will my bag/pad arrangement be a hassle with the bottom entry Hennessy? If recommending the Hennessy, should I get the stock canopy or order it with a larger option from Hennessy? Any other helpful feedback between the two would be appreciated. Too Just Jeff and Youngblood, thanks for your input at whiteblaze, I guess I'm still a bit confused and undecided...

2005-08-01, 23:44
I'm a fan/owner of HH. I think the bottom entry is a very no worry way of getting in and you can put your gear in the way you want it and it won't shift much when you get in. The integrated bug-net is great and seems like it would be easier to deal with than a separate one like on a Speer. Your bag will work well, a leftpzip bag is prefferable but I have no problems getting in my right-zip bag. I have the larger hex fly and was in my HH during a pretty hard rain storm and stayed dry. I also like the larger fly for a larger area underneath to stay dry and do things (cook, change clothes, etc.) when not in the hammock.
You can't beat a hammock for comfort at camp!

2005-08-02, 10:40
i chose the HH backbacker asym for the bottom opening and integrated bug net. seemed more 'open' than the speer too. the small rain tarp works just fine, though i sometimes take a larger one for extended periods of rain, in case i get 'cabin fever' and want to sit outside. don't understand why bad weather would cause you to want to go to a tent, or how a hammock will enable you to go further back into the woods to escape rude hikers. hammock's drier than a tent any day, IMHO, and you can set up a tent or tarp virtually anywhere you find yourself. yes, a tarp is lighter (13oz), but i carry a hammock because of the combination of ease of setup, great comfort, mosquito and rain protection, and light weight.

for your size, the HHBA would be fine. i'm 5-10, 180+, and it's VERY comfortable for me. i sleep better, and with fewer aches and pains, than on ANY bed i've ever slept on, foam or spring mattress. i'd sleep in it every night if i didn't have a wife who expected my presence. i haven't figured out how to hang it indoors (yet. i'm working on it.)

BA sleeping bag/pad combo might be a little harder to use until you got used to it, but i think that's the case with any hammock. canoecamper's advice on left zip vs right zip is dead on. i had right zip, changed to left, and it's much easier. i use a modified blue foam pad under me (i'm in louisiana, and sleep cold, so i use it even in summer), with some wings taped on to cover my shoulders. i have a really light Western Mountaineering bag, the Caribou, which i throw over me like a quilt when it gets below 75. getting 'in' the bag is only an option in the late fall or early spring here, when it gets below 60 or so at night. so it's no hassle at all, really... what some people do is unzip the foot and get in the bag, then sit down into the HH. that might be your best bet for getting in and out. good luck.

2005-08-02, 15:12
i haven't figured out how to hang it indoors (yet. i'm working on it.)

Don't do it if you value your marriage...

But if you have windows or doors opposite each other you can put eye-screws into the sashes above them and hang from there.

I read somewhere on the Yahoo hammock camping group that some one was hanging from door hinges in a hotel room. He didn't have photos and wasn't very clear how he did it, but it's another possibility.

2005-08-02, 15:18
I have the speer type. Really, it depends on preference. bottom entry is a bit bizzare for me, I don't need an attached bug net. With a speer, you can lose the net when it is not necesary. I like the homemade gear thing- so my hammock is homemade.

I hung my hammock inside under my desk... but then again there are the horror stories of doorways crashing onto the forum's crazy canuk- (sorry, forgot the name)


Just Jeff
2005-08-02, 19:49
Eh...I wouldn't hang it from a door frame. You might find some studs and some big eyebolts. (Or some studs with big arms, but you might get funny looks if you're a guy.) Each rope can put ~600lbs of force on that eyebolt...

2005-08-03, 07:43
i chose the HH backbacker asym for the bottom opening and integrated bug net. seemed more 'open' than the speer too. ...The sewn in bugnet and bottom enty is a huge difference in backpacking hammocks and you should give careful consideration before commiting to one since it is a permanent feature. The HH is more open with the bugnets on because the HH uses shock corded side pullouts to open up the hammock while the Speer relies on you or your insulation to open up the hammock. However you can take the bugnet off the Speer or partially open it and you cannot on the HH, so when you don't need the bugnet the Speer is open where the HH is always confined by the bugnet because you cannot remove it or even open it by a small amount since it is completely sewn on.

What I concluded was the bottom entry works in concert with the sewn in bugnet and the side pullouts to give the HH advantages in buggy environments, while the removeable bugnet gives the Speer hammock advantages in non buggy environments. They are both fine backpacking hammocks and when I mention advantage, I just mean that and not that one is not suited for a particular environment. I backpack primarily in the SE Appalachian mountains which is not usually buggy so I normally don't want a bugnet. I view a sewn in bugnet and a bottom entry differently than someone who backpacks primarily in coastal or low lying areas that may usually be buggy and normally want a bugnet. Of course, when I talk about bugs in this context I'm talking primarily about flying biting pesks that are out at night like mosquittoes. Many of the other flying pesky insects in the mountains retire at dusk and many times all of them can be avoided by one of the big advantages of hammock camping... more and better choices in site selection.

When I'm backpacking in bug season one of the things I usually carry to deal with bugs is a small bugnet that just covers my head (also known as a headnet) because bugs can sometimes drive you nuts, especially when you are moving slowly or stopped. Luckily I seldom need it and when I don't need it I certainly don't just wear it, it goes in an outside pocket on my pack because it restricts my vision, traps heat and limits cooling breezes.


2005-08-03, 08:50
I find that using a bugnet (ala risk's quarter weight hammock) is fine for buggy stuff aswell- the bugs aren't THAT smart. On thru-hiker.com, Henry Shires (tarptent instructions) talks about ants getting in- but you are off the ground in the hammock. Hammocks don't need to be spread- when you are in them you spread them. (sleeping at diagonal that is recommended) if you want a tent in the air (bottom entry, attached bugnet, spread) get the hennessy. If attached bugnet and bottom entry freaks you out, but you want spread, you could always add tie outs to the speer.
of course, there are still many types- clark for example- that have a zip on bugnet. This would be easy to add to a speer.

Cash often tilts people to the hennesy (it is cheaper than the bought speer) but I made my own for about half that. sure it isn't as technologically advanced, but it packs down smallish, is comfortable, and is lightish.

the bottom line is that it is your choice- whatever is your preference.


2005-08-05, 00:17
Eh...I wouldn't hang it from a door frame. You might find some studs and some big eyebolts. (Or some studs with big arms, but you might get funny looks if you're a guy.) Each rope can put ~600lbs of force on that eyebolt...
My understanding of the sash IS the 2x4 stud that is inside the wall running sideways above the frame.

Just Jeff
2005-08-05, 00:59
I'm not sure of the details...I think it's somewhere on Rock's forums if you want to search for it. Someone hung their hammock from the doorframe and it ripped the whole frame out of the wall and dropped the (newly installed) glass door on him and his daughter in the hammock.

Not sure if it was on the sash or somewhere else on the frame.

Rage in a Cage
2005-08-05, 02:00
The infamous door frame incident can be found here. http://hikinghq.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1087