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Hennessy Hyperlite Asym Zip Hammock Review

Can a lighter, easier hammock hang convert this avowed tent user?

Hightly Recommended

Overall Rating: Highly Recommended

The Hennessy Hyperlite Asym Zip is exactly what a hammock system should be. It is very light - one of the lightest (if not the lightest) complete hammock shelter commercially available. It provides excellent shelter from bugs and the elements. The Hyperlite provides for exceptionally comfortable sleep and ease of use during the day. Aside from tying on a single piece of string, the hammock is ideal for ultralight backpackers and requires no alterations. If you’ve been on the fence about switching to a hammock, this could easily get you on the “hangers” side.

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by Brad Groves |


Although hammock shelters intrigued me in the past, I never bought into the concept. Finding a level spot to sleep had never been an issue for me, and objectively speaking hammocks were heavier than tents. I could easily use a 3- to 3.5-pound tent, split between two people for a carry weight of 1.5 to 1.75 pounds. On the other hand, even the excellent and venerable Hennessy Expedition Asym weighs over 2.5 pounds. Frankly, I’d rather have the ease and convenience of a tent while carrying a pound less! But hammocks still called to me, and when I stumbled upon the Hennessy Hyperlite Asym Zip, I knew I finally had to give hammocks a chance.

Hennessy Hyperlite Asym Zip Review - 1
In this overview of the Hyperlite you can see the relatively flat lay and significant volume (shakin’ around room) of the hammock.


The complete hammock shelter (hammock, netting, fly, and line), only weighs 1 pound 9 ounces! At that point, its weight is on par with my half of a tent... and lighter than most solo tents (single-wall tarp-ish shelters excluded). Based on weight alone this was a great hammock, but what also really caught my eye was the side zipper.

I’ve always liked the idea of using my hammock as a camp chair, but I didn’t like the need to unstake and invert other Hennessy models. I wanted to be able to leave my stuff in the hammock, and I wanted minimal fuss. With Hennessy’s introduction of zippered models, you can just unzip the side and plunk down your rear. That sounded comfy AND easy! I bought the hammock and waited impatiently for a chance to take it for a spin.

Item Measured Weight
Hammock Body/Lines 1 lb 3.1 oz / 0.54 kg
Fly/Lines 9.2 oz / 260.8 g
Tree Straps (Optional) 2.0 oz / 56.7 g
Snakeskins (Optional) 1.7 oz / 48.2 g
Stuff Sack (Optional) 0.6 oz / 17 g
Packed weight (without optional stuff) Claimed: 1 lb 9 oz / 0.71 kg
Measured: 1 lb 12.3 oz / 0.80 kg

Hennessy Hyperlite Asym Zip Review - 2
Comfy camp seating, with essentially no fuss!


The hammock was intuitively simple to hang and rig, although being new to hammocking it took me a few tries to figure out how far it would sag. (My solution: if in doubt, hang it higher.) As I unzipped the hammock, I noticed a bit of a glitch, or inconvenience perhaps, in the hammock instructions and actual use. The instructions said that the hammock had to be fully unzipped for entry and egress, but once in the hammock there was no way I could reach the foot-end zipper. I didn’t want to destroy the zipper, so pondered a few minutes and came up with an easy fix.

I passed a long-ish piece of reflective cord through the far zipper pull, then through a small plastic ring at the asymmetric point, and tied it off to make a loop. In use, the idea is much like the cord used to raise and lower kayak rudders. From a reclining position I can just pull on one “side” of the loop to unzip, or pull on the other side to close up for the night. I really like the reflective cord for being a cinch to find in the dark. It works just about perfectly and protects the integrity of the zipper.

Hennessy Hyperlite Asym Zip Review - 3
In this overview, the length of reflective cord I added to the zipper is clearly visible, and you can get a good idea of the loop it forms.

Hennessy Hyperlite Asym Zip Review - 4
A close-up of the zipper cord modification. Note the loop the cord passes through; it does the same at the foot end of the hammock.


Once settled into the hammock, the first thing I noticed was how comfortable it is. You hear people talk about the asymmetric design, and how Hennessy designs allow you to lay flatter, but I think it’s hard to grasp until you crawl in one. Mind you, you’re not perfectly flat. But there’s just about the right amount of curve for me that I don’t need a pillow, and my weary feet get a little lift to drain. The other significant point of comfort comes from the side tie-outs.

Hennessy Hyperlite Asym Zip Review - 5
The hammock fully unzipped. Also note how relatively flat the pad is, how much space is available, and the gridstop pattern of the hammock body.

Just before buying the Hyperlite, I had tried using another company’s hammock for a couple of nights. It was a disaster! Turning over was a delicate balancing act, and the sides of the hammock squeezed tightly enough around my shoulders to compress the insulation of my sleeping bag to nothing. In contrast, the Hyperlite Zip was plenty stable for shifting around and rolling over to sleep on my other side. Another point of pleasure: the hammock sides stayed well away from my shoulders and feet, allowing my sleeping bag to loft fully and giving me unrestricted comfort.

This is not a small point. In other hammocks I’ve felt a bit like I was stuffed into a sausage casing, even when laying as cross-wise as possible. There was absolutely none of this feeling in the Hyperlite. In fact, I even had a little movin’ around room!

Hennessy Hyperlite Asym Zip Review - 6
An insider’s point of view... Plenty of room, even with a zero-degree bag and DownMat 9. The dangly thing center top is a storage pocket, handy for headlamp, glasses, etc.

With some futzing about I can get dressed and undressed in the hammock, but found it easier to change while on the ground. Inside, a small mesh pocket hangs from the ridgeline, ready for my glasses and headlamp. The sides of the Hyperlite come up just enough to give some wind and elemental protection, but are low enough to peer through the mesh while reclining. I liked that you can easily unzip the mesh on a nice day and flip it over the ridgeline for more airflow and a cleaner view. Of course, how much you can view is affected in part by how you’ve pitched the fly.

Getting the “Hang” of It

The shelter is ridiculously easy to pitch once you have things set, and getting it set just took a little playing around. What would require “setting” on a hammock? Just the tension and placement of the fly, really. A plastic hook attaches to a prusik knot on each end of the ridgeline; all you have to do is slip a plastic ring from the fly onto the hook and slide the prusik to adjust. Part of the adjustment is simply centering the fly over the hammock. Once centered, though, you can adjust the tension slightly to create more or less gap between the fly and hammock netting. I’ve found that it’s easiest to leave the system all together, so pitching just requires pulling the hammock out of my pack, tying off to a couple trees, and sinking two stakes.

Tying off to trees brought me a couple surprises. My standard method of rigging a tarp ridgeline is to use a trucker’s hitch on one end. When I did this with the line on the Hennessy, though, the sheath melted and stuck together. Using the supplied tree straps and tightening through them had similar results. Guess I should have read that part in the instructions! Not surprisingly, the best course of action was the one Hennessy recommends: Pass the line through the tree strap, then spiral wrap the line back on itself ~10 times toward the hammock, the same back to the tree, and pull the line through the loop. It works well, but don’t skimp on the wraps.

Hennessy Hyperlite Asym Zip Review - 7
Well, hello there!

For other hammock newbs out there, I’ve found that how you position the hammock between your hanging points can affect the hammock’s level. If the amount of line on each end is equidistant from hammock to tree, the hammock should hang pretty level. If, however, the line is significantly shorter on one end, that end seems to hang higher. If the line is particularly long on one end, that end seems to hang lower.

I love a good taut pitch, and as I stood back to admire the well-executed design of the Hyperlite fly something caught my eye a few times. The fly just looks too short, like it needs more length. It seems like the hammock barely fits under there. But then, this is the Hyperlite we’re talking about, and minimizing excess is the name of the game. More importantly, the fly has kept me dry in moderate rains... I haven’t experienced any other type of inclement weather with the hammock. I’m confident that despite the appearance, the fly provides good coverage.


Hennessy has an accessory for their hammocks called “Snakeskins” and I tried the skins along with the hammock. You basically put a narrow but long silnylon windsock (a Snakeskin) on each end of the ridgeline. When it’s time to pack up you just roll the hammock up like you would a sleeping pad, then pull the Snakeskins over the hammock to keep it all together. You can rig the skins to cover just the hammock, just the fly, or both. I used it primarily to cover both. And let me tell you, it makes quick work of stashing the hammock! However, I found that packing the long, hard, snaked roll was inconvenient. I just couldn’t find a good way to stuff that big sausage shape into my pack in a way that was particularly space efficient... which bothered me, because I really liked the way the Snakeskins worked initially. I’ve found that it’s easier for me to just stuff the hammock straight into my pack.


We thought it would be interesting (and instructional!) to compare the Hyperlite with other complete hammock shelters on the market. Models chosen were the lightest options from those companies. Although many people say they choose to hang because of the light weight, for example, notice how several of the models compare to a two-person, double-wall tent with vestibule. The Bear Mountain is 32 oz/2 pounds heavier than the Fly Creek, and yet two hikers could split the weight of the Fly Creek, effectively making it weigh ~1 pound per hiker. Other factors, such as comfort or rough country hanging, can still make hammocks come out (ahem) on top. The Hyperlite is the lightest (and cheapest for weight) complete hammock shelter on the market... although the Warbonnet Blackbird is nipping right at its heels.

Manufacturer Model Fly and/or Net Weight Cost
Hennessy Hammock Hyperlite Asym Zip   25.0 oz / 709 g $230
Warbonnet Blackbird Single-Layer 1.1 Asym-Diamond 27.5 oz / 780 g $235
Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 2-Person Tent 34.0 oz / 964 g $350
Clark Jungle Hammock Ultralight   38.0 oz / 1077 g $340
Hennessy Hammock Expedition Asym   41.0 oz / 1162 g $150
ENO ProNest ProFly Sil/Guardian 42.0 oz / 1191 g $270
Jacks 'R' Better Bear Mountain Bridge 11x10 Cat 56.0 oz / 1588 g $330


So how about it? Is using a side zipper instead of bottom-entry Velcro an improvement? Is the Hyperlite actually, well, light? Is this thing worth considering instead of a solo tent?


I liked being able to leave my stuff in the hammock, as well as the ease of having a ready seat. It’s a simple thing to unstake one side of the fly and flip it over the ridgeline, revealing a pretty grand and comfortable view (depending on your site location). The hammock is the lightest of its kind that I’ve encountered, and I feel that the ounces are well-spent on comfort, weather protection, and ease of use. There were some nights wiggling around trying to adjust things when I would have gladly just crawled into a tent... but this hammock has made me a part-time hanger.

Disclosure: The manufacturer provided this product to the author and/or Backpacking Light at a discounted rate for ownership by the author/BPL. The author/Backpacking Light has no obligation to review this product to the manufacturer under the terms of this agreement.


"Hennessy Hyperlite Asym Zip Hammock Review," by Brad Groves. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2011-08-09 00:00:00-06.


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Hennessy Hyperlite Asym Zip Hammock Review
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Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
Some things you didn't get quite right on 08/11/2011 20:40:26 MDT Print View

The best use for snake skins is to allow you to set up in the rain without getting the hammock wet, but you can only do that if you enclose only the hammock in them. You hang the hammock, attach and guy out the tarp, then, and only then do you remove the snake skins. The tarp shelters you and the hammock while you finish setting up.

The super shelter works ok at least in spring and fall but it is inconvenient to use unless you leave the pad in which precludes using the snake skins (see above).

In the winter when you really need insulation, I use two walmart blue pads. One 3/4 length, one full. I partially overlap the two which leaves a double thickness under me and single thickness wrapping up around my shoulders. I've found this to be very comfortable.

I couldn't tell exactly what you were saying about lashing to the tree huggers but it sure didn't sound like what Hennessy recommends. I usually use the recommended minimum of three turns, never more than 4. When I thread, I don't just pull the cord through the hugger loop, I help by pulling the hammock toward the loop to minimize the friction and wear on the loop.

Putting the "sausage" in the pack is easy. Coil it around the perimeter and stick clothes or sleeping bag in the middle.

Use your hiking poles to raise the tarp guy lines in moderate temperatures to improve the view and ventilation.

Things like glasses and headlamps can be hung over the ridge line leaving the meager pocket free for things you can't hang. Don't forget about the clips that come attached to the ridge line.

One of the more amazing things I've found is that the hammock stays up even if you only run the hugger from the cord, behind the tree and back to the cord instead of making a full turn around the tree. This greatly increases the number of trees that are candidates for hanging.

I was surprised to see it said that finding a tent site was never a problem. I've hung over bogs, on the sides of mountains and over rocky pointy ground far from any suitable tent site. Next to comfort, it's the most important reason to hang rather than tent.

Tim Mullins
(timm02) - MLife

Locale: Brisbane, Australia
HH on 08/12/2011 23:11:33 MDT Print View

I have been using Hennesy Hamocks for about 7 years now and would not even think about sleeping on the ground. When I starting doing overnight / multiday walks my pack weight was too high and sleeping on the ground was far too uncomfortable with my injured spine. The only way I was going to do more multiday walks was with a lighter pack weight and more comfortable sleeping.

The Hennesy Hammock helped me acheive both outcomes. The sheer comfort at the end of a hard day getting into the hammock has to be experienced to be understood. There are indeed a few challanges to deal with like insulation and getting the levels right, but they are nothing compared to the pain of sleeping on the ground.

I now have 3 different Hennesy Hammocks. I have one for myself the Ultralight Backpacker, I have one the cheaper models I picked up on sale that I loan to friends that want to come on a trip and I more recently got one of the Deep Jungle Zip hammock for my 8yo daughter.

The deep jungle has been awesome, it solved a number of problems I had with previous versions. My daughter would always end up out ff her sleeping bag, off the insulation CCF mat and it was always a pain to fix it up through the bottom entry. The deep jungle zip solved all those problems. The insulation mat is between 2 layers of fabric which means she is always on top of it and the zip provides really easy access to stuff her back in her sleeping bag if needed.

I can take my daughter on multiday trips with 2 hammocks and everything else we need and still have a lighter pack than most of the others in the group only carrying for one.

Bradley Attaway
(AttaboyBrad) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Phenomenal video series on hammocking on 08/13/2011 14:18:43 MDT Print View

Part 1 of 10:

I've had a Hennessy Hammock for a couple of years and absolutely love it. The above video series was produced by one of the regulars on and it's the most entertaining, best produced amateur instructional series I've ever seen on anything.

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
swing factor on 08/13/2011 16:04:34 MDT Print View

I have been looking at hammocks for a while, but I suffer from positional vertigo. Is there a swing factor with hammocks? Will I wake up puking or spinning?



drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: swing factor on 08/13/2011 16:08:58 MDT Print View

Dave, a hammock may not be for you. It didn't work for me for a similar reason. The slight movement was enough to keep me up all night.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: swing factor on 08/13/2011 17:31:03 MDT Print View

look at the tieouts on a hennessy or warbonnet. staking the hammock out this way prevents continuous movement. i have only experienced 'swinging' in my warbonnet one time, in 40 mph gusts in the San Juans.. but that was the least of my problems at the time. the fact is, i could have prevented this motion (but the cold wind was what was killin me) with a simple re-adjustment pitch of my tarp.. however, hammocks contribute a great amount to laziness, so i "toughed" it out. :)

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 08/13/2011 17:35:26 MDT.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: swing factor on 08/13/2011 18:48:53 MDT Print View

The first couple times I used mine I had bouts of mild vertigo for 24-48 hours afterwards. It didn't help that this was in winter and the wind blew all night. After that I haven't had any problems. I get wickedly seasick and was worried I wouldn't be able to hack it, but I've found that unless there's a stiff wind you can't avoid, the rocking is minimal, even without the sides tied out. I think your experience will depend on how severe your vertigo is, as objectively the amount of movement is slight.

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
Thanks on 08/13/2011 18:56:14 MDT Print View

Thanks all for your advice.

I just may have to pass on a hammock at this time. Maybe I can try one before I commit. Hopefully the docs can figure this out. It started 8 months ago and if I don't sleep with my head propped above my feet, then I have an episode the next day. Luckily, mother nature usually provides a good lazyboy-type spot to camp in filled with nice soft forest duff.



adam spates
(adamspates) - F

Locale: southeast
about to convert on 08/16/2011 15:34:18 MDT Print View

My father and I just got home from 10 days in the Wind River Range. I currently use a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 with an Exped Synmat UL7. The tent is a very light freestanding tent and the Exped is aloooot better than the 3 different Thermarests that I own. However, on day 3 on a ridge above Island Lake, I strung up my Eno Hammock to a root and a small Douglas fur tree. I had the best view of the surrounding mtns and the best sleep yet. We always carry our Eno's for lounging and chairs,but after that night I spent the remaining nights in a hammock sleeping great and waking up refreshed! I've never woke up without something sore sleeping on the ground! I told my father on the way home "I'm done with tent camping unless my wife is with me!" And I meant it! The Hennessy Hyperlite is my Christmas present this year. It will assist in my lightweight endevours and great nights sleep. If you haven't overnighted in a hammock, try it ASAP! You won't be sorry!

michael mercer

Locale: Northern Virginia
Ewoks and Bear Burritos on 08/23/2011 20:08:01 MDT Print View

I've been sleeping in my Hennessy Hyperlight for a few years now. I will not go back to the ground. I sleep so much better in a hammock. I have no trouble changing in the hammock and the ridge line doubles as the clothesline or just general storage. I added a small carabiner inside at the very ends to clip up my gear so I don't bump into anything when I am sleeping. I've not had any problems sleeping on my stomach but it requires a taught line when you set up the hammock. No worries about floods under running the tent either. But hammocks are not without their problems. First is that you have to be prepared to set it up on the ground if necessary. That means you need a sleeping pad. You may also find that mosquitos can bite through the bottom of the Hyperlight but not the Exped. You will also be quickly reminded of the signs that say "bridge freezes before road." You will be colder in a hammock - great in the hot summer but not so great in cooler weather. Lots of ideas for insulation but I find a sleeping pad and a quilt ideal and have taken the hammock down to 0F with that setup. I use a bigger fly that doubles as a place to hang out, cook, and eat. The hammock is also a great seat rather than sitting on the ground. I have three Hennessy hammocks and the scouts in my Troop are always begging to borrow one for our outings. Great product - try one out and see if it works for you.

Ryan Tir
(ryan_t) - MLife
xmas present on 02/08/2012 23:46:19 MST Print View

Got a late Christmas present: HH Expedition Asym.

Can't wait to try this out in a couple of months.