OUTDOORS

Best Ultralight Hammock: Rest and Relaxation With no Additional Carry Weight

Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

There’s something special about lying in a hammock, enjoying a nice, lazy and relaxing day, just swinging left and right without a care in the world. It’s even better when you can actually pack it up and take it with you on a hike or camping trip, which is what the best ultralight hammock allows you to do.

While normal and netted hammocks are too large and cumbersome to be taken on a hike, the ultralight ones are perfect for this purpose. These hammocks are designed and manufactured with 3 major things in mind:

  • As little carry weight as possible
  • As many uses as possible
  • As simple as it can get when it comes to setting it up

reading harry potter in a hammock in the woods

In addition to these 3 basic principals, each and every manufacturer on the market manages to come with something slightly special and unique for their hammocks. This makes picking out the best hammock a bit harder than expected, however, if we know what our needs are as well as what we can expect from an ultralight hammock, we are sure to find the right one in no time.

Granted, hammocks are not for everyone, however, the people that can enjoy them will appreciate being able to take one along with them, string it up in no time at all and just relax at the end of a long hike.

What to look for in an ultralight backpacking hammock

Something that most people are still wrapping their heads around is the fact that, while in the great outdoors, you will sometimes have to improvise and find certain uses for your equipment that are not a standard, to begin with. Not to mention that, in an actual survival situation, the concept of “recommended use” goes out the window entirely.

That being said, you should begin by not looking at it like just another hammock, but rather like a hammock + something extra. It goes without saying that you find a lot of things that substitute that “something extra” bit, some more useful than others.

hammock near the sea

Size

First off, when looking for a hammock, is the size. There are different sizes on the market as well as hammocks that are designed to be used by more than 1 person. Finding the size that best suits you is of paramount importance and there are standardized sizes that you can choose from:

  • The single hammock

Designed to be used by 1 person, it measures a minimum width of 140 cm (4 feet 7 inches) and a maximum of 160 cm (5 feet 3 inches). The minimum length of suspension should be no smaller than 270 cm (8 feet 10 inches) and the height at which it is suspended should be no lower than 120 cm (3 feet 11 inches)

girl sleeping in single hammock

  • The double hammock

Designed to be used by either 2 people or a much larger person, this hammock size is by far the most popular one. It measures a minimum width of 160 cm (5 feet 3 inches) and a maximum of 180 cm (5 feet 11 inches).  The minimum length of suspension should be no smaller than 310 cm (10 feet 2 inches) and the height at which it is suspended should be no lower than 140 cm (4 feet 7 inches).

hammock for two

  • The family hammock

These are the biggest hammocks on the market, designed to hold more than 2 people at a time. However it is recommended that the number of occupants should not exceed a reasonable and sensible number otherwise, it will cause the fibers to fail and the hammock to tear. It measures a minimum width of 180 cm (11 feet 10 inches).

family hammock

The minimum length of suspension should be no smaller than 360 cm (8 feet 10 inches) and the height at which it is suspended should be no lower than 160 cm (5 feet 3 inches).

There are a couple of custom and non-standard sizes on the market,however, there are simply too few hammocks of that size as well as too rarely encountered on the market in order to be of any concern.

How strong it is

After the size of the hammock has been figured out, the next thing you will have to know is how strong the hammock needs to be. This goes beyond body weight and being able to support you, this is to cover other unforeseen uses for said hammock that you might be forced to resort to in certain situations.

For example:

  • Using it as a tarp against the rain
  • Using it as shelter
  • Using it as a surface to lay down and eat on
  • Using it as a makeshift emergency bag, and so on.

There is a small downside to this that you need to be aware of, though, the stronger the hammock, the denser and subsequently the heavier it is.So if the weight if your gear is an issue, you might want to be careful of this aspect.

hammock camp

Fabric

Another thing to think about is the fabric that the hammock in question uses. The vast majority of ultralight hammocks use polyester, which is, in fact, great for them. It’s machine washable, it’s very durable, it’s waterproof and it can help the hammock substitute for a lot of other things.

However, there are some manufacturers that choose textile fabrics as well, like a cotton blend, which although tends to be more comfortable than polyester, it is not as strong or as versatile.

The last thing that you will want to look after in a hammock is portability. While it is true that most hammocks come with a way in which they can be packed and transported, it is of paramount importance to take a good look at it and see if it can be easily integrated into your gear without having to compromise too much.

laying in hammock with socks on

Best hammocks on the market

Remember that you are going on a hike or on a trip into the wilderness and the overall goal is to relax and enjoy yourself while at the same time being prepared and ready for the unexpected. That being said, there is nothing more annoying than having to manage and take care of a multitude of extra bags besides your backpack and gear.

That being said, let’s look at what the best hammocks on the market are and let’s see if there is one that is just right for you.

Grand Trunk Ultralight Hammock

Grand Trunk ultralight hammock

Shipping weight: 0.7 pounds

Supported weight: 250 pounds

Material: Polyester

Size: One (single hammock)

Best use: Home, travel, backpacking, general outdoor activities and environments

The Grand Trunk Hammock is one of the lighter ones on the market. It’s meant to be both light and comfortable while at the same time able to double up as anything from a rain cover, to a small improvised shelter, to even a tent footprint if the need arises.

One of the strongest features of this hammock is the triple stitching that goes into the seams, making it able to support up to 250 pounds and even be able to handle the stress of swinging that weight around. Another great thing about the triple stitched seams is that there is virtually no discomfort caused by irregular tension in the fabric, the seams are able to hold their own without the tension being distributed unevenly over the surface of the hammock.

While it is strong enough to support 250 pounds of weight while suspended without rupturing, it is not particularly tough. This means that it will not handle repeated stress particularly well, so extensive friction or too much tension in the anchor points are out of the question.

Another problem that arises from this is the limited number of washes that it can handle. While it is machine washable, it is not a good idea to wash it repeatedly. In fact, because of the way in which the fabric is stitched up, you only need to wash it once after the hike or trip in question and it will be good to go for the next one.

This hammock is also quite easy to carry, the actual carry bag being no larger than a bottle of water. It also presents you with the option of securing it to the outside of your backpack if you so desire, because of the reduced dimensions of the travel bag.

Check the price on Amazon

Hammock by Wise Owl Outfitters

Hammock by Wise Owl Outfitters

Shipping weight: 1.20 pounds

Supported weight: 400 pounds

Material: 210T Parachute Nylon

Size: available in One (single hammock) and Two (double hammock)

Best use: Home, travel, backpacking, general outdoor activities and environments

Right out of the box you will notice something rather off with Wise Owl Outfitters hammock. It not only looks light but also feels light from many points of view. This is because it’s made out of 210T Nylon, which is the same fabric that goes into making civilian high-altitude parachutes.

This means that the fibers are actually densely packed together, so much so that they don’t even allow air to properly pass through them. This adds a lot of strength as well as toughness into the mix, allowing the hammock to support a whopping 400 pounds of weight.

Another great point that can be made for this hammock is that, because of its strength and toughness, it can double up as pretty much anything that you need on the go. Unlike most other ultralight hammocks, this one can handle a lot of friction and a lot of stress without having to worry about the fibers being damaged or wear and tear spots on it.

There are a few drawbacks, though.

For starters, don’t rely on it to insulate you from the cold or heat, the 210T being known to be unable to insulate properly. Another thing that you should be well aware of is using this hammock as a source of shade against the hot sun. While it will give you the amount of shade that you are looking for, the nylon tends to allow the actual heat to pass through it, more or less creating a small heat wave underneath it.

The good news is that you can simply shake off the hammock in order to disperse the small heat wave and you can go back to enjoying your time in nature.

In regards to portability, this hammock comes with a very handy travel bag which is shaped like a small satchel. Just like all the other ultralight hammocks out there, the size of the travel bag is small, however, the satchel shape of the Wise Owl hammock allows it to be attached to both the backpack and the belt, should the hiker desire to do so. This, in turn, allows for a more comfortable time carrying it around, without actually having to keep it in mind.

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The Rocky Peak Ultralight HammockThe Rocky Peak Ultralight Hammock

Shipping weight: 1.25 pounds

Supported weight: 400 pounds

Material: 210T Parachute Nylon

Size: One (single hammock)

Best use: Home, travel, backpacking, general outdoor activities and environments

Yet another ultralight and at the same time very strong hammock, made out of 210T parachute nylon, but this time with a few more additions.

First off there are the triple stitched seams that keep the hammock nice and secure as well as able to handle large uneven stress zones which would spell disaster for most other hammocks.

Combining 210T nylon, one of the strongest and toughest fabrics when it comes to tensile strength with triple stitches seams was a good idea by the folks at The Rocky Peak. This combination alone allowed for their ultralight hammock to also be one of the strongest and most popular ones on the market.

To top it all off, when you purchase their hammock, you also get the ropes, straps, and carabiners that you need, included in the kit. While these are interchangeable if you feel that it could use an upgrade, it is still a welcome quality of life improvement, not to mention the fact that it is a more economical solution.

Comfort is by far the strongest selling point of this hammock. The fabric itself is breathable, it manages to support the body quite nicely while at the same time not allowing for any awkward tension areas around the lower back or the knee areas.

What brings it down is its portability. That being said, the bag in which you can carry it is literally a small sack. That being said, whether we like it or not, we have to put it inside our backpacks in order to have it on hand when we’re on a hike. A great workaround for this issue is to put the actual hammock and its components into a small satchel and attach it to the exterior of the backpack if the inside is already full with supplies.

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Hammock Bliss Double Hammock

Hammock Bliss Double Hammock

Shipping weight: 2 pounds

Supported weight: 350 pounds

Material: High-grade nylon and parachute silk weave

Size: Double

Best use: General leisure, outdoor activities

Something that is rarely noted about hammocks is the fact that actually sleeping in one is an experience in of itself. This is what the Bliss Double Hammock was designed to do, deliver that very experience to you.

First off, what you will notice is the fact that although it is classed as being a double hammock, it is actually towards the latter side of the size classification, leaning towards a family size. This was an intentional move by the manufacturer in order to provide the customers with a lot more room and a lot more comfort.

In conjunction with the size of the hammock is also the fabric that it is made out if, which is actually a blend of heavy density nylon and parachute silk. This combination of fibers is able to do something that not many hammocks can do, and that is insulting the person inside it from the elements as well as allowing the skin to breathe at the same time.

Structurally it is a strong hammock, the actual fabric itself being the main line of defense. The actual anchor points being reinforced by 6 mm climbing ropes which also allow for it to be suspended properly from trees or structures.

In regards to portability, this hammock folds nicely into a compact little square bag which can then be strapped to a backpack, or even a belt if need be, without causing any kind of discomfort.

The downside is the fact that, although this hammock is very strong, it is not among the strongest, being able to support 350 pounds of weight. This is nicely balanced by the resistance that it has to friction and tensile stress. So much so that it is among the few ultralight hammocks that can be machine washed and dried without any damage to the fibers themselves.

One last thing to mention is the fact that this is also a great indoor hammock as well, simply because of the fact that all the designs and colors that it comes in are not out of place in a modern home.

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Grand Trunk Nano 7

Grand Trunk Nano 7

Shipping weight: 0.5 pounds

Supported weight: 300 pounds

Material: Ripstop nylon

Size: One (single hammock)

Best use: Home, travel, hiking, general outdoor activities and environments

While there are a lot of hammocks that are racing to be the biggest and the best, there are also the ones that are aiming to be among the smallest and most portable of them all. This is something that the Nano 7 manages to do in droves.

As the name implies, the strongest feature of this hammock is its reduced size, often times being considered a child’s hammock or one that is better geared towards smaller adults.

Although its size is small, it is still a very strong hammock, being able to support 300 pounds, the ripstop nylon fabric reinforced with triple-stitched seams and a compressed fiber profile make it a veritable short but though little addition. While it weighs in at just 7 ounces in total, it is so small that it actually folds into a travel bag small enough to carry in your back pocket if you so desire.

Indeed one of this hammock’s strongest points is its portability and this is because it is geared towards the most casual of outdoorsmen, who are not into carrying heavy duty gear around. This, while it might not particularly appeal to more experienced hikers, is something that is actually great for beginners, helping them get a good feel for what they will be dealing with.

One interesting drawback that this hammock has is the reduced size, most people would find it rather restrictive and tight. This is mostly due to the fact that most people expect a loose and comfortable fit when it comes to hammocks, however, it is not something that would actually impact the overall experience or cause any issues.

All in all, it is a great addition for people that are new to outdoor activities or are looking for smaller more portable hammocks to carry around.

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OuterEQ portable lightweight hammock

OuterEQ portable lightweight hammock

Shipping weight: 1 pounds

Supported weight: 300 pounds

Material: Parachute nylon fabric

Size: One (single hammock)

Best use: Traveling, outdoor activities, harsh conditions

The OuterEQ is a type of hammock that tends to go unseen or unnoticed by a lot of hikers, the only ones that end up taking advantage of it being the ones that stop and read about it.

That being said this hammock is more or less the perfect balance between strength and portability that you can find. It’s made out of parachute grade nylon, however not the infamously famous 210T but rather a mode dense and structured nylon blend. This fabric allows the skin to breathe properly, insulates the wearer from the elements and provides a nice and stable level of tensile strength.

In terms of portability, the hammock is able to be folded and packed inside a travel bag as small as a bag of chips, its rectangular shape making it easy to attach to your backpack as a satchel or use like a small pillow between your head and backpack.

This hammock is also great in more harsher environments, being able to protect and insulate properly as well as double up as a shelter if the need arises. Also to be noted here is the fact that this is one of the hammocks that is a lot more resistant to wear and tear and frictional stress than others, so you don’t really have to worry about the impact that harsh weather would have on it.

One downside to this hammock is the fact that it does not come with everything that you need in order to get it up and running. In fact, it comes with the bare basics, requiring you to go out and purchase the ropes, straps, clamps and whatever else you feel you need. These bits can be purchased easily from your local sporting goods store or hardware store, so it’s not really that big of a deal.

All in all, this is one of those purchases that you make once but end up with a very strong product that will last you quite a long time.

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Double nest by Eagles Nest Outfitters

Double nest by Eagles Nest Outfitters

Shipping weight: 1.45 pounds

Supported weight: 400 pounds

Material: 70D high tenacity nylon with triple interlocking stitching

Size: Two (double hammock)

Best use: Home, travel, backpacking, general outdoor activities and environments

It is rather rare that we come across a product that the manufacturer clearly puts heart into, much less a hammock.

That being said, there is a small warning on the actual manufacturer’s listing stating that because of the fact that they use every bit of fabric and resource in order to create the Double Nest Hammock, the 2 tone color scheme might vary slightly.

While the color scheme is interesting, the real strength of the hammock actually lies in the fabric that is being used. 70D Nylon is a high tenacity fabric which is made to stand toe to toe with some of the toughest and most demanding conditions that it could face. It is resistant to tears and rips, it is able to stretch enough so that it can support up to 400 pounds and still hold enough tensile strength to be able to swing that weight from side to side.

Another great thing about this hammock is that it comes with everything that you need in order to set it up, from wire aluminum carabiners to nautical grade ropes that can help you secure the hammock to pretty much anything.

Portability is where this hammock falls a bit short because it can be folded and wrapped into a small portable sack. Because of the rounded shape of the sack, it can be a bit difficult to actually attach it to something like your backpack. It does have a small strap on the side which can help you in that regard, however, because of its positioning, you will have to negotiate some weird positions.

Despite the small portability problem, this is a great hammock to have in all situations, being able to improve your experience with the comfort that brings to the table.

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Bear Butt double parachute hammock

Bear Butt double parachute hammock

Shipping weight: 0.02 pounds

Supported weight: 500 pounds

Material: Parachute grade nylon

Size: Two (double hammock)

Best use: Home, travel, backpacking, general outdoor activities and environments, rough terrain and harsh conditions

The Bear Butt Hammock is more or less the heavyweight champion of ultralight hammocks. This is mostly because of the fact that it can withstand the pressure of a combined weight of 500 pounds pressing down on it without breaking. The company Bear Butt did state that their double parachute hammock can support the weight of a grizzly bear and that seems about right.

The material used in the making of this hammock plays an important role in its strength. It’s made out of parachute grade Nylon, however, the actual coding or chemical class remains a Bear Butt secret for now. It is more than capable of supporting 2, up to 3, fully grown average adults and their pet, while at the same time being light enough, and portable enough, to be carried around everywhere.

In regards to portability, the way in which it achieves it is by being folded tightly to the point where it can fit in a small sack, smaller than an average bottle of water. It is the rounded shape that can be a problem when it comes to strapping it on your gear, however, it is small enough to fit just about any strap. That being said you can more or less use any old strap you have lying around or anything from your local sporting goods or hardware shops.

Another great thing about this hammock is the fact that it comes with everything that you need in order to set it up and relax, without having to shop for anything else. All the cords and all the clamps are there, along with the guarantee and warranty that Bear Butt provides.

All in all, this is a hammock that is designed for everyone, to be used in any kind of environment regardless of harshness and weather conditions, and still be able to provide a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

Check the price on Amazon

Ultralight hammock by Grand Trunk

Ultralight hammock by Grand Trunk

Shipping weight: 0.45 pounds

Supported weight: 200 pounds

Material: Polyester

Size: One (single hammock)

Best use: Light leisure activities, mild environments, and outdoor conditions

While it is true that this is not the strongest nor the most imposing of hammocks, it is among the most affordable. Indeed this ultralight hammock is the low-end price point hammock that you can purchase and use in mild conditions without having to worry about anything else.

The Grand Trunk Hammock is a simple one, made out of polyester fabric, which is able to support up to 200 pounds without the risk of tearing up and ripping.

Something that should be noted about this hammock is the fact that, unlike most other hammocks which use carabiners, this one uses strong S-shaped hooks in order to be anchored to trees and structures.

In regards to portability, it folds nicely into a small and portable little cylindrical sack which can be attached to your backpack by using straps or simply popping it inside if you have a bit of spare room considering it is about the size of a bottle of water.

While it does not have much to offer in terms of strength, endurance or special features, it is still a simple yet reliable and comfortable hammock that is affordable and available for people that are looking for just that.

Check the price on Amazon

In conclusion

When it comes to ultralight hammocks, there is certainly no shortage of choice on the market. There is something there for everyone, from the most demanding to the least interested, which can fit any kind of environment, surrounding or general location.

happy couple in hammock

As long as you have a clear understanding of what you are looking for as well as the needs that you will have to deal with while on your hike or trip, you are certain to find the right ultralight hammock for you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.