Yesterday, we gave you the intro to the hammock comparo series, and told you about the Lawson Blue Ridge. Today, we review another one.
Hennesy Deluxe Explorer A-Sym Zip
And now, for something completely different – this product is made in Canada. Well, sort of. Some of the company’s hammocks are stitched together in China, but the company itself saw its origins on the west coast of Canada, where Tom Hennessy still runs the company from.
The Explorer is a gathered-end hammock; there’s no frame to fold or pack away, like the Blue Ridge. You’re cocooned when you lie in it, and it’s a very relaxing feeling. If you’re the sort of person who can’t sleep in a mummy sleeping bag, it might not work, but I found it very comfortable.
By the way, the reason for the weird name is the hammock puts you in an asymmetrical sleeping position – you’re on an angle to the centre line, which makes for a more comfortable position. And, you enter this hammock from a zippered side opening, not a Velcro opening in the bottom, like some of their other lineup.
The Explorer (Hennessy has several other models available as well) packs quite easily into a stuff sack, or into the Snake Skins that are included with your online purchase.
Basically, the Snake Skins are a pair of long, skinny stuff sacks that let you hang your hammock from the trees without having to drag it on the ground, getting it dirty and risking a tear. They’re pretty slick.
There are a few other accessories available for the Explorer that also help make life easier, including a thermal pad that’s designed to loosely clip into the bottom of your hammock. This heat-reflective pad looks suspiciously similar to something you’d place in your car windshield to reflect the sun; it does a decent job of cutting wind and keeping you warmer, but it doesn’t pack as compactly as the rest of the Hennesy stuff. It costs around $30.
Another accessory that many users spring for is an upgraded rainfly. This hexagonal tarp is larger than the one that comes with the hammock; users say it does a better job of blocking wind and rain. Hennessy sent me a hex fly, and it’s the one I used.
Some models already include an upgraded rainfly, but for those that don’t, you can expect to shell out around $80 or more for an upgrade.
I found the Hennessy system was enjoyable to use, although not as easy to set up as the Lawson hammock, or the one from Warbonnet. It helps if you know a few knots, as you can use the rigging system much more effectively if you can tie knots that not only support the load properly, but are adjustable.
It gets significantly easier to set this hammock up after you’ve used it a few times, though, and once you’ve got the rigging figured out, the Hennessy provides a fantastic sleep.
If you must, you can jury-rig the Hennnessy as a ground tent, but I’d prefer not to.
The Explorer Deluxe A-Sym has a 210D Oxford nylon hammock, with 70D PU-coated ripstop polyester rainfly. It weighs a little over 3 lbs, and has a 300-lb capacity. It packs to five inches by eight inches by 12 inches in the included stuffsack, and fits users all the way to seven feet tall.
At around $220, the Hennessy is pricier than the Lawson, but cheaper than some of the competition.
You can quickly raise the price tag a lot if you start adding accessories; however, if those accessories help you avoid paying for motels on the road, they may prove to be bargains.
If you want, you can actually build a customized hammock with the accessories you want on Hennessy’s website, which is a neat option.
Tomorrow: The Warbonnet Blackbird, and the conclusion.
Check out all the pics that go with this story! Click on the main sized pic to transition to the next or just press play to show in a slideshow.