How We Tested Hammocks

By:
Penney Garrett & Maggie Brandenburg

Last Updated:
Thursday
May 10, 2018
Testing isn't always easy  but we hope our struggles and fails help you make the choice that makes sense for you!
Testing isn't always easy, but we hope our struggles and fails help you make the choice that makes sense for you!

We have spent several hundred hours and many seasons "hanging around" backcountry campsites, campgrounds, and city parks, to evaluate how all the best hammock models perform in a multitude of environments. Each product was rated on the same criteria: comfort, weight, ease of setup, protection/durability, and versatility. As new and impressive products become available, we test, test, and retest!

We evaluated comfort for sitting, lounging, and sleeping each time we slung a 'mock between two trees. Our reviewers tested multiple positions to find the ones that were the most comfortable for each model. Sometimes the difference between a sore neck and a dreamy good time was scooting down an inch, adjusting the tension, or laying more diagonally. We experimented a lot and had fun doing it.

Just another hard day at the office with the help of the very comfortable Blackbird.
Just another hard day at the office with the help of the very comfortable Blackbird.

We include details about each model's material. We also tell you what they feel and perform like in the real world. Throughout the review, we note which fabrics and connectors feel comfortable and robust and which seem delicate or feel scratchy.

We weighed each model with all the bells and whistles and just the essentials. We loaded each one into a backpack and a shoulder bag to compare sizes to see which are the best to carry into the backcountry and which are clutch for a BBQ hang out or car camping site. We set up every sling so many times in a bunch of different environmental settings to dig into how easy (or not) they were to use.

We tested accessories, used every pocket, fumbled with sleeping pads, and generally moved around inside the 'mocks a whole bunch to get a well-rounded sense of their versatility. We hope our adventures and experiments inform your decisions on what gear to buy and inspire you to get outside and create amazing memories.

Yay hammocks!
Yay hammocks!