Relax in Style: The Best Lightweight Hammocks for the Outdoors If you've found the best lightweight hammock, that means you've found a great piece of gear to carry with you and set up on lazy afternoons By: Atticus Lee - Posted: December 1, 2020
Nature offers us plenty of opportunities to push ourselves physically. The stories that dominate social media and magazines often revolve around challenging, painful feats that require a lot of tenacity to pull off. However, one has not truly experienced the beauty of our planet until they have lounged under the sun letting the day pass by. It can be difficult to find a comfortable spot to lay down when you’re outdoors. Oftentimes, rocks and twigs make the ground less than ideal for laying on. Insects like earwigs and ants are attracted to the smell of humans, and can further complicate matters. The best lightweight hammocks allow you to avoid these problems and fully relax.
Whether napping on a rest day or meditating on a weekend escape, relaxing outside is an underrated pastime.
Modern travel hammocks are lighter than ever. Because of improvements in materials, most hiking hammocks will pack down to the size of a coffee mug and weigh less than a pound. This means they are easier to carry with you. Whether you’re on a hiking trip, car camping with the family, or hanging out in the park, a lightweight hammock is a great piece of gear to carry with you and set up on lazy afternoons.
We looked at the top brands producing lightweight hammocks and picked out our favorites. Read on to find out about the best lightweight hiking hammocks.
Keep in mind that none of these hammocks come with tree strap systems, those must be purchased separately. Many brands will give you a deal for bundling a hammock and straps.
The Roo Single hammock from Kammok is designed to be comfortable enough to camp in. It has lots of small details that will improve your experience when using it in any situation, making it the ideal hammock for one person. For starters, the fabric has been specially designed to be both strong and comfortable against the skin. Their Gravitas 40D ripstop nylon is highly breathable and soft, allowing you to feel the breeze on hot days. It is also extra tough and can hold up to 400 pounds while resisting tearing.
A good hammock is a roomy hammock. Perhaps the most unfortunate thing that can happen while using a hammock is to slip out of the side because it’s too small to handle you rolling over. Although the Roo is sold as a single person hammock it can actually hold two people. At 4 feet 2 inches wide, it’s amazingly capable at holding you as you roll from side to side or spread diagonally across it.
The Roo is sold with two heavy-duty carabiners and Dyneema slings to keep it suspended. This leaves you with a lot of options to set it up. You can purchase a kit from Kammok or use most other hammock suspension systems. Since the attachment points are so simple yet strong, it gives you a lot of flexibility.
One of the best features on the Roo is the multiple reinforced gear loops attached all along the edge of the hammock netting. This allows you to easily hang extra things like a backpack or water bottle within reach without having to jam it into the hammock with you.
Hammocking is great, but what’s even better is sharing a hammock with someone you love. If you have ever tried to squeeze two people onto a single person hammock, you know it’s claustrophobic at best and presents the potential for flipping and dumping you both out on the ground. Eagle Nest Outfitters makes the Doublenest hammock to accommodate love birds or any other pair that may want to lay in rest together.
One of the biggest design details that goes into making a good two-person hammock is getting the width and depth right. The Doublenest has been tested for many years and does a good job of keeping you secure while also not smashing you into your partner. One of the drawbacks of this design is that it makes the hammock noticeably heavier. At 1.2 pounds, it certainly isn’t the most portable hammock available. Still, it offers a lot of comfort that we believe is important in this category.
The Doublenest comes in a variety of interesting color combinations and looks very inviting when it’s hung up. It has a maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds, which is plenty for two. It provides the perfect place to relax with a partner peacefully cocooned away.
Hummingbird is a newer and smaller brand in the hammock business. Their unique approach to making hammocks is quickly earning them recognition for the quality of their products. Hummingbird’s secret is that they use repurposed parachute fabric on all of their products. The fabric is not only incredibly light, but it also packs better than the competition. Hummingbird has gone several steps further in making their hammocks ultralight. By using dye sublimation to color their fabrics, they are able to shave off extra grams of weight. Even their attachment systems are designed without metal to minimize weight and pack size.
The result of the efforts by the folks behind hummingbird hammocks is a piece of gear that begs to be stowed away on every trip. Even if you don’t use it, the weight and size of the Hummingbird hammock aren’t enough to be bothersome. You never have to be hammock-less again, always ready for the opportunity to nap for a while. The packed stuff sack is about the size of an orange, small enough to get lost in a backpack.
Hummingbird hammocks are made in the USA, using only true parachute fabric (which is also made in the USA). The fabric is uncoated, which helps it breathe and let sweat out. It’s also windproof to help keep warm on cooler, windier days.
At just 5.2 ounces the Hummingbird Single is the lightest hammock around. It’s a great minimalist hammock that will keep you comfortable and keep your bag from filling up. Throw it in your 60L backpack for multi-day hikes, your bike bag on the way down to the park, or into a day bag for carrying to school or work. There is no place that the Hummingbird Single won’t comfortably go.
For many climates, hammocks are useless without a bug net. You won’t be able to get any rest if mosquitoes are buzzing around your face. Forget trying to close the edges of the hammock, the bugs are always going to find a way in. What you need is a hammock with a bug net to keep the bloodsuckers at bay. There are many options for bug-proof hammocks, most of them are aimed at the hammock camping audience and reflect that in price and features. For someone who wants a casual hammock, many options are likely to be too big of an investment.
The Bug Net Hammock from Hammock Gear is the best entry-level bug net hammock we could find. It comes with an attached ridgeline to keep the net taught and voluminous, and the zippered entries are easy to use and require no extra set up. It does cost significantly more than other hammocks, but the extra cost is worth it if you live in an area with lots of mosquitoes.
Like most other mesh protected hammocks, the Bug Net offers some extra features for those who want to stay in it longer. The mesh ridgeline has a hanging storage bag that can be used to hold a phone or some snacks. Along the outer edge of the hammock there are gear loops for keeping your essentials close by.
The Crua Koala hammock is distinctive when compared to other lightweight outdoor hammocks because it utilizes a spreader bar to give you more space when laying down. If you tend to get claustrophobic or just want a bit more room for your head and feet, the Koala is a great choice.
There are many more reasons why the Crua Koala is an amazingly comfortable hammock. It also features a 360-degree bug net attachment, 7 gear pockets, and system adjustments for using it in both seated and laying down positions. While the bug net isn’t as easy to use as Hammock Gear’s version, it still gets the job done and packs up separately in case you don’t need it.
The Crua Koala is a great option for those looking to extend their time in the hammock and invest in something that will provide superior comfort. We like that it is a modular system, and can be used without the spreader bars or bug mesh in order to reduce the weight. If you want something that can adapt to give you both superior comfort and minimal weight on separate occasions, the Crua Koala provides an elusive combination of the two.
For many, spending upwards of 60 dollars on a hammock is something that prevents a purchase from ever happening. Especially if you’re unsure of how much you will actually use it, a big investment just doesn’t make sense. There are many cheap hammock options available, some at less than ten dollars. When you get to the cheapest hammocks on the market, the weight and pack size tend to increase dramatically. The Ultralight Starter Hammock from Grand Trunk comes in at a scant 12 ounces and costs considerably less than other hammocks in its weight class.
As far as features go, the Ultralight Starter is fairly minimalist in design. It comes with an attached stuff sack and carabiners, and that’s about it. The stuff sack can be used as a pocket while you’re in the hammock, giving you a small amount of storage. Other than that the hammock is pretty straightforward and doesn’t have any bells or whistles, so to speak. It’s perfect for the casual crowd, those not wanting to be bogged down with excessive engineering.
The Grand Trunk Ultralight Starter flexes pretty hard on other more expensive hammocks. It features a low weight and pack size, two things that are important to most people. Yes, other hammocks have more features and perhaps a bit more space, but they all cost more than double the price of the Ultralight Starter.
Atticus Lee is an outdoors writer and perpetual traveler. When he’s not writing about adventures and gear, he’s riding his bike across different countries and learning about their cultures. He enjoys coffee, campfires, and street food.
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