You are hiking or are preparing to hike some trail but when you weigh your gear you see it’s quite heavy.
In fact, I had the same problem before.
I weighted every item I was carrying and came to the conclusion that my sleep system was quite heavy compared to other setups.
I thought it’s was because i had a hammock setup instead of a tent.
But after some research I found out that it’s not hard to have an ultralight hammock setup.
Let me guide you trough some of the gear I found to be a good fit for an ultralight backpacking hammock setup.
The Ultralight Hammock
Double or single person hammock?
I always choose a double person hammock because of the extra width it offers me. It’s important to have a good diagonal lay. Aim for at least 5 feet of width.
Double layer or single layer?
For me, having an ultralight hammock means going to a single layer hammock. I don’t mind the fact that I can’t use a pad because I have an underquilt. If you do want to go ultralight but don’t have an underquilt I suggest you get one.
Let’s get to the recommended ultralight hammocks.
The Warbonnet Blackbird XLC – $180
- 11 feet long
- 62 inches wide
- 25.5 ounces
- Bug net included
The Warbonnet XLC is 11 feet long and 62 inches wide. It weighs just 25.5 ounces and can handle weights up to 250 pounds. It does have a built in bug net and a shelf / footbox to help store your gear.
Dream Hammock Darien – $110
- 11 feet long
- 58 inches wide
- 16 ounces
- Bug net included
If you choose this hammock you’ll get a stuff sack, ridgeline, continuous loops and the hammock. It’s 11 feet long and 58 inches wide; just 4 inches narrower than the Warbonnet XLC.
The hammock is made from 1.6oz HyperD Diamond Ripstop with hooks for an underquilt and tie outs. It will handle weights of up to 275 pounds but weighs an impressive 16 ounces (without stuff sack). You can even choose your preferred color.
Dutchwaregear Chameleon – $175
- 11 feet long
- 68 inches wide
- 22 ounces
- Removable bug net
The theory behind this design is that you’ll have everything you need to create the perfect setup regardless of where you are going.
The Chameleon has an impressive width of 68 inches; that’s the widest of these three. It is 11 feet long and can support weights of up to 350 pounds. This gives it the potential to be the most practical and strongest hammock on this list.
But, the important question is what does it weigh? Surprisingly this beast weighs 22 ounces; this includes the hammock and bug net. That makes it an attractive option. You can remove the bug netting if you don’t need to bring it with you which will save you some weight.
Half-Wit Hammock from Dutchwaregear (coming soon)
Ultralight Suspension Options – $60
Whether your hammock arrives with suspension or not it is quite possible that you can improve on it. Take a look at these whoopie slings and tree straps and you’ll see what I mean.
The whoopie hooks are designed to hold 1,000 pounds and yet, because they are made from titanium they weigh just a tenth of an ounce each!
Add in the specially designed slings and tree huggers to a pair of hooks and you’re still only looking at 3.5 ounces. Now weigh your existing set up and you’ll see how big a difference this is. That’s going to make a huge difference when you’re reaching the end of a tough day hiking.
The set that weights 3.5 ounces comes in at around $60. It’s not the cheapest option. To go cheaper you can make the whoopie slings and the tree huggers yourself. Order some nylon webbing and amsteel rope with a splicing tool. Check out some youtube videos on how to make a whoopie sling and you are set!
The Bug Netting
There are two choices when it comes to bug nets and this will depend on the hammock you’ve chosen:
All the hammocks listed in this article come with an attached or removable bug net. I will advise you to get a hammock where the bug netting is already integrated. It doesn’t weigh that much more and is very convenient.
If you like camping in winter, you can choose for a hammock without integrated bug net. You don’t need the bug netting in winter anyways. But remember that your choice of hammocks to choose from will be limited. When you do go summer camping you need to bring an independent bug net with you. This will add more weight because it goes around your hammock instead of on top.
The next thing to consider in your ultralight hammock setup is your tarp. Again this is an invaluable piece of equipment. No matter how good the weather looks; it can change. No one enjoys sleeping in the rain.
Two of the best lightweight options are Zpacks dyneema tarp or the cheaper DD superlight tarp. THere are a lot more options and you can even make your own custom one. But for now let’s stick with these will known tarps.
Zpacks Dyeema – $275
- 6.4 ounces
- 8.5′ x 10′
These are rectangular in shape and made from olive drab .51 oz/sqyd Dyneema Composite Fabric. You can get one 7ft by 9ft which weighs 5.2 ounces or one that is 8.5ft by 10ft and weighs 6.4 ounces. Your decision should be based on the size of your hammock; you need coverage at the sides as well as the top to ensure protection from the rain.
DD Lightweight Tarp – $109
- 16 ounces
- 10ft x 10ft
In contrast, the DD Superlight Tarp is made from ripstop nylon with a waterproof coating. It’s more rugged but significantly heavier at 16 ounces. It is also square and measures 10 ft on both sides.
It’s also worth noting that the DD Tarp will cost you approximately $109. This is significantly less than the Zpacks which will cost you $275 for a tarp that’s a little smaller and more fragile.
The final pieces of your ultralight hammock set up are the under quilt and the topquilt. In really good weather you may not need these but, as soon as it turns cold you’ll be grateful for them.
For your underquilt you can choose the full length phoenix-20 which is 52 inches long and 45 inches wide. It weighs 15.43 ounces.
If you’re happy the weather won’t turn against you too much then you can always opt for the ¾ length version and supplement it with a beanie and foot pad if necessary.
However, it is worth noting that your comfort when sleeping is important; that’s when you recharge ready to face a new day.
Lightweight Top Quilts
In respect of the top quilt you’ll be hard pushed to beat the burrow 20. This can be purchased in a variety of lengths, ranging from 69 inches (17.84 ounces) to 79 inches (19.31 ounces).
There are wider versions available which take you from 50 inches to 55 inches but you unlikely to feel the benefit of this is worth the extra 2 – 4 ounces.
Setup #1 – Budget Option
|Hammock||Dream Hammock Darien||16||$110|
|Suspension system||DIY Suspension kit||10||$40|
|Under Quilt||Incubator Econ 20||25||$150|
|Top Quilt||Burrow Econ 20||22.3||$160|
Setup #2 – Splurge
|Suspension system||Already included||0||$0|
|Under Quilt||Yeti 3/4||12.5||$200|
|Top Quilt||Burrow 20||18.6||$259|
Ready To Go Lightweight?
You will see that going lightweight is not very expensive. What are your toughts? Let me know in the comments.