When we reached camp and I had time to fiddle with the Hennessy system, I was happy to have it with me. It’s a sexy number, featuring an asymmetrical design through the “bed” of the hammock. I’ve had trouble sleeping overnight in my Grand Trunk because it can feel like a claustrophobic cocoon, and I tend to spread one (or both) knees to the side for extra room. The Hennessy design skirts this problem with extra room built into the fabric—it contours to the body.
The shape also works well with the zippered mesh covering, and that’s the hammock’s true claim to fame: full closure. It didn’t make a major difference at 9,000+ feet in Colorado, but that mesh covering could do wonders against the bugs and humidity of lower elevations.
Hennessy was born and bred on the western coast of Canada, where founder Tom Hennessy invented the design for camping in the muggy, buggy woods on his home Galiano Island. It’s modeled after a World War II U.S. Army hammock, which might explain the old-school lashing system. It might also explain the additional rope tie-downs on the hammock and rainfly. The system doesn’t come with tent stakes, and so the instructions recommend lashing to ropes to nearby trees, bushes and rocks. (I recommend investing in a cheap set of stakes, just because.)
The rainfly/canopy is another welcome addition over bare-bones hammocks. It doesn’t fit tight and taut like a tent fly, but instead hangs over the hammock in a similar asymmetrical shape. It hangs over the hammock just enough to double as a cover for backpacks, shoes and other gear. You can sleep with all this in the hammock, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Sleeping with anything but a dog in any hammock is obnoxious.
The learning curve. If you aren’t familiar with ropes—or aren’t willing to learn—opt for a recreational model instead, like a Grand Trunk or ENO. I was able to set up and tear down the Hennessy Expedition in about five minutes after a few practice sessions at camp, but I still had a bad taste in my mouth from the aborted sunset photo shoot. Tent poles are intuitive—this hammock is not.
The Hennessy Expedition is made for a specific audience: veteran outdoorsmen who want the comforts of a high-end shelter when they camp solo. The design is smart, the zippered mesh closure is a lifesaver, and the included rainfly makes it a true three-season weapon. You also can’t beat the weight and size for the price. Just be sure to practice setup before leaving home.