ENO (Eagle’s Nest Outfitters) DoubleNest hammock, Guardian BugNet, and DryFly rain tarp
Dimensions: 6′ 8″ x 9′ 10″
Maximum Weight 400lbs
Dimensions: 9′ 5 ” x 4′ 5 ”
Poly-Treated Ripstop Nylon
Dimensions: 10’6” x 5’2”
NOTE: The ENO components reviewed here—the DoubleNest Hammock, SlapStraps, DryFly, and Guardian BugNet—are all available separately; I purchased all four since this combination seemed best suited to my personal camping needs.
(More information on using a hammock for kayak-camping here.)
Like most ENO products, the DoubleNest hammock is packed in its own snug little stuff sack with integrated compression strap, and is the size of the proverbial grapefruit. The optional SlapStraps—nylon webbing for hanging your hammock—pack down to the size of the proverbial slices of wheat toast. The DryFly and Guardian BugNet are similarly delivered in compact bundles, making them easy to pack into the spare nooks of a kayak compartment or backpack. Altogether, this combination weighs 4.5 lbs., about 60% more than a compact one-person backpacking tent, and about the same as a similar two-person tent. Depending on the season or climate of your backcountry trip, though, you can pack only the bits needed, making the system very modular and versatile, adapting to the circumstances. When kayak-camping, weight is generally less a concern than space, and the modular components are more easily packed in a cargo hold.
The hammock itself is made of a silky, lightweight, breathable nylon with integrated, heavy-duty end loops and hardware-store-grade snap links (I replaced mine with climbing carabiners). Several color combinations are available. The ripstop nylon DryFly includes sturdy tieout points and guylines for staking, and the zippered BugNet is made of a black fine-mesh no-see-um netting.
The ENO SlapStraps (or your own sturdy ropes) are simply looped around the two trees, about 5-6 feet above the ground, and each end of the ENO hammock clipped into them with the included snap links. Once the hammock is rigged, the attached stuff sack in which it was packed serves as a convenient cargo pocket for headlamp, eyeglasses, and other personal items you may want to keep handy.
Though ENO offers a few sizes of hammocks, my 5’10″, 175-lb. frame is quite comfortable sleeping solo in their DoubleNest, and I haven’t yet tried doubling-up.
When camping during insect season, the Guardian BugNet provides indispensable protection. Slipped over the hammock and suspended by the included ridgeline, the BugNet expands and contracts with the hammock, and the sleeper enters and exits through a large vertical zipper on one side. The no-see-um netting keeps out even the most persistent buggy pests.
For protection from rain and sun, the ripstop-nylon DryFly provides ample coverage, rigged to the same two trees as the hammock, and staked out with six tent stakes. The DryFly’s guy lines may be staked out widely for a broad coverage area, or staked narrow for snugger protection when the rain comes down sideways. Like the BugNet, the DryFly’s integrated stuff sack becomes a cargo pocket for campsite gear. For even more coverage area and better protection, consider ENO’s larger ProFly.
At first, a complete hammock rig such as the ENO can be a bit complicated to setup and adjust, but, like all things, gets faster and easier with practice. To save setup time, I’ve taken to packing my DoubleNest hammock already slipped inside the BugNet, with the carabiners hanging out of each end, all packed in my own medium stuff sack. It’s quick work to cinch the SlapStraps onto a pair of trees and clip in the hammock-with-bugnet. Rigging the ridgeline and staking out the DryFly adds another few minutes; the whole thing takes little more time than a compact tent, without the need to look for a suitable flat, level spot.
In The Long Run
Aside from bedding down in the dirt like a woodland beast, there is perhaps no more immersive way to sleep than in a hammock. Cozily nestled in my ENO DoubleNest, I’ve watched distant lightening storms moving over the open water, seen the lights of passing Great Lakes freighters, and witnessed eerily silent displays of the aurora borealis.
Besides sleeping, a hammock is a comfortable place to simply laze around the campsite. Even when I plan to spend the night in a tent or Adirondack shelter, I often sling my ENO hammock between a couple of nearby trees or out on a solitary point of land overlooking the water for a bit of afternoon loafing.
After using the ENO DoubleNest for several seasons of weeklong kayak-touring trips, it’s become my favorite way to sleep.
Hits: needs only trees, compact, modular and versatile, immersive camping experience
Misses: requires trees, somewhat heavier than comparable solo tent, initially complicated and time-consuming to setup, colder