Last winter I won a contest! DD Hammocks selected me as one of three people to receive a free camping hammock from their extensive line of hammocks and accessories, designed for backpackers and other outdoorsmen. I said thanks, but inwardly I sighed and wished somebody else had won. I’m not a hammock kind of person although I do sometimes take one along on a canoe trip, to stow gear upon rather than to lie about in. I’ve since tried the DD Camping Hammock, the basic model in their production lineup, and although it’s nice my opinion of hammocks hasn’t changed.
This camping hammock does have good features including a double-layered zippered main section of tough rip-stop nylon and very well designed nylon straps and fittings. You can crawl into this one without fear of material collapsing under you. If you’re inclined to sleep in sacks that close over your head, you can lie between the hammock layers and zip it closed, to keep bugs away. I did not find this comfortable at all. I’ve slept in too many places where swamp mosquitoes find tent walls a minor hindrance, and if you touch the fabric sometime during the night they have a very focused feast on that body part. The ripstop nylon in this hammock won’t stop that sort of mosquito without at least some extra padding (something you can also buy at DD Hammock).
You could improve on this basic hammock by using a few marbles or pebbles as tie-points and running guy lines to pull the upper layer off your face. Since the cloth isn’t waterproof you’ll also need a rain tarp. By buying several of the accessories DD Hammock sells, including a rain-fly and a mosquito net, you can assemble a nice hammock camping system based on this basic hammock, but by itself it’s not quite adequate.
I still prefer tents. A tent with a good rain-fly gets me through all sorts of weather, with space for my gear as well as myself. If you like hammocks, just be sure you like them well enough to sleep in one before you plan to do that for a week. Try one out for a night, in your back yard, before you make it your primary gear. If you aren’t accustomed to sleeping in a hammock you might not be able to walk the next morning. Hammocks put lots of stress on the tendons and ligaments in your knees. People in the Amazon sleep on them sideways to get away from that uncomfortable curve, but a hammock that wide isn’t very practical for camping. I tied mine between an 8 inch diameter hickory and a 7 inch diameter ash during my test drive in the yard here, and even with the hammock stretched tight at chest level my ass sank nearly to the ground when I got in. Trees flex, so find big ones.