- Hummingbird Hammocks
- Hummingbird Hammocks
- The Hummingbird Ultralight Single Hammock ($65) weighs just 7 ounces and helps evenly distribute your weight to ease back and joint pain during outdoor adventures.
- It also fits in your pocket so it’s great for backpacking when every ounce and inch of space counts, BBQs, or just beach days.
- It’s more expensive than most hammocks at $65, but it’s durable, military grade, and has a lifetime guarantee.
I adore spending time outside. Winter means skiing under sunny skies, but summer is my favorite because there’s more variety of outdoor adventures. Weekends are spent hiking, backpacking, and lounging at the lake before getting a beach bonfire roaring around sunset.
But there’s one downside of spending all day outside – it can be hard on your body, especially when you’re sitting on uneven ground or hard picnic tables. Perching on a stump at a campsite is uncomfortable after about 10 minutes, but bulky camping chairs are difficult to carry. And if you’re backpacking – camping for days in a row with all your gear on your back – there’s no way you can carry the extra weight of a chair.
That’s why I’m beyond glad that I stumbled on Hummingbird Hammocks, a company that makes hammocks out of ultralight parachute fabric.
I have the Ultralight Single Hammock ($65). The combined weight of the hammock and straps is just seven ounces and the hammock packs into a bag smaller than your palm. The incredibly low weight should please backpackers – it’s much easier to carry than a bulky folding chair. It’s small enough to toss into a purse but easily expands to hang between trees, posts, or branches that are about 15 feet apart.
When I’ve used the hammock previously, I’ve found that it somehow also makes my back feel better, especially on multi-day backpacking trips. But to ensure it wasn’t just my imagination, I reached out to a chiropractor, who said my experience was typical.
According to Brandon Meade of Kentucky’s Meade Chiropractic, “The seated position places more pressure on the joints and discs of the spine than any other position. And when sitting on a picnic bench, stump, or the ground, most people will tend to lean forward. This can raise the pressure on the joints of the spine to be nearly eight times greater when compared to a supine (on your back) position. Lying in a hammock will allow the spine to have the proper curvature and also reduce the amount of pressure placed on the joints of the spine.”
So, there we go – hammocks can help your back.
If you love spending summer days in nature but find your activities limited by the potential for back pain, a hammock may make the difference between “wow” and “ow” during your next outdoor adventure. Here are my experiences after using the Ultralight Single Hammock ($65).
The Ultralight Single Hammock looks much like any other. It fits one person comfortably and comes in six colors, but the real ingenuity of its design is evident when it’s packed up.
All of Hummingbird’s hammocks fold up into their own incredibly small attached stuff sacks. The single hammock folds into a bag approximately 6 inches long, 4 inches wide, and 2 inches thick, and weighs just 5 ounces, or one-third of a pound. That makes it one of the lightest hammocks on the market. And the tree straps (sold separately) won’t weigh you down either – they weigh just 1.5 ounces.
If you go for the extra-long hammock for $70, it adds just 3 ounces to the overall weight.
The Hummingbird Hammock is extremely easy to set up, even if you’ve never used a hammock.
Both ends of the hammock have lightweight cording with a loop-and-button system. Just wrap the cords around two trees, snap the loop around the end of your hammock straps, and you’re ready to sit. Hummingbird Hammock recommends stringing hammocks between trees approximately 10 to 15 feet apart, each at least 8 inches in diameter to protect the tree.
The hammocks work with any hammock tree straps, or you can buy the Hummingbird brand ones for an extra $29. Hummingbird brand straps are made with military-grade materials, so they’re durable and lightweight. The straps use a technology similar to a finger trap. The cords will easily extend in length until they’re engaged (like when you sit on the hammock), at which time they become taut and hold the hammock in place. It’s an interesting use of simple technology and works quite well, even when the hammock nears its 350-pound weight limit.
What makes it stand out
What makes this hammock special is the size and weight.
You won’t find a better option that folds down as small or weighs as little as this. It’s ideal for distance backpackers who need to make sure every inch and ounce in their packs count, but it’s also ideal for clipping to the side of your purse when you’re headed out to a campfire or soccer game. It takes no effort to carry but may make all the difference when it comes to alleviating back and joint pain after a day spent outside.
All Hummingbird Hammocks also have a lifetime guarantee, so they’re designed to last for decades.
Cons to consider
Aside from the slightly steep price tag, I’ve yet to find any physical cons with this hammock. It seems like a low price to pay for comfort out on the trails, but it’s certainly more expensive than a basic hammock you’d buy at a superstore.
The Ultralight Single Hammock has a simple and straightforward design, which lends itself to efficient functionality as there aren’t a lot of parts or pieces that can malfunction. Hummingbird also makes a double hammock with a weight limit of 300 pounds, so if weight is a concern, go for the larger size at $75.
The bottom line
If you love spending time outside but hate the back pain that comes after sitting on logs and park benches, the Ultralight Single Hammock may be perfect for you.
These hammocks are quick and easy to hang, making them ideal for campers or hikers who want to take a break on the trails. It weighs less than half a pound including the straps – that’s as light as it gets.
By evenly distributing your weight across your joints and ensuring you’re always sitting on a level surface, the hammock is much better for your body than sitting on the ground. And since it’s small enough to throw in your pocket, there’s no reason not to carry it with you on trips to the beach or the woods. Being able to spread out your weight and lay on a level surface is better for your joints than sitting on stumps and picnic tables.
There’s no shortage of outdoor brands making durable hammocks, but there aren’t any as light as the Hummingbird Hammock, and certainly none that pack up as small. The closest competition is the 5.5-ounce hammock from Sea To Summit, though it’s more expensive at $89. You’ll also need to buy tree straps, which cost an additional $20+ and weigh another five ounces. That makes the combined weight of the hammock and straps 10 ounces – 3 ounces more than the Hummingbird Hammock set up.
If price is your primary consideration, you’ll find larger – but heavier options – from outdoor stores like REI starting around $25.
Pros: lightweight, helps redistribute weight better and alleviate back and joint pain, great for distance backpackers, folds up small, quick and easy to set up, holds up to 350 lb, made of durable fabric, and has a lifetime guarantee
Cons: Occasionally sold out, not the cheapest hammock, straps need to be purchased separately