Hammock Gear WanderLust Hammock Kit: Detailed Review


Hammock Gear WanderLust Hammock Kit Review

The Hammock Gear Wanderlust Hammock Camping Kit is an all-inclusive hammock system to get you off the ground and hanging without a huge learning curve or time lag. The base system includes an 11′ hammock with an integrated bug net, an ultralight suspension system, and a fully outfitted hex tarp with a knotless suspension and mesh sleeve. The quality of these products is first-rate, as I’ll explain in more depth below. I wish this package had been around when I first got into hammocking 10 years ago. It would have saved me a lot of time, money, and frustration.

When you buy the WanderLust, you also have the option to purchase a Hammock Gear top quilt and underquilt, a 20 degree Economy Burrow Top Quilt, and a 20 degree Economy Incubator Underquilt, for 30% off.  Don’t let the “Economy” in these two product names put you off. They’re also top-shelf products that are perfectly suited for hammock camping and ground use. They’re considered “Economy” models because you can’t customize their colors, size, temperature rating, and feature set, but they’re really quite nice as is. Hammock Gear has also made some changes to the Economy Burrow pad attachment kit since we last reviewed it, which is the icing on the cake.

Let’s dive in. If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I’ll respond. Please see the Hammock Gear website for complete specs. There is just too much detail to reproduce it all here.

The WanderLust Hammock and Suspension


The Wanderlust includes an 11’ symmetric gathered end mosquito hammock
The WanderLust includes an 11’ symmetric gathered end mosquito hammock.

The centerpiece of the WanderLust hammock kit is an 11′ hammock with an integrated bug net and ridgeline. This is a foot longer than the 10′ Warbonnet Blackbird I’ve been using for the past several years (size does matter in hammocks) and there is a notable and added improvement in comfort. The added length makes it much easier to lie flat on a diagonal. The hammock is also symmetrical, so you can lie with your head at either end.

The hammock is designed with zippers on each side so you get in and out which every side you want. There are two big YKK zippers on each side and they have glow-in-the-dark toggles which makes them easier to find by touch or sight at night. The hammock body is made with a nylon ripstop that has a soft hand and is not slippery, so you’re not sliding from one end of the hammock into the middle at night. It also has a max load capacity of 350 lbs, which is quite high. You can unzip the netting completely and stow it in a pocket at one of the ends out of the way, but it’s not removable, so you can’t lose it.


The 11’ length makes it much easier to get a diagonal lay ( I still have my boots one)
The 11’ length makes it much easier to get a diagonal lay ( I still have my boots on) but my feet tuck inside the edge at night.

The hammock also comes with a very simple suspension system that includes two 10′ tree straps with a daisy chain style design that you hook the hammock carabiners to (included). It’s very lightweight and simple to use, but it takes a tiny bit more time (than a cinch buckle or whoopie style suspension) to move the carabiners from one spot on the daisy chain to another, in order to dial in that 30-degree angle between the head end and the foot end for a comfortable lay.

Swapping in a different suspension system is an easy upgrade you can do at a later date if you wish. But honestly, I may just switch to this hammock suspension system because it’s so easy and foolproof to use. I have a drawer full of different straps and titanium buckles that I’ve tried over the years and never been completely satisfied with. This suspension is simpler, it’s ultralight, and there’s nothing to leave at home and forget when packing up for a trip.


The hammock clips to the suspension system with these lightweight carabiners
The hammock clips to the suspension system with these lightweight carabiners

There are also special plastic hooks and rings sewn to the side of the hammock that make it easy to secure a hammock underquilt to the hammock and prevent it from slipping out from underneath you. This is a premium feature that you won’t find on a lot of hammocks or that you need to pay extra for if you have one custom-made. Underquilt slippage is a problem I’ve struggled with for many years and these extra components completely eliminate it. More on this below when I talk about the Incubator underquilt upgrade option.

Finally, the WanderLust hammock comes with a double-ended stuff sack so you can set it up or take it down without the hammock ever touching the ground.  It has openings on both sides with drawcords and cord locks. If your suspension is damp you can leave it on the outside of the sack so your hammock stays dry and/or sap-free.


A double-ended stuff sack is handy because you can stuff it while one end of the hammock is still attached to your suspension system, keeping the hammock off the (wet) ground.
A double-ended stuff sack is handy because you can stuff it while one end of the hammock is still attached to your suspension system, keeping the hammock off the (wet) ground.

There’s a lot of “out-of-the-box” value in this hammock that you’d have to assemble yourself if you tried to configure a basic hammock set up from scratch by buying all of the components from different cottage manufacturers besides Hammock Gear. I’ve done it more than once and it can be a real hassle. Having a one-stop-shop alternative that’s this high quality is a blessing and a relief.

Quest Tarp


The Wanderlust includes an 11’ knotless tarp.
The Wanderlust Kit includes an 11’ knotless tarp.

The WanderLust Kit includes the knotless 11′ Quest Hammock Tarp and a mesh sleeve. This tarp is made with siliconized polyester (silpoly) that resists stretching when it gets wet. It comes outfitted with linelocs on all 6 guylines (2 ridgeline and 4 ground anchors) with pre-cut and attached reflective cord. Aluminum stakes are also included. Rounding these components up from scratch is a hassle and an added expense, so having it done for you, with top-shelf components, is a big value-add.

The tarp’s ridgeline (top seam) does need to be seam-sealed before use to make it waterproof: this isn’t hard but is a bit of a hassle. Hammock Gear includes a tube of seam sealer for this and a brush which makes it easier to accomplish, but it takes a day or two to dry before use. I really wish Hammock Gear would seam tape the ridgeline so you could skip this step but that would probably increase the price somewhat.

You might also want to upgrade the Quest Tarp at a later date with a Dyneema Tarp. Hammock Gear makes a great Dyneema Hex Tarp that I use (it weighs just over 5 oz) and that I have recommended to many people (see our review).


A titanium carabiner connects to the yellow ridgeline eliminating the need for knots
A titanium carabiner connects to the yellow ridgeline eliminating the need for knots.

The tarp has a split line suspension system with linelocs on the ends of the ridgeline so you can tension it easily. The other end of the ridgeline is pre-attached to an ultralight titanium carabiner that you wrap around a tree and clip back onto the line. It’s super easy to use and position over your hammock and there’s plenty of overhang to prevent the hammock from getting wet in the rain.


Porchmode
Porchmode

The tarp is large enough that it can be pitched in what is called porch-mode, by inserting your pole tips into the tarp corners. This is a great option for views or if you carry a camp chair and want a covered place to sit.


Tarp rolled up in its mesh sleeve.
Tarp rolled up in its mesh sleeve. The hammock footprint on the ground is not included in the WanderLust Kit.

While you can fold up the tarp to pack it away, the WanderLust Kit includes a mesh tarp sleeve that you can slide along the length of the tarp. This keeps your cords from getting tangled. You just roll up the tarp and slide the sleeve along it, then stuff it in your backpack and go. If your tarp is wet when you roll it up, the mesh allows it to drain and dry.

Hammock Insulation Upgrade

When you buy the WanderLust Kit, you have the option to add a 20 degree Economy Burrow Top Quilt and the 20 degree Economy Incubator Underquilt at a steep 30% discount.  Contact Hammock Gear for details.


Economy Burrow Top Quilt
The Economy Burrow Top Quilt has horizontal and vertical baffles to prevent down migration.

Economy Burrow Top Quilt – 20 degree

The WanderLust Economy Burrow is a 20 degree top quilt that can be used across a wide temperature range because it comes with a drawstring footbox that you can vent. It’s insulated with 800 fill power RDS certified water-resistant duck down treated with Nikwax DWR with a soft nylon taffeta cover. The Burrow has horizontal baffles over the footbox and vertical baffles over the torso to prevent down migration, with a horizontal baffle around the neck to help seal in warmth. A snap and drawstring closure at the neck lets you adjust your warmth level easily.


The Incubator is wider at the head and torso end and narrower at the feet.
The Incubator is wider at the head and torso end and narrower at the feet.

Economy Incubator Underquilt – 20 degree

The WanderLust Economy Incubator Underquilt is a full-length underquilt that can also be used across a wide temperature range because you can adjust the amount of airflow between it and the bottom of the hammock. The Incubator is shaped wide around your torso and narrower at the legs to save gear weight and because your legs require less insulation than your core.


The underquilt's primary suspension clips to clips along the sides of the hammock
The underquilt’s primary suspension attaches to clips along the sides of the hammock

The Incubator connects to the ends of the hammock with S-biners, which are included. It also has what’s called a primary and secondary suspension that adjusts the underquilt’s position lengthwise along your hammock and how much the air flows underneath (for temperature regulation). The Incubator has down-filled draft collars at both ends, a premium underquilt feature, that is very effective at sealing in warm air in colder temperatures and preventing leakage when you move around at night. Like the Economy Burrow, it is also insulated with water-resistant 800 fill power RDS certified duck down.


The Incubator Underquilt has draft collars that seal in your body heat
The Incubator Underquilt has draft collars that seal in your body heat

I mentioned above that the WanderLust hammock has quilt clips and plastic rings sewn to its sides that let you connect the underquilt to the hammock to keep it in place at night. This is a super feature in my experience, that’s really handy to keep an underquilt aligned with a hammock so it stays wrapped around you at night. You don’t usually get this degree of integration on other vendor’s hammocks and underquilts.

Recommendation

We’re really impressed with Hammock Gear’s WanderLust Economy Hammock Kit and think it’s the most complete and easy-to-use hammock kit available today, with or without the hammock insulation option. The base hammock, suspension, tarp components are knotless and we love the fact that all the components from the guylines, carabiners, quilt clips, tent stakes, the tarp sleeve, and stuff sacks are included so you have a soup-to-nuts hammock camping system ready to go on day one.

The 11′ foot WanderLust hammock is the most comfortable hammock I’ve ever slept in and it is a real step up from the 9′ and 10′ hammocks sold by other hammock vendors, including those that make custom hammocks.  The discounted economy top quilt and underquilt are also top-notch, but we also like the fact that you can apply the 25% discount if you want to personalize or enhance them with custom options.

The only real tradeoffs that you’ll want to consider are cost vs weight considerations. The basic WanderLust Kit weighs 40 oz (which isn’t bad if you want more comfort), but if you add in the insulation option, that grows to 88 oz or 5.5 lbs. We like the fact that you can get started with the basic hammock, suspension, tarp kit from Hammock Gear, and that you have the option to add on the economy or custom insulation option at a later date, without penalty.


When buying a hammock, we suggest getting a groundsheet to go with it, so that you have somewhere clean to stand when you get out at night.
When buying a hammock, we suggest getting a groundsheet to go with it, so that you have somewhere clean to stand when you get out at night. This one from Hammock Gear costs $25.

Comparable Hammock Kits

Kammok sells two different all-in-one gathered-end hammock kits: the Mantis All-in-One Hammock Tent ($239) and the Mantis UL Backpacking Tent ($259) (full review) and while they also feature knotless setups they’re not as spacious or luxurious as the basic WanderLust Kit (hammock, suspension, tarp). Hammock Gear’s top quilt and underquilt insulation options are also vastly superior to those offered by Kammok.

ENO has several different hammock kits available: the OneLink Hammock System ($220), the SubLink ($250) (full review), and the JungleLink ($210). Both the OneLink and SubLink come with 9′ hammocks which are on the short side, so you’ll sleep more like a banana rather than on a diagonal. The JungleLink has a 10′ hammock and is the most comparable hammock system to the WanderLust. It has a whoopie-style suspension system that I’ve recommended and an acceptable tarp. ENO has also expanded their insulation products, but Hammock Gear’s quilts and underquilts are still much better.

Dutchware sells hammock kits including the Complete Netted Hammock Package ($293) that’s comparable to the basic WanderLust Kit with an 11′ hammock, but it is not preconfigured and has a pretty steep learning curve for beginners. They also resell third-party top quilts and underquilts, but those are not discounted.

Hennessey Hammock also offers 22 all-in-one hammock kits (they invented the concept) designed for all kinds of different size users from kids to adults and all kinds of different climates. REI carries several of their most popular ones. All Hennessy Hammocks have essentially the same design and features. The main differences are size, and the strength and weight of fabrics, ropes, and webbing. While their kits are complete, appropriate for beginners, and very well integrated, they’re so tightly integrated that it can be difficult to substitute components if you want to upgrade a part or try something different. They also don’t sell insulation.

Disclosure: The author received sample products from Hammock Gear in exchange for an honest review.

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