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Review: ENO Skylite Bridge Hammock

Updated: Mar 26

The SOLUTION for campers who hate traditional hammocks!


In the Hammock Camping Myths and Mistakes series of articles, we discussed how to erect your hammock and tarp for sleeping comfort. There are MANY advantages of sleeping in a hammock over a ground tent, including:

  • A guaranteed SOFT bed regardless of the ground, that is, rocks, roots, thorns, etc.

  • A guaranteed DRY bed regardless of muddy ground or rain during the night.

  • A guaranteed SECURE bed with no poles to blow down, raised above anything that walks or crawls.


There are other benefits, too. A hammock is superlight, compact, and breezy in the hot summer weather.


Yet - many campers have tried traditional gathered end hammocks and gone back to tent camping. The hammock was too confining, uncomfortable, or cold. For all these people who WANT the benefits of hammock camping there is an alternative: the "bridge" hammock.


The Bridge hammock design takes its name and inspiration from the iconic suspension bridge.


The suspension bridge uses supports at each end and cables which carry the weight of the bridge that is suspended in space. To match this design, hammock designers add poles at the ends of the hammock body, with the bed surface suspended from the ends of the connecting ropes.


In theory, you are provided with a flatter sleeping surface. In addition, the spreader bars at the ends of the suspended bed area eliminate the "squeeze" common in gathered end hammocks. While you can add an insulating underquilt to the bridge hammock, most users simply insert a sleeping pad or air mattress, which adds another layer of comfort and insulation.


Does the bridge hammock deliver on these promises? I have been evaluating the Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) Skylite bridge hammock and offer my review:

The ENO Skylite bridge hammock has many innovative features:

  • The Skylite includes an integrated bug net. This net is lofted over the bed by shock cords at the ends which connect to loops on the tree suspension.

  • The "bridge" is formed with a lightweight spreader pole at each end. These poles have three shock-corded section and are exceptionally light. They attach to the support lines with hard plastic clips. (Note that some other brands use spreader poles with sharp points - eliminating the sharp points which can damage the coated inner layer of your tarp.)

  • The Skylite is specifically designed to pair with the excellent ENO Helios suspension that uses a loop and toggle attachment.


The ENO Skylite bridge hammock is strong AND superlight!


The body of the hammock is constructed of thin and silky 40D ripstop nylon and weighs only 2 pounds (not including a few ounces for the suspension, and excluding your tarp.) It is rated at 250-pounds and has a bed area of 7' x 3'



My Review of the ENO Skylite Bridge Hammock:


PROS:

  1. VERY fast to set-up with the Helios suspension, loops and toggles. Effortless to adjust to the right height and angle of the head/foot ends.

  2. Spreader poles are the best design I have seen and won't damage the waterproof inner coating of my tarp. The three sections break down into a shorter package that is perfect for bikepacking handlebar packs.

  3. Soft, supportive fabric is comfortable without a sleeping pad.

  4. Bug net is not too close and doesn't feel confining.

  5. Lighter overall weight than many competitors.

  6. The flat and rectangular bed works great with a traditional sleeping bag for those who don't like mummy bags or top quilts.

  7. There is room for both rectangular and tapered air mattresses, which add comfort in the summer and insulation in the cooler months. No need to buy a special under quilt.

  8. Lower cost than the competition.


CONS:

  1. The lightweight body of the Skylite also means LOTS of stretch. If you like a soft bed and "floating on air" you will love it. If you are used to a firm mattress, you will not - unless you add a foam pad for stiffness.

  2. The light hammock means a rating of 250 pounds. This may be optimistic. I weigh 180 and the sag was significant.

  3. Related to the weight rating, be careful not to overtighten the suspension. You still want an approximate 30-degree angle on the suspension lines. If you add too much tension and hang the hammock at a lesser angle, you also add tension to the bug netting ridgeline. This will make opening the zipper harder and you must pull the hammock body up to meet the zipper or it will not function and may separate.

  4. While the spreader poles are 3-feet wide, the actual sleeping surface is about 24-inches wide. There is room for a narrow pad or air mattress. The Skylite is roomier than any gathered end hammock but it may still feel confining to bigger people.


Overall, I give the ENO Skylite Bridge Hammock my Five-Star Rating

ENO Skylite bridge hammock

You can buy hammocks with a larger sleep area, but the weight and price is higher. It's possible to spend TWICE as much for other brands - and some of these have the metal spreader poles that I reject. Some spreader poles have only two sections which makes them harder to pack on a bike or ultralight backpack. The ENO Skylite bridge hammock gets better with a little experience hanging it. It is fast to set-up, comfortable, well made, and easy to repack.


PRO Tip: Simply stuff one end of the hammock and lines, then walk across to the other end - leaving the lines on top. Your hammock should never touch the ground. Add the excellent ENO Helios suspension and you are ready for the next campsite!

Here is a video explanation of setting up the ENO Skylite Bridge Hammock:



ENO also sells rain tarps. However, one of the advantages of hammock camping is the ability to mix and match tarps, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, and more. I prefer a larger tarp that has "doors" to protect me from driving rain. In the summer months, these end flaps also create a still air pocket that helps reduce mosquitos when paired with my Thermacell!


I recently completed a dual-sport motorcycle trip on the Trans-Wisconsin Adventure Trail. The ENO Skylight and the large tarp provided a warm, dry, and comfortable nest at the end of long days of riding. (No photos due to the tormenting SWARMS of mosquitos!) See the related review article of my favorite tarp: CLICK HERE.



ENO Skylite bridge hammock



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