ENO SubLink Hammock Shelter System Review
The ENO SubLink Hammock Shelter System contains all of the components necessary for backpacking with a hammock, except foam padding or some other insulation to keep your back warm at night. If you’ve never hammocked or want to get into backpacking with a hammock, buying an integrated system like this is a good way to get started without having to become an expert right away. I bought my first backpacking hammock system this way and used it on many trips before I started replacing components with gear from different vendors.
This ENO hammock shelter system has its pluses and minuses, but it’s an above-average collection of components that will get you out the door without a huge learning curve and a lot of fuss. It terms of quality and completeness, it’s in the same general ballpark as a Hennessy Hammock System or the Hammock Gear Wanderlust Hammock System, but best used by people of smaller stature.
The emphasis of the SubLink Hammock Shelter System is light weight, and weighing in at 2 lbs 8.3 oz (on the sectionhiker scale), it includes the lightest backpacking products in the ENO product line.
- ENO Sub7 Hammock
- ENO Helios Hammock Suspension System
- ENO Guardian SL Bug Net
- ENO ProFly Sil Rain Tarp, w/ 6 tent stakes
While you could purchase each of these components separately, you also get a price break when you buy them for $249.95 as a set. Let’s take a closer look at each of the components included:
The ENO Sub7 Hammock is basic nylon gathered-end hammock (includes wiregate carabiners), but it is quite short and narrow at only 105″ x 47″. When sizing hammocks, in order to lie flat, a good rule of thumb is to get a hammock that’s 4 feet longer than your height.
At 8’9″, the Sub7 is still reasonably comfortable for me although I’m 5′ 10″. If you’re taller than that, this would be a good component to replace with something like a Hummingbird Hammock Single+ (9’8″/7.6 oz) or a Sea-to-Summit Single Pro (10’/12.7 oz). Longer is heavier, but that’s the way it is. (see: Hammock Length and Comfort Guide.)
ENO Helios Hammock Suspension System
The ENO Helios Hammock Suspension System is really quite a nice Dyneema whoopie style setup w/ polyester tree straps. 8′ long (per side), it can be used on large trees or between wide gaps between trees that are longer than most camping hammock setups. Weighing just 4.1 oz, it’s also super light, and I’ve already started using it with all of the other non-mosquito camping hammocks I own.
Whoopie suspension systems use a bury-splice tension system mechanism (think Chinese finger trap) to maintain their length, eliminating the need for metal buckles. They’re very fast to adjust and give you the ability to fine-tune your pitch, unlike a strap system that has predefined loops.
ENO Guardian SL Bug Net
The ENO Guardian SL Bug Net (12.7 oz) slides over the Sub7 Hammock to prevent bugs from munching on you at night. The pull-on character of the bug net can be a little awkward if you have to get up during the night to pee, but it gives you the option to use the Sub7 without any netting when bug season is over or if you want to use it for traveling, say at a hostel or indoors. The alternative is to buy a mosquito hammock like the Warbonnet Blackbird which has a built-in bug net and side zippers, but then you’re always carrying that extra weight even if you don’t need insect protection. It really depends on what your priorities are: light weight or convenience.
The Guardian includes a ridgeline to keep the netting above you and off your face in the hammock since the Sub7 doesn’t have one. When you get into your hammock, you pull the bug net up like a pair of pants and secure it around the hammock suspension with a toggle. It’s kind of a reach. Reverse the process, when you need to get up at night.
ENO ProFly Sil Rain Tarp
The ENO ProFly Sil Tarp is a 15d seam-sealed silnylon catenary cut tarp with 2 ridgeline and 4 corner guylines (126″ x 80″). All the guylines are reflective, so you can find your shelter at night with a headlamp, and have linelocs at the tarp end so you can adjust their length easily. The curved edges (catenary cut) of the fly help reduce weight and improve the tarps aerodynamics in wind. ENO also sells a ProFly Sil XL tarp which is two feet longer: this would be my preference to help prevent blowing rain from hitting the tarp at the ends.
Coverage of your hammock is good but there are only a few inches on each side, so you’ll need to fiddle with the tarp to get your hammock centered under it. While there are linelocs on the tarp end of the ridgeline, you’ll need to tie a knot around a tree to secure the other end.
The Bottom Line
The ENO SubLink Hammock Shelter System is built around a netless hammock, unlike many of the other backpacking-specific hammock shelter systems available today, like those from Hennessy or Warbonnet. While this provides better modularity and lower weight, it’s the linchpin that determines whether you build a backpacking hammock system around mosquito hammock (with permanent bug netting) or one where the netting in a separate component like the Guardian SL bug net. If gear weight is of **supreme** importance to you, a netless hammock like the Sub7 is the way to go. I never use my hammock when bugs are not present, so I’m perfectly happy to have one with built-in mosquito netting.
The nice thing about the SubLink is that you can buy it and start backpacking with it immediately. The components work well together and you don’t have to spend 6 months becoming a hammock expert to start doing trips. There’s a lot to be said for that. Over time, you might want to replace some of the SubLink’s components once you really understand what’s needed where you backpack, and that’s to be expected. However, if you are 6′ or taller, I would recommend substituting a longer hammock than the Sub7 included in the SubLink system, since it’s on the short side. But if you’re smaller in stature, the ENO SubLink is a very lightweight, entry-level hammock system that should work well for you.
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