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, at a substantial discount.  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 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 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 get an additional discount on the underquilt and top quilt at the same time.

Hammock Gear WanderLust Hammock Kit

Comfort
Ease of Setup
Durability
Insect and Weather Protection
Versatility
Weight

Super comfortable and complete

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.

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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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24 comments

  1. Exceedingly cool outfit. Hammocking is mighty nice–but equally tweaky. This takes the fiddly detail out of getting the gear! Then there’s the fiddly detail of actually hanging. :)

  2. The Wanderlust kit got me started hanging this spring. I’m still learning and experimenting, but getting a good quality integrated (but not excessively integrated) kit took a lot of risk out of what can be a fairly major purchase if you buy dedicated hammock insulation too.

    While I confirmed earlier this week that the Quest hex tarp that comes with this kit will keep the hammock dry even in a fairly hard rain with no wind, I still plan to upgrade to a tarp with doors like the Warbonnet Superfly or Hammock Gear Journey. Then I’ll have confidence when the next Nor’easter comes through.

    The Wanderlust gets a “Recommended” rating from this new hammock user!

  3. I’ve been using a Kammok Mantis UL for several years. I bought a Hammock Gear underquilt – the Economy 20F – and I’ve been really impressed with it. It’s highly likely I’ll end up with a Hammock Gear hammock at some point. I’m a side sleeper, and I’ve found the Mantis has to be hung ‘just right’ for me to be able to lie flat enough to comfortably lie on my side. I can usually manage get the right hang, but during y last trip there were a couple of nights where camping options were few & far between, so ‘just right’ wasn’t an option. And it’d be nice if my underquilt fit onto the hammock better. The hammock is about five ounces heavier, but it’d be worth the weight penalty methinks. (Using the underquilt protector helps to hold it in place, and leaving it at home would end up with about the same amount of weight in my pack.)

    • The hammock gear hammock also has some plastic rings sewn in along the side that I didn’t mention in the review. These match up with plastic rings on the underquilt. I use a small piece of cord or a mini-biner to connect the two (in addition to the hooks on the hammock that hold the primary close). Works wonderfully at keeping the underquilt where it needs to stay all night. This has always been a major stressor for me especially on colder nights.

  4. I may have missed it, but how much does it cost?

  5. I have a few HG economy quilts. They are excellent quality and value. They are all I need. But if I was a gram weenie or a wealthier person, I would upgrade to the premium quilts. They use goose down instead of duck down, The temp. ratings are the same but it takes less goose down to achieve it. They are lighter and pack down smaller as well. But like I said earlier, as a weekend warrior, the economy quilts are all I need. Nothing but great things to say. I love “em !!

    • Actually fill power and the quantity of goose or duck down required to insulate at the same temperature is absolutely the same. Read up on what fill power is and how to measure it. Goose down is just some elitist thing dreamed up in Europe.

      • I didn’t say anything about fill power, just the weight of duck vs goose down to achieve a certain temperature rating. Unless HG is lying, their 20 degree duck down economy burrow weighs 25 oz while their premium goose down burrow weighs 21 oz. Unless maybe I dreamed that!!

  6. Phil, Upon reading HG ‘s tech specs, you are correct. I stand corrected and apologize. Fill weights are only 1oz apart. Must be the fabric weight. I think they are being a little deceptive though. Again my apologies

  7. Great review! You mentioned upgrading to the dyneema tarp and I think it’s worth mentioning the premium kit that Hammock Gear sells, the Wanderluxe. This kit has a few upgrades, mainly upgrading to the dyneema hex tarp, and the optional insulation is from their premium line. Both kits are great in their own right. Just depends on how much you’re willing to spend to save some weight for the premium kit.

  8. My biggest struggle while camping is sleeping comfortably. I’ve tried so many different types of mats and tents over the years but still don’t sleep well, no matter how far I’ve hiked or how tired I am. I’m intrigued by hammocks but it’s a big investment in something that I have no way of trying (no one I know camps with a hammock) and is a big weight penalty since I camp with my husband and we would typically share an ultralight 2-person tent rather than 2 complete hammock systems. But I’m starting to feel a little desperate since I haven’t managed to crack this problem in the last 20 years. I sleep on my side, but I also like to switch from side to side throughout the night. Do you have or have you heard any feedback about side sleeping (bonus points if it includes a lot of shifting) and HG’s hammock system? Finally, I know this is getting long but have you felt that the various non-hammock components work well as stand-alone items? For instance, I’d be interested in using the tarp to provide rain protection for 2 chairs and an area to eat, using the top quilt with pad for times when hanging isn’t an option (again, the side sleeping concern – I did see their pad attachment accessory), and using the underquilt as an extra blanket while canoe/car camping – thoughts, feedback, additional ideas? Many thanks, as always.

    • You can sleep on your side in a hammock or on your back. I almost always sleep on my side at home or on the ground, but in a hammock I sleep in my back. It’s nice because my feet are a little higher.

    • Erica,
      I am a rotisserie sleeper who was intrigued by hammocks but not sure if they’d work for me. I’m a total convert and sleep far better in a hammock than anything else–including in the winter. I ended up going the simple DIY route for very cheap, and used that setup for several years before I got a professionally-made upgrade (actually I still use my DIY hammock setup whenever I’m introducing someone to hammocking so they can use the “premium” one). (1) Do a Google search for “how to make a tablecloth hammock.” (2) Purchase a ready-made suspension system from one of the hammock vendors (like daisy chains or whoopee slings and marlin hitch—you’ll be able to use this in future systems or seek it easily) (3) Make a synthetic underquilt either from scratch (lots of tutorials out there–just a simple rectangular sandwich of nylon, insulation, nylon with a grosgrain channel on either side to run some shock cord through for suspension) or pick up a cheap synthetic bag from craigslist, chop off the zipper and the footbox and add the grosgrain channels and shock cord suspension). If you are going to invest in one thing, let the underquilt be it.
      Use your current camping tarp or even a hardware store tarp, and your current sleeping bag unzipped as a top quilt. If it’s buggy where you are, you can find easy tutorials on making a bottom-entry bugnet using a couple of sheer meshy department store curtains for $10. The sewing ability needed for these projects is all beginner-level. Good luck!

      • whoops, “seek it easily” should have been “sell it easily.”

      • Thanks, Greg – I love the term “rotisserie sleeper”, the most accurate description of me I’ve come across! Giving me hope that there’s a good night’s sleep for me hanging out there in the backcountry…

  9. Thanks to SectionHiker product reviews and WMNF trip reports that mention expanded campsite selection when hammocking I took the plunge and bought a Wanderlust kit. Camped in it exactly one night so far but I am impressed. Goodbye noisy pad (neoair), goodbye sore neck from too-small pillows, and perhaps best of all, goodbye to a sore/stiff back in the morning. Now add in being able to look out at the world from the comfort of your bed, being able to stand up straight under the tarp, an almost total lack of condensation on my quilts, and using the hammock as a comfortable chair. My first night out featured rain and a breeze….I stayed perfectly dry and warm. I’m not used to sleeping on my back, but honestly that isn’t much of a downside considering how comfortable this thing is. Your review is spot-on – this is a great product.

    • Glad you’re enjoying it. It’s the only shelter I’ve used since writing this review and I’m loving mine. It’s so much better than sleeping on a pad on the ground and much easier to find nice dispersed campsites with. I’ve used hammock systems before, but this is the best by far.

  10. Thanks for this review and brining attention to the all-in-one. I’ve been intrigued by hammocks for a while but I didn’t want to deal with the learning curve and piecing it together. The price point on this is VERY competitive against a 1-2 person UL tent/pad/bag – and very competitive in terms of weight as well.

    The question I have is I don’t see much information around the size of the quilts. I’m someone who needs a long or extra-long sleeping bag and would want to make sure my feet aren’t going to stick out. Are quilts the same?

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