Tom HennessyThis episode, Jonathan and Mark get a chance to interview an innovator in this small industry, Tom Hennessy of Hennessy Hammocks. Starting with a military surplus jungle hammock as a boy, and growing up as an avid hiker, Tom found the comfort of hammocks as a youth. After losing his hammock to a “friend” in college and proceeding into an industrial design career, Tom began prototyping a replacement for his long-lost hammock in the early 90’s. After 6 years and dozens of prototypes, he introduced his original camping hammock to REI in 1999, which was an instant hit, selling more than any other individual product ever marketed by REI.

As an industrial designer from a time when people continued to make improvements to a product to make it better, Tom continues to tweak his product, finding new and creative ways to solve problems. Additionally, his experiences as an ultralight hiker inspire solutions that solve multiple problems at once, like the “cat cape” poncho rain gear, or the water bottle-filling rain fly tensioners. Additional product design improvements like the side zip hammocks for those who don’t want the bottom entry and the super shelter for keeping warm come from his customers and supporters in the website.

Besides hammocks, which is a second career for Tom, he shares a little about his experiences traveling, sailing, and generally trying to make the world a better place than he found it.

Along with a great conversation with Tom Hennessy, Mark and Jonathan talk about their experiences staying warm, and tell a little about what works and what doesn’t for them, including an inflatable pad, the Hennessy SuperShelter, and down underquilts.


  1. My first, and only hammock is a Hennessey Explorer Deluxe that I purchased in January 08. I had been looking at high end expedition tents. I I got laid off from my job at the time and had saved just under $300, not enough for the high-end expedition tent. In my search for the expedition tent I came across a review of this Hennessey hammock. On the website the Christmas special was buy one get a free kids hammock. Even as it was well past Christmas they honored the deal. Although they advised they didn’t have the pup hammock available they offered the explorer asym instead! Who does that anymore??
    Suffice to say that made a huge impression in terms of a business model. A year later I found the hammock forum and although I’ve just now via tapatalk begun to participate I’m happy to find that you guys have put a voice to the hammock community at large. Thank you Tom Hennessey and thank you guys for the podcasts.

    • Hey Varga49 – thanks for the comment! I agree, Tom Hennessy is the Rodney Dangerfield of the hammock camping community, so to speak. He’s got a great product and awesome service. I’m glad that you enjoyed the podcast, keep your eyes open for more!