You can get through life without a lot of things, but sleep just isn't one of them. There are thousands of hungry, disease-carrying insects eyeing the floating meat taco also known as your hammock each night you spend in the woods.
Protect yourself from these vermin by adding a hammock bug net to your pack. Don't spend a night in eternal misery by forgetting your hammock bug net on your next camping trip.
We have spent roughly 39 hours scouring the market for the best products. We studied 16 different bug nets and multiple DIY options to distill the best bug nets for you. However, we can always improve so be sure to share your thoughts on our post in the comments!
Comparison at a Glance
Related Reading: Kammok vs Eno Review
Editor's PickENO Guardian DX
The ENO Guardian DX is our choice for the best premium hammock bug net because it represents high quality materials with innovative features. It is the only bug net on the market to sport two vertical zippered doors for easy access and ventilation.
An internal spreader bar separates the sides of the net to give a spacious interior and keeps the bugs far away from you. Unlike other bug nets, the spreader bar does removes the need for a ridgeline meaning you have an uninterrupted view of the night’s sky. Both ends of the bug net have large ceiling pockets, perfect for lightweight objects such as glasses.
To hang lights or a lantern, ENO included internal gear loops to remove the need of fumbling around for your flashlight in the middle of the night. In summary, the Guardian DX by ENO strikes a great balance between comfort, size, and weight, which makes it perfect for camping, hiking, or backpacking.
Best Premium Bug NetKammok Dragonfly
Best for the MoneyNature’s Hangout Bug Net
For kayampers on a budget, it is my pleasure to introduce the Nature’s Hangout bug net. At half the price of the premium bug nets, its a wonder Nature’s Hangout is able to include so many features and still turn a profit.
The expansive net is large enough to cover all but the largest double hammocks for a full 360 degrees. Sturdy component parts like the double horizontal zipper and 32 ft. reflective ridgeline with adjusters mean this is a bug net you can count on to last.
The unique double buckle roll-top stuff sack compresses the large netting to make it backpack friendly and totally waterproof. All things considered the NHO bug net is the perfect starter bug net.
Related Reading: ENO Rain Fly's Review
To determine the quality of a bug net construction you must consider:
- Material used
- Polyamide (nylon)
- Polyester (tarylene)
- Tightness of the weave
- Standard Mesh - Greater than 1.2 millimeters
- No-See-Um Mesh - 0.6 millimeters or smaller
We will dive into each of these in the sections below to determine what you should consider when buying.
Netting Material: Cotton vs. Synthetics
Most mosquito nettings found today will be made from cotton, nylon, or tarylene.
The oldest material of the three, cotton, has recently given way to nylon and tarylene as the most common net material. On a microscopic scale Cotton is naturally very "hairy". These random strings add extra obstacles to bug trying to enter the net. The downside is that cotton is easy to tear and degrades over time like your favorite undershirt. For this reason cotton is not popular for hammock bug nets that need to be packed and repacked every day.
Nylon and Tarylene are synthetic materials with high cut resistance that last for years. Modern day hammock bug nets should be made from these materials as they are the strongest, lightweight, quick-drying, and mildew resistant.
The two differ synthetics are very similar in nature and use. You probably have clothing made from both materials on you right now!
Weave Size: Standard Mesh vs. No-See-Um
When choosing mesh sizes you have to make a decision between protection and breathability. The smaller holes found in no-see-um netting will stop all bugs but will also trap in warm air. The opposite is true for standard mesh.
Standard netting is categorized as having holes larger than 1.2 millimeters. This will stop all but the smallest blood suckers like no-see-ums and midges. No-see-um netting defined as 0.6 millimeters or smaller holes will stop every bug in the forest.
Color options for stuff sacks are plentiful but limited for the actual netting. The most popular net colors are white, grey, and black. The best option of the three is grey for two reasons:
- Lighter color material reflects heat AKA no black
- White netting is easier to see at night. Black netting is easier to see during the day. Grey is the perfect compromise.
Coverage: Net Size Matters
Bug Net Size Recommendations
Almost all bug nets store in a stuff sack for transportation. These bags are very similar to the stuff sacks hammock manufacturers like ENO use for compression. That being said, not all stuff sacks are created equal. Some come with waterproofing features and roll-top closures. Stuff sack size largely comes down to the overall size of the net.
Kayak campers will be affected by waterproofing features and the overall size of the stuff sack, while weight may not be much of a concern. Backpackers need size and weight to be reduced so DIY options may be best. Other campers can largely ignore this information and choose the bug net that best fits their needs.
There is a bit of a sport to seeing who can get the lightest pack and still camp comfortably these days as some consider a bug net to be a luxury item (not us!), you should aim to minimize its impact on your pack. The vast majority of bug nets are under 24oz. with the average hovering around 16oz. (1 lbs.). The lightest bug net on the market is 9.8oz.
Bug nets range from $30 to $125 with varying ranges of quality. Cheaper bug nets will include thicker netting with low breathability, weak seams, and plastic zippers destined for jams. Higher quality products will have solutions for its cheaper competitors’ flaws and come with accessories like carabiners, compression bags. Price is not always indicative of quality, but the two are usually closely related.
Horizontal vs. Vertical Entry/Exits
Necessity is the mother of creation. The DIY community never fails to produce innovative solutions the big corporations seem to miss. For those unafraid of busting out a sewing machine, the world is your oyster when it comes to hammock bug nets. While there is endless DIY options out there, we highlight some of the top setups for you to peruse.
How to Make a DIY Hammock Bug Net
The Ultra Minimalist DIY
So what if none of these pre-fabbed bug nets are right for you? Whether you consider yourself a DIYer or not, creating a homemade bug net is not as difficult as you might think. The simplest DIY solution is to buy a lace sheet from Wal-Mart and drape it over yourself throughout the night. This requires no sewing and only about $10.
Simple and effective, but not without drawbacks. The bug net will be laying directly on your body which causes a couple problems. First off bug can still land on the bug net and sting you through the lacing. The countermeasure is to double or triple fold the lace to give you some "breathing room" - well not really. You have essentially added another blanket to your hammock so prepare accordingly. The second issue lays in the fact that anything not covered by the lace will be bitten.. including your face. You must have the fabric laying on your face all night. DIYers have countered this by wearing a forward facing ball cap but it won't negate breathing onto your own face all night.
The Tube/Sock Style DIY
If you have some sewing skills, you can increase the luxury by sewing the large lace sheet into a cylinder, sew a channel for a the guyline, and use rope to secure the ends once inside. This rig is very similar to most of the manufactured options but without zippers, gear loops, etc..
A sewing machine is required for constructing the the guyline channel. If you do not have one, we recommend checking with family or your local tailor. The sewing can be completed very quickly ~10 minutes. This is the DIY bug net solution we most recommend for the average Joe.
To enter or exit this bug net you slide the bug net on or off you similar to drawing a curtain. This method presents some challenges when you are in the hammock so others have designed bottom entry and top entry version.
Bottom entry nets hang loose below the hammock and are tightened by pull cords.
Top entry bug nets rely on extra material folding over the opening.
What is the Best Bug Net for Eno Hammock?
Eno hammocks are far and away the most popular hammock so many of you will find yourself asking this question. The short answer is the bug net from our list at the beginning of this article that best suits your needs. You don't need to pair an ENO hammock with an ENO bug net. Determine your needs, make sure the bug net is large enough to cover the hammock, and pull the trigger.