Bridge vs. Gathered End Hammocks

November 2, 2021

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Bridge vs. Gathered End Hammocks: Which Is Better?

If you’re in the market for a new hammock, you have a lot of decisions to make. From the shape to the material and color, your new hammock can take on many forms. Two popular hammock models are the bridge hammock and the gathered end hammock. Both are useful for your hiking and camping adventures. However, each has their pros and cons.

Before you invest in one of these hammocks, make sure you take some time to learn about each one. The information you gather from each model will help you make the best decision for your safety, comfort, and convenience.

What Is a Bridge Hammock?

A bridge hammock or spreader bar hammock is rectangular in shape, and it’s fastened to two trees by its four corners. Spreader bars keep the two fabric corners of each side from collapsing. The ropes connected to the bars come together to create a triangle. The point of this triangle is latched to the tree huggers or straps, which wrap securely around two trees. After you tighten the lines, the hammock should resemble the shape of a channel or rectangle.

Pros and Cons of Bridge Hammocks

Bridge-style hammocks come with positive and negative features. Some of the pros include:

  • Comfort: The rectangular design and spreader bars of a bridge hammock create a flat lay, which allows you to sleep on your back, stomach, or side with ease.
  • Space: This hammock has a rectangular shape, giving you more space to sleep comfortably and store items safely.
  • Consistency: While gathered end hammocks come in many styles, bridge hammocks tend to be more similar across the board. Once you learn to set one bridge hammock up, you can generally use the same approach for any others you buy.

That said, there are some areas in which the hammock can be less ideal, such as:

  • Travel: Due to the weight and the difficulty of packing the spreader bars, a bridge hammock can be more inconvenient to bring along on a trip than a gathered end hammock. 
  • Space: Bridge hammocks are relatively complex compared to gathered end hammocks. With the addition of poles and other items, a bridge hammock is more expensive than other models.
  • Assembly: Bridge hammocks require more distance between trees, which can make finding a campsite a longer process. The spreader bars make the setup more time-consuming as well.

What Is a Gathered End Hammock?

A gathered end hammock is what most people envision when they think of a hammock. The material is gathered to a point at each end of the hammock by ropes. The rope is connected to webbing, which is what you tie around trees. Once you have securely fastened the straps around both trees, the hammock should be comparable in shape to a banana.

Pros and Cons of Gathered End Hammocks

Gathered end hammocks are great for many reasons, including:

  • Travel: Gathered end hammocks are designed to be light, so they are easier to fit and carry along in your backpack.
  • Price: These hammocks are more affordable than other models, which is especially great if you’re a hammocking beginner.
  • Assembly: The assembly is simple for the gathered end hammock. You only have to fasten the straps to the ends of the hammock and wrap those straps tightly around two trees. Plus, gathered end hammocks require less space between trees for assembly, making the process of finding a good pair of trees easier and faster.

While there are plenty of upsides to this model, there are a few cons to be aware of as well:

  • Comfort: While gathered end hammocks offer stability, they do not offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to sleeping positions. The lack of a flat lay confines you to sleeping mainly on your back. Some people can sleep in a fetal position or on their side. However, these positions may not prove to be comfortable for everyone.
  • Space: These hammocks provide less space than bridge hammocks because of their design.
  • Shape: Because gathered end hammocks are strapped to trees by the gathered material, the space inside of the hammock can be somewhat restricting. Some campers may prefer the flatter shape of a bridge hammock.

Trust DutchWare for Hammock Gear You Can Count On

Whether you decide on a bridge hammock or a gathered end hammock, make sure that you are purchasing a high-quality model from a company like DutchWare. We specialize in materials to make hammocks, backpacks and other long-lasting materials useful for your hiking and camping expeditions. We offer a range of hammocks, including gathered end and bridge varieties. 

Shop our online hammock products today to find the right gear for your next adventure. 

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Reviewed By: Dutch (Thom Ressler) - Dutch started Dutchware after thru-hiking the entire 2,200-miles of the Appalachian Trail with a hammock. During his journey, Dutch learned that there wasn’t high-quality hammocking gear available on the market so he began to create his own.

He began manufacturing the Dutch Clip, which he invented to connect the webbing suspension around the tree. Next was the Chameleon Hammock which offers superior flexibility for hammockers. Today Dutchware sells over 1,000 outdoor gear products to provide backpackers with high-quality equipment that allows them to enjoy the outdoors with a minimalist approach.

Dutch is passionate about providing the hammocking community with the highest quality gear along with the highest quality information to ensure they have the best outdoor experience possible.

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