To be honest, I think I’ve probably lain in a hammock twice in my life. The first was in a camping hammock my parents owned. Wooden cross-slats, with a rope mesh. The second was a tie-dye hammock my sister purchased in a Balinese market. I don’t have fond memories of either. The rope-mesh was uncomfortable and you’d feel as though you were about to flip at any moment. The tie-dye completely encompassed you like being in a cocoon and was almost impossible to get into and out of.
Hence, it was with a little trepidation that I tested the new Pro Hammock (Double) from Sea To Summit. I’m always impressed (and no, not being biased here) with the way Sea To Summit package/present their gear. It always feels high quality. The Pro Hammock comes in a lightweight stuff-sack (450 grams for the double) and is available in three colours red/orange, green and blue). In addition, you must purchase a separate pocket for suspension straps (170 grams) and another pocket for tree protectors (135 grams). Other add-ons include a hammock tarp (protection from rain), hammock bug net (protection from bugs) and hammock gear sling (which hangs under the hammock and can store stuff). I would have liked the suspension straps to be included with the core hammock bag, as the design of the hammock really requires the straps to be used in order to work. Using rope or some other fastner would be fiddly to get working, due to the design of the buckle.
The hammock is made from high-strength nylon that can hold 180 kilograms and requires a minimum three-metres between trees/connection points to work.
Having overcome my first challenge of finding two suitable trees to string up my hammock, I pulled everything out ready to go. There are instructions printed on the underside of the suspension strap and tree protector bags, however I ignored these and proceeded to try to work out the system myself. How hard could it be right?
Well it is a little tricky, and unless the suspension strap buckles are inserted the correct way into hammock buckle, the hammocks doesn’t hold tight and the straps slip down. I tried several times to get them work (yep, I just kept doing the same thing over and over) before I read the instructions. Flipping the buckle over and presto it worked.
It seems getting into a hammock has stayed the same forever, i.e. there is a sense that the hammock will flip as you sit down into it. However, once in, the hammock is surprisingly comfortable. I dragged my partner in beside me to test the hammock functioning as a double. While we were both comfortable, I’m not sure both of us trying to sleep in the hammock (other than for a nap) would have been exceedingly comfortable. The natural design of a hammock is to pull you toward the middle and the hammock naturally tappers up on the ends. I ended up being comfortable in the centre, with my partner kinda squished in next to me. We both did fit, however I’d imagine (although did not test) that we may get a better sleep each in our own hammock. I didn’t sleep in the hammock, so am not sure how well it adapts as you move around.
However, for someone who’d always thought a hammock was a bit of a camping luxury, I can certainly see the value of a hammock over a more traditional tent or sleeping matt. Super lightweight and quick to setup, the Pro Hammock certainly offers a viable sleeping option.