A Camping Hammock Tale.
I enjoy the silence of backpacking, and I love hiking. A few years ago I got into the ultralight movement. The problem? I am not an ultralight person. I am 6 foot 3 and I weigh in at around 300 pounds. When my friends just over half my weight describe their 15-pound pack for a week of hiking, I have to giggle to myself; 15lbs sounds a lot like breakfast to me.
One of the ways to lighten your load is by skipping a tent. Most are relatively heavy unless you're willing to spend big dollars, $300+. That is when I started looking at hammocks. Backpacking and camping hammocks are a relatively new idea and have received much acclaim. Again the same “size” problem reared its ugly head. 6 foot 1 or 6 foot 2 fit in most hammocks relatively easy, but that extra inch makes a big difference. Not only is the size a problem, but most are rated 300 pounds at best and 350 if you're lucky.
We all know the truth behind weight ratings. You need a good 15 to 20% overage to cover incidentals and bouncing around. So for me, a hammock that supported 400 to 450 pounds was necessary. Luckily there are a couple companies who could accommodate. Again because of my size price became a huge issue.
The first thing I noticed was the hammocks I purchased, and the others I reviewed, all came with ropes to tie them off, and tiny carabiners I could break. Ropes give, and the longer the section of line the more it stretches. This makes for a very uncomfortable arch while trying to sleep. Nevertheless, I found on top of my expensive Hammock I required another $20-$30 investment in Hammock straps. Hammock straps do not stretch much and give you more room and availability between point A and point B to set up your Hammock as flat as possible.
So a hundred dollars or more per Hammock later, I think I am set. Okay, not really. I still wasn't quite happy. The hammocks were not wide enough or long enough. I wanted to put my full-size camp mat in the Hammock for winter camping. So I was not entirely where I wanted to be.
A few phone calls later, some testing, a great big smile, and I am happy to present the Haggard Luxury Double Camping Hammock. Okay, it isn't double for me, but most of my friends could easily fit two. My youngest son can fit next to dad while napping in the Hammock. The Haggard hammock offers 450-pound support and has been tested up to 500 pounds. It comes with the straps included because you're going to want them and need them. It is 10 feet long and 6 feet wide and soft as a downy chick (yes I laughed when I typed that). Happily, it still weighs less than 2 pounds. After I throw in my oversize poncho, I have a shelter system under 3 pounds that will work in rain, wind, sleet, hail, and snow. Best of all, I have it priced with straps competitive to similar hammocks without. I prefer functional and affordable, how about you?
Now for you real ultralight folks, I see the snarl on your face. But keep in mind my size, and look at the percentages. In all reality, I am ahead of you in weight ratios. In all fairness, I have to mention at this time, my pad and sleeping bag weigh more than most ultralight packs total. What can I say? I like comfort.