I like camping in hammocks, and sleeping under the canopy of stars and leaves. In early summer, this isn’t possible with an open hammock design in the woods because of the bugs, but during the day, any hammock is just heaven.
I recently conducted a test of the Grand Trunk Single Hammock, and if you’re in the market for something to bring with you this Fourth of July weekend, you can’t go wrong with this simple little number.
Let’s be clear — this particular model is not made as a shelter, so I’ll limit myself to what I believe to be its intended purpose, and how it fares in that context.
The packaging is simple and to the point, with a card containing clear instructions and a few disclaimers that apply to all hammocks — just the standard stuff about being careful.
What struck me first is how light and compact the package is. It’s about 16oz, and the fabric feels airy and light. The setup is ridiculously simple, so much so that I’m thinking of modifying every one of my expedition hammocks to use the same approach.
Essentially, you have two doubled-over lengths of what appears to be 4.5 mil climbing rope that you loop around each tree, with a lark’s foot. The rope is knotted at intervals, and you hook the carabiner at each end of the hammock to the loop of your choice formed by the knots.
The hammock is a simple piece of parachute material, edged by another bit of material (in my case, a lighter blue edge for a navy main section).
The stuff sack is permanently attached to the hammock – a feature I quite like, since it adds to the idea that this can be a quick, self-contained setup with very little fuss. It also acts as a handy pocket for a beverage or book or other supplies.
Setup is under five minutes, including time you use up having to adjust a bit for ideal setup, and tear down is under a minute at a leisurely pace. I’m hard pressed to think of any other sleep system that deploys as quickly and elegantly, or is as quick to tear down if you need to be on the move in a hurry.
There are no other attachment points or guy lines to worry about. As a result, getting into the hammock is a matter of making sure you start by sitting down stably, and lying back as you twist to bring your legs into the rig. It may feel a tad unstable to those using it for the first time, but trust me, it’s plenty stable.
The fabric is high-strength, mildew-resistant parachute nylon with triple-stitched seams. It feels as comfortable as cotton, surprisingly, even in very humid conditions. This is an under-appreciated feature, in my opinion, as the clammy feel to an overly-synthetic fabric can have a big effect on your comfort.
The comfort in this thing is just phenomenal. I’m used to hammocks, and this just feels roomy. It’s possible to lie at a bit of a diagonal, an ideal position in many hammocks, as it allows your back to rest straighter. If you want, however, you can align your head and feet with the anchor lines, and close the edges of the hammock over you. You can even toss the stuffsack/pocket over your body, and it will keep things relatively closed up. I tried this in mosquito conditions, and while it doesn’t give total protection, I would say it works well in a pinch.
If you’re wearing a layer, or have a sleeping bag and head net, it would be ideal for overnight in dry, warm conditions, but be warned — hammocks sleep colder that you might expect, as there’s always convective heat loss happening. The product that I had opportunity to review didn’t come with a fly or any other shelter, but I can imagine it would be easy to set up something for the rain.
With a roomy feel, extremely easy setup, and good construction, I find very little to criticize, but there are a few things I’d change. First to go are the carabiners to hook on to the loops. They’re wonderfully heavy-duty, but that’s the problem — they’re heavy. They seem more suited for using with chain. I replaced them with lighter climbing biners (Remember, make sure they’re rated for the strain you’re going to put on them!) that are very light, but that’s just personal preference. Not everybody would want the price hike that comes with ultralight carabiners.
The one on the left is the stock, and on the right is my replacement. Although bigger, it’s much, much lighter, and the gates are smooth; The other reason for the swap was that the stock carabiners have sharp teeth on their gates, so over repeated use could fray the anchor rope over time.
The anchor rope itself is fine, but a touch short to be used in all situations. If I wanted the quickest setup, I’d probably take another length of rope that would provide more versatility when tree distances aren’t ideal.
I would recommend something other than dark blue if mosquitos are likely to be an issue. Get it in either something more stealth like a dark green, or go the opposite route with something bright and colourful for high visibility in emergency situations.
This simple, straightforward, quality product has me wondering what their other offerings are like. I’m very impressed with the Single design. It’s not self-contained enough for me to review in the context of a full shelter system (see my upcoming review later this month on full shelter hammock setups), but is definitely something that should accompany you to any campground, or day trip where you anticipate the need for a quick lofted rest in warm dry weather.
This is one hammock I don’t anticipate being packed away on a shelf this summer.
The Single Hammock comes in many colour combinations (not all of them will appeal to everybody), and the retails for about $55.
Get more details at the manufacturer’s site: Grand Trunk Goods.
* Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Grand Trunk Single Hammock for free from the manufacturer as coordinated by Deep Creek PR an Outdoor Industry Public Relations Company in consideration for review publication. This in no way influenced the contents or conclusions of this review.