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Reviews > Shelters > Hammocks > Bliss Sky Bed Bug Free Hammock > Test Report by Brian Hartman

SKY BED BUG FREE HAMMOCK
TEST SERIES BY BRIAN HARTMAN
LONG-TERM REPORT
November 05, 2016

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
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TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Brian Hartman
EMAIL: bhart1426ATyahooDOT com
AGE: 48
LOCATION: Central Indiana
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 20 years throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and most recently in Western USA. In addition to backpacking I enjoy family camping with my wife and kids and being outdoors in general. I would describe myself as a mid weight backpacker. I use fairly light weight equipment and gear but still like to bring more than the bare essentials with me while on the trail.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE 1
Perfect day

Manufacturer: Hammock Bliss
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.hammockbliss.com/
MSRP: US $119.95
Listed Weight: 32 oz. (900 g)
Measured Weight: 33 oz. (935 g)
Unfolded Dimensions: 125 in (318 cm) x 53 in (135 cm)
Folded Dimensions: 11 in (28 cm) x 9 in (23 cm)
Weight Capacity: 350 lbs. (159 kg)
Color: Black
Warranty: 2 Years

The Sky Bed Bug Free hammock (hereafter called Sky Bed Bug Free or hammock) is a lightweight, single person, gathered end hammock that has built-in bug netting for mosquito-free camping. It was designed by Hammock Bliss in Tucson, Arizona (AZ), a family run company that has been in business for over 25 years. The company's product line includes almost a dozen hammocks and other accessories such as shelters, rain flies, sleep sacks, and tree straps. The owner, Dov Frazer, prides himself on using the highest quality materials and offering excellent customer service. The Sky Bed Bug Free is manufactured in Indonesia and features a two year warranty.

The Sky Bed Bug Free is made of ripstop nylon and features a patent pending asymmetric design that allows for a nearly flat sleeping surface when using an inflatable sleeping pad. Of course the sleeping pad adds cushion and insulation as well. A silver colored nylon sleeve, sewn into the inside of the hammock, holds the sleeping pad in place and prevents it from moving around. The sleeve is made out of parachute nylon and is 20 in (50 cm) wide x 72 in (182 cm) long to accommodate a pad of similar size.

The bug netting is made of no-see-um mesh which has 2100 holes per square inch to keep out mosquitoes and other insects while still allowing air circulation. The netting is permanently attached to the hammock on one side and has a full length zipper on the other. The zipper makes entering and exiting the hammock very easy and it also allows for sitting in the hammock with the netting folded open. The hammock features two interior mesh pockets for gear storage, measuring 6 in (15 cm) x 11 in (28 cm) each. One of these pockets is located at the head end of the hammock while the other is located towards the foot end of the hammock. Finally there are 6 interior loops that can be used for hanging all kinds of gear.

I received a set of 100 in (254 cm) long x 1.5 in (4 cm) wide polypropylene tree straps with the hammock. These straps are normally ordered separately but since they came with the hammock and weigh so little at 5 oz. (143 g) per set, I plan to use them throughout testing and will comment on them as appropriate. The straps have a 350 lbs. (159 kg) load capacity and are designed to extend the distance for hanging the hammock and protect the suspension ropes (and trees) from abrasion.

IMAGE 2
Sitting in the hammock
IMAGE 3
Silver sleeve

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

My initial impressions of the Sky Bed Bug Free were very positive. It came in a small, lightweight stuff sack and when I first unpacked it, it felt sturdy and well made. The body of the hammock is comprised of rip stop nylon which is reinforced with webbing along the structural seams for additional strength. The stitching was even and appeared to be of high quality with no obvious imperfections or flaws. The integrated bug netting looked like it could keep out the smallest of insects and it also appeared to be durable and tear resistant. Having owned a hammock with drape-over netting that required me to crawl in and out from the bottom, I appreciate the full length zipper that is built into this hammock as it should allow for much easier entry and exit.

The Sky Bed Bug Free comes with its own suspension system, consisting of two 100 in (254 cm) lengths of 6mm (0.24 in) climbing rope, looped through the gathered ends of the hammock. Although the rope's load rating is not specified, I suspect it is at least three times the 350 lbs. (175 kg) limit of the hammock. The rope is doubled up as it extends out from the hammock approximately 40 in (102 cm) and then knotted at the end.

Hammock Bliss has devised a clever system to suspend the bug netting above the hammock. Rather than running a single cord from tree to tree, their system consists of two 100 in (254 cm) lengths of cord which are located in small pockets 24 in (61 cm) in from either end of the hammock. To secure the netting, simply take the loose end of each cord out of the pockets and tie it to a tree. Of note is that the Sky Bed Bug Free does not have a structural ridgeline so I'll probably add one later on.

IMAGE 4
Netting cord
IMAGE 5
Suspension system

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

Small hang tags were included with both the hammock and tree straps when they arrived. The tags provided useful information regarding the hammock and straps including product specs and set up instructions.

Regarding care and cleaning of the Sky Bed Bug Free, Hammock Bliss simply states that it is machine washable and dryable with a mild detergent. Of course the hammock can also be hand washed using the same type of detergent.

Hammock Bliss guarantees all of their products for 2 years from the original sales date. One other thing mentioned by Hammock Bliss in their literature is that UV rays can cause the hammock to fade and weaken over time, which is of course true for most items left in the sun. They therefore recommend using Sun Shields (think Snake skins) to protect the fabric or simply take the hammock down and store it indoors when not in use.

IMAGE 6
Storage pocket
IMAGE 7
Dimensions

TRYING IT OUT

My first time setting up the Sky Bed Bug Free hammock was a breeze. For my initial test I went straight to my backyard where I have two large trees that are the perfect distance apart for hammocking. Tying the hammock to the trees was quite simple and took no more than a few minutes with the included tree straps. It took an additional minute for me to adjust for the proper tension and then I was ready to climb in. Getting into the Sky Bed was very easy and once in I had no problems positioning myself diagonally to take advantage of the hammock's asymmetric design. Once settled in I laid there for 10 minutes or so and watched the clouds roll by before getting out to take photos for this report. The experience was wonderful and I'm very excited about taking this hammock on the trail for testing.

SUMMARY

The Sky Bed Bug Free appears to be a great hammock and I look forward to getting it into the Field for some serious testing. Among other things I look forward to trying it with an inflatable sleeping pad, seeing how well it protects against mosquitos and evaluating its long term durability.

This concludes my Initial Report.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

IMAGE 1 Since posting my Initial Report in June I've spent eight blissful nights in the Sky Bed Bug Free hammock. The first night was spent sleeping in my backyard so as to get used to my new sleeping quarters. Once dialed in I spent the next seven nights in the woods of Southern Indiana (IN). Besides bringing the Sky Bed hammock and straps I brought along my Hennessey rain fly, snake skins, and two different sleeping pads for testing purposes. During testing I experienced both wet and dry conditions as well as temperatures that ranged from 66 to 88 F (19 to 31 C).

My first trip was to the Hoosier National Forest in Brown County, IN where I stayed for three nights. The area was heavily wooded and quite hilly, perfect for hammocking, with elevations ranging from 530 - 790 ft (161 - 241 m). The weather was mild and sunny during my stay with highs in the mid 70s F (37 C) and lows in the upper 60s F (21 C). I covered approximately 15 mi (24 km) on this trip while backpacking along mostly hard packed trails.

My next two trips were to Franklin County in Southeastern IN where I hiked approximately 12 mi (19 km) and slept in the Sky Bed for a total of four nights. The weather was cool and rainy on the first trip to Franklin County but much better on my second trip, where I enjoyed sunny skies and moderate daytime temperatures.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Needless to say, I had no problem finding trees to tie to in the Hoosier National Forest (HNF). In fact there were so many trees and great hammocking spots that I moved locations each night to take full advantage of the bounty. With nearly perfect weather on this trip, my pitches were mainly along ridgelines which gave me views in all directions. As for the hammock it was quite simple to hang, taking less than five minutes or so to set up each night. The straps worked really well and provided some flexibility in how close or far the trees needed to be apart. On all of my trips during this test period I didn't bother creating a structural ridgeline for the hammock and instead just eyeballed it for proper hang angle. I eventually plan to add one if for nothing else than to take the guesswork out of hanging the hammock and make setup even quicker. Since no rain was in the forecast and the wind was very minimal I also skipped setting up my tarp on this trip.

As far as securing the bug netting, twice I selected trees that were far enough apart that the cords used for securing the netting simply wouldn't reach around the trees. In those cases I tied the cords to the hammock straps and that seemed to work fine albeit it made the netting lower and thus closer to my face in those instances. Once back home I added a few feet of cordage to each netting pocket to eliminate future problems.

I slept very well in the Sky Bed all three nights in the HNF. Using my sleeping pad in conjunction with the hammock sleeve allowed me to get a nearly flat lie which made for a very comfortable nights sleep. In fact, I brought two sleeping pads with me on this trip and experimented with both. One of was 20 in (51 cm) wide and fit nicely in the silver sleeve while the other was 25 in (64 cm) and needed to sit on top of the sleeve. Both pads worked well with this hammock but the narrower pad provided me with a flatter lie, because it was secured in the hammock sleeve and less likely to fold up on me. Once inside the hammock I had sufficient room to move around and didn't feel boxed in at all. With mild nighttime temperatures and a sleeping pad beneath me I was very comfortable each night, although I brought a mummy bag along as well and could easily have unzipped it and draped it over me for additional warmth if needed.

IMAGE 2 IMAGE 3

While in the HNF the bug netting did a good job of keeping the mosquitos away so that I woke up with only the few bites I had gotten before retiring each night to my hammock. Packing the hammock in the mornings was incredibly easy thanks to my snake skins. However, because I wasn't using a tarp, the Sky Bed was moist from dew each morning so I typically waited an hour or two after waking up before breaking camp.

My next two backpacking trips were to Franklin County in Southeastern IN. On the first of these trips I retired early and put the bug netting to good use as mosquitos attempted to swarm me once the sun went down. I could hear their relentless buzzing outside the hammock but thankfully they weren't able to get to me through the netting. I only got out of the hammock once during the rest of the night to lower the tarp when it started to rain. When I broke camp my tarp was still wet and so I tied it to the back of my pack in preparation for hiking out and then tossed it in my trunk once I made it back to my car.

IMAGE 4 The weather was much nicer on my second trip to Franklin County with sunny skies and daytime temperatures in the low 70s F (35 C). Nevertheless, around 2am I awoke feeling chilled and so I reached into my backpack and pulled out my sleeping bag to drape over my legs and torso. That did the trick and I stayed warm the rest of the night. Despite my top being cool my underside was fine which was testament to the insulative properties of my sleeping pad.
Although not mentioned earlier, taking down the hammock was just as easy as setting it up and although I didn't use the stuff sack during Field Testing it is plenty large so that packing the Sky Bed in the sack would not be a chore.

There are many things to like about the Sky Bed Bug Free hammock but the features that I appreciated most during Field Testing were the integrated bug netting and sleeping pad sleeve. The bug netting did a great job of blocking mosquitos and was effortless to setup because it's integral to the hammock. The sleeping pad sleeve, with its asymmetrical design, added a lot to my sleeping comfort by creating a nearly flat sleeping surface when used with my sleeping pad.

Despite all these great things, one concern I have with the Sky Bed is its durability due to the fact that the stitching that runs along the structural seam of the hammock has opened up. I noticed this after posting my Initial Report and it's a scary situation because of the potential for serious injury if the seam fails. I'm concerned enough not to let my kids or wife climb in the hammock with me even though our combined weights are well less than the hammock's rated capacity.

SUMMARY

The Sky Bed is a very comfy hammock with lots of neat features. I really like its integrated bug netting and the use of full length zippers that allow for easy entry and exit from the hammock. I also really like the silver sleeve and have found that using a sleeping pad with the hammock makes for a very comfortable and flat laying position. My big concern is its long term durability and the potential for injury if something breaks.

This concludes my Field Report for the Sky Bed Bug Free hammock.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Since posting my Field Report in September I slept in the Sky Bed Bug Free hammock four additional nights. Temperatures ranged from 42 to 77 F (6 to 25 C) during my outings and the weather was generally very nice with only a brief period of rain one afternoon. Elevations in the areas I hiked ranged from 560 to 710 ft (161 to 241 m).

During this trip I hiked approximately 9 mi (14 km), all off-trail, through fields and forests.

Location: Southeast Indiana (IN)
Type of Trip: Off-trail hiking
Distance: 9 mi (14 km)
Length of Trip: Two nights
Backpack Weight: 36 lb (16 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Mild and sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 54 to 77 F (12 to 25 C)

I hiked approximately 11 mi (19 km) on this trip. The weather was cool and rainy on the first day but then cleared up allowing me to enjoy sunny skies and moderate temperatures on days two and three.

Location: Southeast Indiana (IN)
Type of Trip: Off-trail hiking
Distance: 11 mi (18 km)
Length of Trip: Two nights
Backpack Weight: 35 lb (15 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Rainy the first afternoon but nice afterwards
Precipitation: 0.4 in (1.0 cm)
Temperature Range: 42 to 66 F (6 to 19 C)

IMAGE 1

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I had been wanting to camp in this area for a long time and finally got the opportunity. The weather was perfect and the scenery was fantastic with the autumn leaves and changing trees colors making for a picturesque landscape. I hiked/wandered across several miles of gently rolling hillsides, through farmland and mature forests until I came to a great spot in a small grove of trees where I set up camp around 5 or 6 o'clock. It only took a few minutes to set up the hammock, which I stretched between two youthful trees and then it was off to gather some firewood for the evening. Temperatures cooled down considerably that night and so I was glad to have a fire as well as my sleeping bag for extra warmth. I spent the following day hiking but kept the same campsite for the following night because the area was so nice.

A few things of note during this trip were that the sleeping pad sleeve kept my pad perfectly in place and the bug netting kept the mosquitoes at bay although there didn't seem to be all that many out at this location. I got in and out of the hammock twice during the night to stoke the fire and the zippered side entry made that a breeze.

On my second trip there was some rain but it only lasted a few hours during the first day and was not all that bothersome. Speaking of rain, I've been using the Hennessey Hex rainfly with the Sky Bed and they work great together. The rainfly and hammock are just the right size so that the rainfly extends about 12 in (30 cm) beyond the hammock on both sides to keep me dry. One thing I would like to see though is a few extra feet of cordage included with the bug netting as the existing cord is almost always too short to reach to the trees I'm tying up to. I would love to be able to hammock through the winter but I can already tell that I am going to need some additional insulation for that, as I did get chilled on the second night with just my sleeping pad and sleeping bag for warmth. I haven't decided yet if I'll go the route of a quilt or maybe some other option. Either way it's a fun thing to think about while I continue to enjoy what's left of fall in the Midwest.

IMAGE 2

SUMMARY

The Sky Bed Bug Free hammock is a great piece of gear and there are many things to like about it. It is comfortable to sleep in and easy to get into and out of with its full length side zipper. But my two favorite things about this hammock are still its integrated bug netting and sleeping pad sleeve. As for the stitching around the structural seam, it still makes me nervous although it hasn't opened up any further since my last report.

This marks the end of my Long Term Test Report and this Test Series. I would like to thank Hammock Bliss and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this hammock.


This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

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