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Reviews > Shelters > Hammocks > Eagles Nest Outfitters OneLink > Test Report by joe schaffer
ENO - OneLink Shelter
Test Report by Joe SchafferREVIEWER INFORMATION:
INITIAL REPORT - May 20, 2017
FIELD REPORT - August 15, 2017
LONG TERM REPORT - October 15, 2017
NAME: Joe Schaffer
HOME: Bay Area, California USA
I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug shelter, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day all trail or a couple air miles (3 k) off trail. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.
Product: OneLink Shelter, 2-person
Manufacturer: Eagles Nest Outfitters, Inc.
DoubleNest Hammock: 1 lb 3 oz (538 g)
9 ft 4 in x 6 ft 2 in (2.84 x 1.88 m)
ProFly Sil Tarp: 1 lb 0 (454 g)
6 ft 4 in W x 10 ft 6 in L (1.93 x 3.2 m)
Atlas Camo Straps: 11 oz (312 g)
1 in x 9 ft (
Guardian SL Bug net: 13 oz (369 g)
Pegs, 6 qty: 3 oz (85 g)
Description: (excerpted from mfr. website)
Hammock: 400 lb (181 kg) capacity, aluminum wiregate carabiners, triple-stitched seams, 70-D high tenacity, breathable nylon
Fly: 6-point guy system, taped seams, LineLoc tensioners, 15-D silicone impregnated ripstop nylon
Straps: 30 adjustment points, tree friendly
Bug Net: Super-fine no-seeum, compatible with all ENO hammocks, Slim fit w/internal adjusters, 70-D nylon taffeta
Warranty: 2-years on manufacturing defects.
Available Colors: 48 hammock colors; 2 Fly colors; 4 Bug net colors; blue pegs
My Specs: (weights in stuff sack)
Total package: 4 lb 3 3/8 oz (1.91 kg)
10 W x 10 1/2 H x 4 1/2 in (25.4 x 26.7 x 11.4 cm)
DoubleNest Hammock: 1 lb 3 oz (538 g)
stuffed: about 5 W x 6 H x 4 1/2 in (12.7 x 15.2 x 11.4 cm)
ProFly Sil Tarp: 1 lb 1/8 oz (456 g)
stuffed: about 4 1/4 W x 8 1/2 in (10.8 x 21.6 cm)
Atlas Camo Straps: 12 5/8 oz ( 357 g)
stuffed: about 3 1/2 W x 6 H x 2 1/4 in (8.9 x 15.2 x 5.7 cm)
Guardian SL Bug net: 13 1/2 oz (384 g)
stuffed: about 4 1/2 W x 6 1/2 x 4 1/2 in (11.4 x 16.5 x 11.4 cm)
Pegs: 3 1/8 oz (90 g) 1/2 x 7 1/2 in (1.27 x 19 cm)
stuffed: about 1 1/4 x 8 1/2 H x 1 in (3.2 x 21.6 x 2.5 cm)
Bag: 3 oz (83 g)
flat: 13 1/2 x 23 in (34.3 x 58 cm)
MSRP: (components received) $232.80 US total: $58.34 Hammock, Doublenest Charcoal/Gray; $100.04 ProFly Sil; $24.98 Atlas Camo Straps; $37.49 Bug Net; $11.95 Pegs
Received: May 16, 2017
Hammock: This looks much like a big sheet bunched at each end with 6 mm (1/4 in) cordage connected to a carabiner to interface with the straps. The other end of the cord is hidden inside the 'bunch' and grips the sheet for purchase by the carabiner. The sheet has an attached stuff sack about 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 in (19 x 24 cm), with a 2 mm (1/8 in) cord and cord lock, plus a 1 x 19 in (2.5 x 48 cm) attached webbing strap and side release buckle to cinch the package. The sheet has a 9 1/4 in (23.5 cm) perimeter piece triple-stitched and of a different color. The sheet is not coated and I'm believing it can be squished as tight as the webbing strap will go without compromising the material.
Fly: The sil nylon fly sheet has a reinforced guy point at each of the four corners, plus the center of each end. The corners pull the sheet toward the ground; and the end-centers pull the sheet to trees from which the hammock hangs. The perimeter is a curved cut, which makes pulling the fly wrinkle-free much easier. Guy lines are reflective; about 90 in (2.3 m) long; about 2 mm (0.08 in); rather stiff; with cord lock adjusters. The sheet is made from two halves, with the seam running end-to-end at center.
Straps: The straps are 1 in (2.5 cm) webbing, about 9 ft (2.74 m) long. One end of the strap has a loop 3 3/8 in (8.5 cm) long, triple-layered and triple stitched. Starting about 1 in (2.5 cm) from the loop is a 5 1/8 in (13 cm) logo patch stitched to the webbing. About 47 in (1.2 m) from the end starts a secondary run of webbing that makes a series of 14 loops stitched to the primary webbing, each about 4 1/4 (10.8 cm) with each end triple-layered and triple-stitched. The final loop on the strap is from the primary webbing, about 3 1/2 in (8.9 cm) long. It does matter to the stitching which way the loop faces when connected to the carabiner. The logo-end loop receives the other end, which after surrounding the tree is pulled through to make a choker; and then the carabiner connects to the appropriate loop, depending on the circumference of and the distance between trees.
Bug Net: The netting tunnel hangs from a 2 mm (0.08 in) stringer running the length of the net through a 2 in (5 cm) wide sleeve. The bottom of the tunnel has an 8 1/2 in (22 cm) taffeta panel running the length of the tunnel. The tunnel has a draw cord on each end to close the tunnel; and ingress/egress is gained by sliding one end of the tunnel over the hammock.
Pegs: Lightweight triangular shaft with notches at the neck and a hole in the head.
Bag: Coated ripstop nylon plenty big enough to contain all the parts, with a heavily reinforced roll top and a side release buckle closure.
System: Compact shelter components providing sleeping area protected from bugs and weather; available for purchase as individual items for upgrades and/or replacement.
The website's great for itemizing the general pieces needed for OneLink. I'm not so bright as to avoid confusing myself with all the choices nor do I have the math skills to calculate the number. The opportunity to build one's own system is terrific for people who know what they are doing, but I've never hammocked and have little clue what I need. Maybe there could be a 'starter' package recommendation with a few bullet points for each component why to choose it or an alternative. I think the site does an excellent balance of information by component. The site video does a very good job of demonstrating how to set up the product (and not fall over a 15 ft / 5 meter sand cliff). Testing this gear is going to be some fun!
My first notable impression is that deck railing is not a suitable anchor point. (There is no suggestion anywhere that it might be, I was simply looking for a convenient place for my enthusiasm to manifest.)
HAMMOCK: That the deck railing started to give way did increase my confidence in the strength of the hammock taffeta. Most of my tents are 70-D, though not high tensile, and I would never dream of thinking I could plop my carcass in any of them and hang between trees. I know it must work, or ENO wouldn't still be in business as a trusted brand.
STRAPS: It took a couple minutes to figure out how to employ the strap, but now that I've got it, it's really simple. The webbing appears to be wide enough to avoid cutting into the tree; and to put traction on the choke so the webbing will not slip down the tree. That logo patch will have to go. The straps are easy enough to roll up and stuff in the cute little camo bag, but I don't see it getting used a lot. It isn't heavy, so I'll carry it.
FLY SHEET: Looks very easy to set up. Long guys, and stiff enough to keep from knotting up like para cord. Awfully big logo print; and as it's paint I've no choice but to carry the weight.
BUG NET: Looks easy to string and use; and the mesh fine enough to keep out even the tiniest biters. It must be the absolute simplest way to enshroud the hammock in netting. I'm wondering why not sew the netting to one side and attach by zipper to the other so as not to need the netting underneath the hammock; and to be able to get in and out without so much bug exposure to the inside. I would never leave home without the netting. I've had close association with bugs that can bite through 70-D, so that may be one reason to surround the hammock.
STUFF SACKS: All four component stuff sacks have a large logo patch sewn on. Those of course will have to be removed at the end of the test. (I'm delighted to plaster my bear can with company logos, but I can't suffer the weight of those sewn-on patches.) The compression straps for the bug net and hammock may have to go as well, since I don't think these parts need to be squished up that small to suit the way I pack. The fly and the big bag have enough ink to float a tattoo parlor, and I don't know how shed that weight. The main bag's big enough to hold a sleeping bag and a clothes bag, so maybe I will keep it for packing those items on potentially wet trips. I've not had any difficulty getting a component back into its stuff sack, though not quite as tidily as new. The peg sack could hold probably 30 or more pegs; and I actually would prefer that it be waterproof to keep grit contained for those times I don't have occasion to clean the pegs before packing.
PEGS: These are light, high-quality pegs of respectable length. The three-sided shaft won't twist and offers incredible defense against bending. Except for great big plastic ones for snow I don't like this style of peg as I can't press them in with the palm of my hand; and unless I bother to put a loop through the hole in the head, I struggle to extract them. I can press them in with my boot, but that implies a degree of dexterity I may not possess at the end of a hiking day; and I may already have changed to penetrable footwear.
Be I a hammocker? In my heavy days I carried a hammock for day lounging, but never overnight. Will be interesting to see if the trade off between not needing dry and unencumbered flat, level ground and instead requiring two sturdy uprights over anything works out well. I'm an occasional tummy sleeper, but I don't know if I want to bend like a backwards banana. I generally go to bed around 11pm or so after drinking liters of chocolate and tea all evening; and get up for good when the sun is so hot I'm forced out. Do I need a mattress? Do I need insulation against the nylon? Will I sleep colder? Am I going to roll out? Is getting in with my partner 2/3 of my weight going to counter the balance I'm thinking must be necessary? Stay tuned.
1. May 22-26, 2017: Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite Wilderness, California. 15 mi (24 km) backpack, 4,700-6,500 ft (1430-1980 m); 40 F (4 C) bedtime; calm, nights very dry to very damp. Two nights with a length-wise chamber insulated air mattress and one night attempted without. 45 F (7 C)-rated blanket for cover. Three camps.
2. Jun 5-8, 2017: Loon Lake, El Dorado National Forest, California. 10 mi (16 km) backpack, 40-36 F (4-2 C) bedtime, some calm, some gusting winds. 6,400 ft (1,950 m); dry three days and sprinkles the last night. Same mattress and blanket. Two camps, three nights.
3. Jun 20-23, 2017: Shasta National Forest, California. 8 mi (13 km) backpack. 50 F (10 C) bedtime, mostly calm. 5,720-6,360 ft (1,745-1,939 m). Same mattress and blanket. Three camps, three nights.
4. Jul 11-16, 2017: Yosemite Wilderness, California. 17 mi (27 km) backpack. 60-65 F (16-18 C) bedtime, calm. 5,520-6,960 ft (1,680-2,120 m). Same mattress and blanket 4 nights, no mattress 5th night. Three camps.
5. July 22-26, 2017: Waldo Lake, Willamette National Forest, Oregon. 2 mi (3 km) backpacking XC. 60 F (16 C) bedtime. 5,400 ft (1,650 m). Same mattress and blanket 4 nights. One camp.
1. Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite. The straps make setup exceedingly simple for a quick, easy and secure suspension and adjustment. I got it right the first time in only a couple minutes. The picture shows the morning result of the previous evening's effort. The straps roll up very easily to restore to their stuff sack, which I will use in order to keep tree sap from sticking to anything else. No doubt reasons other than pitch containment prevail, but as a fuss budget I'm pleased the hammock can be packed apart from the straps. Three trees were small enough to require several wraps around; and one tree was big enough to allow only one. In all cases the straps stayed in place and left no evidence of wear and tear on the tree or my self-image as would struggling with making a knot or admitting I don't know how.
I also like that I can unclip one end of the hammock and quickly fold it up to the stuff sack, and then unclip the remaining end to fold it up without the hammock ever touching the ground. I discovered after only three nights that the attached stuff sack makes for a handy pocket to stow my headlamp when I stay awake long enough to take it off.
I did not use the bug net at all or the fly for the hammock. The air was so wet the fourth night I got up to deploy the hammock fly over the tent, otherwise covered with only a dew cap. Sleepy and with only a headlamp I found the fly remarkably easy to set up, using a live bough on one end and a trekking pole on the other. I did use the blue pegs, and while the ground was just a bit too firm to palm-press them in, another epiphany struck me that a stone in the palm gets the job done quite easily. The pegs held all night and all guy lines remained on their pegs. The fly seemed smaller than I expected, but it was not over the hammock and further comment on size will have to be deferred until it is.
My priority this trip was to find a great site for the tent in order to keep my camp mate as happy as possible about spending the night alone, and the fourth night I could not find two suitable uprights within comfort distance of the tent. The idea was to test the hammock with my camp mate, having the tent available for whomever might want to flee to it first. I was never thinking we'd both actually spend the night in the hammock and would probably double during a lax time of day. As it turned out we managed to let the opportunity elude us. I'm not sure how many more times I will carry both shelters, and a naked chance to test double is not likely to happen.
I'm impressed with how well made the pieces are. I find few loose threads. The hammock seems engineered at the gather points to make all parts evenly stressed; as opposed to a portion of the fabric enduring more than its share. The straps strike me as real genius simplicity. The stiff guy lines on the fly keep them from becoming a torture of tangles; and they are long enough to be genuinely useful. The lines look reflective, but they are not and I wish they were. I do note on the fly a certain peculiarity. The curve cut makes it easy to pull all the wrinkles out except for two--at the apex lash points. Pulling on the hem--which does not connect to the seam at the apex--causes the seam end to bunch, and this makes a small but potentially vexing water collection point at each end.
The DoubleNest has so much material on the side that even with the mattress I was able to cover myself with the excess. At that point I felt smugly snug and then dismayed that it wouldn't stay put when I moved. Should there be snaps or perhaps even a zipper?
2. Loon Lake. The first two evenings were 40 F (4 C) when I went to bed and fairly dry. I did not deploy the bug net or fly. On the third evening the air was damp and the sky threatening, so I put the fly out and went to bed at 36 F (2 C).
I think the fly seems a little short, though a firm conclusion will require more rain. The perspective of the picture overstates the point, but makes it. One solution would be to lower the fly closer to the hammock, but that makes getting in and out a lot harder for a sleepy fellow's arthritic bones to manage. The light rain made me take note of the exposed webbing and cordage; and I realized that in addition to other benefits, the carabiner provides a lock against wicking. There was enough brush around I didn't need stakes. I like the line tighteners. Putting some surplus line at the fly makes final adjustments a snap, and then a half-hitch ensures the wind can't pull the line loose. I'll have to put some stretch loops in the lines as I fussed over the hem tearing out as wind gusts thrashed it about. The fly made adequate cover to empty the remainder of my pack into the hammock for the morning re-packing ritual. The hammock is deep and nothing blew out. I've a specific packing order that must not be violated. It starts with an empty pack and I don't like spreading my stuff out on the ground.
I wonder if there might be a way to install a gear 'dam' at foot and head ends where there is otherwise unused space.
I finally discovered that tucking the blanket under the foot-end of the mattress about eight inches (20 cm) will keep the blanket from migrating to center. I also slept better under the fly, an effective barrier against celestial air sinking directly on me. The third night was cold enough I wore four layers on top, and that was sufficient to keep my arms from getting cold against the sides of the hammock. I actually like the feeling of being swaddled in the hammock, but getting cold because of it does not suit me. I wound up spending about eight hours a night in the hammock--plenty of hours of sleeping, but a serious reduction in lollygagging.
I seem to be finding the sweet spots in upright spread, tension and height. When I get it right, getting in and out is easier than a tent.
I never felt like I was about to roll out. In fact I felt coddled and extremely secure. I do get an initial sensation of being "swallowed" in comfort.
Not having deployed the bug net yet I nevertheless don't care for the "sock" idea. I would rather the bug net zip to the hammock, eliminating all of the bottom-side netting and likely more than compensating for the weight of a zipper. A zipped opening gives vicious bugs somewhat less opportunity to invade than the full-mouth sock opening. And the addition of a zipper for the removable bug net could then make zipping together the top edges of the hammock a breeze for occupancy by one person in the DoubleNest. Of course the lack of netting below would then give proboscis access to those vicious bugs through a single layer of material, but I'm thinking they'd still have to drill through several layers of clothing on the sides and a mattress to boot on the bottom.
3. Shasta National Forest. Two of the three nights were not very suited ground-wise for a tent and the third night could have gone either way, though I only had the hammock. Bedtime was warmer on this trip and I needed no booties. I still had to wear a jacket liner to keep my arms from getting cold against the material.
The first two nights went from too hot for bugs to too cold in short enough time I could tolerate them in between. For the afternoon preceding the third night I decided to give the bug net a try with a bit of nap following a short but spirited hike. I found it very easy to deploy from the outside, though I didn't care much for having to let the hammock go to the ground on one end after unhooking the carabiner from the strap. (The hammock is the same at either end and has a head/foot end only when occupied. The bug net can be installed from either end of the hammock, but I want my head at the same end as the large opening in the netting--I can't reach to the foot end of the hammock when I'm in it. The netting can only be drawn back from the large-opening end.) I reached through the gathered-up net from the large end to the small end, pulled the Atlas strap through and hooked up the biner again. I pulled the small end elastic cord closure snugly around the end of the hammock, then pulled the netting to the head end of the hammock and tightened the large opening. The 'O' rings make clipping the top line to the carabiners very easy, and then I tightened that line and tied a half-hitch for insurance on the cord locks. That part was easy.
Easy also was pulling the head end open and sliding the net back toward the foot end enough to get in the hammock. The easy part was then over. I probably didn't fit the image of a teenager trying to wriggle into skinny jeans, but that picture came to mind as I tried to coax the net over me. Maybe my bottom end offers gravity irresistible temptation to bulge the hammock when I sit up to reach the netting; or perhaps I'll learn nuances of technique like remembering to help the mouth hem over the hammock stuff sack. Once I got it over me I found it a long reach, but a good stretch to pull the mouth closed.
The afternoon was hot and I'd guzzled a half-gallon (2 L) of water. I got in for my nap rather precisely simulating my usual nightly routine of a couple liters (half-gallon) of grog before bed. I awoke to the call of nature and felt an impending but not quite crucially urgent need to answer. I fussed, fidgeted and struggled to find the cord lock, scooting as best I could to discover the thing with one hand and pull the cord with the other. Finally I just yanked on the netting until it gave way. Thus I learned it may not be necessary to get hold of the cord lock or cord. Later during the night I got up several times, fumbling and/or yanking as necessary to get out. Only one time did a bug wind up inside, which surprised me as at that time they were thick and intolerably pesky.
I thought I'd pulled the line tight enough, but the netting rubbed on my sunburned nose. It seems body weight in the hammock slightly lessens the straight-line distance between the carabiners, allowing the netting to sag. I pulled the line tighter than I wanted to and that fixed this problem, along with sliding more to the center of the hammock. I can see now why the netting is not suspended higher over the hammock, but I don't like it. I don't like the line being so much in the way when getting in and out of the hammock, or sitting in the hammock cross-wise with the netting pulled back. For sitting it would not be that hard to unclip the line from the biner, but I'm out there not to do any more work than necessary.
The bug load was light most of the day, but diverse, replete with flies, sweat bees, biting flies, some kind of bug I didn't recognize, the ubiquitous mosquito and of course ants; and a nasty little varmint so small three of them could have done a hula on a pepper flake. The vendor's claim that the netting blocks even the tiniest bugs seems adequately proven as I've never seen smaller biting bugs and none got to me. I would have known--I don't know how anything so minuscule can bite so viciously. Ants evidently don't like to tightrope their way in as I've had no issues with any ground bugs. At nine in the evening most bugs had gone away on night three, but the skeets came out of the woodwork in a profusion that sent me scurrying to the safety of the netted hammock. Dinner could wait until eleven, when the temperature finally dropped enough the devils returned to their lair. My complaints about the netting migrated to back of mind as the buzzing clamor continued while I lay at rest and thankful they could not get me.
The vendor cautions against letting the netting come into contact with DEET. As that would be a fairly common chemical in the course of defending against bug savagery, I wonder how much exposure the material might tolerate before melting. Am I not to slather it on the netting, or will just touching it with gooped-up hands start the deterioration? I rarely have chemicals with me, but when in the Cascades, one finds cause to consider bringing large amounts.
On a scale of 1-5 I'd give the netting a 1 because it does work, but I don't like anything else about it. As much as I needed it one evening, I was thinking of ways to make it better.
At my third camp the sun failed to come up where it was supposed to and by five am I was way too hot. The hammock's suspension method (and accommodating trees) made adjusting to that issue a breeze. I simply unstrapped one end and rotated into the shade to re-strap. I doubt the procedure took a minute and I was able to enjoy the rest of the morning.
The mattress I've been using has length-wise air chambers. The mattress wraps up around the lower part of me and provides completely satisfactory insulation against the hammock. But at my shoulders and arms the mattress is not wide enough to do that, especially when it compresses itself narrower in the slot canyon of the hammock. When I try sleeping on my side, my back and knees press against the hammock and get cold. Also, though I wouldn't say it's excessive and in some respects I find it soothing, body weight causes the hammock sides to apply pressure--what I would call swaddling. Thus, for example, the blanket insulation gets compressed between body parts and hammock sides, which may be why the blanket isn't warm enough at those spots. There were actually times in previous outings my knee caps got cold enough to make me wake up.
I would prefer the pocket/stuff sack be moved far off center. Being in the middle makes it conveniently available whichever way I get into the hammock, but it's also right under all my weight when I ease into the hammock. If I don't get the hammock high enough off the ground, or if there's a rock or log under the pocket, things get squished.
After nine nights maybe I'm starting to get the suspension sensation that evidently makes hammocks popular. That isn't to say so much that I necessarily like it as my body parts prefer closer proximity to solid and stationary foundation. I realize the need to address the litigious nature prevailing in modern times, but there are so many vendor admonitions about potential accidents and failures that I can't help but wonder how many times I can use the hammock before it is one too many. I tend to use my stuff until it fails. I don't see a happy ending to maintaining that behavior with this type of product.
4. Yosemite. I'm sleeping much better at the warmer temperatures. Speaking no ill of the hammock, I'm finding it easier to get up in the morning than when I'm in a tent. That proved helpful in getting a 10 am start (vs. my usual 1 pm) on a seven-hour, hard hike where temps hit 95 F (35 C).
I find the tighter I can pull the hammock, the more comfy it is. Usually I sit in it to pull out the slack and go to the next loop on one end. One night while I was up I grunted and strained to gain one more loop. Perhaps Kibbie Creek 250 ft (75 m) away gave off enough humidity in its death throes to cause the material to stretch. At 9 am it had shrunk (or I have powers of strength heretofore unknown at night) just enough I couldn't get the edge of the loop to clear the lip of the biner. Luckily one of the chokers was not dead center on the tree and making it so gave the necessary slack. Lesson to remember: If there's any chance of the nylon getting wet, don't pull it to the maximum if it is going to dry out before taking the hammock down.
I'm getting more used to hammocking and indeed I did so enjoy whiling away hot hours of lazy afternoons, saving chair time for evening at the campfire.
Evidently hammocks are not common yet in one of my favorite back country destinations. A velvet buck could not overcome his curiosity until he'd crept to within spitting distance before bolting.
On a 75 F (24 C) in-the-shade afternoon I went in for a quick nap after setting the hammock in place, with nothing in it but me. It closed up like a Venus fly trap. That's fine when it's cold, but I could have used some of what little breeze there was. With bare legs and a thin shirt against the fabric I wasn't cold. So the threshold for needing insulation is, for me, right at 75 F (24 C). On the last night I'd been so hot all day and the night was warm, I climbed in sans mattress, sandwiching myself in my blanket. I slept ok. Without the mattress, the fabric puts a lot more pressure on my body.
I fuss when my stuff gets too much sun exposure. The ENO is really easy to move around to keep radiation degradation at a minimum.
5. Waldo Lake. I camped on a spit close to the water where temps can range from just above freezing rain/sleet/snow to radiation-sickness hot. Usually the wind blows enough to even things out. This trip was sweltering hot and mostly calm to no air movement at all. The lake's mascot is swarms of mosquitoes, sometimes held in check by wind and low or high temps. Daytime was hot enough to keep them out of the sun, but mornings and evenings were torture as usual. I doubt I could ever give the bug net a better test, using it three of four nights. (I took it off at 11pm the last night in case my alarm failed to go off for a daybreak get-up--if it didn't, the bugs buzzing and biting would get me out of any slumber.) The net does keep the critters out, and only a few followed me in for close combat under the netting. I do struggle getting the net over or off me and except for the fact that it works, I don't like it. Another circumstance of sinking into the "slot canyon" of the hammock is that the cacophony of skeets buzzing is almost as close as in a head net. So much buzzing so close to the ears is not very relaxing, requiring concentrated effort to remain confident the blood suckers will not be rewarded.
I deployed the tarp on the third night and left it until I broke camp two mornings later. Turned out I was overly cautious as the marine air coming from the west just couldn't handle the desert air from the east and nothing wet came out of the sky, threaten as it did. I like the tarp for how easily it sets up. I quit with the half-hitches at the line holders as no matter the thrashing they didn't slip. I was impressed as well with the hemmed corners that did not tear, having sized them up as potential weak points earlier in this test. I continue to think the tarp needs to be a few inches (10 cm) longer, especially with the amount of curvature in the cut.
One day I walked around the lake (20 mi/32 km) and was thoroughly delighted with the comfort of flopping into the hammock at hike's end. I'd doused myself in the lake and changed into clean clothes for a lazy afternoon that felt nothing short of heavenly in the hammock. Were I not to carry a chair I'd be ever more inclined to hammock. In those hours my only possible point of contention is that the sides of the hammock are so high above my head that I can't see anything but sky above me.
6. Aug 3-11, 2017: Emigrant Wilderness, California. Hammock, insulated all-air mattress; synthetic blanket. 35 mi (56 km) backpacking trail & XC. Leave wt 41 lb (18.6 kg) return 31 lb (14 kg). 55-45 F (13-7 C) bedtime. 7,600-8,720 ft (2,316-2,658 m) camp elevation. Eight nights. Seven camps.
7. Sep 8-11, 2017: Emigrant Wilderness, California. Hammock, insulated all-air mattress; down sleeping bag. 12 mi (19 km) backpacking trail & XC. Leave wt 36 lb (16 kg) return 30 lb (14 kg). 50-45 F (10-7 C) bedtime. 7,600-8,700 ft (2,316-2,650 m) camp elevation. Three nights. Two camps.
6. Emigrant. I was rain-wet when I got to my first camp and deployed the tarp. The rain graciously quit once I had the shelter in place. I found pitching the hammock under the tarp an easy task even as night approached. Thus, no drama. Next night, however, I was forced to pitch the longest span yet, between two pines, one solid and the other severely deformed and slightly flexible. I noted a lump of granite sticking out of the dirt, and did consider risking my shirt to the rodents in the event of hammock contact with the granite. I decided the risk of chewed shirt far greater than chafed hammock and did not cover the rock. (Loaded nylon rubbing across bare granite is, of course, a kiss of death.) I put the straps on the trees at about shoulder height and pulled the hammock tight as I could. I had to get on my toes to try the test sit and felt satisfied at being well above the rock. The test sit stretched and groaned and I was able to grab one more loop on a strap. During the night I sank more than I expected and struggled to get my feet under me in order to exit the hammock, leading to a bump on my behind and a loud pop. I assumed the current cultural mode of ignoring the evidence, did my business and climbed back in blissfully believing nothing had happened. Packing up the next morning I spotted an inch-and-three-quarter (4.5 cm) hole in the bottom of the hammock. I looked away repeatedly but the hole remained. On a different tack I applied to the inside a swatch of contact nylon from my FEAR (First aid, Emergency And Repair) kit and to the outside several pieces of medical tape. The thin nylon stretched enough to hold for the remainder of the trip; the latter probably added nothing more than adhesive residue. I regard the issue as a matter of user error and not product deficiency, being in the dumb spectrum of stepping on a tent pole and breaking it.
ENO customer service was very helpful in lining out my options and answering questions. They advised that the largest hole they will repair is two inches (5 cm), putting my hole in questionable territory. If they felt repair prudent, their means would be the same available to me--elastomer patch, and no, do not stitch it. They might pity me enough to make a warranty adjustment or discount a replacement if they determine the hammock beyond salvation. I'm not keen on replacement under any terms for the same reason I don't fix a first windshield chip--if it's already damaged, the ding gods will be more likely to look elsewhere to appease their appetites. I made the mistake in poor judgment, which may not improve greatly as I progress along the learning curve. I ordered patch material from ENO.
The patches came quickly. I ordered two, thinking one on each side would be better. Indeed, the instructions (short enough and simple enough I could read 'em) say to do exactly that. The patches measure 3 1/4 x 4 in (8 x 10 cm), allowing my hole the 1 in (2.5 cm) margin as required in the instructions. However, the instructions make quite a point of declaring a 1 in (2.5 cm) hole as maximum. My experience with the plain old (non-elastomer) contact nylon suggests that mandate is to set limits on litigation more than probable capacity of the tape. I stuck a whole patch on each side of the hole. The tape goes on remarkably clear and appears to be tight. I had some difficulty getting it on wrinkle-free--pretty much only get one shot at it--and would advise another set of hands to hold the fabric in place while setting the patch. I'm expecting at least one more outing in the hammock before the test is over, which will allow comment on the initial effectiveness of the elastomer patch.
7. Emigrant. This trip I tried a down sleeping bag for comparison to the synthetic blanket I'd been using the rest of the time. The bag stayed in place better, but the firmer fibers in the synthetic blanket did a better job of keeping my sides insulated from the cold of the fabric. I spent quite a lot of time in the hammock hiding from rough weather. The second night I set the fly in the rain and put up the hammock under it. I find it doesn't take long and provides a great deal of comfort. Rain did not get on the hammock.
The hammock patches show no sign of coming loose after three protracted nights in it.
Nights out (all backpacking): 30
Eliminating what I felt to be needless logos, warnings and compression straps after completion of the test resulted in a weight reduction of 1 5/8 oz (48 g).
SUMMATION: I don't have the slightest concern about falling out. Setup and takedown is easy. No component shows any sign of normal wear and tear. The system provides effective shelter against weather and bugs, though I find the latter defense somewhat cumbersome. The system is not a weight-saver for me. I find the fabric is cold, requiring insulation at temps below 75 F (24 C).
Am I a hammocker? Overall I think I sleep more comfortably on a mattress over terra firma. While I'm now-and-then stumped for a perfect tent site, that seems to happen less often than being unable to find a pair of perfectly located uprights. I think the reason I got the hole was because I bet on an upright not up to the task. As I used the hammock more I got more comfortable in it, especially in warmer summer temperatures. Under/over blankets would add an amount of weight and bulk not suiting my style of backpacking, so I wouldn't choose a hammock for colder outings. I compare the comfort level to a recliner--nothing better for one position, not the greatest for an all-nighter.
I am delighted to have the hammock option and will continue to use it when circumstances indicate the choice (warm, forest environs).
c) easy set-up
Thank you Eagles Nest Outfitters, Inc., and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product. This report concludes my test.
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