I’ve been a fan of hammock camping - or hammocking - for years.
I’d like to start by quashing a rumour. As someone who has suffered from ruptured spinal discs, a bad back is not a reason to avoid hammocks. In fact, hammocking is a lovely way to alleviate stress, and as bad backs and stress go hand in hand it’s probably a good idea to hammock, more!
The Sky Bed Bug Free is a hammock with a permanently attached mosquito net. It comes neatly packaged in an integrated splash-proof pocket, which is sewn into the hammock so you can never lose your bag. Two tree straps come folded into a small, separate pouch, which I always keep in the hanging sleeve pocket when the hammock is strung up.
To get started, lay the hammock out, roughly mapping the position between two suitable trees. Two super-strength lengths of climbing rope are attached to each end of the hammock
Wrap your first tree strap around trunk no. 1 and tie a fairly loose knot with your first two lengths of rope. We’ll come back to tie this properly in a bit
Then head to the other tree, wrap the second tree strap around it, ensuring the loops at the end of the straps are both together, pointing inwards.
When tying a knot, I feed one cord through each tree strap loop and tie a reef knot. Right over left and under. Left over right, and under. You could use another, even simpler knot, just like you’re starting to tie your shoes, but twice. A double granny.
When you’re tying this knot, ensure there’s a bit of slack in the hammock, because you have to go back to the other end, loosen up the first knot you tied, pull the hammock nice and tight and then re-tie that first knot. There’s no harm in tying a few safety knots for peace of mind, just remember that the more there are, the more you’ll have to undo in the morning!
Before you get comfortable you need to get some tension on the mosquito net. Two little pockets marked by a yellow loop of cord rest on top of the net. Pull the string out of the pocket and tie it tightly to the trunk, a foot or two higher than the tree strap.
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve slung a hammock before, always gently test your weight on it before jumping in. You might have got a knot wrong, or selected a tree that wasn’t quite sturdy enough.
When you’re satisfied, lay back and relax.
I really like this hammock. Made from ripstop nylon, it feels incredibly strong as well as soft and comfortable. Its unique asymmetrical design is mapped out with a diagonal silk sleeve, which is designed for you to slide in a sleeping mat for added insulation and an even flatter sleeping space. A sleeping mat is NOT included.
Without getting too technical, the Bug Free netting has 2100 Holes Per Square Inch, which means even the smallest No-See-Ums have no chance of getting in to feast on you overnight. It creates a cosy, cocoon-like sensation, and keeps you in shade even in direct sunlight.
Along the side there are four internal pockets to stow your gear in, and 6 loops of cord to hang your kit from, which means you’re not going to have to share your hammock with lots of loose gubbins.
And remember, if you’re expecting rain you’ll need to get yourself a rainfly to keep everything dry. That comes separately.
Hammock Bliss are constantly refining and innovating their products, and this hammock is the result of years of testing. You can feel the quality all over, it weighs in at 32 ounces - or just over 900 grams if you like metric - and as a versatile bug-free hammock you’re going to struggle to find anything more fun and reliable as the Sky Bed Bug Free.
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