We heard about this nifty little hammock through the traveller grapevine and asked Well Hung Hammocks a small UK company if we could take a look and they kindly obliged by sending us a 2 person version. Emma whose the designer and owner of Well Hung Hammocks is a veteran traveller and claims to of used the Travel Hammock all over the world.
The Travel Hammock comes in loads of colours from Pink to Green and everything inbetween with a single version priced at £25 and the double at £45. They come complete with all necessary fixings, are machine washable are lightweight (single 500g, double 750 grams).
They key with these hammocks is the simplicity of design and use. They are literally a sheet of non-tear parachute material with ropes and hooks on each end all in a compact little sack. Due to their simplicity it is never a chore to hang these hammocks, all you have to do is wrap the end ropes around a suitable extremity and hang the hooks over the rope. You may find you need to adjust the ropes to get the hooks against your hanging point to prevent slippage when you first climb in. Due to the really easy hanging system it is no exaggeration to say that I can put this one up in less than 2 minutes. Packing away does take a little longer, I found the trick is to un tie one end and then roll the hammock up tightly to the other end with the hook and ropes wrapped around each end. Taking down takes around 4 minutes so it’s not exactly time consuming and I had no trouble getting the hammock back in the bag, which is not something that can be said of many fold away products.
I must admit I had reservations the first time I went to get in the hammock as the material is so thin and light weight. I wasn’t convinced it would hold but it didn’t flinch with my amble bulk imposed upon it, and so to give it a real test after much persuasion I convinced my partner to get in aswell. This being a two person hammock it should hold up with 2 fully (and not to skinny) grown adults clambering around in it with a rating of 180kg. Thankfully it did without complaint! The most comfortable way for 2 people to share is top to tail as with most hammocks you do find you roll together and this can become uncomfortable rubbing shoulders. A feature I particularly like is the load bearing seam running down the middle so each half of the hammock is almost independent of each other. It feels more like 2 hammocks sharing a tie point rather than one large one where your flattened against each other.
I decided to give the Travel Hammock a proper test on a nice sunny day and set off on a 4 hour hike over some downs at my local stomping ground. After 3 hours I found 2 trees on a hillside and chucked the hammock up in minutes. It was very windy but the hammock was still easy to put up as long as you are sensible about what you leave flapping. It was so windy I had to stick my backpack in the hammock so I could get some decent(ish) pictures in situ. You can see from the pics how I hung the ropes from the branches, simplicity itself. I then enjoyed a very comfortable half hour swaying back and forward reading my book and enjoying the view.
I inadvertently managed to test the rip stop material whilst trying to pack the hammock away in the wind, I lost my grip and dropped the lowest point onto the thorns you can see below it in the picture. Now I know what your thinking “who would hang a hammock over a thorn bush?”. Well I would, if it gives me this kind of view and the light to take half decent pictures for your viewing pleasure. Suffice to say I panicked when I found 3 small nicks right at the bottom of the hammock and thought that I had wrecked it. However when I got home I fancied a well deserved sit down and chucked the hammock up between a hook on the side of my shed and a fence post. With some trepidation I jumped in thinking that I would fall straight through. I was amazed to find that the rip stop pattern really works and the hammock performed exactly the same as before and showed no signs of further tearing. I have used it half a dozen times since and the nicks still haven’t increased in size.
In summary I love this item, its so easy to have in the bottom of your pack just in case you see a pair of trees with an attractive view! It would also be great for a trip further a field as it would be a dream on a beach or out in the sticks. A good size hamock can also be useful for many scenarios on the road and can double as a tarp, curtain, bed sheet (dodgy hostel), even a tow rope at a push!. This offering is well priced considering its versatility, lightweight and performance. I would recommend buying the double even if I was travelling alone. If it gets windy or the sun to fierce you can wrap yourself up in a little cocoon or if the weather is fine, just fold the hammock in half and it acts like an even more comfortable single.
Available from Well Hung Hammocks here.