I got my Claytor Jungle today. I'll be passing my Clark on to my wife, who's a much better fit for it.
So I took the Jungle out to a local park to give it a once over and a lie down. Good thing it was bloody cold out or I would likely still be in the park... :D
Laying it out on the floor it was obvious that the design is incredibly simple. The hammock body, second layer, and netting are all rectangles sewn together on three edges (with a thin webbing to act as reinforcement), the second layer open on the fourth side and the netting with its full-length zipper. The support straps go through a simple tube which is reinforced at the ends. It certainly looks like something one could throw together at home fairly easily, and now that I have it to examine I will, if (or when) I do some DIY hammocks, base my designs on this one.
Tom Claytor recommends tying the hammock supports by making a bowline loop in one end, wrapping the strap around the tree, bringing it back through the loop, and tying a couple half hitches to hold the line in place. I went with a ring buckle concept, using a bowline to attach the rings to one end of the webbing, wrapping the webbing once around the tree (because I wanted to see if it would slip or damage the bark) and then through the ring buckle. This worked very well while I was in the hammock. Of course, it would slip down the tree without weight in place to tighten the straps against the tree.
I tried lying in the center, off center (to both sides), and on my side. All positions were comfortable but I think that, once I've found the perfect amount of sag, slightly off center will work best for the best shoulder room. I thought it was interesting that, while the Clark tauts their canoe shape for providing a no-tip design, the Claytor seems to accomplish this with simple rectangles of material.
I'll definitely go with Neo's method of using arrow shafts to spread the bug netting overhead. It hangs very poorly without something such as this in place. I'm concerned that the bungy cord on the bug netting is flimsy and may not last. Assuming it doesn't add any significant amount of weight I'll probably replace that with something more sturdy.
The zipper was easy to use while inside the hammock and seems very sturdy. The mesh pocket is sufficient for small essentials such as lip balm and a Photon light. I have to say I miss the Clark's gear pockets. It was very nice to be able to keep all that stuff within arm's reach. I guess I'll have to get some sil and make a gear hammock... :)
I'm not certain of the quality of the webbing straps. Also, they're only 1/2" wide. I'll probably replace them with Speers webbing and make a carabiner/ring buckle system (but that Air Core is $40 a pop!!!). For now, though, I'd like to see how these straps hold up.
The tarp ropes are, of course, medium - low quality. Everyone replaces these in every hammock though, right? Anyway, they'd do in a pinch but I don't see them lasting as long as the rest of the hammock.
As has been noted before, the tarp is ripstop but not sil, hence the weight. I'd like to get a sil cat cut tarp in camo to cut some of the weight of this 3lbs 11oz package.
Overall I'm quite pleased. The Jungle seems like a great deal at $130 shipped, and I only had to wait two weeks to receive it from Thailand.