In one of those rare “cosmic goodness” moments I became the recipient of a brand-spankin-new Trek Light Double hammock. I was fortunate to be in the right thread at the right time. As an extra added bonus, I “won” the hammock on a Friday and was hanging in it by the following Monday. That kicks!
I did not modify the hammock at all prior to taking it into the woods. My intent was to review the product “as is” since that is how many folks get started. I did end-up adding a ridgeline while I was out only because I was having a hard time finding the ‘right’ hang from tree to tree and seemed to have left my patience at home. I kept the suspension that was sent with the hammock and did change out the “S” hooks for the biners that Seth sent me. Not much of a weight savings (maybe an ounce total), but I prefer the biners to the “S” hooks.
The Trek Light line of hammocks seem to be cut from the same cloth (literally) as the some ‘other’ models. It is made from parachute nylon and is quite soft to the touch. The whipping is ‘cinched’ and very simple. A tube is created of nylon with a hem at the end of the fabric and then the rope/cordage is run thru the tube and the ends of the rope are tied in a knot. The looped end is left long (about 7 or 8”) to attach an “S” hook or biner. The material is triple stitched and I don’t see it being much of a weak point as some have suggested; certainly not if used by only one person. It is rated up to 400 lbs; I'm a quite a few Twinkies short of that weight at 216 lbs! IF this channel were to tear, there is plenty enough material there that a knot could be tied to get a person thru the night without having to go to the ground…shudder.
The dimensions of the hammock are roughly 60” W x 120” L. This means a 6-footer (like me) can almost lay perpendicular to the whippings in this hammock. Not particularly comfortable, but neither is Yoga. I did spend a lot of time sitting in the hammock sideways with my legs crossed “Indian Style”. This is probably my favorite position for just relaxing and watching the world spin by me. Lounging is certainly a strong point of this style hammock; it really lends itself to it with its wide body. The floppy edges that are common with double-sized hammocks are present in this one too. However, they can be easily controlled in most situations. As long as you lie on the diagonal there are only a few inches of material to flop around. Putting a weight in the built-in stuff sack works very effectively to control the flop on one side; I also experimented with folding the excess material under my head. The latter is not such a great idea as I woke-up with a pretty nice little kink in my neck and 20 miles to get back to the trailhead ; oops. The floppiness does become a factor in heavy winds. My second night in the wilds had some pretty horrific storms and accompanying winds. When the excess material would get caught in a wind current it would crack like a whip. Rather annoying, but that’s about it. It’s not like I was sleeping anyway! A weight (rock) in the pocket and my feet holding the other side down (on the diagonal) eliminated the problem for all but the worst of the gusts.
The suspension Trek Light sends out is basically just a strong length of rope folded in half and then 3 knots are tied near the end. The rope is wrapped around the tree (or whatever). The knotted end is then inserted into the loop formed by the rope being folded. This creates a lark’s head around the tree. Then you just find the right knot, clip your biner (or hook) into the space behind the knot, and you’re done. No knots to tie or lashings to lash; very, very easy. HOWEVER, I can totally see this causing damage to the trees with the combination of fairly small diameter rope and my slightly larger diameter butt combining to create some ugly forces. The hike was thru hardwood hammocks (I love hammocking in hammocks) consisting primarily of pine. After some pretty intense scrutiny in the mornings, I did not notice any real damage to the trees after a single night’s hang. Some of the loose bark was knocked off, but no more than would be lost by leaning against the tree on a hot day. I wouldn’t want to tie to softer species with this suspension for fear of damage beyond the bark.
I found one small area in the hammock body that obviously got some wear over the weekend. I don’t remember my foot bumping into anything, but there is a spot near where my feet usually end-up that wasn’t there when I left. It looks like maybe I rubbed against something and of course IT HAD to be right on the stitching! I don’t think I’ve compromised the strength, but I’m going to have to be a little more careful. Otherwise, it seems to be fairly durable. Sure do wish my stitches looked this good.
The evening temps ranged from the low 70s (73.4 on my digital thermometer) up to 94 degrees during the day. Lots of wind, lots of rain, no bugs! This was the first time I’ve used an ‘open’ hammock for a camping trip. Usually, I’m in a hammock with built-in bug netting. I admit to understanding the desire to remove the bug nets on those models now. There is something quite peaceful about swinging under a big ol’ sky without anything but distance between you and the stars. Of course, then the rain comes and wrecks that little moment. But, even under the tarp it is a different feeling and quite nice.
I believe this to be a very good hammock for a beginner or expert (if there is such a thing) hanger. I spent the last week sleeping in the Trek Light Double full time at home, then took it out on the Florida Trail for a three day weekend. The hammock got hung right back on my home stand; so yeah, I like it. It is very easy to deploy, quite respectable in regards to weight, very comfortable, and reasonably priced. I suspect that the primary demographic target is not the camping crowd; but it is versatile in the fact that it can be used around the house, around the yard, or in the woods. Of course a journey to the woods should require a few extras like swapping out the suspension and some type of bug protection depending on the season. I’m guessing for an extra $50 retail, you could be outfitted for a trip; minus insulation. That would bring the total cost to somewhere in the neighborhood of $90 - $110 for a very functional hammock. Or, you could go buy $10 worth of no-see-um and build your own bug net!
I would certainly recommend this hammock to someone interested in the art of hanging. I personally don’t feel that it is quite as intimidating as some other models due to its simplicity; this is very important to the uninitiated! At around $50 it is a small enough investment that if you don’t like it, your feelings won’t be too hurt and you’ll have a really cool piece of lawn furniture to impress your friends. If you do like it, there isn’t much work to making it a very good camper. Oh yeah, and the bees just love the yellow fabric.
A late afternoon trailside nap is ALWAYS a good thing!