How many people in the last four years – hammock forum members – have purchased the Safari model? I think probably very darned few. I've got a feeling that the Safari is at the very bottom when it comes to ownership by HF members.
But I think that's a shame. After four years of fooling around with many different (mostly good to excellent) hammocks, I think I have about decided the Safari is the most comfortable overall of the commercially available hammocks I have been able to test. I suppose others have not come to the same conclusion – even though I think very few have actually tried it. But if those who had tried it had the same opinion I had, then surely more people would have bought a Safari based on recommendations. (Also, I realize there are some Safari owners – few in number though they are – who must not share my opinion as they have switched to other hammocks for whatever reasons. So just IMHO)
But based on my personal experience only, the only reason I can come up with for why the Safari does not rule is weight. But I think going by the advertised weight really is misleading. Because that includes the heavy polyurethane coated hex tarp. Of course the hammock itself is indeed relatively heavy. But when I weigh my no net Safari, I get ~ 2 lbs. 2 oz with suspension ropes but without tree huggers. That's really not all that heavy compared to some other very popular models. For instance, the WBBB 1.7 and the JRB BMBH (the Safari's main competitor for overall comfort IMHO) both equal or exceed that weight. However, both of those are double layer hammocks and have nets and/or zippers that have to be considered in the weight. Still, many people are carrying hammocks that weigh at least as much is the Safari.
Recently there was a thread about "how big is big enough" or something like that. Several people were expressing the idea that they thought a longer hammock gives more comfort, all other things being equal. That caused me to make some measurements of the actual fabric length (not the ridge line). My Speer 8.5 clocked in at 103 inches. Next was my WBBB at 110 inches (all measurements are approximate). Then my Claytor No Net at 120. Then the HH DJ I am testing, at 122. Then my old HH Explorer UL at 124. Then (are you ready for this?) my HH Safari at a spectacular ~139 inches. That is one long hammock, and is pretty wide also though I did not measure that. But the RL is only 4" longer than the Explorer, so there is a lot of sag for people who like that.
So in the midst of testing the HH DJ, I have also been inspired to pull out my old Safari No Net and retest it. Here are some conclusions I've come to:
1: I can lay on my side with legs straight at pretty much total comfort. I would say with more comfort than any other non-bridge hammock I have tried. If the JRB BMBH rates a 10 for this, I'll give the Safari a 9.8 or 9.9.
2: when laying on my side with legs straight, I can darned near lay on my stomach. I'm not a stomach sleeper anyway, even in a bed. And this is not a complete stomach position. But it sure is close. I can come closer to a comfortable stomach position in this hammock than any other I have tried, except maybe for the BMBH. But definitely way closer than any of my other gathered end hammocks.
3: I can lay in any number of partial or full fetal positions with total comfort. Right side or left.
4: I am plenty comfortable enough in a straight midline position to sleep. With my legs slightly out towards each side, a pocket develops for my heels which provides a bend in the knees. I can do this with several other of my hammocks, but very often there will be some fabric providing slight irritation behind my knees despite the bending my knees. It's still doable at least for a while in several of those hammocks. But I don't feel that irritation with the Safari. IOW, it is even better and completely usable for mid-line position. No diagonal needed for me.
5: Having discovered that I could lay in either direction in the HH DJ, I tried it in the Safari. As far as I could tell on a quick test, it made no difference. The Velcro bottom entry under my back was no problem to my surprise. However, I did notice it when I tried to lay mid-line and backwards position. It is great to be able – in this giant hammock – to switch around with head at either end. Or for that matter with my head/body at nearly 90° across the hammock (fetal) or in between or mid-line, all with great comfort.
6: Without a doubt, less problems with calf pressure than any other hammock I have tried except the BMBH. Once again if I would rate the BMBH a 10 in that category, I would put the Safari at 9.8 or 9.9. The only reason I don't rate it 10 is because it is possible to get calf pressure, whereas I really cannot with the BMBH. But I would say that 9 times out of 10, when I just flop down into the Safari, and go diagonal there is no calf pressure. On rare occasions there is, and I have to shift around a bit to get to the easily found sweet spot. But for all practical purposes, I don't consider calf pressure a problem for me with this hammock. No matter which end my head is. And I am a person that often has problem with calf pressure in virtually all gathered end hammocks I have tried. Though some much more than others.
7: (EDIT) I forgot to mention: about as much shoulder room as could be desired.
So, I guess that's it. Next I will post some pictures.
Are there any other Safari fans here?