DD Travel Hammock Review – July 2011
I read parts of the long thread on these hammocks on the Hammock forum today and felt that another unbiased view from my experience would help give a balanced view of the product. I live in France so have no connection to the company.
When I wanted a hammock at the end of last year, I looked around the web to see what was out there. I saw the Hennessys at over £100, but didn’t really care for the underneath entry…I looked at the US models (particularly like the Warbonnet blackbird…) but these are not readily available in Europe. Then a mate told me about his DD Travel hammock that he was very pleased with. So I scoured the net for info which was pretty favourable on the whole.
When I ordered I was pretty much aware of the advantages and the shortcomings of the hammock and what I received was exactly what I expected.
I found mine to be well made, not too many threads and sewing sloppiness others had commented on. One or two but nothing I’d really gripe about. I checked all around and no issues were apparent.
I didn’t even bother with the supplied webbing. I removed it straight away and tied up with some 4mm climbing chord on each end. (Lighter, stronger and less bulky than the webbing supplied.) These I attached to my tree huggers with a marlin spike hitch. (Thanks for the help Grizz on Hammock Forums). The set up was very nice, quick and easy.
I added a DD Camo Tarp set up as Dave Canterbury illustrates on his youtube site, in a diamond pattern. Works great!!
With a thermorest and sleeping bag opened as a top quilt I’ve been good to go!
Ok now the nitty gritty…likes and dislikes!!
I saw guys saying these were junk hammocks. I must say I can’t agree. The one I received in June 2011 was fine. No hidden surprises.
• Double layer for insulating pad
• bug net
• general comfort
• versatility… can use it as a bivvi if needed
• Pockets inside
• Double sided entry.
• The sleeves make putting it away a doddle.
• Suspension… a couple of lengths of Amsteel or even just climbing chord would be better than the rubbish webbing supplied. This is mentioned by just about every single review I’ve read. Be it just adding a carabineer or replacing the whole shooting match. I’d suggest to Nick it needs attention.
• I got two whoopie slings for £12 which might be an additional item he could supply on his site, even if it’s at extra cost. While I appreciate everything has to meet a production cost, to add a suspension system most people bin seems a waste of time.
• I was surprised looking at the videos of the product they advocated using sticks to tension the bug net. Could a cheap system not be supplied? This is a minor point and now I’m used to cutting a twig, no real hassle. I was just surprised. Seemed like a bit was missing. Again coming into cost is a consideration. Add too many bits and your base price rises too much!!
For me this is a great budget level hammock. The level of sewing was just fine on my version.. Ok! one of the Velcro tabs is coming slightly undone.. but hey! That is being really nitpicking. No sign of the mozzie net tabs breaking… and I’ve tensioned them and stuck sticks through them… All in perfect working order.
All in all a very versatile, comfortable and compact hammock. I’ve done around 20 nights in it so far and sleep wonderfully. I have used it with the DD Camo Tarp and been totally satisfied. Once I got a suspension I liked sorted I found it quick and easy to set up…(I have ordered whoopie slings…I’ll have to see if they are more of a gadget than a true advantage.)
I’ve read about the condensation issue on the non breathable fabric, but so far have not seen it to be a real problem. Yes I’ve had some dampness, mostly by my feet (guess I have sweaty feet) but it’s not critical and not something that would prevent me using the hammock. I use it with a thermorest in the layered pocket, so I question the actual breathability of say a “Frontline” used with the same mat???
Some of the comments I’ve read seem pretty unfair. This is a very well thought-out and practical hammock that comes in at under 50 quid!!! Ok it should do what it says on the box and from what I’ve seen Nick strives to see his customers are satisfied. But it seems unfair to slate it when other products cost three or four times the price.
Thanks for the review. Always looked at the DD's as something to add to my quiver of hammocks.
Nice review! good to see theres people putting milage on their DD's. I have about 12 nights and countless hours of day hangings in my DD camping hammock ( no net) and its held up great. Not to heavy and with my structural ridge line in I have a perfect lay.
one thing though. so many people hate the webbing cause of the stretch but in reality it does not stretch THAT much. I made a double figure 8 loop on one end slipped the rest through the eye and I had a BUNCH of length of rope to hang the hammock. Im on whoopies now but I felt the rope was equally fine.
Good review, thankyou for sharing.
I don't think the breathability issue really comes into play until you start talking about differing climates. Frontline would be the hammock of choice for a jungle enviroment. You trade that off for the bivi option with the Travel. I guess YMMV.
My main issue with the supplied webbing is weight and absorbancy more than stretch. It's certainly an area of improvement for the whole range as noted. If it came with a variety of options (standard, poly webbing and rings, amsteel/dynama) they really would have all bases covered.
I've given my Frontline a proper battering this summer with up to three treks a week on occassion and it's really standing up well. I have alot of confidence in the build quality.
I bought a DD Travel hammock few weeks ago and have already spent few nights sleeping in it.
I would like to add some comments:
Regarding the DD webbing,
indeed it is much bulkier and heavier than a 3mm rope of a whoopie sling solution. What I don't understand though is why in all related threads people compare the DD's webbing with the bulk and weight of the 3mm whoppie rope only and do not consider also the tree huggers. I think the whoopies+tree huggers are heavier/bulkier than the DD webbing. The actual disadvantage I find with the DD webbing is that it is not as long as I would like it to be plus it stretches a lot if you use the whole length (one night I was sleeping in the hammock between 2 trees ~6 meters apart and in the morning I woke almost touching the ground - this did not happen though when I hung between trees that are close to each other, in which case not a lot of webbing is used).
Another minus I find with the DD webbing is that there are no specs available for its strength. I feel safer when I know the breaking strength of my suspension (although I know in practice many parameters affect this value).
I must say though that overall I am happy with this simple DD suspension solution (cheap, did not break so far and never read about any accidents in forums, and it served well its purpose until now for me). Adding a more advanced suspension in this hammock would significantly increase the cost of the hammock (the hammock, including the webbing, costs 49GBP these days, while a good whoopie sling suspension solution costs only itself ~20GBP). Perhaps it would be good if DD would offer two options: 1 as is now, plus 1 more expensive e.g. with whoopies)
Although I do not have a lot of experience in hammocking, for what I have seen until now, I must say that this hammock is really good stuff and on a un-beatable price (especially for us, the Europeans - I leave in Finland) .
I am very pleased with it so far!!
My DD Camping hammock's suspension rope (it's not webbing) really sucked and I've only had it for about two weeks maybe. It stretched so bad from just some light day hanging in the backyard plus they were abrading pretty badly from where they touched the trees that I would never use them camping. I threw it away before I got my whoppieslings and dutch clips in the mail.
As far as weight goes the stock DD ropes was heaver than my 1" tree huggers+dutch clips+whoopies. I didn't put them on a scale before I threw them away but I could defiantly tell a difference from just holding each in hand.
Other than that I love the hammock.
I didn't really get whoopie slings to lighten the load as the difference in weight is pretty marginal. (I'm not an ultralight guy, as I don't do enough miles for that). I got them as they are far faster and easier to set up, adjust and take down than the supplied suspension. More importantly they don't stretch. Amsteel has only 1% stretch so when I set my hammock height its pretty spot on.
The DD webbing acts like a wick and sucks in the rain... I find the webbing of my tree straps with a marlin spike hitch and the amsteel doesn't let the water get to the hammock. I was out in a mother of a thunder storm last month and while all my gear got soaked when my tarp guy line snapped... the rain didn't run down the suspension at all.
Costwise ... I got my 1 inch 400kg rated webbing in a hardware store for 5 euros. My whoopie slings cost me £12.99 from UK hammocks website. So its not a huge amount extra for the overall cost of the hammock.
I agree though for us in Europe the DD is a bargin. Go for a US made model and you can more than double the cost at the very least. When I see hammocks for 300$ I must admit I would find it hard to justify such a cost, however good it is.
Hallo Bradclarkston. Thank you for the info!
Indeed, the points you make are valid certainly for real hammock-ers (spending many nights hanging). But for hammock newbies (e.g. me), that spend less than 10 nights per year in the hammock, perhaps they may not be a matter of real concern.
Hi Garethw, indeed the DD webbing absorbs lots of water. But until now, I did not have any serious problem. However, the worst rain I experienced while hanging was only 1h of stong rain (thunder storm). The webbing got really wet but not enough to get my hammock wet as well. Probably if the rain had lasted longer, I might had water on the hammock.
Also, about the 400kg breaking strength tree huggers, I know that most likely you will never have any issue with them, but if I decide to go whoopee slings (e.g. with Amsteel or Dyneema of 900kg breaking strength) I would invest a bit more on my straps (otherwise why to pay for such a high-tech whoopie sling rope).
After all, I’d say we are all correct, although having different opinions! Because I see it is a matter of how much we want to invest in our hammock.
Me, as a newbie, I am happy with the simple and cheap DD webbing. Of course the more I get into hammocking the more I consider more serious suspensions like whoopies.
As to the Whoopie slings well those on offer were the 2.5 amsteel rated at 750kg. I didn't really compare the two or try to find cheaper slings. At £12 they were cheaper than I could get D12 dyneema locally.
I think Amsteel will always be stronger than webbing.. but if the price is cheap and it all passes the weight equation.. so what!!!
You need a tree strap so as not to harm the tree. Webbing is strong stuff and at 400kg BS will be far above 99% of the stress put on it by us hammockers...
We use Amsteel or other for its qualities as a constricting suspension as much as its weight. If it breaks above 400kg .. so what!!
The weakest link in the suspension is probably some point on the webbing...loop, Marlion spike knot... etc... but these are far and away above your body weight and the force you exert on the suspension.
As I said Whoopie slings cost £12 if you buy them ready made... Not exactly an extravagance!!! I'd be hard pushed to make my own cheaper.
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