I FINALLY got some hammock time in this weekend. Been a long time comin. I had to chose between two hammocks to play with; The Switchback and the new DD Frontline Hammock. For no reason other than the fact that I've got a couple DD Hammocks already, I went with the Switchback. Mine is a single layer 1.9 with rings and webbing.
Let me start by saying; I LIKE IT! I like it a lot, actually. I was worried that I wouldn't because of the way the ends of the hammock are cinched. Generally speaking, I'm not a huge fan of that style. But, the crow I spent the weekend eating wasn't all that bad. Glad to be wrong. Here are a couple of pictures, one of the ends and one of the ring attachment; notice the zippers on both sides that go all the way to the ends. Nice for tying the netting up.
I've got a few little gritches about the Switchback, but I gotta say, they are really minor and often petty. Overall, I am impressed enough to know that it is a hammock that will see the inside of my pack frequently.
It is roomy; really, really, really, roomy. I'm no little guy (6' and 230ish), but felt small inside this thing. I understand they choose to call it the "Switchback" due to the lack of a set head or foot end. They are right! Not only can either end be used as the head-end, but you can change your mind once inside the hammock. Seriously, I was able to flip without any struggle at all; just a butt-spin. This thing is huge inside! Here are some views from inside:
And I didn't even have the netting set really tight; just up. I used some twigs I found laying around the yard to suspend the netting and tied it off loosely. Still provided more than enough room inside without the netting ever touching me when laying down. While we are at it, this is one of the areas I don't like. Nothing personal about the Switchback, I'm just not a fan of netting that needs something extra (twigs) to be suspended. To me, it adds another step in the set-up and possibly extra stuff to carry if you so choose. Again, minor and petty. By no means a deal breaker. The one thing I'd like to see changed are the loops used to hold the spreader. The outside loops are sealed on the outer edge. Meaning, one must find just the right length stick/twig/arrow shaft/whatever to fit between the two outer loops. If the loops were open, I could just use my trekking poles or whatever I find. Super simple mod, so not a big deal. I'm just sayin.
Probably my favorite thing about this hammock is the view. When laying down, I can turn my head and see nothing but scenery; no hammock material in the way save the netting. The shot below was taken holding my iPhone next to my ear and pushing the button. To borrow an old phrase, Nothing But Net!
I think it's a good looking hammock. Maybe not quite as sexy as my go-tos (you know what they are ), but still a fine looking hammock.
Inside both ends are some small netting pockets. Plenty big enough for a book, light, phone, and a few other goodies.
The asym tie-outs are in good spots. They are a little further apart than those of another asym hammock I know of, which really helps the comfort factor IMO. They are placed pretty much spot-on where my shoulders sit, which provides all the extra room. Something about them feels awkward, but I'll be darned if I can tell you what. They function very well. I do notice a difference in feel without them deployed, but it's a small difference.
As for construction; two words: Bomb and Proof. Stellar build! Stitches are straight and consistent. Overlap of the fabric appears to be generous and overall the Switchback may be overly sturdy. The zippers are heavy and very smooth. Some ounces can probably be lost by going to a lighter zipper, but I think some durability would be lost. I don't see these things getting jammed without some effort. The interior zipper taps also have a nice little piece of cord attached so they are easy to find and use without having to look. I really like that and it's a super nice touch. It's something I generally do with all my zippered hammocks, but it's nice to see it come stock. Nice touch guys!
It has already taken some fairly heavy abuse and you'd never know it. Chyna (the mighty Bulldog) decided she wanted to try it too. Unknown to me (I was napping), Genuine Draft let Chyna out into the yard. She proceeded to run over to the hammock and jump up to put her front paws on the hammock. Mind you, she weighs about 75 pounds (all up front) and it's been a while since we've had her nails trimmed. I woke to claws running across my shoulder. Not good since I had the netting closed. I shoved her off and jumped up to see how badly my brand new toy had been damaged. Luckily, it hadn't been damaged other than a couple of squares of netting being deformed. I can live with that.
A few hours later, I did discover one potential problem for the active sleeper. I rolled over while 'kind-of' asleep. I later discovered that because the fabric of the hammock comes down so low (remember the picture from my ear) and this thing is so big, the possibility exists to roll onto the netting and off the fabric. I discovered this when I opened my eyes and was looking down at the ground. I don't know how long I was putting weight on the netting, but it was a while. No visible stress at all! It wasn't all my weight, but it was a good chuck of my torso weight on that netting. All hail heavy duty zippers!
No pics of any insulation attached, but I did throw the SnugFit on it for a while last evening; fit like a champ. Can't imagine any of my other underquilts not fitting fine.
I'm going to be using this thing for a while and will report what I find, but initially this is a hammock I very much like and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to someone. It's solid, comfortable, good looking, and has convenient features. Add in to the mix that it's being made by one of 'us' and you've got a hammock that (based on my experiences so far) would easily make my top 5 list.
After I've spent a few nights in it after carrying it some miles, I'll post a formal review. This is just a first blush, but I'm getting a warm and fuzzy feeling about the Switchback. Absolutely great job by the fellas at Tree to Tree. I hope it does well and you certainly have my support.