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  1. #1
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    Hammock Tent 90º Gamma UL Hammock Review

    hammock-tent-gamma-ul-inteior.jpg
    As much as I love simple, basic hammocks, it is amazing to see the innovations and creativity taken to push hammocks even further. The Hammock Tent 90° Gamma UL is what I refer to as a “hybrid” hammock, that merges different concepts into a new approach to hanging.

    Hammock Tent 90° Gamma UL Hammock
    Manufacturer: Hammock Tent, made in Indonesia, USA, China, European Union, and Switzerland
    MSRP: CHF$199.00

    Available Features/Specifications
    Features

    Dyneema SK75 string suspension system
    Included suspension and webbing strap system
    Nylon 6-6 ripstop fabric, Oeko-Tex certified
    Pad-sleeve that fits most common single person camping pads 79×27×3 in (200×68×7 cm)
    Two bug-net interior pockets
    Non-removable, zippered no-see-um mosquito netting, suspended by shock cord, adjustable with cord locks
    Adjustable ridge-line with integrated bottle holder
    4 shock cord tie outs for pitching the hammock on the ground with two hiking poles and 6 stakes, or inside the optional 90 Degree Tarp-Tent
    Color: glacier gray / peapod green

    Specifications
    Dimensions*: 79×27×3 in (200×68×7 cm)
    Weight: 18 oz (515 g)
    Capacity: 220 lbs (100 kg)
    *The dimensions of this hammock are measured from the pad sleeve. The hammock itself has a ridgeline length of 84 in (213 cm) and a total height/drop/depth distance of approximately 51 in (130 cm). Note that this can change if you shorten the adjustable ridgeline.


    Product Description
    hammocktent-gamma-UL1.png
    hammocktent-gamma-UL



    The Hammock Tent 90° Gamma UL Hammock is very similar to the EXPED Ergo Hammock Combi and the Amok Draumr. The basic design concept really goes back to the traditional Mayan and Brazilian hammocks that are large enough and hung deep enough to allow you to sleep at near 90° from the axis for a comfortably flat lay. The hammock has been engineered to reduce fabric and weight by replacing much of the hammock with string nettles. This not only reduces the weight and bulk, but also improves the views across the hammock.

    Recommendations and Review
    hammock-tent-gamma-ul-nopad.jpg
    hammock-tent-gamma-ul-nopad

    I was sent the Hammock Tent 90° Gamma UL Hammock as a research sample, with no obligation for a review. I’ve considered posting a review on this hammock for months, considering how best to write about it. It truly is a very unique and interesting approach to hammock camping. What is also amazing to me is how light they have made this hammock. Usually, hammock designs that veer away from the simple gathered-end approach suffer from “feature bloat” or material requirements that can add significant weight to the kit. The Gamma UL is surprisingly lightweight, yet is fully featured with a zippered bug net, pad sleeve, and a unique 90° sleep angle.

    When I first reviewed the Amok Draumr, I bemoaned the fact that the hammock required a sleeping pad in order to form the hammock. Without the pad, the Draumr was unusable. The Gamma UL, in contrast, is designed with full support without using a pad. I’ll admit that the Gamma UL is more comfortable and roomier to me with a pad, but that is somewhat subjective, as it is a comfortable and usable design as is. The pad eliminates some shoulder squeeze and provides a fuller, flatter lay. I first used a thinner self-inflating pad, which worked very well, but it didn’t fill the sleeve as well and I could feel some heat loss along my legs. Larger, thicker pads fill the sleeve better. The hammock can also be used with under quilts with the right rigging.

    While the overall design of this hammock is novel and well-crafted, I was truly impressed with all the little details. One that sticks out to me is how the designer tackled the nettles. The nettles are the strings or ropes that help form a hammock and have been used with hammocks for centuries. The original woven Mayan hammocks use nettles to complete the hammock and are half the total width of the hammock. Nettles are also used on Navy hammocks and can be adjusted to vary the overall length of a hammock, allowing for a lot of customization and modularization on a hammock. One major problem with nettles is that they easily get tangled, especially if the nettles are made from thin line. Hammock Tent.com has solved this issue by designing sleeves that cover the nettles when packed and stored. Buttons snap the sleeves in both deployed and open positions. It’s a fantastic design.

    Getting into a 90° hammock takes a little getting used to. Since the hammocks is engineered to “force” a transversal lay, the fabric is bunched up in a way that makes it a little difficult at first to enter. Like a gathered-end hammock, you should sit in the center, and then pull the fabric out on the head and foot end to enter. Minor shifting is required to straighten everything out. Using a pad helps make this process a little easier since the fabric is stretched open.

    The suspension system on the Gamma UL uses a double ring. This can be used with a Garda hitch or a webbing strap, or you could replace the stock suspension and use other after market systems.

    Another advantage of this hammock design, like the Amok and EXPED models, is that they require less room to hang than common gathered-end hammocks. This means there are more places to hang. You can also adjust the ridgeline, and get into even tighter spaces.

    The downside of the design is how to cover it for rain protection. Most hammock designs use a simple A-frame tarp shape to cover a hammock. This works well for most gathered-end designs because you generally lay down the ridgeline of the tarp so you have plenty of head room. A transversed hammock, like the Gamma, puts your head and feet near the side panels of the tarp as they slopes down. This can cause some condensation issues in some conditions, as well as headroom issues when you lay down. Pitching the tarp higher helps alleviate these issues, but it also opens the sides for wind shearing and precipitation.

    Quality and Craftsmanship
    This hammock has all the fit and finish of a high-end commercial product, but has the feel and love of a cottage vendor. All the stitching is straight and even with no stray fibers. There is a superior attention to detail, with well-thought-out improvements that are simply brilliant.

    Article Source: TheHultimateHang.com
    Last edited by johnbelly; 05-02-2018 at 13:54.

  2. #2

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    Thanks for the write up. It certainly looks intriquing, and as you mentioned, pretty amazing that it is not heavier. Looks like a comfortable set up, and not unlike a bridge hammock as far as how you lay. The only thing that would require some creativity is the tarp set up. Now, let's see what the innovators on this site can do to remedy that!

  3. #3
    QFT's Avatar
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    So it looks like you're reviewing the 1.0 version, which I don't even think you can buy now. Unfortunately, the 2.0 version is something like $350+ just for the hammock. The tarp is $390.

    I owned The Gamma UL 1.0 for a few months, with the cuben tarp. Eventually I sold it because:

    1. I couldn't stay warm at or below freezing, and I was using a properly fitted Exped Synmat 7 UL in L/W. Others disagree and have also had success custom fitting an underquilt, but not me.
    2. Knee hyperextension is a real issue, because the thing isn't truly all that flat and kinda "bananas" a bit. Very comfy with something under your knees though. Some people have had luck with shortening some of the side strands to raise the hammock under the knees.
    3. It's not very long. At 5'10" I felt like I was too tall - my head was at the top, feet were effectively squishing my quilt against the foot end of the hammock - which made them cold.
    4. I love how you can hang between narrow trees (9+ feet), but hate how you have to hang the suspension REALLY high compared to gathered end. The further apart the trees got, the more challenging it became to properly hang at the right angle without brushing the ground
    5. You have to use a special design tarp, and it's difficult to hang it low enough to effectively shield the hammock from wind and weather.


    I wanted to like it so. badly. In my mind, it was a solution which is ultralight, extremely comfortable, can be pitched between narrow trees, and can go to ground and be pitched like a tent. In other words, PERFECT for backpacking in any condition. But it just didn't work for me.

    Some people love them, which I think is great. But I hope people also consider the drawbacks I just mentioned.

    Maybe they fixed it in the 2.0 version. But you're gonna pay dearly for it...
    Last edited by QFT; 04-29-2018 at 19:00.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnbelly View Post
    As much as I love simple, basic hammocks, it is amazing to see the innovations and creativity taken to push hammocks even further. The Hammock Tent 90° Gamma UL is what I refer to as a “hybrid” hammock, that merges different concepts into a new approach to hanging. ...
    While it's great to share useful info like this and you can certainly include your own summary and links (for example, "checkout this great review of a unique hammock over on TheUltimateHang.com), cut & pasting stuff from other sites without attribution or permission is at best bad form and potentially a violation of copyright. Don't think that's at all what you intended, but for future reference I'd recommend you avoid that ( and also avoid trying to sleep in 9' hammocks... )

  5. #5
    OlTrailDog's Avatar
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    All three current ninety degree hammocks that I am aware of are quite a bit different from each other. I have owned and used a number of Hammocktent 90*s inculding a Gamma UL version 1.0, a Gamma UL version 2.0, an Alpha, a Beta, and a Gamma (non UL version). In fact I slept last night in the Gamma. I also have used a Exped Ergo for a while. So, I will take the liberty to offer my thoughts on the 90*s.

    I am a 90* enthusiast, but they are not for everyone. Personally, since my passion is backpacking, I have not purchased a Draumr because they are too heavy for me when there are much lighter alternatives available. I also didn't find the footbox feature appealing. I purchased an Exped Ergo on clearance and used it for a couple of months. In the end I sold the Ergo because I didn't really care for the excessive material and fidgeting to locate the oblique diagonal lay, similar to hunting for the diagonal in a GE. With the Hammocktent and Draumr it is as simple as climb in and you are set for the night.

    Luke's (the Hammocktent creator) niche market is targeted toward light weight hammocks backpacking hammocks. Consequently there are some limitations with the 90* design in both weight and height limitations. Luke also took his 90* design to Exped and they modified it to come up with the Exped Ergo.

    When I got the Gamma UL v. 1.0 I was very pleased with some of it's features. It had the flattest lay and was by far the most comfortable side sleeping hammock that I had used. If was so much more comfortable than my WBRR that I passed the WBRR along for someone else to enjoy. However, what I found less than satisfactory with the Gamma UL was it had a tendency toward hyper knee extension and I also found the head end curvature to be more than I liked. So, I put on my thinking cap and decided there was a way to improve on the design that had the potential of making the Gamma UL v.1.0 more comfortable for me. I modified the suspension so that it resembled what I call a lazy S suspension and posted the results here on HF. What that meant was there was more support under the knees to resolve the hyper knee extension. It worked great. So much so that Luke sent me a Gamma UL prototype for the version 2.0 for testing and providing feedback. The Gamma UL v.2.0 has both more support under the knees and less curvature at the head end making it a more comfortable hammock than the v. 1.0.

    However, this past winter I came up with a brand new hammock design that I find to surpass the Gamma UL in comfort. In my opinion It address several areas that I believe could be improved on the current 90* hammocks. Personally, I find this brand new style hammock to be remarkable comfortable. Notwithstanding, I understand 90* hammocks are not for everyone and there are bridge hammock and GE hammock aficionados , end of story, HYOH.

    Naturally, I took my idea to Luke and we exchanged a number of correspondences on my design. However, Luke is passionate about providing the hammock community with the lightest 90* hammock available and my design and suggestions did not meet his criterion for fulfilling that goal since it would weigh more than the Gamma UL v.2.0. Luke did encourage me to pursue my design. So I have. As a long term REI member since 1972, I approached REI with an inquiry since they seem to be prescient enough to see how enthusiastic folks are about hammock hanging. Plus, they have been entrepreneurial enough to bring two designs to market, albeit some what misguided in what makes a comfortable hammock, IMHO. Unfortunately, whose every desk my design ended up on didn't have a clue what I was proposing and thought I had a hammock that I wanted REI to market through their retail business. Oh, well, I didn't want to correct the misconception and moved on.

    Next I took the design to a cottage hammock company. They were interested enough to asked if I could send a prototype to them. They have had the prototypes for a couple of months and I am waiting to see if they are interested. Hopefully, they are intrigued, tweaking, modifying, fabricating, and testing the results. If they are not, I have another cottage hammock maker who excels in inventiveness to pitch the idea too. Or if any cottage hammock maker is interested, let me know.

    I am simply too busy and too old to tackle this as a personal endeavor, although it has crossed my mind....briefly. My hat off to these cottage vendors who pour heart and soul into making a go of this competitive business. I'm not looking to make money on this and would be content with making $1 on each hammock IF it was successful just as a thank you for bring the idea to us. However, the very idea of coming up with a unique contribution to the hammock community is what I find simply thrilling and if all else fails I will eventually post my discoveries for the HF DIY enthusiasts to tackle. Until then I need to be patient.
    Last edited by OlTrailDog; 04-29-2018 at 19:04.

  6. #6
    OlTrailDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 100 Ton View Post
    Thanks for the write up. It certainly looks intriquing, and as you mentioned, pretty amazing that it is not heavier. Looks like a comfortable set up, and not unlike a bridge hammock as far as how you lay. The only thing that would require some creativity is the tarp set up. Now, let's see what the innovators on this site can do to remedy that!
    Although seemingly similar to a bridge, the results are different. In my experience with a bridge, there is more squeeze than in 90*. That is because the bridge is held apart at the foot and head ends whereas the 90* is held apart for it's entire length.

    Regarding a tarp. there are several tarp alternatives currently available. The Hammocktent CF tarp made by Zpacks (very expensive as are all CF tarps), Simply Light Designs makes a reasonably priced tarp that many like, some have used Warbonnet's Ground Tarp as it's shape works well, and others, like myself, have used a silnylon 10x12 tarp with success. Other cottage vendors will custom make a tarp as per your specifications.

  7. #7
    Guys I'm taking a look at the HammockTent. One factor noted above may be a killer for me so need clarification. FSUPaintball pointed this tidbit out that I need some clarification on please:

    4. I love how you can hang between narrow trees (9+ feet), but hate how you have to hang the suspension REALLY high compared to gathered end. The further apart the trees got, the more challenging it became to properly hang at the right angle without brushing the ground

    How much higher does the HammockTent hammock need to hung than a GE hammock in general?

    I'm 5'5" and sometimes have my GE hammock just 8 inches off the ground if the tree's are far apart as I'm too short to get the hammock hung any higher.


    Last edited by team FTB; 05-12-2018 at 00:07.

  8. #8
    QFT's Avatar
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    It's a foot or two higher. Check out the inventor setting it up in this video. He looks pretty tall and has trees that are nice and close to each other, and he's still wrapping his tree straps above head height.

    The issue is the straps coming off the tree should come down at 30 degrees to the hammock's descender rings for the right hang, just like a gathered end hammock. But unlike a gathered end hammock, this one is really tall, and the descender rings have to be about 6' off the ground or else the hammock will touch the ground. This means the tree straps have to be wrapped even higher than 6' up if you want them to have that 30 degree angle down to the hammock.

  9. #9
    OlTrailDog's Avatar
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    Luke (of Hammocktent) is six foot. Pitching it only eight inches above the ground is too low (but it would be for GEs too). As paintball noted, the distance between the SRL and the bottom of the hammock is more than with a GE hammock, so that means it does need to be hung higher on the anchor points. However, at 5'5" I am assuming you commensurately weigh less and that should equate to less sag than with someone who is 6' and 175lbs. Currently the Hammocktent Gamma that I have been sleeping in indoors is 12' apart and the attachment points are 6' off the floor (this is the measurements for the aluminum pole stand (pictured below)). The angle is probably around 30* and the hammock is 16" off the ground. So, "REALLY high" may be a bit of hyperbole.

    The 30* rule isn't as critical for the Hammocktent 90* as it is for GEs. You can hang it at less of an angle, i.e. tauter. Here is a pic of hangs that are 28' and 30' apart:

    CorvallisMTbuilding082017_9.jpgMTBearTrapBLM090517_1.jpg

    At 16':

    GammaULpads_13.jpg

    At 12':

    CorvallisHammocktenthome.jpgCorvallisHammocktenthome.jpg

    At 9'

    HammockStealthCamping01082017_1.jpg

    Personally I don't like using descender rings as much as either the Warbonnet pentagrams or the Dream Hammock cinch buckles (the best). These are easier to cinch up the hang and to undo when tight. Believe me, when you hang 30' apart you need to cinch it up (for either a 90* or GE). But most importantly, the cinch buckles are easiest to undo, especially compared to the tiny descender rings that originally came with my first Gamma UL (I think now there are no rings and Luke recommends the Becket hitch that many folks use).

    Bottom line I would say is that since you are shorter it will be more of a challenge to achieve the hang height depending on distance between the "trees". You also are probably lighter for less sag. But at six foot I've encountered the same challenges with the 30' and 28' widths. But guess what...I made it happen. At anything less than 16' you shouldn't have a problem.

  10. #10
    OlTrailDog's Avatar
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    You might consider purchasing one of Luke's bargain bin Alpha hammocks. it is only around $53 plus shipping. It doesn't have a pad pocket or net, but it could let you try it out before committing to the Gamma UL. At a minimum it would make a great lightweight siesta hammock for the back yard or travel.

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