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  1. #1

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    The New Ninox Flatlay Hammock

    Review of the new Ninox Flatlay hammock.

    Iíve had this hammock for a few days now so this is essentially an initial review, but I have hung it and laid in it a couple times so Iím beginning to get a feel for it. I backed Sierra Madreís Kickstarter for the Ninox back in February of this year. Due to some unfortunate events for SM, delivery was delayed until August. Richard (Rhett), Sierra Madreís boss, did a good job keeping us informed of the delays. Yeah, it sucked having to wait so long for delivery, but when your primary manufacturer backs out on you what can you do? But now I have a carrot-orange single-layer Ninox.

    First Iíll address the elephant (well two elephants) in the room. First, and this is getting a lot a hate over on another thread, the finished product came in about 6 ounces heavier than the Kickstarter campaign said it would. The hammock and its stuff sack came in at 29.2 ounces while the original spec was supposed to be about 23 ounces. (For comparison though my double-layer Eldorado is about 26 oz, a single layer XLC is about 22 oz, a Chameleon is about 23 oz, and my beloved Ridgerunner with carbon fiber spreader bars is about 27 ouncesónot counting suspensions.) I donít ever remember Richard saying this was going to be a lightweight hammock though. There are some tieouts that can be used with the hammock, but I didnít include those in the weight because the Ninox can be used without them. (In case youíre wondering though the four included tieouts weigh 1 oz.) The second elephant for those that have received a Ninox or heard anything about it is that the Talon suspension that shipped with it, well, was kind of a disappointment. Apparently there were some tolerance issues during manufacture that causes the Talon to, as JesterC, one Hammock Forums member put it, to ďspontaneously disassemble whenever the buckle isnít under tension.Ē Iím sure SM will remedy this for future buyers. The Talon suspension is also a bit heavy at 10.7 ounces. When itís not undergoing entropy, it works pretty well.

    The design of the Ninox has a unique feature that is supposed to set it apart from other GE hammocks. From what I understand it has curved or scalloped edges. This is supposed to create I assume more space for your head and feet. And it seems to work. My initial impression laying in it is it is like laying in a wide hammock. (So now I want to try a wide hammock again to compare!) There's also an adjustable structural ridgeline made of webbing. Some other standard features that other GE hammocks do have are it has a big bugnet that is removable. There are hooks and D-rings to help keep an underquilt in place. The zipper pulls are a nice touch too. There are some quilt hooks inside the hammock that I havenít quite figured out what theyíre for. All these little do-dads though have helped drive up the weight. The zipper runs nice and smooth. Another unique feature are four small triangular ďwingsĒ on the bugnet with D-rings that are supposed to make it so you can attach tieouts to one of Sierra Madreís tarps. Since I donít have a SM tarp I wonít be testing this feature.

    The interior volume is HUGE! With the bugnet zipped I can sit up inside without my head touching it. That is accomplished mostly by having the adjustable ridgeline so high. I have long arms, but canít touch the ridgeline when Iím lying down. From my chest to the ridgeline itís about 38Ē. If I sit up a bit I can touch it. So if youíre claustrophobic this might be a good hammock for you. When I compared it to the Eldorado the Eldoradoís bugnet was really close (which it is).

    The one thing that may be a bit problematic about the Ninox is how high the suspension needs to be in order to get the hammock sufficiently off the ground. It is a ďdippyĒ stretchy hammock. In other words there is a LOT of sag, both unloaded and loaded. And that may be why it lays so good. Itís not a finicky hammock to hang. Mostly get the two ends of the suspension about the same height and get close to a 30 degrees angle when itís loaded and youíre good. I pull the suspension kind of tight with the hammock unloaded because once I get in I notice I sink quite a bit. If I start with the very bottom of the unloaded hammock about 32 or 33Ē above the ground, when I get in Iíve only got about 16Ē of clearance. I think that could make using an underquilt a bit challenging having such little margin. (The solution to this problem I suppose is to hang it higher!) The material from which the Ninox is made seems stretchy. Itíd be interesting to see how it did with a less stretchy material. With two trees about 13í apart I need to get the suspension up about 7í. Iím a bit over 6í tall so this is pretty easy for me to do, but I canít see using trees much over 14í apart and being able to get the suspension high enough without some sort of help. Shorter folks may have a harder time hanging the Ninox. Again itís because thereís a lot of sag. (If you watch Sierra Madreís promo video on the Ninox youíll see it hung over some kind of depression and that the suspension is really high on the trees.)

    So, now for the million dollar question--how does the hammock perform? Despite some of its quirks, in my opinion quite well. Itís very comfortable. Itís the first gathered-end hammock Iíve ever used that has as minimal a calf ridge as Iíve ever experienced. For reference Iíve owned a Warbonnet Blackbird XLC 1.7 single layer, a Chameleon, an Eldorado lightweight double-layer, and an Eno. I donít think itís truly as flat a lay as my Ridgerunner, but from inside the hammock it seems flat. From the pictures I have I can see my torso is lower than my feet, but itís not really noticeable. Is it a backpacking hammock? If youíre willing to carry the weight then yes, it is. Will it become my go-to hammock. Probably not. For me the Ridgerunner is still going to be my gold standard of comfort. However, as a car-camping hammock or just lounging around I think the Ninox would do that pretty well. And again to all the haters, kudos to Sierra Madre for trying to bring something new to the market, even if it didn't turn out exactly how they thought it would. Innovation and invention can be a tricky business.

    The new Ninox Flatlay hanging without any weight. Bottom is about 34" off the ground



    Loaded with 210lbs. Probably hard to tell from the angle, but the lowest part of the hammock is now about 16" above the ground. You can see though how much height there is between me laying in the hammock and the ridgeline. Close to 40"!



    The center insert for the Talon comes out. It's not supposed to.
    url=https://flic.kr/p/2h7Bfvb][/url]


    I guess I'm a "Wildling" now (whatever that is). But at least I'll be a comfortable Wildling!
    Last edited by drsolarmolar; 08-30-2019 at 19:37.

  2. #2
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    the loaded pic..........it looks like you're in a very deep bath tub

  3. #3
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Thanks for the thorough review. Have you slept in it yet? That might tell the tale. I also find my WBRR and the new JRB James River super comfy. And a few of my GEs are plenty comfy, and my 90 degree hammock tent. So unless I decide this one is actually more comfy, I might in the end decide I can't justify the weight.

    I have spent a little time hanging in mine. It is certainly very comfy(on 1st impressions) but it needs to be VERY comfy- probably needs to be more comfy than anything else I've got- to justify the weight if used for backpacking. It is 10 oz heavier than my new JRB bridge, and I didn't know they got heavier than bridge hammocks with spreader bars! But my JRB is a no net, so that is maybe 5 oz right there. In fact, the humongous net which is SO far away from my body probably accounts for a few oz extra weight right there, compared to other hammocks with smaller nets. All of which is a non issue for the car camper. But the gram weenies are unlikely to be willing to carry the extra weight even with all that extra room. I need to remove the net and weigh it!

    Since I fixed my suspension with a mod using a tiny bit of cord before I ever used it, I have actually found the suspension and Talons to be quite excellent. Maybe a bit heavy? They must be pretty stout to provide a "safety" rating of 1000 lbs! (in one place they say tested to 1600 lbs, safety rating 1000 lbs, in another they say "but we'll just call it 450", so take your pick. Either way, the suspension must be pretty strong.

    I'm anxious to try out my SMR Inferno UQ on it, what with the rings on the hammock designed especially for this UQ. And, I admit to enjoying the massive sense of room inside it. I think I might even be able to hambunk with this thing and still have plenty of room with another hammock under the net, above me! All that would certainly be enjoyable for car camping, or short hike trips.

  4. #4
    TrailSlug's Avatar
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    Wow, I've seen a lot of hammocks occupied and this one looks very very uncomfortable. The massive stretch looks like a very serious issue. From reading other posts this hammock isn't getting the best press and looking at these pics I can now see why. Hope it sleeps better than it looks while occupied.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the review. Very helpful. I take my Tato stand when I use my hammock for back up when there may be no trees at our river camp. With that amount of drop/stretch, I can't see this working with my Tato. I wonder if the double layer ones would have much less stretch/dip?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailSlug View Post
    Wow, I've seen a lot of hammocks occupied and this one looks very very uncomfortable. The massive stretch looks like a very serious issue. From reading other posts this hammock isn't getting the best press and looking at these pics I can now see why. Hope it sleeps better than it looks while occupied.
    Actually it is comfortable. You’ve seen enough of my posts to know I’m a Ridgerunner fan and that will still be my go-to hammock. The Ninox is one of the most comfortable gathered-end hammocks I’ve tried though.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drsolarmolar View Post
    Actually it is comfortable. You’ve seen enough of my posts to know I’m a Ridgerunner fan and that will still be my go-to hammock. The Ninox is one of the most comfortable gathered-end hammocks I’ve tried though.
    I agree, based on short term experience at least: it is very comfortable. Back in the day, one of the most popular hammocks around here was a Speer hammock. It was highly praised by more than a few for it's overall comfort. I still have mine, and I have always though of it as a very stretchy hammock. Stretch has it's disadvantages, as did the Speer. But I have always suspected that stretch also has it's comfort advantages. I have suspected that stretchy fabric cushions pressure points better than less stretchy. But, nothing I can prove, just an impression.



    This new SMR hammock reminds me a lot of the Speer, except MUCH longer and wider and thus even deeper. But it has some promise, that may or may not be able to over come some negatives for me. My fav hammocks have been the JRB bridges and especially their newest bridge, the James River(18 oz including spreader bars, 9 without!). As well as the WBRR with my custom AHE UQ(love that combo!), my Claytor No Net, maybe my Hammock Tent 90*. Oh, and still kind of fond of my HH Explorer UL with HHSS, as well as HH Safari. And several other hammocks thrown in for experience over the years.

    So those are my points of comparison. Based on those comparisons, this seems very comfy indeed. And if a sense of roominess was very important to me, this is hands down the roomiest hammock I have been in( I have a claustrophobic friend and sometimes hanger that that will appeal to) .

  8. #8
    OlTrailDog's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review. I keep checking the mail box hoping mine will get here so I can give it a go.

    From the reports, I have an idea that I most likely will be replacing the ridge line with an adjustable amsteel ridge line and making it longer. I had to do the same for my WBBB XLCs and DH Sparrow. I will probably not be able to use the bug net due to the excessively lengthened ridge line, but comfort is my primary goal. I am still able to use the bug net in my XLC with longer ridge line, but not in my Sparrow. I might eventually get a custom bug net for the Sparrow, but since it's niche is primarily indoors it hasn't been an issue. This might be the similar niche for the Ninox if the bug net no longer fits. When I camp I use the hammocktent 90 degree or single layer XLC.

    My WBRR possessed too much shoulder squeeze compared to my other available options and consequently was passed along for others to enjoy. I guess that is my preferred approach. Not every hammock suits everyone. I can't see the point in becoming excessively vitriolic about a product someone obviously put considerable time, effort, thought, and expense into developing. If it isn't your cup of tea, say so politely, and move on.
    Last edited by OlTrailDog; 08-31-2019 at 18:12.

  9. #9
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlTrailDog View Post
    Thanks for the review. I keep checking the mail box hoping mine will get here so I can give it a go.

    From the reports, I have an idea that I most likely will be replacing the ridge line with an adjustable amsteel ridge line and making it longer. I had to do the same for my WBBB XLCs and DH Sparrow. I will probably not be able to use the bug net due to the excessively lengthened ridge line, but comfort is my primary goal. I am still able to use the bug net in my XLC with longer ridge line, but not in my Sparrow. I might eventually get a custom bug net for the Sparrow, but since it's niche is primarily indoors it hasn't been an issue. This might be the similar niche for the Ninox if the bug net no longer fits. When I camp I use the hammocktent 90 degree or single layer XLC.

    My WBRR possessed too much shoulder squeeze compared to my other available options and consequently was passed along for others to enjoy. I guess that is my preferred approach. Not every hammock suits everyone. I can't see the point in becoming excessively vitriolic about a product someone obviously put considerable time, effort, thought, and expense into developing. If it isn't your cup of tea, say so politely, and move on.
    I agree. Ironically, yours is the 1st post I have read since spending some time today first with the Ninox, and then with the HT 90*. I finally got the SMR Inferno UQ, one of the main reasons decided to try this hammock in the first place. And, while I did not figure out how to use all of th possible connection points which I though were for this UQ, just using the off set D rings certainly seemed to work better than that already pretty good normal, by forcing the UQ into a slight diagonal position. That combo is going to work in a most excellent fashion, I suspect.

    This may not be the type of hammock to hit it big with the typical hanger here. Maybe. But I can see it being appreciated by a certain subset for sure. Number one, the car campers. Or back packers on shorter trips where a few extra oz of weight are not a huge deal. Especially comfort an especially roominess are of major importance even if at the cost of a few oz. The claustrophobic, especially if plagued by hammock nets too close to their face, will probably love this hammock.


  10. #10

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    Postscriptóafter much serious testing of the Ninox, I ended up sending it back. While it is a good hammock, it just wasnít what I was looking for. The weight was the biggest issue. At almost 30oz it was more than I was willing to carry. Second was how stretchy the material is. Perhaps a double layer would have suited me better, however a double layer would have increased the weight even more which was reason number one for sending it back.

    So the search continues...

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