Bug nets are an essential part of most hammock systems, but for a while now I've been trying to find a bug net that accomplishes a few things:
- Lightweight, packs small
- Easy exit and entry
- Works with other hammock components (e.g., ridglines, underquilts, etc.)
I've been playing with bug net options for a while. I started off with the built-in net on my Hennessy, and when I moved to end-gathered hammocks,I built a full-length bug net; I've even tried using minimalist nets like the Equinox Mantis Sleep Net. Each of these styles has pros and cons, but none easily fit my criteria.
Often, when camping with my kids, I'm called in the middle of the night for one reason or another. Getting stuck in a bug net is maddening, whether helping my kids, or when I have my own needs.
Enter the HUG, or half bug net.
The HUG uses a simple design that I've been tweaking for a while. It is meant to be simple but effective, leveraging other components of a hammock sleep system for not only total bug protection, but also for a lightweight, easy entry/exit, and "plays well" netting solution.
The HUG is purposely minimalist in design. It assumes that I will be using some sort of quilt, blanket, or sheet as a top quilt; and it takes advantage of my bottom quilt (or pad) that protects my back. The simple design, optional finishing touches, and reduced fabric make this a very light bug net.
The HUG has no zippers, uses no draw-strings, or hook-and-loop closures to seal the net. Like many minimal ground nets (like the Mantis), extra netting drapes down over my legs and can tuck around my sides. Using my sleeping bag, quilt, sheet, or blanket as filler, this design will stop all but the most ingenious flying bugs. But most important of all, the draped fabric makes exit as simple as kicking my legs out of my hammock and standing up. No searching for zipper pulls or reaching for draw cords. Just get out! Getting in is as simple as pulling the net over my head.
The hook-and-loop (or omni tape) end attachment makes it a snap to wrap the HUG around one end of a hammock, whether or not the hammock has a fixed ridgeline. A simple toggle system brings shock cord around the bottom of the hammock, securing it. The interior of the HUG is raised by a single adjustment point that can attach to a ridgeline, or clip to the opposite end of a hammock. The toggles mean simple, effective attachments, and the cord locks provide easy adjustments.
Under quilts fit easily over the HUG, not only providing necessary bug protection for the bottom of the hammock, but adding additional sealing power to the sides of the netting. Top quilts, sleeping bags, blankets, or sheets easily fit in the HUG and provide additional "filler" to seal up any openings, but also provide the bug protection for my legs.
The HUG uses very little material, and most of the components can be taken from extra material on hand. I bought 2 yards of no-see-um netting, but the rest of the hardware and cordage I had on hand -- I only needed a few scraps. For a "finished" look, grosgrain can be added around the edges, but with a good heat-cut edges, this is nearly unnecessary.
I've been sitting on this design for a few months now and I finally had some time to finish the sketch. I'll upload some action photos, perhaps tomorrow.