Got home from work to find my new Light Hiker had been delivered. It didn't take long to dive in...
I quickly got my WBBB 1.7 Dbl and my wife's WBBB 1.0 Dbl (picture is mis-marked as a 1.1 Dbl - sorry) for comparisons. Size-wise, the Light Hiker packs up in the supplied Bishop bag to about the size of the WBBB 1.7 Dbl. It could be packed smaller if the Bishop bag were smaller, but will mush down when packed. The Light Hiker doesn't feel to weigh much more than the WBBB 1.0 Dbl.
On to the trees... My oaks are about 19 feet apart, so I don't get an optimal hang from them, and I didn't take a lot of time to tweak the hang.
It took about 2 minutes to get the straps around the trees and the whoopies attached to the straps. I used a small carabiner as a toggle in the strap loop and attached the whoopies in the marlin spike hitch style (whoopie hanging from the strap, not the biner). I began looking at the detail of the construction - straight line sewing, zippers are super smooth and come with small cord pulls, pull outs with shock cord, extra stitching at gathered ends. Each end of the hammock has a mesh pocket and cord loop attachment point (for attaching a peaks bag or a pillow).
Once I had given the hammock the once over admiring the build, I began working on raising the netting. The Light Hiker does not have a structural ridge line that supports the mosquito netting. Instead, it has an attachment point on each end. Inside the hammock, a length of small cord runs from attachment point to attachment point. This could be used for hanging small items from once deployed. Outside the hammock, a length of shock cord attached to small cord is tied to each attachment point. These are used to pull the mosquito netting up, and can be attached to either your tarp ridge line, or to the tree straps that the hammock is hanging from.
A great feature of the Light Hiker (and the Switchbacks) is the ability to pull the mosquito netting up and hang the hammock open. The mosquito netting cannot be completely removed from the hammock.
Ok... enough looking and playing. I bought it to lay in. Please remember that these impressions are from about 10 minutes spend laying in the hammock. I have not yet had the chance to sleep in the hammock for any length of time.
First impression - this thing feels BOMB PROOF. I've had a 1.1 Dbl Blackbird and that hammock did not feel like this. It was stretchy. The Light Hiker feels like I'm hanging in the 1.7 Dbl Blackbird. I was immediately pleased.
I was worried about the length of the hammock (it is 8" shorter than the Switchback and 8" shorter than the Blackbird). I found I was able to get on a good diagonal though. If anything, the length is fine, but the hammock seems a little narrow. I fear that I may experience some shoulder squeeze when laying flat out on my back.
When on the diagonal, I did experience a tiny bit of calf ridge. I am going to assume that this is due to the fact I didn't take a lot of time tweaking the hang - getting the hammock near level or foot end a bit higher.
I was amazed when I turned on one side and then the other. I cannot do that in a Blackbird. I could be comfortable in a semi-fetal position on either my right or left side.
- The hammock seems a bit narrow. I felt a bit of shoulder squeeze. A possible fix could be using the additional side loops as a 2nd pull out point, thus pulling the fabric away from my right shoulder a bit.
- Nothing else at the moment...
Things I'm going to change:
- The side pull outs come as a single piece of 1/8" shock cord. I'm going to change out the pull outs to smaller shock cord and Zing-it - similar to my tarp guy line system.
- The netting tie outs come as 1/8" shock cord tied to a length of very small diameter cord. I'm going to change these out to a loop of smaller shock cord attached to Zing-it whoopies. I always hang a tarp, so I plan on attaching these tie outs to either the tarp ridge line or the tarp D-rings themselves (haven't decided yet).
- Possibly add shock cord/Zing-it tie outs to the other two hammock side loops.
I haven't had time to attach my Phoenix or Incubator to the Light Hiker yet. I'll get that done the next time I have the hammock set up. I'm hoping to back yard camp in the Light Hiker one night this weekend.
We all know the deciding factor is sleep. Once I've had a chance to spend some quality time in the hammock I'll share my impressions.