ENO Hot Spot Pad Enhancer - Initial Review
This is an initial overview of the ENO Hot Spot Pad Extender. I have not taken it out overnight, so these are just initial impressions. I bought it because I’d like to make a pad extender and thought I could learn a lot from its construction.
ENO’s Hot Spot Pad Enhancer promises to “add year-round comfort to your hammock and pad combo; eliminate cold spots around hips and shoulders; and keep (your sleeping) pad centered below you where it belongs.”
Materials & Specs:
210D Nylon construction
Stretch panels to grip all thickness of sleeping pads
6 mm EVA Foam wings (~1/4 in. of padding)
Accommodates 20” sleeping pads
Measurements taken by me:
Wings (2) are 6.5 inches wide x 17 in. long
The pocket for the sleeping pad is quite large and can probably fit pads wider than 20”
My basic set up for the pad enhancer:
DIY hammock, 1.1 ripstop nylon with dyneema whoopie slings
POE Thermo 6 sleeping pad, regular. About 72 inches long, 2.5 inches thick when fully inflated, and 20 inches wide.
I am ~ 6 ft. 1” tall, weight: 165
I like to sleep (1) with my knees bent to the side of the hammock or (2) on my side.
Very nicely made. No weaknesses in stitching or construction that I noticed. Between the wings is a “wedge” of webbing material that keep the wings linked but allow for flexibility so the pads will not buckle .
I found the Hot Spot to be comfortable, barely noticing it was there while in the hammock. No uncomfortable ridges or buckling of material. When I shifted around in the hammock the pad and Hotspot stayed together and moved back and easily in the hammock without feeling slippery.
I don’t know yet. However, the EVA foam is 1/4 thick so this leads me to believe that this item will be best in warm to mild/cool temperatures, but not in colder temps. Everyone is different but I’m a bit of a cold sleeper so I’d be reluctant to use this below 50 degrees. But I will do my best to try this out and report back on warmth.
Ease of Set up / Use:
The pad folds up nicely and the sleeping pad easily fit inside the Hot Spot’s body. I simply inflated the pad (POE Ether Thermo 6) slid the pad into the Hot Spot and then placed everything in the hammock. I got in and adjusted the positioning very easily and let some air out of the sleeping pad for comfort.
Again, this is just an initial reaction for trying out the ENO Hot Spot in my set up. I have not spent the night on one…
When lying on top of the ENO Hot Spot, the webbing allows for the wings to fold together and overlap one another so there are no gaps between the wings.
The products says it will keep your “hips and shoulders” warm. I found the coverage for those areas adequate. But directly below your hips, the coverage stops.
My two cents follows below…
I like this item, but do not love it. Again, I bought it to try it out and to learn from its construction on how to make my own according to my needs. It does everything it says it will do, though it’s claim for colder temperatures is probably a bit of an exaggeration.
I admire the construction and how the webbing between the wings folds nicely and the wings then meet up so there are no gaps between upper and lower wings.
The coverage, for me, is not quite adequate for my lower body. It covers from shoulders to hips. For shorter hangers it will cover farther down. But for someone like me who sleeps with his legs bent, my thighs and knees were completely exposed to the hammock body and the cold air. In the third picture, the wing ends right at the edge of my shorts, so with my knee bent, my leg and knee have no coverage at all. I would want something wider for my legs, something akin to the SPE 4x4 style, probably. This is no fault of the product, but there aren’t any options for users, either—this works for you or it doesn’t and there are no other models to choose from.
It can be folded up and used as part of a virtual frame in a frameless pack, but if its shape does not work for your packing style there’s not much you can do. It only folds up so small due to the pads being stitched into the wings.
Who will like this item?
• People new to hammocks who find underquilts expensive and want to use their pads when transitioning from ground sleeping to the hammock life.
• People who want to try an SPE-type item but do not have the time or skills to create a DIY version.
• Those who do not want to spend money on an underquilt or find underquilt set ups difficult or annoying.
• Hangers who want another insulation option for trips that will definitely involve some ground dwelling.
• People who want be able to get going by grabbing a piece of gear out of a box and get outdoors.
Who will not like this item?
• Cold weather hangers. The EVA foam is thin and will not, by itself, keep most folks warm at lower temperatures, in my opinion.
• People who like flexibility with their set ups. The wing pads s are stitched into the wings and can’t be swapped out for warmer/cooler options, unless you’re prepared to do some fairly intrusive modifications.
• Lightweight hangers/gram weenies. It weighs 9 oz and uses 210 D nylon. Lighter materials can be used (but may not last as long—so there is a trade off). Also, most lightweight guys would want to use the wing pads in a “multi-use” fashion.
• DIY enthusiasts . If you have some skills, you’ll probably be happier making your own.
• Gram weenies. Due to lack of multi-use options and heavier materials, this item would probably be considered heavy at 9 oz.
It’s important to know where I’m coming from in my opinions on this piece of equipment. Everyone is different and if your perspective differs from mine, you may have totally different conclusions than mine. So take this for what is—one guy’s opinion on a subject.
I am pretty new to hammock camping with only about a year’s worth of experience. I’ve used CCF pads and underquilts to stay warm. I try to go as light as possible with my gear without sacrificing too much comfort because ofold leg injuries. So I do put a premium on pack weight. If I seem to dwell too much on weight at least you know where I’m coming from—it’s important to me.
I am very interested in a product like this because I have some plans to do some thru hikes that will allow me to hang during only a portion of the trip. Therefore, I need a set up that I can easily go to the ground with few adjustments , which includes integrating a sleeping pad into my set up. I do not shy away from basic DIY projects, but I do not have the skill for complicated projects. This product will certainly save you the hassle of making your own pad extender, but if you are not thrilled with this item exactly as it comes and you have some sewing skills, then make your own. You will be happier.
I hope you found this helpful.