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  1. #1
    Senior Member Big Jim Mac's Avatar
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    Hammock test drives?

    Greetings, this is my first post here. I have been eyeing a Clark for several years but something always gets in the way of my getting one (new roof, water heater, etc.) So nice to find this forum, I didn't even know about most of the other brands out there. I have been reading everything I can find here on hammock camping, and it seems like a great idea to me especially since my trips are mostly on the Ozark Trail where we have two types of camping spots -- up and down! Level sites are a premium and usually to be found in swampy bottoms.

    My question is, do the various companies let you test their products and return if you just hate the experience? Or is there some other way to test drive a hammock before you buy? Anyone here from Missouri? I hate to drop $300 on a Clark NA and find out it won't work for me.

    I'm going to guess it will. When I was a kid, we used to camp in two Army surplus jungle hammocks my dad had. Don't know if anyone has had the experience, but these things were WW II vintage I'm sure, and featured hemp rope and oiled canvas everything else. They must have weighed 50 pounds each. Same concept as the Clarks though, with bug shield and an awning attached. You put sticks in the awnings to hold them open when you wanted ventilation.

    Young outdoor people today need to experience the smell of that oiled canvas on a hot day, nothing else like it. The last time I used one of these the ropes (rotted) broke in the middle of the night. I'm sure they are still tucked away in his vintage camping trailer, which is another story, a JC Higgens that doubled as a motor boat!

    Anyway, thanks everyone for your posts, info has been helpful.

  2. #2
    Senior Member shrek's Avatar
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    You may find a local outfitter that would rent you a hammock, but I doubt you would get that kind of a return policy with a manufacturer. Best bet is to find some hangers near you. See if they will let you try theirs, or go to a gathering of hangers. I just came back from one and had a number of people trying out my Blackbird.
    "I used to be sane, but now I'm better."

  3. #3
    Senior Member headchange4u's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure that the guys at JRB will take a return on their products if it turns out that they are not what you expected. You may contact them to verify that.

    EDIT:

    You may check the Hammock Forums Google Map (link in my sig) and see if there are any members close to you. That may give you a chance to try something out.
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it." -Terry Pratchett



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  4. #4
    Dutch's Avatar
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    REI will let you return a HH
    Peace Dutch
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  5. #5
    Senior Member shrek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by headchange4u View Post
    I'm pretty sure that the guys at JRB will take a return on their products if it turns out that they are not what you expected. You may contact them to verify that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dutch View Post
    REI will let you return a HH
    I learned something, too. Didn't think a vendor would take a used hammock back, unless there was something wrong with it. Maybe it's because I never met a hammock I didn't like.
    "I used to be sane, but now I'm better."

  6. #6
    Senior Member Fig's Avatar
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    Now explain this to me again, why would you return a hammock??

    I think this might be a disease.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Just come on out to Denver. Hammocks 'R' Us isn't open yet (few more years), but Cannibal's House of Hammocks is up and running on the weekends. Should be a Clark in my collection by summer's end. Once that happens, all major hammocks will be represented. Even got a Bridge that I can steal/borrow from Genuine Draft's son now.
    Trust nobody!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Heber's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum neighbor! I'm also an Ozark Trail enthusiast. I switched to hammocks for exactly the reasons you stated: easy to find trees on the OT, hard to find level spots.

    I'm afraid I don't have a Clark but I do have a Hennessy you can borrow to try out. I also have a DIY bridge, which would give you an idea of what a JRB BMBH would be like.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Big Jim Mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heber View Post
    Welcome to the forum neighbor! I'm also an Ozark Trail enthusiast. I switched to hammocks for exactly the reasons you stated: easy to find trees on the OT, hard to find level spots.

    I'm afraid I don't have a Clark but I do have a Hennessy you can borrow to try out. I also have a DIY bridge, which would give you an idea of what a JRB BMBH would be like.
    Might take you up on that. I posted on the OT forum awhile back but couldn't find anyone who used a hammock there. My plan is to put together an ultralight set up for fast packing and mountain bike camping.

  10. #10
    New Member Aberrix's Avatar
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    I was/am in the same boat as you friend, I asked around first to see if I could borrow someones hammock to try out but I'm sure its unsettling borrowing an expensive hammock out to some guy with less than 10 posts... (and understandably) So let me share what I've learned.

    First, I could not find anyone that rents hammocks.

    REI has an absolutely stellar return policy of basically forever, although they really only carry the Hennesy Hammocks. (they also carry the eno's but HH is the only 'camping' hammock they carry, iirc)

    Jack's R Better has a return policy of 14 days.

    buying directly from Hennesy Hammocks will get you a 10 day return policy. (but will also get you free snake skins, last time I checked)

    Originally I bought a HH Explorer Ultralight from REI and had it shipped to a store near me. While I was waiting (took a couple weeks, they were on back order) two things happened, A) I was nervous it wouldn't be here in time for my upcoming trip and B) I started to get nervous I wasn't going to be able to sleep in it comfortably (I'm a side/stomach sleeper). So I quick like a fox ordered a JRB Bear Mountain Bridge hammock, they were absolutely stellar to work with an answered my barrage of questions via e-mail. I ordered it the 10th and had it at my door step on the 13th (quick turn around). That same (last) weekend my REI order also showed up so I was able to test out both hammock in my yard (with the intention that I was going to return the one of them).

    (I would have ordered a Warbonnet Blackbird also, but my trip was/is too soon and I wouldn't have received it in time... darn waiting list! I still really want to try one out though... *cough*hint*cough*)

    bottom line is I'm glad I had two options, while the HH is definitely a quality hammock and probably the most popular around here (next to the BB) and I was able to lay comfortably in it, I knew I just wasn't going to be able to sleep in it (laying on my back). laying on my side was fairly comfortable but still I had my doubts, laying on my stomach in the HH would surely not work very well at all. (and again, I understand its not really made to sleep on your stomach) I could possibly train myself to sleep on my back in the HH but I'd rather not fuss with it if I don't have to... I hung the JRB BMB and while at first I was kinda like 'what the heck' when I looked at their suspension system, wow was it quick, easy and far more impressive than my first thoughts about it. (especially compared to the HH knot :P) Also as soon as I laid in it (even without an under pad, I intend to use a Termarest Prolite Plus) I knew this was the hammock better suited for me.

    bottom line; for me it was worth it to eat the shipping cost(s) and order 2 different hammocks and then return one of them.

    p.s. I should note I had some concerns also because I'm of the large Nordic woods breed being 6'4" and 200lbs so simply 'fitting' in the/any hammock was/is a concern for me. (darn you non-giant sizing :P)
    Last edited by Aberrix; 06-16-2009 at 08:01.

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