A little over a month ago, I started wondering if it would be feasible to use a gear sling as a chair, and after posting about the notion found out that a lot of folks have had that idea, and that it works well. In fact, so I learned, a sling made of silnylon, or similar, with a few extra tweaks, could also be a pack cover, &c.
Not being skilled in the art of the needle, I started looking around for someone who makes these, and our own atrane21 let me know he made them for sale.
I got my pack cover a few weeks back, but just had a chance to take it out last weekend, and I'm here today to let you know how it went.
First, a description of what I got...I got a silnylon gear sling with whoopie sling suspension, camo tree-huggers, and a pair of carbon toggles, wrapped up in a ranger band. The gear sling itself has shock cord pulled through two side channels, and cord locks to allow you to cinch up the sides, letting you use it as a pack cover (and to bunch it up to keep gear from falling out). There are two loops on either side to allow you to tie down/stake out one side or the other, and there is a double-layer pocket sewn onto the sling with another shock cord drawstring. This allows you to store the suspension securely, and to stuff the sling compactly into itself.
The whole shebang weighs a little over 13 ounces, more than a dedicated gear sling would need to weight, but for an item with that many additional uses, that's fine with me.
Last weekend I took it with me to a BSA outing, and used it as seat, pack cover, and gear sling. I believe it would also hold water for rinsing out socks, or what-not, (using unscented soap, of course) but I didn't try it that way.
As a gear sling, the stake-out points were a huge advantage. With my prior gear sling, which hung directly below my hammock, I often found myself getting poked in the posterior by my backpack hip belt or other gear, but with this one, the stake out points allowed me to pitch it to the side of my hammock, which not only allowed me to sleep more comfortably, but also made it easy to look into the sling as I reached for whatever item I needed!
As a chair, it supported me comfortably, and I'm no light guy. The only downside here was that the silnylon which allowed several of the uses meant it wasn't breathable...no shock there, in August, in Georgia, silnylon may not be the ideal fabric. Still, it's a good trade-off for the additional functions when weight matters, and when weight doesn't matter, it's simple enough to bring a chair. The pocket could conceivably be stuffed with something to create a pillow if you're of the right height, although I wasn't able to use it that way.
As a pack cover, it seemed like it would work. As it turned out, it didn't rain on this trip, although it threatened enough to warrant deploying the cover, and I was comfortable with the coverage.
All told, I'm extremely happy with my purchase and would recommend it Comparing it to the only other gear sling I've used (ENO underbelly), it costs about $20 more, but has multiple additional uses, and is much better designed even if you were to only use it as a gear sling.
Below are a few photos of the gear in use. There pics show one difference from the gear as supplied...I swapped out the whoopies with another piece of gear. That was an aesthetic decision only...the supplied whoopies were green and matched the other gear better than the silver shown.
Used as a gear sling:
Used as a pack cover:
Used for just kickin' back and enjoying life!