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  1. #1
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    Initial impressions of NA

    Some of my initial impresssions of the Clark North American with XL fly which I just recieved this past week. I have not used it overnight yet, but have played with it extensively in my basement. First off, the price and weight are definitely a drawback. When lifting the packed up Clark in one hand and a Hennessey in the other, you definitely notice the wt difference. However, in my opinion,the many weather protective features of the Clark outweigh the competition. The XL fly which is a 20 dollar upgrade is quite effective in completely covering the entire area around the hammock. The fly is also designed to close around the hammock with velcro for maximal protection. The shape of the tarp is well thought out and allows good side coverage if you want to cook under it next to the hammock. The fly is attached to the netting via bungee cord with plastic clips which will easily snap if inadvertantly stretched too much. This is a design flaw, in my opinion. The clips are too delicate and not forgiving. Might be best to use metal clips or small caribiners. The clips are there so that you can remove the fly and still raise the mosquito netting by tying it out above your head to the tree. I dont like the rope. It frays easily and has a rough texture to it unlike the smoother ropes on the Hennessey. I am in the process of converting to caribiner and slap strap suspension. I did noticed a lot fibers fraying from the edges of the hammock where there is velcro at the side pockets. There is no apparent damage from this, but am wondering weather the velcro will continue to pull stray fibers from the hammock material like this in the future. I am still playing with getting the right tautness on the suspension for optimal hanging. I love the weathershield. I think it is the best feature of this hammock. This is not waterproof according to the manufacturer, only water resistent. I was not able to get water through it by pouring half a cup of water onto it even after I tried to force the water through by touching the wet material with my fingers.

    The interior of the hammock is surprisingly tight! I was used to the HH asym which spreads out quite wide and roomy and is longer. However, I do feel that the fabric in the Clark is sturdier than other hammocks I have tried. The interior pockets on the head end are very small and unusually designed. One of the pockets is obviously intended for a handgun (living in NJ this is shocking as guns are highly controlled). I would prefer at least one pocket hanging from the top. A nice feature is a hand-hold strap at the head end for pulling yourself up toward the head if you slide down. The attached stuff-sack is ingenious and does the job relatively well, but I dont like it because getting the fly into it along with the hammock is awkward. I am going to experiment with a Bishops bag type of set up.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    it is an impressive design. the first time I saw one online i thought of a hanging tent rather than a hammock.

    There are loops at the foot end and head end of the weathershield that you can use to attach a rope for an inside hanging line. Just tie ataut line hitch in it so you can loosen and tighten as needed.

    I took a zipper lock bag - the sliding zipper type - and attached a loop made of duct tape to one side, punched a hole in the loop, and used a small caribener to attach it to the hanging rope. I actually used two of them - one for hat and gloves, and the other for misc stuff. The only problem is that the bugnet covers up the loops when it is zipped up and prohibits using the hanging rope.

    However, there are small loops on the outside of the hammock on the sides that you could use to attach an equipment bag. They are easy to miss. i didn't know they were there until a week or so after I had been using the Clark.

  3. #3
    Member Manach's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
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    Kentucky
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    You summed up pretty much all of my issues with the Clark, as well as those features that I really like. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks that pocket looks like a handgun holster. What the...?

    I've seen lots of fraying as well. It appears to stop after a while, though. Still doesn't make me feel good.

    I think the Clark has lots of good ideas, but that they could be executed better. For instance:

    1. Make the bug net and weathershield removable.
    2. Improve those fragile little plastic clips.
    3. Ropes without straps? Are you kidding me? (Yes, I know they now offer them on their website, I'm not looking to rehash that issue. However, straps should have always been included in the package).
    4. The underside pockets are nice, but perhaps they could be removable?

  4. #4
    Senior Member hangnout's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
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    The fly is attached to the netting via bungee cord with plastic clips which will easily snap if inadvertantly stretched too much. This is a design flaw, in my opinion. The clips are too delicate and not forgiving.
    I think that it is designed for this to be the weak point. If it is too strong and you do not hang correctly you could tear the hammock etc.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by HANGnOUT View Post
    I think that it is designed for this to be the weak point. If it is too strong and you do not hang correctly you could tear the hammock etc.
    hangnout is right about the design. One problem with the design is that the bungie cord is only a foot long and is made of 3/8 bungie - way too thick and too short for its use. And then Clark put a flimsy plastic hook on the end that does break when tensed to much so that you don't tear your hammock. It is the equivalent of using a dog leash clip on the end of a bridge diving bungie cord.

    Breaking that little plastic clip is a rite of passage to using a clark - if you haven't broken it then you haven't tried to set up the hammock according to the instructions.

    After breaking the first one, I replaced it with a longer piece of 1/8 bungie cord that I double up and tie with a taunt line hitch so I can tighten it if needed. It seems to work a lot better than the one that is supplied.

  6. #6
    Senior Member hangnout's Avatar
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    One problem with the design is that the bungie cord is only a foot long and is made of 3/8 bungie - way too thick and too short for its use.
    The length of the bungie cord is set so that the tarp will cover the hammock properly in the storm mode. If you never plan to use the hammock in the storm mode your modification makes it more roomy under the tarp. I have used the Clark in the storm mode several times and it works great.

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