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  1. #1
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Wink Safari (Unsung Hero of hammocks) don't get no respect

    How many people in the last four years – hammock forum members – have purchased the Safari model? I think probably very darned few. I've got a feeling that the Safari is at the very bottom when it comes to ownership by HF members.

    But I think that's a shame. After four years of fooling around with many different (mostly good to excellent) hammocks, I think I have about decided the Safari is the most comfortable overall of the commercially available hammocks I have been able to test. I suppose others have not come to the same conclusion – even though I think very few have actually tried it. But if those who had tried it had the same opinion I had, then surely more people would have bought a Safari based on recommendations. (Also, I realize there are some Safari owners – few in number though they are – who must not share my opinion as they have switched to other hammocks for whatever reasons. So just IMHO)


    But based on my personal experience only, the only reason I can come up with for why the Safari does not rule is weight. But I think going by the advertised weight really is misleading. Because that includes the heavy polyurethane coated hex tarp. Of course the hammock itself is indeed relatively heavy. But when I weigh my no net Safari, I get ~ 2 lbs. 2 oz with suspension ropes but without tree huggers. That's really not all that heavy compared to some other very popular models. For instance, the WBBB 1.7 and the JRB BMBH (the Safari's main competitor for overall comfort IMHO) both equal or exceed that weight. However, both of those are double layer hammocks and have nets and/or zippers that have to be considered in the weight. Still, many people are carrying hammocks that weigh at least as much is the Safari.

    Recently there was a thread about "how big is big enough" or something like that. Several people were expressing the idea that they thought a longer hammock gives more comfort, all other things being equal. That caused me to make some measurements of the actual fabric length (not the ridge line). My Speer 8.5 clocked in at 103 inches. Next was my WBBB at 110 inches (all measurements are approximate). Then my Claytor No Net at 120. Then the HH DJ I am testing, at 122. Then my old HH Explorer UL at 124. Then (are you ready for this?) my HH Safari at a spectacular ~139 inches. That is one long hammock, and is pretty wide also though I did not measure that. But the RL is only 4" longer than the Explorer, so there is a lot of sag for people who like that.

    So in the midst of testing the HH DJ, I have also been inspired to pull out my old Safari No Net and retest it. Here are some conclusions I've come to:
    1: I can lay on my side with legs straight at pretty much total comfort. I would say with more comfort than any other non-bridge hammock I have tried. If the JRB BMBH rates a 10 for this, I'll give the Safari a 9.8 or 9.9.
    2: when laying on my side with legs straight, I can darned near lay on my stomach. I'm not a stomach sleeper anyway, even in a bed. And this is not a complete stomach position. But it sure is close. I can come closer to a comfortable stomach position in this hammock than any other I have tried, except maybe for the BMBH. But definitely way closer than any of my other gathered end hammocks.
    3: I can lay in any number of partial or full fetal positions with total comfort. Right side or left.
    4: I am plenty comfortable enough in a straight midline position to sleep. With my legs slightly out towards each side, a pocket develops for my heels which provides a bend in the knees. I can do this with several other of my hammocks, but very often there will be some fabric providing slight irritation behind my knees despite the bending my knees. It's still doable at least for a while in several of those hammocks. But I don't feel that irritation with the Safari. IOW, it is even better and completely usable for mid-line position. No diagonal needed for me.
    5: Having discovered that I could lay in either direction in the HH DJ, I tried it in the Safari. As far as I could tell on a quick test, it made no difference. The Velcro bottom entry under my back was no problem to my surprise. However, I did notice it when I tried to lay mid-line and backwards position. It is great to be able – in this giant hammock – to switch around with head at either end. Or for that matter with my head/body at nearly 90 across the hammock (fetal) or in between or mid-line, all with great comfort.
    6: Without a doubt, less problems with calf pressure than any other hammock I have tried except the BMBH. Once again if I would rate the BMBH a 10 in that category, I would put the Safari at 9.8 or 9.9. The only reason I don't rate it 10 is because it is possible to get calf pressure, whereas I really cannot with the BMBH. But I would say that 9 times out of 10, when I just flop down into the Safari, and go diagonal there is no calf pressure. On rare occasions there is, and I have to shift around a bit to get to the easily found sweet spot. But for all practical purposes, I don't consider calf pressure a problem for me with this hammock. No matter which end my head is. And I am a person that often has problem with calf pressure in virtually all gathered end hammocks I have tried. Though some much more than others.
    7: (EDIT) I forgot to mention: about as much shoulder room as could be desired.

    So, I guess that's it. Next I will post some pictures.

    Are there any other Safari fans here?
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 04-06-2011 at 16:21.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    How many people in the last four years – hammock forum members – have purchased the Safari model?
    Me, for one. Is that a surprise?

    I like it OK, but it is somewhat limited...for me. Like you, mine is a no-net model which is fine when the bugs are not out. However, when it is buggy, what after-market netting can you use with it? As far as I know, its length/width exceeds the specs on every netting system out there. There might be some larger nets on the market now, but as of last year, nothing fit very good. So, not only would there be an additional weight penalty for adding the netting, but you may be hard-pressed to find a netting solution...unless you DIY one yourself. On the topic of weight, switching out the suspension for my standard webbing & rings brings the total weight up even higher.

    As for comfort, no doubt it is a very comfortable hammock. I've been saying for a long time now that width isn't half as important as length with a hammock and the comfort ratio. I do like laying in my Safari, but for the most part, it is relegated to car camping trips for me. Putting a 4 pound hammock in my bag (without the tarp or insulation) is just too much for my weenie self.
    Trust nobody!

  3. #3
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Aren't there some fans of lots of sag at HF?



    Notice how far center ridge(Lt. hand points to Velcro opening) is from left calf(my rt heel is over Lt. calf. ) IOW, NO calf pressure


    Almost at 90* for this fetal position with NO side problems. A center ridge forms under waist providing support. Less severe angles are also very comfortable for fetal or side with legs straight.


    Warbonnet Climashield Torso UQ works perfectly,as does a JRB MW4.


    "Backwards" in hammock seems about as comfy
    as regular. Still no calf pressure.


    Plenty comfortable in straight mid-line position. No diagonal needed.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  4. #4
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cannibal View Post
    Me, for one. Is that a surprise?
    Not exactly!

    I like it OK, but it is somewhat limited...for me. Like you, mine is a no-net model which is fine when the bugs are not out. However, when it is buggy, what after-market netting can you use with it? As far as I know, its length/width exceeds the specs on every netting system out there. There might be some larger nets on the market now, but as of last year, nothing fit very good. So, not only would there be an additional weight penalty for adding the netting, but you may be hard-pressed to find a netting solution...unless you DIY one yourself. On the topic of weight, switching out the suspension for my standard webbing & rings brings the total weight up even higher.

    As for comfort, no doubt it is a very comfortable hammock. I've been saying for a long time now that width isn't half as important as length with a hammock and the comfort ratio. I do like laying in my Safari, but for the most part, it is relegated to car camping trips for me. Putting a 4 pound hammock in my bag (without the tarp or insulation) is just too much for my weenie self.
    Oh no doubt, if you don't get the net model, then an add on net is a problem. But- different discussion I realize- I have actually slept without a net in MS during bug season thanks to the glories of Permethrin and Picaridin combined. I even had a good night! My trouble with bug netting is temperature. If it is much over 70 ( much less 80 ) I can't hardly stand to have a net closed. But, I would put up with it rather than be eaten alive if I had to! ( 2Q, do you mod Safaris?)

    But does your Safari No Net weigh 4 lbs? Mine weighs about 2 lb 2 oz. ( plus tree huggers. Of course, no reason not to mod it to WS!)
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  5. #5
    Senior Member NewtonGT's Avatar
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    this is a great thread. Ill be honest, I only got an expedition because a friend of mine had one and I didnt join this forum til I had already purchased one, so its safe to say I really didn't do any research and I know that If I do stay hammocking and figure out a way to sleep on my back then I will most certainly purchase a Longer Hennessy in the future

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    But does your Safari No Net weigh 4 lbs? Mine weighs about 2 lb 2 oz. ( plus tree huggers. Of course, no reason not to mod it to WS!)
    I haven't put it on the scales, but it sure FEELS like it weighs 4 pounds. I keep it in the original stuff sack, which is waaaay too heavy for what it is, but I'm fairly certain my webbing, rings, biners, and stock stuff sack don't weigh almost 2 pounds.

    I'll toss it on the scale when I get home tonight.
    Trust nobody!

  7. #7
    Senior Member ChrisH's Avatar
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    Yet another great review, BB! The Safari could be my next hammock! You could probably get it without the tarp for $60 less as well. There's quite a bit you can do to a stock HH to shave weight. If I can get the Safari down to 2lbs or less it's light enough for me. A little added weight for a lot more comfort!

    Just thought it was worth mentioning for the people who do not know, HH makes the Safari with a zipper now.

  8. #8
    Senior Member TeeDee's Avatar
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    BillyBob - totally agree with you about the Safari. It is a VERY comfortable hammock.

    If it wasn't for my Bridges I would be sorely tempted to use the Safari all the time. The Safari is the hammock that really made plain to me that I DO NOT like the bug netting a few inches from my face like in the other Hennessy, the ULBA.

    The Safari is a HUGE cave. When I have it properly hung, the ridge line is is almost at fingertip height above my face. That keeps the bug netting a LONG ways above me.

    My biggest problems with the Safari as the main hammock originate from it's size. The very criteria that makes it so comfortable.

    In order to hang it properly with the proper sag for me, even a 16' tree span is barely manageable. The huggers have to be very high for me to get a proper hang. The height is a direct result of the hammock length. If I hang at the same height as the ULBA or my Bridges, I'm literally laying flat out on the ground. The length means that the sag puts the ridge line very high which means that to get my butt off the ground high enough to make entry/exit somewhat graceful, the ridge line must be VERY HIGH which puts the huggers way up there. With a 16' tree span, the huggers are above 6' for me, way above, inches short of 7'. The only way to keep the huggers at about to 6' is to pull the suspension VERY tight.

    The other problem is the sheer size of the hammock when in the stuff sack - it is huge in comparison to my bridges which are not much bigger than double fist sized.

    The other problem is the size relegates it pretty to a summer only hammock. Buying or making under quilts, while not much harder than for other gathered end hammocks, would be very expensive in terms of yardage and down. That is a LOT of under side to protect. Probably why Hennessy doesn't make a Super Shelter for the Safari.

    As a summer time car camper hammock, it would be great.
    Those who sacrifice freedom for safety, have neither.

    Do not dig your grave with your teeth. (Unknown)

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Just weighed mine. Not 4lbs, but not far off: 3lbs 11oz with stock tarp, webbing, rings, and biners.
    Trust nobody!

  10. #10
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cannibal View Post
    I haven't put it on the scales, but it sure FEELS like it weighs 4 pounds. I keep it in the original stuff sack, which is waaaay too heavy for what it is, but I'm fairly certain my webbing, rings, biners, and stock stuff sack don't weigh almost 2 pounds.

    I'll toss it on the scale when I get home tonight.
    OK, here are the direct apples to apples comparisons(except the Safari has no net)
    1:WBBB 1.7 dbl layer + webbing/cinch buckle and stock Bishop stuff sack. 2 lb 10 oz with biners accounting for 4-5 oz of this weight



    2:HH DJ XL in stuff sack with full stock suspension(rope/huggers and stuff sack) 2lb 4oz


    3:HH Safari with full stock suspension(rope/huggers) inside DJ stuff sack 2lb 6 oz


    So once you include the stock HH net, the safari would be a few oz heavier, and if you included webbing/CB suspension, maybe a few oz more(or, you could lighten up with Whoopies!). But really not a huge dif, I used to think it would be like twice as much! But like I said, a lot of the stock weight is the PU nylon hex tarp which is included.

    Quote Originally Posted by NewtonGT View Post
    this is a great thread. Ill be honest, I only got an expedition because a friend of mine had one and I didnt join this forum til I had already purchased one, so its safe to say I really didn't do any research and I know that If I do stay hammocking and figure out a way to sleep on my back then I will most certainly purchase a Longer Hennessy in the future
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisH View Post
    Yet another great review, BB! The Safari could be my next hammock! You could probably get it without the tarp for $60 less as well. There's quite a bit you can do to a stock HH to shave weight. If I can get the Safari down to 2lbs or less it's light enough for me. A little added weight for a lot more comfort!

    Just thought it was worth mentioning for the people who do not know, HH makes the Safari with a zipper now.
    Thanks guys. Though I do consider the Safari hands down the most comfortable over all gathered end hammock for me, the DJ XL is mighty comfortable also. If I had that ( or any other hammock that I was really pleased with) I likely would not spend additional big $ on a Safari. And, for those gram counting trips, there is the weight to consider. Even if it is not way heavier than some of the other best hammocks, like a WBBB 1.7 or a BMBH. ( But all of those hammocks also have double layers and nets and zippers so, it is the heaviest by at least a few to more than a few oz. But Oh so comfortable, and I really don't even need a pillow)

    Quote Originally Posted by TeeDee View Post
    BillyBob - totally agree with you about the Safari. It is a VERY comfortable hammock.

    If it wasn't for my Bridges I would be sorely tempted to use the Safari all the time. The Safari is the hammock that really made plain to me that I DO NOT like the bug netting a few inches from my face like in the other Hennessy, the ULBA.

    The Safari is a HUGE cave. When I have it properly hung, the ridge line is is almost at fingertip height above my face. That keeps the bug netting a LONG ways above me.

    My biggest problems with the Safari as the main hammock originate from it's size. The very criteria that makes it so comfortable.

    In order to hang it properly with the proper sag for me, even a 16' tree span is barely manageable. The huggers have to be very high for me to get a proper hang. The height is a direct result of the hammock length. If I hang at the same height as the ULBA or my Bridges, I'm literally laying flat out on the ground. The length means that the sag puts the ridge line very high which means that to get my butt off the ground high enough to make entry/exit somewhat graceful, the ridge line must be VERY HIGH which puts the huggers way up there. With a 16' tree span, the huggers are above 6' for me, way above, inches short of 7'. The only way to keep the huggers at about to 6' is to pull the suspension VERY tight.

    The other problem is the sheer size of the hammock when in the stuff sack - it is huge in comparison to my bridges which are not much bigger than double fist sized.

    The other problem is the size relegates it pretty to a summer only hammock. Buying or making under quilts, while not much harder than for other gathered end hammocks, would be very expensive in terms of yardage and down. That is a LOT of under side to protect. Probably why Hennessy doesn't make a Super Shelter for the Safari.

    As a summer time car camper hammock, it would be great.
    Thanks Tee Dee, glad there are some who agree with me about the Safari's comfort being about the best of the non-bridge. And for me, it is even quite competitive with my bridge for OVERALL comfort and might even be the winner all things considered.

    Your other points are quite valid. And insulation is a potential problem. However, I have found my WB torso fits quite well thank goodness. And when I tried my JRB MW4 it got the job done also. Of course, it fails to cover lots of the hammock. But, it covered me well enough.

    I have never yet taken this hammock on a back packing trip, probably thought it weighed too much. But I think I will start considering it, especially on trips where I might be planning using one of my heavier hammocks any way.

    EDIT: Cannibal, I just saw your last post. I see that weight included the stock tarp. How much does that stock tarp weigh? I'm thinking ~ 25 oz?
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

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