Field test and review
We all know how enjoyable it is to climb into a hammock, lay back and simply relax with the sun gently looking down on you and a gentle breeze flowing past. Just the thought of it sounds relaxing and conjures up images of a tropical beach and swaying palms, well to me anyway.
I know that hammocks have been around for an eternity, as most people have had the pleasure of laying back in one, but have you ever considered one for hiking? I never had until more recent years but with the thought of it also came a little apprehension. Just how practical and comfortable are they?
Recently I was sent a hammock to field test, the Sky Bed Bug Free by Hammock Bliss. Now my opinion has changed, and I wish I had experienced hammock hiking/camping years ago for all those overnight hikes, it would have been an excellent experience to have packed in a good hammock as an overnight shelter rather than my heavier tent at times.
The Hammock Bliss ‘Sky Bed Bug-Free’ is fantastic. So comfortable and well designed.
The Sky Bed is a one-person hammock with an asymmetric design (not identical on both sides of the centre line). Unlike other gathered-end hammocks, the Sky Bed doesn’t use pull-outs to achieve the asymmetric form, instead it is constructed using a series of fabric panels sewn into an asymmetric shape. It is also one of the few hammocks on the market with a dual layer sewn into the bottom of the bed. The outer shell consists of rip-stop nylon for strength while the integrated sleeve, designed to fit your sleeping pad, is fabricated using parachute nylon.
While using a sleeping pad is not required on this hammock, it certainly adds protection from the cold as well as rigidly which helps shape the hammock for a flatter lay.
This integrated sleeve has been sewn in with a right-to-left lay by design. The diagonal configuration really helps to lay you flat in the bed, rather than in a semi-curved position that you would experience if you were to lay directly down the centre line of the hammock. I naturally sleep right-to-left, so the Sky Bed’s design is a natural fit for me. If you happen to sleep -left-to-right I am sure it will still work for you as you can simply position your head at the other end of the hammock.
The Sky Bed Bug-Free weighs 870 grams and has a strength (weight) test rating of 175kg, which is impressive for a hammock that feels, and is, so lightweight. This is without the optional Deluxe Cinching Tree Straps which are rated to 225kg and weight approximately 260 grams. Personally, I felt that the Tree Straps should be included as part of the hammock package but then I guess that would just increase the price. My suggestion s to make sure you grab the straps as they certainly make setting up the hammock a breeze.
The no-see-um netting has 2100 holes per square inch, meaning no little nasties can get in. It was interesting to see just how many tiny critters were trying to get at me when I was testing this out in the field. I was quite thankful that the mesh allowed the breeze to pass through and kept the bugs at bay. It is worth mentioning that as the top of the hammock is mesh only, with no solid fly you would only want to sleep in this hammock on warmer and dry nights unless you were to erect a fly/ tarp over the hammock for an added layer of protection from the elements. Downside to this is you couldn’t lie there watching the stars, which are amazing when away from the city lights.
You can’t open the bug netting completely because the zipper doesn’t go all the way to the ends of the hammock, but you can flip it back to be partially out of the way. A handy addition would be to add a strap to tie it back if you found it to be an issue.
The sleeping compartment has a long, double pull zipper that is easy to use from both inside and outside. Inside the bed space you will find inclusions sewn into the inside of the netting; two mesh gear pockets as well as handy loops at both ends to hang gear from. These extra features result in a well thought out hammock.
The Sky Bed Bug-Free is supplied in a handy stuff sack that is thoughtfully attached to the side of the hammock. When the hammock is erected, this stuff sack hangs on the outside and can be used as extra storage space.
On the top-side of the mesh outer you will find 250cm of cord and 2 yellow loops per side sewn onto the top of the net. Due to the asym design, you run the cord from its home at loop one then back to your tree strap and ending in loop 2. This more effectively holds the mesh outer up and away from your face and results in a roomy interior where you won’t feel claustrophobic. On pack-down, these cords are easily rolled up and put away into their own built-in pocket.
Overall, I found that the hammock felt sturdy, was quick and easy to hang, comfortable to sleep in (definitely more comfortable than sleeping in a tent), had plenty of room, adequate storage for my smaller gear and was perfect for relaxing around the campsite after a hike as well as sleeping in.
Want to read how the hammock performs? Check out Hammock Camping On The Overland Track in Tasmania
Buy Direct from hammock Bliss
Sky Bed Bug Free
- Dimensions: 318x135cm
- Weight: 870 grams
- Unique asymmetrical design
- Integrated sleeve designed to fit your 183x51cm inflatable pad
- 2100 holes per square inch no-see-um mesh netting
- Ripstop nylon hammock construction
- Built in suspension – 250cm rope per side
- Gear loops and interior pockets inside net
- 250cm cord & 2 loops per side to hang net
- All seams reinforced with nylon webbing
- Machine washable & dryable
- Strength tested to 175kg
Deluxe Cinching Tree Straps
- Dimensions: 254x4cm
- Weight: 241 grams
- 225kg tested – military spec – metal cinching buckle
- Deluxe tree straps are extra-long & extend the distance for hanging your hammock
- Tree friendly suspension system protects both the rope and the tree from abrasion
- Acts as a tension belt to allow hammock to hang from a pole, post or any smooth surface
Field Tested by
Darren Edwards > www.trailhiking.com.au