When I started backpacking, the one of the main – and critical issues was what gear would be left behind. At that time, backpacks were heavy, external frame affairs, and it was common to see even experienced backpackers with sleeping pads, metal canteens, and heavy and bulky sleeping bags lashed or strapped to various places on the backpack. This was before the rise of synthetic materials, and the ultralight movement that has come to dominate not only backpacking, but the outdoor industry as a whole. When I look back on the gear that I and many other people used to carry, I realize that it truly was the dark ages in terms of how the sport has evolved.
Today, as I alluded to above, backpacking is dominated by lightweight materials, ultralight packs, and an esthetic where backpackers carry less, but go further, see more, and do more with less. Gone are the days where individuals would carry a heavy three to four season tent, unless they are on an expedition. In place of the traditional tent are a bevy of new, lightweight options. In this arena, one of the new options is an old option: the hammock. Make no mistake, however: today’s hammocks are not the hammocks of yore, with complicated interlocking ropes or heavy materials. These are new age hammocks, made out of lightweight materials that are designed to provide the backpacker with the freedom to travel light, but remain comfortable at night.
Recently, I had the opportunity to field test the Tribe Provisions Adventure Hammock, which is one of the top products available in backpacking hammocks. At slightly under two pounds, the hammock is light-weight and compact, and as it comes in a flexible and malleable stuff sack it can fit just about anywhere in your backpack. This portability is the best feature of the hammock to me, as it frees up space in your backpack for other items, and reduces your total weight load, allowing you to move faster and more freely on the trail. Having said that, any hammock, including the Tribe Provisions Adventure Hammock carries some potential limitations, including comfort and ease of operation.
In the past, many hammocks that I had used, or set up required a complicated series of lashings or bindings to be affixed to trees effectively. With that in mind, I was a little concerned about how long the Tribe Provisions Adventure Hammock would take to set up; and how durable and comfortable such a set up would be. However, on my first assembly of the hammock, I was pleased to find that the hammock was basically idiot proof, as it came with everything a person would need to affix it to trees or other items. In this respect, the hammock comes with two fitted carabiners on each end, and two separate polypropane lashing cables. The only assembly, or adjustments that were required was for the individual (in this case me) to tie the polypropane lashing cables to the trees and then affix them to the carabiners. While this system requires a person to have knowledge of basic and effective knots, this is not something that is complex, or overly burdensome.
While Tribe Provisions sells a separate set of Hammock Tree straps, which presumably would eliminate the need to tie knots, and make the assembly even easier, I found that the polypropane lashing cables worked fine over multiple uses. Having said that, if you are not comfortable tying (or untying) knots, this would something to consider purchasing in conjunction with the hammock. In terms of durability, I was very pleased to find that over the many nights I spent in the hammock, I did not experience any tears or rips to the hammock material (which is 210T nylon). Finally, with respect to comfort, I found the hammock very comfortable for both short and long term use. Having said that, it is worth noting that sleeping in hammocks is not for everyone, as they provide a different sleeping sensation that is completely exposed to the elements and the outdoors. Having said that, if you are like me, and are comfortable with being outdoors in any condition, this hammock is very comfortable with ten feet in length and four feet in width.
After testing the hammock on several trips, I have to admit that I am convinced that hammocks in general and this hammock in particular is a great way to sleep while backpacking. Obviously, there are some limitations to this trend, including, but not limited to the terrain one is in, and the conditions in and around that terrain. But, if one monitors where one is going and when they are going, this hammock is a great option while backpacking. Finally, while I did not specifically test this hammock as a day-use item, it is worth noting that its small packable size, and light weight make it a great option for people heading on day hikes or short excursions for part of the day. At the end of the day, I would recommend this hammock for just about anyone looking to experience the freedom of the trees that only a hammock can provide.
Disclaimer: I was contacted by Tribe Provisions who inquired whether I would review this product, the Tribe Provisions Adventure Hammock. In conjunction with this, they provided me with a free sample of the product, which I then tested. While I was not compensated for this review other than being provided with the free product, readers should be aware of the underlying arrangement that exists, and know that the opinions provided herein regarding this product are based solely on my own experience with the product.