Grand Trunk Ultralight Hammock

I have been toying with the notion of trying out a hammock for quite a while now. And while I will admit, I would love to get my hands on a Warbonnet Blackbird (WBBB), at this time I cannot convince myself to drop the $$$ for one of these just yet. Before I do that, I think it would be wise of me to simply find out my general thoughts on hammocks in general.

Then the Jolly Green Giant posted about his “secret piece of gear” (not his secret “weapon”, as I say in my following video) in a recent blog post over on his site, Lightweight and Ultralightweight Backpacking. Without spoiling ALL of the post, I will tell you that he list’s one of his secret pieces of gear as a Grand Trunk Ultralight Hammock. When I followed his pluged-in link, I found myself drawn to this hammock…and to be quite honest, it was the $19.99 price tag that did it… Well, that and of course, the Green Giant’s recommendation!

Looking around on the site I found that the hammock was roughly $20, but the suspension  or tree slings, needed to be bought separately for $17.99, unless of course one suspension or another was already owned. In my case, this was not the case, so I needed the suspension as well. Although $38 (+ tax and s&h) is not necessarily a load of money, it was more than I needed to “ask” for at the moment…so I let it go (but stored safely in my mind).

Then just a few days ago I happened to come across a for sell thread on Whiteblaze.net in which a certain poster was selling this exact hammock, with the tree slings for $30, shipped. I immediately took it as my sign, and PayPal’d him the money! Then just a few short days later I found a box waiting for me to come home from work…

So, as usual, I will hit up some of the specs from the video, as well as some that I picked up off of the Grand Trunk site that I was not sure of:

    • Measured Hammock Weight: 11.6 oz
    • Listed Hammock Material: Polyester taffeta
    • Listed Hammock Weight Limit: “up to 250 pounds”
    • Listed Hammock Length: 9.5 x 4.5 feet
    • Measured Tree Slings Weight (In Stuff Sack): 7.9 oz
    • Listed Tree Slings Material: Synthetic 5 mm Cord
    • Listed Tree Slings Weight Limit: “up to 400 pound loads”
    • Listed Tree Slings Length: 20 foot cords each (this will vary though due to number of knots tied in cord)

So, a few initial thoughts…

The first time getting into the hammock I will admit that I was a bit nervous. I was expecting the rope to snap, or the bottom to fall out, spilling me out…or more so, for the hammock to flip around and like in the cartoons and send me flying fast as a bullet… 🙂 However, once I got in it and realized that it was going to hold me up (at least for a little while) I managed to relax my grip a little and begin to move around a little… you know, just feeling it out…

From reading about hammocks, it seemed that many achieve a flat lay by simply lying on a diagonal, so I tried laying at a diagonal. I found that it was fairly simple enough to get shifted over and lay in a diagonal position, but actually managing a flat lay was not as easy. At the top, I felt like the material was trying to roll me over, and at the foot end the center was so tight that it made it hard for me to get my legs flat. So, I decided I would try to hang the hammock just a little tighter and try it again.

By hanging the hammock a little tighter (but still not stretched across) it did seem to offer a little better lay, however, I do realize that it will take me a while to get it figured out like I want it. So, I guess I know what I will be doing this weekend while I am on call and stuck at the house…

I will admit though that laying in the hammock was pretty dang relaxing. I could gently rock myself and it seemed as if I would rock for quite a while. Talk about getting rocked to sleep at night… but I have not laid in it near long enough to determine if I could actually completely fall asleep in it and then stay that way. Once I figure out how to hang the hammock a little better to my liking I will then give it an overnight trial…

Some of the obvious benefits of using a hammock is the ability to easily choose a camping spot. With a tent, or a tarp (for sleeping on the ground) it is obviously not always so easy. The 2 biggest obstacles for a ground sleeper is (1) finding a flat spot and (2) finding a flat spot in a large enough opening to pitch a tent. Of course with a hammock, this process is made much easier. It doesn’t matter if a spot of land is sloped, or even has vegetation growing on it (to an extent). All one needs, is 2 trees, or other objects in which a rope can be tied to about 6 feet off the ground, and anywhere from 8 to 15 feet apart (depending on suspension). Although, on the other hand, if one should find themselves in a place without these objects, well, then it doesn’t really matter and that person should hope that they brought a sleeping pad to use on the ground…

However, a hammock system could quite possibly be heavier than a ground system, especially in colder temperatures. Due to the hammock being suspended in mid-air, the user is much more subject to being cold, which means more weight may be spent in carrying insulating layers. While one on the ground can get away with simply using a pad, a bag, and a tarp; the one in the air needs all of this, plus extra insulation beneath them.

Let me add to this that I have not explored all the areas of hammocking, and especially not in cold weather, so therefore I am not familiar with all the options, or general overall weights. In my mind though, it does seem like more, although I am not trying to say it is true. I will go as far as making an assumption though that to get a hammock set-up as light weight as some ground set-ups, a lot of $$$ would have to be spent on high quality down items as well as other items I am not sure about… So, I will just leave it at that…

Anyway, as I have somewhat alluded to, there are lots of things to consider about using hammocks, and as for myself, I am looking forward to hanging out for a while and figuring some of them out…

So, until later, thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment…

~Stick~

12 Responses to Grand Trunk Ultralight Hammock

  1. Joe says:

    Stick,

    Just found your blog. Great info and have enjoyed reading your thoughts/experience.
    Looking for a ultralight weight hammock to replace my zpacks hexamid tent. 6ft 210 lbs and getting older. Any suggestions?

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    • Stick says:

      Joe,

      I cannot give you much help on the hammocks… I would check out Shug’s stuff for hammocks… Of course Hammock Forums have tons of great info that would likely offer some good suggestions.

      I will say that if I ever buy another hammock, it will be the Bonfire Gear hammock. Great guy, very nice, high quality product, and no fiddle! Well, as little as one can get with a hammock set-up…

      Hope this helps some, and glad to hear you have enjoyed my blog so far!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  2. Ryan says:

    Thanks, Stick! Can’t figure out how to reply directly to your comment. I don’t think I find hammocks that comfortable (yet), but the gearhead in me is willing to give it a shot!

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    • Stick says:

      Ryan,

      Not everyone does find them comfy… I will say that I fall asleep in one much faster than I do on the ground… something about the swaying motion… it’s pretty soothing! 🙂

      Anyway, have fun!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  3. Ryan says:

    Stick: Love your blog and posts. I follow you on FB and love reading and watching your new posts. After my AT thru-hike in 2005, I got busy with family and kids and work and didn’t backpack all that much. I’ve been recently bitten by the ultralight/fastpack/high mileage bug again (partially because I can cover a lot of ground without being gone from home long and partially because I’ve gotten into long distance trailrunning and like the “challenge”) and have been thinking about getting a solo shelter to use in place of my 2005 thru-hike Tarptent (that my wife and I hiked with).

    I know that ultralighter Lint (of Lint Hikes website) hikes a TON and keeps going back to his hammock for the AT (north GA is my stomping grounds). I was intrigued. I always thought of hammocks as something that heavy-weighters used for comfort or to be different or whatever.

    Been researching hammocks more and more and saw this post. In the last months, you don’t mention hammock camping. You give up on it? Why? I appreciate your gear recommendations and am looking for a little advice. Thanks!

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    • Stick says:

      Ryan,

      I have on and off tinkered with the idea, but never really got very far with it. In all honesty, I enjoy using a hammock, but I have not brought myself to drop the money to find the set up that works for me, and as picky as I am, I know I will want to try several different options, and that will only cost more… But to be fair too, I love the ground. I have a few set-ups that work well for me, depending on the situation. As well, tents just seem more right to me… that may sound weird, but hey, it is what it is…

      Saying all of this, sometime in July, my son and I will be hiking an 80 mile stretch and considering that ugly is HOT, I am thinking about going with hammocks for he and I. I have a couple of lightweight hammocks, and I won’t need any sort of insulation underneath me, so less bulk and weight, and a hammock will feel cooler on those super hot nights… I gotta tinker around though and see what I can pull together… in this instance, the tarps are going to be the things that get me…

      Anyway, good luck in finding the right UL gear for you. There are so many options now a days I know it can be tough to sort it all out, and especially when it’s not in your hands… So if you have any more questions about something specifically, feel free to ask and if I can help I will be happy to do so, or at least try to point you in the direction of someone else who can do so better than I…

      Happy hiking!

      ~Stick~

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  4. Just wondering if you ever ventured any further into hammocking? Last year I bought my first one from http://www.dream-hammock.com and have pretty much switched over almost completely just because of how much better I sleep in the hammock compared to pad, tent, etc. (I almost always have lower back and some shoulder pain when I sleep on the ground). You’re right that it can end up being heavier if you’re not careful – but one doesn’t necessarily need a pad if you carry an under-quilt. But to my knowledge the ratio of weight to R-value in the pad is a bit lighter than the weight to estimated comfortable-temp ratio in the under-quilt. It would be awesome if one were to make a video comparing the lightest of each type of set-up (with ability to go to the same temp…i.e. 20 degrees) between one of your zpack kits vs one of the popular hammock kits (dream, war bonnet, etc.). Thanks! Love your blog btw. – Wes

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    • Stick says:

      Wesley,

      I tried out some stuff for a company earlier, but it was far from lightweight. I do agree though, a hammock set up is nice, and I would like to venture into it more, but money just keeps me from it really. Like you, I would like the Darien from Dream Hammocks. I love the built in bug netting, and that I can pick and choose the material, and the size. I would get the large ZPacks cuben tarp with doors to go with it. This would be a pretty lightweight set-up overall, but would give me what I personally would like in a hammock set-up for most of the year here in the SE.

      And yeah, I have a rather nice UQ from Hammock Gear. It is a 20 F Phoenix, with 3 oz of overfill, cuben inner and 7D outer. It weighs in around 14 oz. Very nice. The only reason I hold onto it though is because one day I may get a hammock set up to go with it… 🙂

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by. Glad to hear that you enjoy my blog! 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  5. JearBear says:

    Have you heard of the Grand Trunk Nano 7?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      I have, but have never used one. Truth be told, I am more of a ground dweller than a hanger… I keep saying I am going to get a different hammock set-up (in particular, a Dream Hammock Darien and a cuben tarp) but I never get around to it… Maybe one day I will, but for now, I am good to go with my tents…

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • JearBear says:

      Yeah, I also never really use my hammock other than bringing it along for day hikes or overnighters just to sit or nap in. I only asked if you had heard of the Nano 7 because surprisingly I never see it mentioned when people discuss ultralight hammocking.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Have you been to Hammock Forums? I know I have seen it mentioned a number of times there, although, it has been quite a while since I have been on the boards there. Seems to be a mixture of reviews about it though. Some didn’t seem to like it because it is smaller, while others didn’t mind so much… Of course it is like every other piece of gear though, it just depends on ones personal preferences… I will say that I probably wouldn’t get one just because I think I exceed the weight limit. When it comes to hammocks though, I would like to get a DH Darien… I just don’t know when that will be though… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

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