I’ve been struggling to get a good night’s sleep under the stars for a while now.
I actually made a post about it here, and on the back of a discussion with our community, concluded that I needed to try hammock camping.
Luckily for me, the lovely folks at Naturehike offered to provide me with their new lightweight backpacking hammock to try out.
I’m no novice to hammock camping, having done it for a few extended periods abroad, including sleeping in a Costa Rica jungle in a hammock, safely raised off the floor and away from the swathes of insects out to bite me.
I’ve also had the joy of hammock camping by the sea a few times, and know too well the relaxing swaying, and cradling a hammock gives you when you’re trying to sleep. It’s like nothing else.
My Naturehike hammock didn’t take long to arrive. Impressive, given it came from overseas. It was well packaged, and fit into a small drawstring sports bag – similar to what you get at JD Sports or Sports Direct. I’ve since transferred it to a stuff sack as I find it better for use outside and trekking.
I’ve since had a chance to test it out in the woods local to me, and I plan to use it on a few multi-day hikes this Autumn and into next year.
Honestly, if I can get away with it, I will use this over a tent. Why? it’s lighter, easier to pitch, and way more comfortable.
Size: Tent fly – 189x186cm, Hammock – 300x316cm
Tent fly fabric: 40D Nylon coated silicon plaid fabric
Hammock fabric: 75d pongee, B3 fine poly mesh
Packed Size: 26x40x12 (but can squeeze smaller in testing)
I extensively checked the seams, and stitch quality of the hammock and fly and was impressed with the sewing quality, and overall feel of durability across the piece despite its relatively low weight and affordable price point.
What I really liked was the metal rings sewn into the ends of the tarp reinforcing the attachment points and making it easy to rig mini-pulls to pull the cords taught.
Moreover, the fabric coverings that wrap around the top of the hammock were a nice feature to keep the bunched up fabric dry in heavy rain, which stops the soak slowly working its way down the hammock towards you.
The fabric for the fly is also an excellent choice – being durable enough but also feeling relatively lightweight.
Suitability For Long Distance Hiking
If you want to switch up your camping setup away from tents, and towards hammocks then this isn’t a bad place to start.
Let’s assume you already use a Vango Banshee 200, at 2.4kg and a pack size of 47×18, and a setup time of 7 minutes.
Now compare this to our hammock at around 1kg, and a pack size of 40×26 uncompressed and a setup time of around 5 minutes. Yes it’s marginal gains, but losing 1.4kg of weight is never a bad thing.
Suddenly you have a compelling alternative, which in all honestly is more comfortable than a tent. Better still, if you are using this in warmer summer months to wild camp you don’t even need a camping pad (but you do need one in colder conditions for insulation) saving further grams.
Yes, I agree that a hammock is not as versatile – it cant be pitched anywhere. However it can be pitched in most places as you will find trees everywhere from the edge of playing fields to small coppices of woodland or forests on route.
With enough research, you can be sure to find a number of potential hammock camping spots along most routes.
Overall I feel hammocks are well suited to long distance hiking on certain trails and make a nice alternative to sleeping under canvas.
I really didn’t like the bag it came in. For a product designed for outdoor use, I personally would have used a different bag. A compressing lightweight stuff sack, made from the same fabric as the tarp would be more fitting for the product.
Initially, I was unsure whether I liked the colours. Shouldn’t a hammock be bushcraft green?? After use, I realized I love the colours. They are not discreet, so for silent camping, you may need to hide a bit further into the woods, but otherwise, the colour choice really works for me.
I’m also a big fan of the tarp and its overall size. It’s not so massive that it’s extra weight, but big enough to drop the sides down to keep you dry in sideways rain and to give you some privacy within the hammock setup.
I am a big fan of the ‘No Zipper Design’. Here’s a fact. Zips fail, always. Whether it’s a year from purchase, or 5, your zip will always fail. And on a product like a hammock where tension is put on variable parts of a hammock the zip will fail quicker.
Fortunately, Naturehike has put a ‘No Zipper Design’ entry point into the hammock which closes with gravity and can then be velcroed together.
I wasn’t sure of the velcro opening at first, but now I love it. It’s also really easy to get into as you enter the hammock centrally instead of trying to roll in over the side, which can cause you to roll out the other side.
I also really like how Naturehike offers aftersales support and replies to their emails. Many overseas companies don’t, yet Naturehike offer original products and stands behind them with good customer support.
Overall thoughts On The Naturehike Shelter Camping Canopy Hammock
I’m really impressed with the product and will be using it over my tent going forwards If I am sure that I can get away with pitching it on routes for the duration of a trip. Honestly, we have enough coppices of woodland remaining to get away with using a hammock in the UK on most long-distance trails – particularly on lower routes such as the Yorkshire Wold Way for example.
The build quality is reassuring, and although it’s not the lightest hammock on the market it’s priced very generously for what it offers.
Naturehike Shelter Camping Hammock
An excellent hammock at a great price. Don’t be alarmed by the lack of weight, or pack size as honestly, it’s lighter than even the lightest tents but it is heavier than some competitor hammocks.
If you want a hammock to start your hammock camping journey then this is an excellent place to start.
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