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Review of hammocks

Here jungle expedition leader and trainer Dom Hall from Fieldskills runs through his favourite hammocks for jungle camping:

If you are camping in the rainforest there’s really only one way to do it – in a hammock. Hammocks are airy and cool, light to carry, easy to set up and give you loads of flexibility when camping in jungle environments. They are also the al fresco camping experience.

But having seen people turn up in the jungle with a string hammock like one you might use in your back garden in the summer – its important to turn up with the right kit.

There are a few options out there on the market:

1. The Travelproof jungle hammock – made and supplied by Nomad Travel Store. This is the staple of many a tropical forest expedition – I’ve had mine for over ten years now. It has a twin layer to allow for more insect protection and also if you want to slide a roll mat between the layers for extra warmth. Its used in conjunction with a separate basha sheet and box mosquito net which gives you loads of flexibility. The net can be used when you are lucky enough to get a day in a hostel or B&B, the basha sheet on its own sheltering from the rain for your lunch.
As each bit is separate you can replace / chop and change parts of it easily. Personally I find the newer basha sheets slightly the wrong dimensions – a bit too long and not quite wide enough but overall a great hammock.

2. The Hennesey hammock. In many ways the Rolls Royce of the hammock world – super big and comfy. Once you’ve got used to the slightly concerning velcro fastening and climbing in through the bottom you won’t look back. It’s an all in one – with hammock and mosquito net built in together and a small fly sheet which attaches on top. This I’d say is the only weakness – that it has slightly less flexibility than the Travelproof. I’ve tried to crawl in and just use it as a mosquito net only but it ain’t easy! Also the fly sheet included is a little bit small – it’ll keep you dry but doesn’t give a lot of space to move about or cover your kit. A lot of people seem to resort to an additional basha sheet over the top if they are using it for longer periods. You cannot beat it for comfort though and it is a truly ingenious design.

3. The DD hammock. I have to confess I haven’t tried this in anger yet – a client brought one along on a course and it looked great. A similar design to the Hennesey but with zip shut mosquito net and also claims to be waterproof underneath to the extent that you can just use it on the floor as a bivi when there are not enough trees. Watch this space – I’ll have to try one!

If you’re heading to the jungle you might do well to consider signing up for the Tropical Forest Safety Course.

And if you fancy some hardcore jungle stories have a look at what Ed is up: walking the length of the Amazon.

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  1. Just did a couple of hundred miles from Glasgow to Leeds, not sounding too exotic but hey…
    Spent a couple of nights in a hammock, faster than a tent, had no worries about wet ground, as dry as a good bivvy and once I got used to the fact that I wasn’t going to fall out, had an amazingly comfy sleep. I’d recommend a double layer hammock, with sleeping mat and bag inside… Mmm Cozy!

  2. Having slept quite a few months in the Travelproof jungle hammock (1), I can vouch for its comfort. There’s nothing like lying in a hammock under a basha, hearing the rain thundering down, and howler monkeys in the trees…

  3. The Hennessey doesnt even come close to the Clarke Jungle Hammock. Its American and it is not cheap but it is far and away the best design, the most comfy and the most versatile of all the hammocks on the market. It does take a little time to get familiar with setting up which is its only drawback but once up it will withstand anything and keep you properly dry.

  4. Logan Thomson Posted

    I can recomend underquilts for cold weather camping. They are basically a layer of insulation (much like your sleeping bag) that hangs under the hammock to stop the wind stealing your precious heat. This is needed because as you lie in your sleeping bag you compress the insulation underneath you, this is no big deal when using roll mat on the ground but in ha hammock it is FREEZING!!!! roll mats work aswell but are not nearly as comfy.

  5. Ollie Hodgkins Posted

    Another option (although a bit more pricey) is the Warbonnet Blackbird. I have one and I think it’s fantastic, the mozzie mesh can be rolled back for a more spacious feel and when combined with a good tarp it’s damn near weatherproof. The footbox for a more flat lay and the shelf for storing gear and a jumper are an added benefit as well!



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