Gear Review: ENO Doublenest Hammock…

ENO Doublenest Hammock

Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows I’ve been talking about hammock camping a lot lately.  That’s one of the reasons I was lucky enough to review a copy of Derek Hansen’s book, The Ultimate Hang: An Illustrated Guide to Hammock Camping.  Hammock camping is something I dabbled in years ago, without really knowing what I was doing, and now have returned to exploring.  There are so many more hammocks and accessories on the market now that I’m really excited about testing out a lot of this new gear.  But what got me back in to exploring the Hang was a fluke contest win last year.  I managed to win an ENO Doublenest Hammock kit (including their slap-straps and some other accessories) on Facebook!  Now, I was looking forward to getting outdoors for some overnights with my hammock.

It took a while, but I finally managed to start planning trips that would specifically put me in locations where I knew I could set a hammock.  I’ve now had the ENO out a half-dozen times and I have to say I am really enjoying it.  The Doublenest is pretty small packed into it’s own attached stuff sack (about 4x4x5) and weighs about 22oz.  It’s not UltraLight but it’s lighter than my tent.  The size of the hammock unfolded is 9′-4″ x 6′-8″ which is a little short compared to most hammocks designed for camping.  I would admit that the ENO is designed to be an all-purpose hammock.  It’s not long enough to be considered a true “camping” hammock or “expedition” hammock but it’s a comfortable size and it’s portability means you can take it almost anywhere.

The lightweight parachute nylon material has held up well so far.  The carabiners that came with the ENO were heavy, so I have replaced those with lighter, stronger carabiners (also lightening the overall load by a few ounces).  The seams are all triple-stitched and the gathered-end design translates into maximum strength at the attachment points.  The load capacity on the Doublenest is somewhere in the neighborhood of 500lbs, making it possible for two people to sit in the hammock.  This really isn’t practical for anything more than a nap as two people trying to sleep together overnight in the same hammock will lead to two people not wanting to see each other gain.  The load capacity is effected by the angle of the hang (as illustrated in Derek’s book) so if you are planning on pushing the weight limits of the product, make sure you achieve a solid 30 degree hang.

This is a great starter hammock.  For those new to hammocks, or hammock camping the ENO would be a good place to start.  It’s versatile, light, small, packable and easy to set up.  ENO has tons of accessories on their website like the Slap-Straps, tarps, bug-nets, LED lights for your ridgeline, even speakers so you can have tunes while you hang.

Enjoying the Hang in PrescottFor me, I love the low-impact nature of hammock camping.  I also love having the ability to camp in places where you just can’t with a tent.  I will be exploring more hammock options and looking into some of the more lightweight, expedition hammocks for backpacking trips.  I’ve got a few in mind and, thankfully, Derek has been a great resource for getting deeper into these products.  But I will always love my ENO and I’m sure it will find it’s way along on many future adventures.

 

 

Campsite Impact comparison

Campsite Impact on the environment…

I’ve been doing a fair amount of hammock camping lately.  I’ve also been studying and testing gear and techniques associated with making hammock camping more comfortable and convenient.  I’m currently reading The Ultimate Hang: An Illustrated Guide to Hammock Camping by Derek Hansen.  I’m hoping to see Derek at a seminar he will be giving at the local REI about hammock camping and, I’m sure, promoting his new book.

Aside from the technical information about knots, gear, quilts, tarps, etc. Derek also discusses the history of the hammock in Western Culture.  Most interestingly, he does discuss the importance hammock camping plays in protecting the environment.  In my interview with Seth Haber of Trek Light Gear, he also touches on the fact that hammock camping is, by it’s nature, a zero-footprint way of camping.  It is very closely associated with the Leave No Trace school of thought.

To illustrate this point, I took a couple of photos this weekend while I was out camping with some friends.  This photo is not to place judgement or to show that one method is better than the other, simply to show the difference in the impact (footprint) of a typical family camp site vs. the impact of a hammock camp site.

campsite impact on the environment

Whether your style of camping is closer to the top, or the bottom picture…whatever gets you and your family outdoors enjoying nature is good enough!

The sad side of this weekend was something I failed to get any pictures of.  Just a couple of camp sites down from where we were, a previous party had left a giant pile of trash and debris.  It looked almost as if they had brought trash from home just to dump at the camp site.  It was frustrating and infuriating to witness.  Back in Northern California, in the more rural areas, we would find trash dump sites all throughout the forests.  People would use the wilderness as their personal landfill to avoid having to pay to dump in the actual landfill. Often these sites would host appliances riddled with bullet holes and broken down vehicles with rusty frames and the engines missing.

I think it’s that sort of carelessness that I’ve seen in the backcountry that makes me so self-conscious about my own impact on the environment when I’m in the wilderness.  On most local trails, I often return carrying trash I’ve collected from the trail.  On camping and backpacking trips, I go to great lengths to make sure I’m leaving things just as I found it.  My time camping along the Colorado River it was a constant challenge to leave our camp site cleaner than it was when we arrived.

What are your “camp rules” for making sure you leave a clean camp site?

Have you ever tried camping in a hammock?  Would you take an extended trip camping in a hammock?