The Blue Ridge Camping Hammock: A Product Review


Perhaps you have gone camping many times before with your standard tent, but have you ever gone “hammock” camping? If not, you’re missing out on a totally unique and fun experience! A standard hammock will definitely do the job, but this unique piece of camping equipment by Lawson Hammock definitely takes the cake and outshines the rest of the competition! Today I am going to do a review on this unique and versatile hammock and I can honestly say it is one of those pieces of gear that you absolutely need to have on hand!

The Hammock

First I’m going to talk about the design and features of this baby. The body of the hammock is made of ripstop nylon pack cloth which makes it very durable, easy to clean, and weighs a mere 4.25 lbs. Once assembled, the hammock bed is approximately 7 feet long by 4 feet wide. The total length of the hammock is around 11 feet and can support up to 250 lbs which is strong enough for most people.

blue ridge camping hammock

The feature that really sparked my interest in this product in the first place was the fact that it has a bug net or canopy built in. There’s nothing worse than being eaten alive by a swarm of mosquitoes (okay maybe being eaten alive by a bear is worse) while you try and get a good night’s sleep and the meshed canopy does an excellent job at keeping all the pests at bay. It is very spacious inside allowing you ample room to move around and there are two interior pockets (one on each end) that you can use to store some of your gear. There is an o-ring located at the roof which allows you to hang a flashlight, glow stick or anything else that you want.

The shape of the canopy is made by running the shock corded aluminum arch poles through each end of the hammock. A bungee cord with a plastic hook is located at each end of the hammock (attached to the spreader bar) and is used to secure the poles in place so that they stay upright. If you find the arch poles aren’t as sturdy as you like you can always use rope to secure them instead of using the included bungee cord. One side of the canopy features an arched zipper allowing you to enter and get out of our hammock with ease. The zipper is very durable, runs very smoothly and didn’t snag on me when I tested it out multiple times. The aluminum-alloy spreader bars located at each end of the hammock are very durable and come in two pieces. All you have to do is slide them in together and proceed to hanging your hammock.

To top it all off a waterproof nylon rain tarp is included to cover the hammock and protect yourself from the elements that nature can throw at you without notice. There are some Velcro attachments located on the bottom of the hammock where the rain cover attaches. A waterproof nylon border on the canopy helps to stop water blowing up from under the tarp in windy conditions.

Setting It Up

Now here’s something else that will definitely spark your interest. You can set up this hammock in two different ways. First I will go over the traditional way which is usually between two trees. Setting up the hammock is very simple and fast. I was able to set everything up in less than 5 minutes including the rain cover. The only thing that took some extra time was deciding on a suitable location to set up camp.

I like to tighten the hammock as tight as I can so that I have more of a “flat area” to sleep on. This way it feels more like a bed. Of course if you prefer to let it sag like your traditional hammock you can do so as well. If you have never used a hammock before they can tend to feel a bit “off balance” at first until you get used to them. This is especially true if you plan on tightening the tension lines like I did. To help with this issue for the inexperienced user, the hammock features four grommet ties, two on each end of the hammock where you can attach anchor ropes and tie them to nearby trees or secure to the ground with stakes – this will prevent any unwanted and unbalanced movement. My suggestion would be to try different tension settings and see which feels more comfortable for you.

So that’s all fine and dandy but what do you do if you’re in a location where there aren’t any trees, such as the beach or the top of a completely bare mountain? Just set it up on the ground! Yes, you can lay this thing flat on the ground and use it as a ground tent. All you have to do is stretch out the hammock and drive a steel peg or large stakes at an outward angle into the ground through the rings at the end of each spreader bar to keep the hammock secure. Install the arch poles for the canopy and secure them in an upright position with the included bungee cord. Increasing the tension of the bungee will help keep the arch poles more upright and stable. If you prefer, you can always use rope.

Comfort

When it comes to spending the night in the wilderness, comfort is one of those things that many of us think that we will have to give up. If you’re going to lay the hammock directly on the ground then yes, it will be like camping in a tent and you will need to bring along some foam padding or line the bottom with spruce branches, straw or anything else that’s soft and can help make you feel more comfortable.

Setting up the hammock the traditional way (between two trees) is still my personal preference as it’s guaranteed that I will stay much more dry and I won’t have the dampness and cold from the earth penetrating directly into my body overnight. Like I mentioned before, I like to tighten the hammock as much as possible to make more of a flatter “bed” area to lay on. Another thing you can do is put some large stones near your fire and let them heat up for a while. When you’re ready to go to bed just roll them under your hammock and the heat will radiate upwards into your body keeping you warm and cozy. Install the hammock so that it’s at least a few feet off the ground. Lining the bottom of the hammock with an emergency space blanket will help keep in the warmth and leaving the rain fly on will also do the same.

Portability

It takes only a minute to fold the hammock in half, separate the two spreader bars, lay the rain cover on it and roll it all up. When put away in the included stuff suck, the hammock packs down to 22″ in length by about 6″ in diameter and can easily be strapped to the side or bottom of your backpack. It weighs under four and a half pounds which is great since you won’t really notice the extra weight when adding it to your gear. Other than that, what can I say… it’s very portable!

Conclusion

I was very impressed with this product! It’s reasonably priced and I highly recommend it to all you outdoor enthusiasts and survivalists out there who are looking for a unique and versatile product that will enhance your outdoor camping experience! Whether or not you have tried hammock camping before, you need to try it with this awesome product – I guarantee that you will be more than satisfied. The only thing I can wish for is that they make the hammock available in a camouflage color.

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