Sleeping out in the woods under a tarp with just a hammock suspended between two trees must be one of the simplest and most immersive outdoor experiences I can think of. It’s pure relaxation to have nature all around you and not be enclosed in a tent or bivi.
Thermarest are a well known outdoor brand and recently they have brought their knowledge on sleeping out in comfort to produce a new range of hammocks and hammock sleeping accessories.
The foundation of which is the Thermarest Slacker Hammock which comes in a single or double size. You can buy the hammock on its own or make use of a whole range of complimentary products Thermarest has designed to go with it. This system can therefore be adapted to suit individual needs which enables the user to sleep out in a hammock in any environment.
But let’s focus on the hammock itself for now.
The Thermarest Slacker Double is a great hammock and I have been enjoying late winter and very early spring camping with it. The design is well thought out as it simplifies pitching so you can get it ready for sleeping in really quickly. It can also be rapidly adapted for use in colder conditions as you can attach an under quilt in seconds.
I went for the Slacker Double as I have had bad experiences with single hammocks not having enough space to move around in and this always prevented me achieving a comfortable nights sleep. The Slacker Double however has plenty of room for the single sleeper and the pack size is hardly affected when going for this larger option.
The Slacker Double is made out of 100% polyester with a ripstop: so it’s strong and will help stop a tear propagating through it. No hammock can prevent serious damage happening if a sharp object is pressed against it when the user is suspended within it, so care must always be taken when in any hammock not to puncture it but the presence of a rip stop is a nice touch.
The fabric feels very forgiving against the sleeper and is breathable when sleeping out for more than a single night so that your sleep system doesn’t get too damp through sweat however good hammock practice dictates that we hang our sleeping bag every couple of days to make sure moisture is not building up.
Thermarest makes the Slacker hammock very easy to pitch with its Slacker Suspender straps. The choice of webbing material on the straps allows the user to get the hammock up in no time with the knowledge that he or she is well secured to the anchor point. To pitch the hammock you simply pass the Suspender Straps around the tree and through a loop on the end of the strap, do exactly the same on your second tree and then the hammock can simply be clipped in. It’s very simple to then adjust the tension on the hammock by pulling on the tab of the Suspender Straps. Having used some other suspension options like the Whoopie Slings and a homemade flat cord I can say that I prefer the Slacker Straps for their ease of use and durability.
The carabiner you attach the straps to the hammock with sits very close to the hammock itself, so it’s very easy to attach an under quilt as you can pass the lanyard from the under quilt though the carabiner at each end and then the under quilt is ready to go. This is one of the easiest ways to quickly and securely attach an under quilt that I have used. Having the carabiner sat so close to the hammock itself means your last line of defence against rain seeping into the hammock down the webbing is very close to you, so on prolonged trips I would set up some drip lines along the webbing strap as well as making sure the carabiner has a low point to gravity so the water could drip off before it reaches you and your hammock. The tightly woven webbing of the Slacker Suspender straps does not wick water well which is a good thing.
The Slacker Double has a pocket that acts as a stuff bag for the hammock and this can be used to store books and small belongings, such as an eReader when sleeping in the hammock. I use a small 4 litre dry bag to hold the hammock as its easier to use than trying to get it back into the stuff pocket which is square shaped.
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