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Tested: Lightweight Hammocks

Adventures

Outdoor tests the Wildhorn Outpost 1 Hammock and Klymit Insulated Hammock V Sleeping Pad.

I was recently shocked to learn that there are hikers and bikepackers still carrying tents while exploring (mostly mild) and temperate Australia. What is this madness? Surely not Outdoor readers. Surely they know about hammock camping?

In the ever-increasing push toward fast 'n' light travel, some outdoors enthusiasts are doing away with tents altogether, and replacing them instead with lightweight hammocks, plus tarps over the top.

This isn’t just for the tropics. There are even alpine systems that will guarantee a cosy night’s sleep swinging between two snow gums.

For this reviewer, the choice came down to packing weight, but there are other advantages to being a hammock swinger. Users enjoy a wider choice of suitable campsites (just find two trees), faster setup and, provided you ‘hammock right’, better quality of sleep than on any mattress pad.

With this in mind I was stoked to receive Wildhorn’s Outpost 1 Hammock to test, alongside Klymit’s Insulated Hammock V sleeping pad.

But what’s the point of a mattress in a hammock, I hear you ask?

Well, I give you: Cold Butt Syndrome (CBS). Surprisingly unpleasant, CBS is experienced when the down in your sleeping bag is compressed against the weave of your hammock. It usually hits around 4am and will ruin your night. Common solutions include an under-quilt (installed below the hammock for added warmth), or an insulated hammock-specific sleeping mat. But more on the Klymit in a moment.

WILDHORN OUTPOST 1 HAMMOCK

Wildhorn’s Outpost 1 stays true to timeless hammock design, but with a handful of clever tweaks. For one thing, this baby’s roomy. At 3.3m long by 1.5m wide, there’s loads of room to stretch out and it’s well-suited to the diagonal lay that hammock-sleepers strive for.

The material is triple-stitched parachute nylon and total weight including the compression sack is a frugal 830g.

But the best feature of the Wildhorn are the Litespeed Suspension straps. They make setup a breeze. At the termination ends, carabiners ensure the straps cinch off tightly around your chosen trees.

But the masterstroke is a sliding stainless buckle on each strap, to instantly adjust your hanging angle. It’s ingenious, fast to set up and incredibly user-friendly. No knots required!

Testing the Wildhorn hammock and Klymit sleeping pad. Credit: Anji Bignell

KLYMIT INSULATED HAMMOCK V SLEEPING PAD

In combination with a quality hammock, Klymit’s insulated sleeping pad provides a genuine four-season sleeping system.

While my beachside testing grounds at a surf camp in Sumbawa proved the Wildhorn hammock to be a handy unit, it wasn’t until visiting Victoria’s Otway Ranges in autumn that the Klymit came into its own. Under the sequoia trees of Stevensons Falls campground, the insulated pad ensured hammock camping was an entirely agreeable experience, even with night-time temps hovering around 5ºC and a poorly-chosen summer sleeping bag.

How does it work? Klymit’s Hammock V has an R-Value of 4.4 and incorporates multiple air chambers plus synthetic fill to retain heat under the critical shoulder and hip zones.

The design includes four ‘wings’ that wrap you up snugly inside the hammock and underneath are non-slip silicon pads to reduce movement in the night (though these are a magnet for dirt and dust).

At 975g, the Klymit pad will add some bulk to your pack and ramming it back into the supplied sack is almost impossible in the field (it’s a bugger to deflate fully), but as an antidote to CBS, this pad is very much a winner.

It will also do double-duty in your tent as an oversized 198cm x 119cm camping mat, so this hammock-pad combo will keep you sleeping soundly year-round.

This review originally appeared in the September/October 2018 issue of Outdoor Magazine. Subscribe today for more reviews, plus the latest outdoor adventures and travel news.

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