It’s always hammock season. Hot or cold, there is always comfort to be found within their soft, silky folds. The Exped Travel Hammock plus is a combination rip-stop nylon hammock and suspension system that’s light enough to carry, and comfortable enough to provide some serious rest and relaxation.
The Plus that you see in the name designates that this kit includes both the hammock and the suspension system. They’re each available separately, handy for replacements or mix and matching of equipment, or even better available as a convenient package. The convenience being that you know compatible, functional, and designed to be used together. The hammock is built from a 70D Texped PA68 Ripstop nylon, which is a soft but strong nylon that’s resistant to stretching and tearing. The hammock comes together at the head and foot to a carabiner on each end, with a leather like cap that prevents water from running down the line in the rain, and helps reduce snagging and tangling of rope in the carabiner. The suspension kit is a combination of webbing and rope. The webbing is made from a durable polyester, and acts as a tree guard that prevents damage to tree bark. These connect to the thinner, lighter ropes (25 mm thick polyester) that have been cleverly weaved to have small slits inside them for the carabiners to connect into for hanging. The entire kit weighs 17.3 oz (hammock at 12 oz and the rope at 5.3 oz) and retails for about $50.
What I liked
The Exped Travel hammock is a very simple, easy to use design. To hang the hammock, you simply run the webbing around a tree, sliding the rope through the loop at the end of the webbing, and clip the carbiner into one of the slits within the rope. Repeat on the other side, and you’re set up. Adjustments are made by simply selecting a higher or lower slit, allowing for more or less tension on the hammock as preferred. It’s an ingeniously simple design that’s fast, fool proof, saves weight and allows the entire system to be set up in about one minute flat.
Comfort is a priority, especially when talking about hammocks. Travel hammock has this covered. The limited stretch of the hammock allowed me to lay flatter than in most hammocks that use stretchier polyester materials in the body (which sag into something like a human stuff sack), and presents a much more natural sleeping arrangement. When laying at an angle, I was able to keep my back straight and my body tension free. Feet inside or hanging off to the side, I’ve been able to find a comfortable position without squirming about too much to simply find an acceptable way to lay. The materials are soft, and silky to the touch, but not so that I was sliding around inside, another common problem with many hammocks.
Getting in and out is very simple, as the stable build only makes that better. There is enough room inside to lay in a standard 20″ sleeping pad and sleeping bag, and I didn’t find too much trouble getting inside my bag and zipping up.
Build quality is very good, with four full stitches on the pressure points and a burly nylon body. The carabiners at each end are light weight and of the highest quality with a sturdy feel, precise lock, and a wonderful polished sheen.
A total weight, including the strap system, of under 18 oz is easy on the back and hips. It packs down tiny, about the size of a dehydrated meal, and stashes away inside its own pocket which is sewn into the body of the hammock.
What I didn’t like
When paired with a stiffly inflated sleeping pad, the system felt a little more wobbly than I would prefer. I didn’t feel that there was any risk of flipping, but it might be a better option to use an under-quilt with this particular design. This is mostly due to the narrow profile of the hammock, and not the suspension method. Regardless, my personal preference was still to use my sleeping pad, as I like the extra firmness they provide.
I found the Exped Travel Hammock Plus to be an exceptional combination of comfort, reliability, ease of use, and value. At just around $50, you gain an entire hammock setup, including the straps with protective tree webbing. The quality nylon and it’s resistance to stretching allowed me to be comfortable in any position, without slumping into a bowl at the bottom, and the setup was always fast and painless. If an all in one setup is your goal, and you don’t want to break the bank or your back, this kit is certainly a solid solution.
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For more information on Exped and their Travel Hammock Plus, check out http://www.exped.com/international/en
I wanted to send a special thanks out for Exped for their extended support and for providing this excellent piece of equipment to review. We couldn’t do this without their help. Thank you so much! Our full disclosure can be found on the about me/contact page.