When my friend told me he was thinking about getting a hammock snake skin I had to laugh. All I could think of was him somehow capturing a massive snake, slicing it open and climbing inside.
One look on his face told me he was actually being serious; immediately I wondered what are hammock snake skins and how do I make one myself?
After I stopped laughing my friend graciously allowed me to accompany him on his quest for the right hammock snake skin. Little did I know that I was about to get my own one as well!
The hammock snake skin became popular through the marketing efforts of Hennessey Hammocks. Its basic role is to turn your hammock into a snake; allowing easy packing, carrying and preventing the lines from getting tangled.
Needless to say, this sounds like a good idea when you’re spending an increasing amount of time on the trail.
How Hammock Snake Skins Work
There are two types of snakeskins that ere being used.
One piece: The snakeskin is located at one side of your hammock and you slide it over your hammock like a sock. This has better waterproofing because there is no opening in the middle, allowing water to seep in.
Two pieces: The two snakeskins are located at each end of the hammock like a curtain. It’s easier to unpack than the one piece but it’s not fully waterproof. Because the feature of a snakeskin is not to make it waterproof (you have a tarp above your hammock) I’m going to further discuss the two piece snakeskins.
When you’re not using the hammock, you slide the sleeves down and across the hammock. This makes more room under the tarp for you to sit under if it rains.
You can leave your hammock attached while you slide the snake skin into position. This makes it very easy to pack your hammock up. The sleeves are attached to the securing lines on your hammock; this means you’ll never lose them.
You’ll need to slide the hammock snake skins on before you use the hammock for the first time. After that it’s done.
Just don’t forget to tuck everything in first and then roll it, this makes it easy to slide the sleeves over.
Where You Can Get One
I have to say I’m impressed with the hammock snake skins. My hammock stayed dry the entire time I used one because I had a tarp and the snake skins slid over everything.
I also found it easier and quicker to set up my hammock; it really was as simple as fastening it to the trees!
From my experience I recommend the Hennessy hammock snake skins; but then I do have a Hennessy hammock.
How to Make Your Own
My next thought was how to make one myself. This led me to thinking that if I could make one myself to cover the double it would make my strolls into the wilderness easier.
In fact, it was easier than I thought!
- Get some lightweight material such as silnylon, ripstop nylon, polyester taffeta.
- Decide whether you want two sleeves or just one. One can stop the bulge in the middle but is a little harder to slide in place.
- Measure your hammock; the sleeves need to cover the entire thing with a small overlap to ensure it all stays dry.
- It’s best to hang your hammock to get the proper length and you can practice rolling it together. This will give you the internal diameter of your tube.
- You can then cut your material to the right size and stitch it together to make a tube. One end should be left open while the other end can have a smaller hole; allowing it to slide over the ropes. This will prevent it from sliding too far when you pull it over your hammock.
Tips When Using a Hammock Snake Skin
There are several things to consider when using hammock snake skins:
- Separate skins for your hammock and tarp mean that your hammock will stay dry even if you’ve had a wet night.
- Making your own means you can add features such as a pocket if that’s necessary.
- Having a separate one for your tarp allows you to sleep under the stars. If it starts to rain you just slide back the sleeves and peg the corners.
- You should always unpack your gear at home to dry it and then repack it. This is especially important if you’re using snake skins as they will trap moisture inside your hammock; potentially causing damage.