When I first tried a hammock it took just a few nights for me to be convinced that I would never sleep in a tent or even a normal bed again. To say I was hooked was an understatement.
But then I discovered an issue; weight. I already had a trip organized and most of my supplies ready. My faithful tent was packed with my camping pad and other essentials. My initial thought was to ditch the tent and take the hammock. But then logistics set in.
My tent weighs just over three and a half pounds; the average one person tent is two to tree pounds. The hammock my friend was offering to sell me, plus slings and straps weighed in at a little over 4 pounds. That’s not a big difference until I started thinking of the the underquilt and topquilt that I certainly had to take with me.
Then I found the Hummingbird, it’s exceptionally lightweight. In fact, the hammock, tree straps and slings weigh just half a pound! Even with an underquilt and an over quilt I could maintain the lightness of my pack.
I had very little time to decide if the investment was worthwhile and make sure I had everything necessary for my trip. After a lot of consideration I decided to take the plunge and bought the hammock and associated gear.
It was a good decision; as this review shows.
The Hummingbird Single +
As mentioned the Hummingbird Single + hammock weighs just 7.6 ounces but can handle weights up to 350 pounds; that’s plenty more than I am.
It measures 63 inches wide by 116 inches (9.6 foot) long. Yet, when folded it goes down to just 4 inches by 6 inches! It’s s as small a tennis ball!
The single + is a good choice, it is 12 inches longer than the standard single and 14 inches wider; in fact it’s nearly wide enough for me to lie across sideways! I love this aspect as I sleep diagonally and need the space to spread out.
When using it I am convinced that the Hummingbird Single + has given me the best night’s sleep so far.
You may be surprised to learn that this hammock was actually designed by a parachute rigger and uses parachute grade fabric. It has spectra cord which is capable of holding 1500 pounds and military spec bonded nylon thread. It is also lock stitched all over to ensure it won’t fall apart with you in it.
The hammock did come with a stuff sack but I never used this; it fits perfectly into the front pocket of my backpack. There are also button link carabiners to ensure putting this up is simple; I’ve found this extremely beneficial on the cold, wet days.
It’s worth noting that the button links are unique to Hummingbird; the fact that they are heavy duty plastic explains some of the reason why this weighs so little compared to other hammocks. There are no metal clasps.
I have to admit the thinness of the fabric was an issue when I first set up the hammock. I was very careful when I lowered myself into it for the first time! However, it looks like the claims made by the manufacturer are right on point; it has a tensile strength of 50 pounds per square inch.
The spectra cord used on this hammock is actually stronger than steel! It’s comparable to Dyneema. Check out a cool youtube video (opens in new tab) where they test the strength of the rope against a steel cable.
An extra bonus that I’ve experienced on several occasions is how windproof this parachute fabric is. It really keeps the wind away from your body; to the point that I often don’t use my overquilt in warm weather.
One touch that I found both stylish and thoughtful was the addition of the Hummingbird logo. Instead of being sewn onto the material and increasing the weight of the hammock the logo is put on using dye sublimation.
This is very much like tattooing the fabric. The special ink combines with heat and air pressure to become a gas. When the gas touches the fabric it permanently dyes the fabric without adding any weight!
It is worth noting that the Hummingbird Single + is at the mid-end of the market for a single hammock; but in my opinion it’s really worth it. You’ll get the hammock, a stuff sack, button link carabiners and a sticker in your pack. But, you won’t get the tree straps; these need to be bought separately.
I love the skydiver blue of my Hummingbird but you can also get it in grass green, forest green and sunset orange.
I’ve used the Hummingbird Single + on a dozen trips so far and have had no issues with it. Of course you need to treat it with care, the fabric is very strong but it is also very thin. But, all the indicators so far suggest that if I continue to look after it the Hummingbird Single + will give me years of quality service; that makes it the best purchase I’ve ever made.
Just to sum up:
- This is an incredibly light hammock.
- Its pack size is so small you could lose it in your gear.
- I’ve tried a few and this is definitely the most comfortable hammock I’ve been in so far.
- Strong lock stitching.
- Very easy to use.
- It is at the higher end of the market for price.
- The ultra lightweight fabric will probably break before a heavy duty one will.
- If you use the hammock bag you won’t get the tree straps in there as well.
Tree Straps for the Hummingbird Single +
The Hummingbird Single + doesn’t come with tree straps. This means you’ll need to pick up your own. I prefer to use straps as they won’t damage the tree or leave any trace that I was ever there.
It made sense to me to purchase the Hummingbird tree straps as they are also incredibly light and designed with my new hammock in mind. These tree straps weigh just 1.55 ounces; you don’t even know you’re holding them! This was the purpose of Hummingbird designing their own straps; they couldn’t believe how much other straps weighed and felt there must be a better way. In this incidence they were right; the Hummingbird tree straps are far lighter than most, if not all, the competition.
The straps are also designed and built by the same parachute rigger that developed the Hummingbird Single + hammock.
The size E bonded nylon thread that has been used is actually military grade for parachutes; it doesn’t get tougher than this! With a little innovation, Hummingbird has managed to match the parachute fabric and the webbing; which has already been used on Hummingbird products.
The real secret to the webbing is to use ball point needles that guide the fibers through the thread without ripping them.
This helps to retain the strength of the material and is the reason why the Hummingbird tree straps are so strong and yet just 1 inch in diameter. 1 inch is an industry accepted standard. These tree straps meet that criteria and maintain the weight advantages associated with how they are produced; leaving me with a very light tree strap.
As well as being 1 inch wide these straps are 60 inches long and are designed to be used with the 40 inch whoopie slings; which are reviewed in the next section.
These tree straps are priced at a similar rate to most of the other tree straps on the market. The difference is that these are much better and lighter. What is even more impressive is the high quality customer service and fast shipping that followed ordering these tree straps.
These tree straps are designed to handle weights of at least 1,000 pounds before breaking; that means they shouldn’t have any issue holding you and your supplies safely in the tree.
For my purposes these straps have been excellent although I have been told that there are Kevlar straps available which are even lighter, stronger and won’t stretch as much as the Hummingbird tree straps. If this is something that you feel is important then the Hummingbird tree straps are not for you.
However, in my experience they’ve been absolutely fantastic.
Whoopie Slings for the Hummingbird One +
To complement my Hummingbird Single + hammock and the tree straps I also purchased the whoopie slings. These are also a great investment for me and can be used with any hammock; you don’t need to have the Hummingbird Single +.
The whoopie strap is basically a rope with an adjustable loop. In fact the original use for these was to hang from a tree safely while you trimmed it. The loop on the whoopie sling can be easily adjusted to change the amount of tension on your hammock.
The whoopie sling is becoming more popular than the daisy chain for securing your hammock as it is lighter and can be folded up extremely small.
They are extremely easy to use; you can lengthen the tree strap by pulling on the loop or shorten the tree strap by pulling on the knotted string.
The whoopie sling is 40 inches long and operates like a Chinese finger trap. At one end there is an adjustable loop. This is attached to your tree straps. The two ends of this loop wrap round each other and then separate. One end becomes a smaller loop. This can be attached to your hammock via a carabiner or even a knot. The other part of the cord simply ends; this is generally referred to as the tail.
This clever design really works; you push the ends together and the straps lengthen with the hammock becoming looser. Pull the ends away and the opposite is true, the tension on your hammock will tighten.
I must admit it took me a few attempts to understand and get the hang of this system. However, it is now excellent; especially if you want to make a little adjustment in the night or the rain. What’s really good is that your weight can actually tighten the tension giving you the perfect tautness according to your own body weight!
The Hummingbird whoopie sling is made with spectra cord which is rated at 1500 pounds. This should be sufficient for you to sleep comfortably; knowing that you’re not going to end up on the floor in the middle of the night.
The Hummingbird is one of the more expensive options but for me it is also the best. This is about more than just having a lightweight hammock to carry with me hiking.
While it is extremely comfortable it is also wind proof and, after a few practice attempts; very easy to set up. This is important after a long day’s hiking; especially if it’s starting to rain. The setup by Hummingbird allows me to have my hammock in place within five minutes; I can even cover it with tarp if necessary to stop the inclement weather and still be laid back relaxing before I’m soaked to the skin.
T is important to note that some people have pointed out a discrepancy between the claimed strength of this material and the actual strength; especially on the tree straps. This is to do with the military grading of different webbing materials.
I don’t fully understand how the tree straps, hammock and whoopie sling are made. But, what I do know is that in my numerous outings with this setup I’ve not had a problem yet. I’ve never struggled to get the hammock set up and never worried that it was about to collapse on me.
For me that’s enough to prove this is the best hammock I’ve ever bought and the one I’ll be taking on my upcoming PCT section hike.