I received a call today from the owner of Hammock Bliss—Dov Frazer—who, with his product manager Mark Gruskin, was in Flagstaff en route to the summer Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City later this week. Dov wanted to show me a new hammock they are debuting at the OR show and plan to put into production this fall. I couldn’t resist the opportunity so we arranged a rendezvous.

Dov and Mark were very gracious and I could sense their excitement as we discussed hammock trends, suspension styles, and the durability of no-see-um bug netting. I can only imagine what an outsider would think if they could overhear us: “warning! hammock nerd alert!” As the conversation continued, I kept glancing at a conspicuous stuff sack on the table—the new hammock.

Product Details (so far)

Mark and Dov have been working on this prototype for months perfecting the design. This prototype is showcasing a new hammock body structure. Additional features such as an integrated bug net and other accessories will be added later. The innovation is in the bed design where they’ve taken a basic rectangular hammock and skewed it into a true asymmetric cut. It is gathered together at the ends with only 24 inches (61 cm) out of the whole 60 inch (152 cm) width.

Their calling the hammock the Sky Bed. It is constructed out of a single piece of ripstop nylon and measures 10.5 feet (3.2 m) long by 60 inches (152 cm) wide and weighs approximately 23 oz (652 g).  The design has a good center of gravity so it is not tippy, yet the lay is very flat. I was surprised at how flat and comfortable it was. In the main body is sewn a sleeve that will accommodate a 20-inch-wide (51 cm) pad. We used a 1.5 in (4 cm) self-inflating pad during the demo. The pad helps the hammock have a flatter lay, but even without the pad the hammock lays very flat.

Dov said they are still working on a few final details on fabric, but the prototype I was shown was very near production quality. The weight-bearing seams were reinforced with nylon webbing and the end channels were threaded with 100 inches (254 cm) of 6 mm climbing rope.

Initial Impressions

Overall I was very impressed with the design and the comfort. This hammock is really targeted at the backpacking and camping market and those who use hammocks to sleep in, not just lounge in, thanks to the integrated pad sleeve and flat lay. I also like this design because it is another design that caters to people already familiar with traditional sleep systems like inflatable pads. In Mark’s design, the hammock does not suffer from shoulder squeeze with the pad inserted so having pad “wings” is not necessary in order to stay warm. I also noticed there is no leg hyperextension. My legs lay flat across the pad.

Availability

Look for the Sky Bed from Hammock Bliss in October 2012.