The BIAS Buginator Bug Net Review
The Butt in a Sling (BIAS) Buginator is a zipperless tube-style hammock bug net meant to provide a near 360-degree bug-free enclosure to a net-less, gathered-end hammock. The main advantages of the Buginator are lighter weight and easier entrance and exit by eliminating a zippered opening. The bug net also features a “performance cut” that reduces the overall material for a closer fit. The Buginator uses shock cord on the ends and entry area to enclose the openings and also provide flexibility for dynamic movement and stress reduction for the bug net and hammock.
Entrance into the bug net is from the bottom. A large opening allows the user to pull the bug net overhead to surround the body prior to sitting down into the hammock.
You can attach the Buginator onto a hammock in one of two ways:
- Slide the bug net over the hammock, like a tube, from end-to-end, or
- Insert the hammock up from the bottom entrance and poke an end of the hammock through the two ridge point openings in the bug net.
MANUFACTURER: Butt in a Sling
YEAR OF MANUFACTURE: 2013, made in USA
MANUFACTURER’S WEBSITE: http://www.buttinasling.com/buginator.html
MSRP: $64.95 USD
WEIGHT: 171 g (6 oz)
RIDGELINE LENGTH: 286 cm (117 in)
HEIGHT AT CENTER: 127 cm (50 in)
I’ve been using the Buginator off-and-on all summer on my backpacking trips. Compared with many other 360-style bug nets, the Buginator stands out because of its light weight (less than half the weight of some brand-name models), and zipperless entrance. The Buginator is well-made with straight stitching and reinforcements at all the main stress points. It’s a great addition to the BIAS product line.
I was surprised to find how light it was. Unlike some manufacturers, I believe BIAS must weight their gear with the stuff sack included, because my scale put the Buginator a whole ounce lighter than what is listed (I weighed the net without the stuff sack). The material is still very durable and strong and I don’t have any hesitations on using the netting in or over brush.
Getting the Buginator attached to a hammock is really simple. I prefer to slide the net over the hammock like a tube instead of inserting the hammock up from the bottom entrance, but both techniques work. The cord locks are circular and feel a little big or even slightly awkward than what I would have expected (e.g., barrel style cord locks). Still, the cord locks work fine and do the job. The ends cinch up nicely and offer a secure enclosure.
I was able to use the Buginator without a ridge line on my hammock, but depending on how I set my hammock, the netting does tend to droop a little. The most optimal accessory with the Buginator is a ridge line (a line connecting the two ends of the hammock). A ridge line not only keeps the bug net off my face and body, but it also ensures I keep my hammock pitched with the right sag so the Buginator fits over the hammock. With a 117 in (297 cm/9.75 ft) ridge line, it is long enough for most standard-sized hammocks (10 ft/3 m), but could be short or not tall enough for bigger hammocks. I would submit that the Buginator is great for most users, but is really targeted at the lightweight crowd who are looking for a no-frills, quick-and-simple bug netting.
The bottom entry has its pros and cons:
PRO—While there is nothing essentially wrong with zippers, they do add significantly to the overall weight, and can be frustrating when trying to get out quickly from a hammock. The Buginator eliminates the weight and hassle of zippers.
PRO—Some zipperless tube-style bug nets use the tube ends as the entrance point, meaning, you have to reach to the end of the hammock to un-cinch and pull the netting back over you. With this comparison, the bottom entry on the Buginator is significantly easier. CON—However, I found that at times I still had to “thread” my feet through the hole, especially if I had cinched up the bottom after getting in.
CON—Speaking of the cinch enclosure for the bottom, I learned the hard way that it isn’t 100% bug proof if you don’t cinch it up right. User error is in part to blame, as I found out, but the Buginator also isn’t designed to seal against itself. Let me explain: some aftermarket bug nets are so large that they drape onto the ground, a big negative in my book. I like that the Buginator has a “slim” cut so when hung with a ridge line and the bottom is open, it clears the ground1. On a backpacking trip into West Clear Creek, I didn’t cinch up the bottom, thinking my under quilt and diagonal lay would more than aptly “seal” the bug net to the hammock. Unfortunately, in the morning I found a few Daddy Long Leg spiders climbing inside my bug net. Somehow, those spiders had crawled up the droopy netting and made their way in the bottom entry. Thankfully I don’t have arachnophobia, but it still bugged me that they got inside. I spent several minutes batting the spiders down and herding them back out the entrance. I then quickly cinched up the bottom.
Tip: Always cinch up the bottom.
However, even with the bottom cinched up tight, it isn’t 100% sealed to itself. Since the bug net is trimmed to only 50 in (127 cm) tall, it seals against the hammock on the bottom. Ideally, for the best bottom bite protection it’s nice to have a double-layer hammock, Permethrin treatment, pad, or under quilt.
Besides the one caveat to cinch up the bottom, the Buginator is an excellent bug net, especially for those looking for a simple, lightweight aftermarket net. I love the modularity this net provides, and at only 6 oz (171 g), it’s an addition that can be taken as a safety net on every trip, even if you don’t need or use it.
Disclosure of material connection: The author (Derek Hansen) was provided with a free sample from the manufacturer for testing and evaluation purposes.
- Obviously, if you hang your hammock lower than chair height, the Buginator could touch the ground. ↩