Therm-a-Rest Slacker Bug Shelter Review
Therm-a-Rest Slacker Hammock Bug Shelter
Therm-a-Rest sent me a package that included their updated Slacker Hammocks, new hanging kit, and their own 360-degree bug cover. The Bug Shelter is designed to cover the hammock to provide complete insect protection.
- Manufacturer: Therm-a-Rest, Made in Vietnam
- MSRP: US$79.95
- Weight: 17.3 oz (490 g)
- Ridge Line Webbing: 2.26 oz (64 g) – easily removable
- Height: 55 in (140 cm)
- Length: 125 in (318 cm)
- Material: no-see-um netting with nylon floor
- Webbing strap ridge line
- Reinforced guy points to pull netting away from occupant
- Exposed ridge line for hanging gear inside
- Large zipper opening
The Therm-a-Rest Slacker Hammock Bug Shelter shares design sentiments with several similar hammock bug nets on the market. A few things that differentiate it include the sweeping and curved zipper opening, the side pull-outs, the webbing-based ridge line, and the reinforced floor.
Like it’s cousins, the Bug Shelter has cinch enclosures on the ends where the hammock passes through. Cord locks on each end ensure the ends have a positive seal around the end of the hammock.
Small loops are sewn on the base of the reinforced floor and on the sides of the netting so that it can be secured and pulled out to provide more room in the netting and keep it off your body, if needed.
The included storage stuff sack is appropriately sized for the material.
Recommendations and Review
The webbing ridge line works in a similar way to how the AntiGravityGear Quicksilver Hammock Bug Net is designed. The ridge line acts as a stopper to prevent the hammock from pulling the netting too tight and potentially damaging it. Because the ridge line is exposed on the interior of the netting, you can clip or hang items from the inside. Interestingly enough, in my tests the ridge line was too long.
I expected that the Therm-a-Rest Slacker Hammocks would be perfectly matched to the netting, but the hang was much too shallow, even compared with the photos on their own marketing materials. With such a shallow hang, the netting was much too close to my face, and it was in the way when I sat up in the hammock. I ended up adjusting the ridge line by tying another loop in the webbing to shorten it a little.
I like that the bottom of the bug net is reinforced. Bug netting can be notoriously clingy to detritus on the forest floor. Leaves, twigs, and bugs often hitchhike on the netting as it makes contact with the ground. I’ve even worn holes in the bottom of some nets and poked holes. The nylon floor minimizes some of those problems.
I also appreciate the side pull out tabs and floor tabs to give me options, if necessary, to pull out the netting. With other designs, I’ve just used after-market pull outs, but the Therm-a-Rest design means I don’t need anything more than a bit of string or shock cord.
The zipper design also provides a larger opening that gets out of your way, compared with other designs.
Price and Value
The Therm-a-Rest Bug Shelter is about $10 more than similarly-designed bug wraps, but it also contains features not found in it’s competition. I think it is a good value, but I wish it (and its competition) was more reasonably priced.
This is a classic design that really shows how modular a hammock shelter can be. If you don’t need the netting, just leave it off and use a hammock by itself. It’s a great companion for simple hammocks and it works with any 10 or 11-foot Mayan-style hammock. The price and weight are in the ballpark for other competing models.
I think this bug net has a more striking appearance than the other products in this category. The zipper style has a unique form that also functions very well.
Construction and Craftsmanship
The build quality of the Bug Shelter is in line with the entire suite of hammock products from Therm-a-Rest. You can expect superior craftsmanship from this company.
- Kammok Dragonfly net
- ENO Guardian net
- Hammock Bliss Mosquito Net Cocoon
- Ticket-to-the-Moon Mosquito Net 360
- Grand Trunk Goods Mozzy Netting
Disclosure of material connection: The author (Derek Hansen) was provided with a free sample from the manufacturer for testing and evaluation purposes. The comments in this post (written & spoken) are of my own opinion, which I formed after personally handling the gear. I was under no obligation to publish a review of this item.