Dutchware Half-Wit Hammock Review

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Half-Wit Hammock with Knotty Mod

Back in 2010 I published instructions on how to make a hammock half bug net. It was a simple DIY project to satisfy some of my own ambitious goals for saving weight and bulk and making a jungle hammock behave more like a minimalist bivvy sack. While the idea had some merit, in execution it required some finesse to keep things sealed.

Fast forward to 2015. Dutchware Gear released their Half-Wit Hammock that incorporates a half bug net right into the hammock. It’s a great design that effortlessly simplifies the originally design into a working hammock bivvy.

Product Description

The Half-Wit hammock is an ultralight jungle hammock with bug netting on only half of the hammock. This saves several ounces over a full-sized netting as you don’t need the extra fabric and zipper. The draped fabric allows for quick entry and exit without needed to fiddle around for a zipper, which is especially helpful for midnight bathroom runs.

Dutch has also included a Knotty Mod on the foot end of the hammock. The Knotty Mod is a short piece of shock cord that is fed into the hem of the long side of a hammock. It gathers up the fabric to reduce flapping or sagging and also creates a bit of a pocket (or foot box) that helps to hold in a pad or sleeping bag from falling out.

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I really like the small details Dutch has included on this hammock. First, the end loop on the head end uses a bright color, which helps identify the head end when the hammock is packed. This makes it easier when setting up to ensure the hammock is oriented the way you want.

  • Dutch added side pull-outs on both edges of the bug netting, which help pull out the netting, making it roomier inside.
  • The included ridgeline allows the hammock to have a set sag and provides a place for the bug net to clip to.
  • The double-sided stuff sack makes packing and setting up a breeze.

Overall Impressions

I’m already biased about the half bug net, but I also recognize that the design isn’t for everyone. For full bug protection, you need to use a top quilt or sleeping bag to protect your legs. The minimal netting also doesn’t provide much of a bug-free lounging space.

For ultralight backpackers, the Half-Wit is a great option. It’s designed for “hikers” more than “campers”, where going light and fast is paramount.

Recommendations and Review

The longer I’ve used this hammock, the more I daydream about minor changes to improve some elements:

  • The current design doesn’t allow you to adjust the bug net from inside. You have to reach out to the ridgeline to pull the netting higher, or loosen it.
  • I wish I could adjust the side pull outs from the inside of the netting as well. This could be accomplished if the shock cord was fed through a soft grommet.
  • I think the design could be improved if one side was left unstitched and used a plastic snap or clip so the netting could be rolled up and away when not needed to further extend the modularity of the hammock as a chair and lounger. The single snap would seal the edge once you lay down.
  • I wish the ridgeline was adjustable. I ended up disconnecting it and making some slight adjustments because I found the sag was too deep for my liking.
Criteria Rating Notes
Suspension and Anchor System ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥ I like end loops because they can be used with lots of different suspension options. Lots of versatility. Webbing straps not included.
Construction and Craftsmanship ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥ The general hammock construction is solid, but I did notice some inconsistencies in the stitching on the bug netting and reinforced areas.
Modularity ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ While you can’t unzip or disconnect the bug netting, you can lay outside of it if you don’t need the netting. The netting does get in the way a little (if you’re not careful) when you just want to sit or lounge in the hammock.
Aesthetics ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Color options allow for a lot of personalization.
Price and Value ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  Great value for a jungle hammock for weight-conscious backpackers.

Available Features/Specifications

Features

  • 1-person, gathered-end hammock with sewn-on half bug net
  • Double-sided stuff sack
  • Integrated “Knotty Mod”
  • Fixed ridgeline
  • Dyneema end loops (color-tagged head end)

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 126 × 58 in (320 × 147 cm)
  • Fabric: Hexon 1.0 (available in a variety of options)
  • Weight Capacity: 250 lbs (113 kg)

Weight

  • Hammock: 10.8 oz (306 g) in stuff sack (weights vary with fabric choice)

Similar Products

  • None

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.

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3 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    I’ve owned this hammock since January, and largely agree with your findings. My hammock bed is the Hexon 2.6, which pulls it away from the “ultralight” category, but makes a fine carrier for more weight.

    The bug net is not for the faint-of-heart, as you aptly describe your creation. I keep the Scouts away from it, as it is must more of a fussy structure than a durable one. In fact, I’ve even separated the shock line from the top of the bugnet somewhere on the way, leaving a tab of grosgrain to support it (the grosgrain loop failed on one side). Luckily, I know a few knots, and a tautline is the perfect way to hold the tab and yet allow it to fail gracefully if roughly handled. Maybe that’s a further suggestion…

    I’ve never felt completely secure from bugs in it, as the bugnet leaves gaps between the hammock side where it drapes down – but I also haven’t experienced biting from it either. Maybe I shouldn’t “mind the gap”.

    One question – in your original design of the Hug, the bugnet also protected the bottom of the hammock. Do you think it offered better upper body protection without under insulation, or was that just illusory?

    • Derek says:

      There are some construction issues/considerations that I think could be addressed. I think the concept is solid, but as you mentioned, some of the elements could be improved.

      As for a comparison between the HUG and the Halfwit, the HUG has the possibility of providing more back protection, but it’s still not a full-length net so it will leave portions unprotected too. Big portions. It’s strength is in leveraging different systems to remove overlap and redundancies, thereby minimizing weight.

      One of the challenges of the HUG–and even the Halfwit–is that it begs the question of whether or not the few ounces or grams saved are worth the hassle. Fitted, sewn-on bug nets like on the Hennessy, Warbonnet, and Dream Hammocks use minimal netting because they are asymmetrically or geometrically shaped to reduce netting. A zipper adds that final bit of security so no matter how you lay or sit, you have confidence that the netting is secure. These full-length nettings are pretty light.

      In contrast, the HUG and Halfwit rely on all the right systems being in place. This is why I don’t recommend these systems to just everyone, especially your run-of-the-mill campers. Those familiar with bivvy sacks and minimalist tarp camping will feel the HUG and Halfwit are generous and maybe even eccentric in their use of netting. Some of the bug bivvys used for ground shelters are tiny in comparison.

      To your question about the “gap.” The HUG doesn’t use side pull outs. For better or worse, those pull outs create the gap, but the also create better interior space. If I were to modify the Halfwit, I would move the pull outs more toward the peak of the hammock, on the asymmetric point by your shoulder or head. This would relax the fabric where it begins to drape and limit the size of the gap.

  1. January 17, 2017

    […] made. The construction really blew me away, especially comparing it to the first-gen version of the Dutchware Half-wit hammock I reviewed. Dutch is well-known for making quality hammock accessories, but creating complex jungle […]

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