From the Wayback Machine
The Rest of the Story. Back in 2009 I tested the then brand-new Grand Trunk Nano 7—arguably the lightest hammock still on the market. What makes this review unique and transformative for me was that during the test the Whoopie Sling was introduced to hammock camping. At the time, I was playing with different suspension options, including a two-inch webbing strap. I was still accustomed to how my Hennessy Hammock was configured, with a long rope coming from the hammock connected to webbing straps. I had given up on the figure-8 wrap, simply because it made it difficult to adjust the hammock, but I still used a long rope. At the time, I thought my carabiner method with a slippery Lark’s head knot was the quickest, easiest way to rig a hammock.
Enter the Whoopie Sling. I was a little skeptical at first, but when I got my first set, I quickly saw how brilliant Whoopie Slings were. First, they were ultra lightweight compared with what I was using. My carabiner, rope, and webbing nearly tripled the weight of the Nano 7. The Whoopie Sling also packed so much smaller, allowing the suspension to fit inside the Nano’s small stuff sack. I also switched to a smaller, 1 in (2.5 cm) strap, about 4 ft (50 in (127 cm)) long, and a pair of toggles made from halved aluminum stake. At just under 8 oz (227 g), it was the lightest hammock system at the time, and it turned heads at HammockForums.net[1. Since then, hammock weights have continued to drop, with the lightest hammock (without bug net) resting around 6 oz (170 g), but still with the Nano as the base.]
I remember buying up yards of Amsteel Blue, and with fid in hand, setting to work installing Whoopie Slings directly into the gathered ends of my hammocks—no Lark’s head here. I’m not sure why I did this, it was a crazy waste of time and offered virtually no benefit, but it was a great training ground for future do-it-yourself projects with Amsteel I would do in the future[2. I no longer install Whoopie Slings in this way, preferring to use a short continuious loop in the channel and connecting a Whoopie to this loop via a Lark’s Head knot]. These were exciting times, and there seemed to be a sort of competition in the air between hammock aficionados on figuring how long the bury should be or whether the brummel should be stitched or woven.
In these early days of hammock suspension innovation, you couldn’t buy Whoopie Slings off the shelf. In order to get a pair, you either knew a friend who made them or you made them yourself. It didn’t take long before the market opened up and “Opie” launched WhoopieSlings.com. Today, nearly every cottage hammock vendor sells Whoopie Slings in a variety of colors[3. At the time, the only Amsteel available was blue, hence the name “Amsteel Blue.”].
It was during this time that other innovations in hammock suspension were being tried out, including UCRs.
It was also during this gear test that I got my first bonafide under quilt! Up to this point I was still using pads and some experiments with cocoon sleeping bags. I was working with HammockGear.com founder Adam Hurst with his website and branding. He was still early on with his business as under quilts were just starting to gain momentum. As I was testing the Nano 7 in the winter, I asked for a 20°F (-7°C) quilt set with some overstuff. Getting that under quilt and top quilt was like getting into a hammock again for the first time. Looking back, I had almost forgotten the natural ergonomic comfort from a naked hammock (e.g. no pad). An under quilt liberated the hammock and transformed my experiences once again.
I hope you enjoy this review of the Nano 7 and this step back in time!