Lawson Blue Ridge Camping Hammock Review

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27 Responses

  1. Jerry says:

    I have the Lawson that was made for the Boy Scouts. I think what really changes the sag of the hammock is that my tree straps are used with cambuckles and I tighten them full. When I sleep in the hammock there is very little sag. I do not remember a time that I even came near to tipping. I even used it on the troops 50 mile paddle down the Suwannee River. The temps outside at night were below 30 and with the fly on, I was very warm with only a small pad.

    I am mixed between the Lawson and sleeping in my ENO Double nest. The disadvantage of the Lawson is the daytime chill time. It is not as easy to “jump” in the hammock in the afternoon for a bit of down time.

    • Derek says:

      One of things I love about a simple hammock: lots of options. Hammocks with built-in bug nets often sacrifice a little modularity for all-in-one convenience. It is true the the Lawson requires a bit of assembly (e.g., spreader bars) before it is ready to hang, verses a gathered end hammock that can go up in a single motion. You can ditch the spreader bars and tent poles on the Lawson and it acts very much like a gathered end hammock, but when you take off the spreader bars you sort of negate what makes a Lawson “a Lawson.”

      I’m glad I got a chance to really test out the Lawson because there was a lot of opinions floating out there about it being tippy. I was surprised myself when I found it wasn’t as bad as some reports. But, I will say that in my own experience it is dependent on how it is hung and how you lay in it. Adding some tie-outs on the corners is a fail-safe way to ensure it doesn’t tip. It really does have a nice lay without the worry of calf pressure points.

  2. Brian says:

    So, how does this compare for you to other common bridge hammocks, like the Warbonnet RidgeRunner or JRB BMB?

    • Derek says:

      Well, they don’t compare at all because the Lawson isn’t a bridge hammock. 🙂 I’ve got a post in queue that compares the three bridge hammocks on the market, so keep an eye out for that. Bridge hammocks have spreader bars, but the center of the hammock isn’t attached to spreader bar at all and sags in the middle.

  3. edpersky says:

    I do not understand your last reply. You state that the Lawson isn’t a bridge hammock since it somehow is attached to the spreader bars at the center and therefor will supposedly not sag. I have searched the Lawson website, Youtube, and your site to find a video or even a picture of someone actually laying in the Lawson hammock and I find nothing.
    Where and how is the Lawson hammock attached in the center to the spreader bars? I see no such thing. I do not see how it will not sag in the middle when subjected to a load. Maybe only a small sag but not much different than any other bridge hammock, or gathered hammock.

  4. edpWersky says:

    Derek, Ed here. I found some video’s on youtube where people are actually laying in the Lawson hammock, sorry for the mistake on my part. The hammock does sag but very little. I still do not see how this hammock is different than what you describe as a bridge hammock. I have looked at the video’s on the Grizzbridge, Warbonnet, and JRB and don’t see where the spreader bars and this system are different. This is just more or less a suspension bridge rather than a spanner bridge.

    • Derek says:

      The Lawson is not a bridge hammock. Bridge hammocks are more like barrels or canoes, and the poles keep the head and foot end from collapsing together. The rest of the fabric at the head and foot ends are not suspended. Only the side rails or gunwales are tied out.

      Imagine doing that on a generic gathered end hammock, except instead of gathering up or tying up the entire end, only tie off the corners and let the middle sag. This is a crude description if how a bridge hammock is constructed.

      The Lawson is a gathered end hammock that uses a shortened (no full length) spreader bar and tent poles that help to spread out the fabric. It is not constructed to work like a bridge hammock, nor does it lay like one.

      The Lawson is constructed like a traditional American spreader bar hammock using grommets and nettles to gather up the fabric on both ends. The pleated fabric on the ends does not create pockets for either the head or foot ends as the slack is taken up by center mass in the center of the hammock.

      Let me know if that helps.

  5. rjcress says:

    Howdy Derek. Wes mentioned you when he and i were talking a week or so ago. He also sent me a hammock to review. iI am in it now, actually.
    Had to laugh when i read your first few lines, as i have have mixed feelings about testing a Lawson. Having made a few non-spreader bar hammocks that i love, i sort of expected to hate the Lawson. i have only been in it for maybe an hour so far, but am actually liking it.

  6. JP says:

    What size underquilt did you use? What do you recommend for underquilts to be used with this hammock? Thanks for the review, very instructive.

  7. Badger Brigade says:

    So far I LOVE MINE!!!
    But under quilts are too pricy ($100-$300)…!
    Buy a roll of Reflectix at Home Depot! It reflects 98%… Weighs absolutely nothing and it’s super cheap…
    I spent seven dollars on a roll and have the Hammock lined, made a couple of freezer bag cooking cozies and a small little refrigerator cube to put my frozen sausages in… Lol

    Blue Ridge Hammock + Reflectix = one toasty warm camper!!!

    • Jeremy says:

      How did you attach the reflectix to the hammock? Inside or underneath? I would think it would move and bunch if inside. I have really struggled with comfort in my Lawson, but am not giving up on it!

      • Badger says:

        A few quick things..
        •Sleep at an angle and not along the Ridgeline….
        •Reflectix underneath your sleeping pad (Thermarest or whatever)… Inside the Hammock.
        • make tarp tensioners at the four corners of your Hammock for stability
        Once you sleep at an angle and have a good quality pad and sleeping bag and the reflectix you will be super comfy!
        (when I say angle I simply mean not along the Ridgeline…)

  8. Andy Hawkins says:

    The Lawson site says that the hammock can also be used as a tent, has anyone tried this? Just thinking it would be handy for those times when there are no trees around.

    • Derek says:

      Yes! It works. Any hammock can be used on the ground as a bivy, particularly if the hammock has a sewn-in bug net. The Lawson makes it easier with the tent poles. I’d recommend bringing a short piece of Tyvek or other ground sheet to protect the hammock body from abrasion.

  9. Hammock Town says:

    Derek this is an amazing review, thanks for taking the time to do this. All the pictures are incredible!

  10. Nathan Manning says:

    I have recently this hammock after reading your review. After I have conducted my planned mods to get rid of the niggles I think I will be quite happy with it, especially as you say “for the price tag” but I have to ask about the weight of your hammock. My kit as shipped comes in at 2.2 kg!!!
    what did you have to remove to get yours to 1.7 kg, or have Lawson recently changed the material they use. It will now be used for glamor hangs only and I have to think about a practical alternative for multi-day trips.

    • Derek says:

      Did you weigh the individual components and see how they compare with my weights? It looks like I also separated the rain fly, which adds some weight to the entire kit. You can make up some small weight savings by eliminating unneeded clips and accessories. Major weight savings can be had by upgrading the clews and using Dymeema cordage (Amsteel). You can also eliminate the tent poles if you want to go even lighter, using string to pull up the bug netting. While this won’t feel as roomy, it will be serviceable. The whole kit is about 4 lbs stock. If you are looking for a lighter hammock kit for a good price, you might consider the DD Hammock line. The Lawson has advantages in some areas over other hammocks, which justifies the weight for some people, but I understand the need to go light, particularly for multi-day trips. Send me an email and we can talk about other options that might better fit your needs.

  11. Ruth says:

    Thank you for your reviews/comments. I am new to this and looking for a hammock for two that I can use in the English weather. Is this a good option? Any other suggestions?

    • Derek says:

      There are actually very few two-person hammocks on the market. The reason is that even if a single hammock can hold the weight of two individuals, they would both eventually sink into the middle and squash each other. Unless you like that sort of cuddling, it isn’t recommended. The multi-person hammocks on the market solve this by attaching two or more hammocks together. This is true of the Clark Vertex Hammock and the Tentsile Stingray hammock.

      The simplest way to use hammocks as a couple or with a team is to use individual hammocks and then pitch them side-by-side or in a “V” formation and share a tarp. The benefits of this arrangement include 1) getting a hammock that fits you and that meets your needs, 2) not being disturbed when your partner moves, 3) more flexibility in setting up camp with less limitations on finding perfect anchor points, and 4) having a solo shelter if/when you need it.

      For English weather, regardless of which hammock you choose, pick up a larger tarp, possibly a winter style with doors.

  12. Michael Hahn says:

    Hey man, I just purchased a Lawson. Do you think I can use the ENO Atlas straps for suspension. Any input would be great. Thanks man!

  13. Michael Hahn says:

    Thanks guys!

  14. James Sturm says:

    Derek I am trying to get my mount Washington 4 JRB to fit on the Lawson. Not sure how to rig it any help would be appreciated.

    • Derek says:

      I’ll have to double check the specifics on that quilt, but generally what I do on the Lawson is loosen the ends on the under quilt and wrap the elastic suspension loops over the spreader bars. This pulls the quilt fairly flat against the bottom of the hammock.

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