DD Hammocks Jungle Hammock Modular System Review
I love getting surprised by a hammock. You might assume that there isn’t much to change about a hammock, especially a gathered-end hammock—a style that has been around for millennia. However, sometimes it’s just a subtle change that has a dramatic difference. This is my first hands-on look at the DD Hammock line and I’m pleased to say, I’ve been comfortably surprised.
At A Glance
|YEAR OF MANUFACTURE||2013, made in China|
|MSRP||£119.00 (US$196) Fast 2-day shipping is included in the pricing.|
|MANUFACTURER RECOMMENDATIONS||Hammock is Machine Washable & Dryable|
*Includes double-layer hammock, attached bug netting, and whoopie slings.
I requested a sample from DD Hammock to wrap up some hammock research I’ve been doing and I thought I would write up a quick review on the model they sent—the DD Hammocks Jungle Hammock Modular System. First off, the shipping was remarkable. When I was notified the package was on its way, I expected international shipping to take at least a week. The hammock arrived the next day from the UK to Flagstaff, Arizona, USA. The DD Hammocks website states all orders are shipped within 1–2 days and I can attest that this claim is valid.
The Jungle Hammock is the latest in a line of hammocks and related gear offered by DD Hammocks. There are two versions of the Jungle Hammock, with one having a double-layered hammock body. The double-layered bottom provides a more bite-proof protection against mosquitos and other insects, plus the layers separate on one side (thanks to some patches of hook-and-loop fasteners) to accommodate a thin sleeping pad, reflective layer, or other insulation.
The hammock has a large military-grade YKK perimeter zipper (a total of four zipper pulls) that allows entry on either side of the hammock. The bug netting can be completely removed, but the dimensions are generous enough (it isn’t a fitted net like the Hennessy or Warbonnet models) so that the hammock can be turned upside down for net-less sleeping. The bug net can also be removed on one side to allow for quick exits, if necessary. The netting also has pole sleeves on both sides that accept collapsable aluminum tent poles (the poles are included). The design reminds me a lot of the Clark Jungle Hammock line as well as the Lawson Hammock.
In addition to the double-sided bottom, the hammock includes a weather shield that wraps around the under side of the hammock. This waterproof layer cuts down on convective heat loss, water splashes, and sideways rain that may get under a smaller tarp. DD Hammocks refers to this model as modular because the weather shield can be used as a ground sheet if the hammock is pitched as a tent, or it can be used as a narrow tarp to cover the top of the hammock.
When used as a tarp, the waterproof cover makes the Jungle Hammock resemble the Lawson Hammock more distinctly with its fitted tarp design and wrapped ends.
I connected the tarp directly to the hammock suspension and I found that it provided adequate coverage when the tent poles were installed. Without the tent poles, the tarp provides a little more side coverage, especially when guy lines are used.
NOTE: The tarp doesn’t include any guy line, but there are four guy points that can be used to stake down the tarp.
The tent poles (aluminum with shock cord) are not required to pitch the hammock. Indeed, if you want to save some weight, one or both poles can be left at home. The poles do expand the space inside the hammock dramatically. I found that I can live with just one pole to expand the head area and leave the foot end floppy.
The tent poles connect into some grommets that are punched into wide webbing straps that extend outside the width of the hammock. There are two grommet holes on each strap stub, and I’m not exactly sure why this is necessary. I used the outer of the two grommets to set up. The poles help spread the hammock open, like a spreader bar, but still flex enough to allow for a diagonal lay.
With the poles, the hammock can be set up easily as a one-person bivy shelter, although I would recommend using a small ground cloth such as inexpensive Tyvek or a plastic sheet.
The Jungle Hammock is one of the only commercial hammocks I’ve seen that uses Dyneema Whoopie Slings. This style of suspension is very popular with do-it-yourself hangers and those looking for a lighter system. Whoopie Slings aren’t difficult to master, but they do have a learning curve for the uninitiated. The suspension also included a pair of professional-grade, full-size, climbing-rated carabiners and webbing straps. This is a professional suspension set.
Inside the hammock there is a ridge line, of sorts. A string is tied to loops that are sewn where the tent pole sleeves are located. But in order for this ridge line to work, it needs additional line on the outside of the netting to pull the netting apart. The hammock comes with two lengths of shock cord that serve this purpose. I had to re-tie the ridge line and install the shock cord before it was usable. Hanging on the ridge line on the inside is a pocket organizer, similar to what you might find in a Hennessy Hammock, although slightly smaller. Since the ridge line isn’t ridged (due to the shock cord on either side), heavier items such as my iPhone, make the organizer sag down a little. Located on all four corners and sewn into the hammock body are small pockets. My iPhone easily fit inside these pockets and was a better choice for this heavier item than the ridge line organizer.
The ridge line isn’t entirely necessary to pull the bug netting off the occupant, although it does serve to keep the netting from being pulled apart. This isn’t a high concern because of the use of shock cord instead of line on the outside. The shock cord is actually a nice touch because it means I can reach over the bug netting to make adjustments and the netting will pull away without ripping thanks to the elasticity provided by the cord.
I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable this hammock was. I know what you’re thinking—aren’t all hammocks inherently comfortable? Nearly. Depending on how the hammock ends are gathered or folded, the size of the material, and the ridge line length, there are differences in how ridges are formed that can strain knees and hyperextend legs. A few hammocks feature “foot boxes” that help shape the foot area to alleviate hyperextension. The DD Hammocks Jungle Hammock solves this in a different way. I didn’t have any “ridge” under my legs and has a nice pocket for my feet and head and the lay feels flatter than a standard gathered-end hammock. I think this is due in part to where the tent poles are located and how they pull out the fabric in just the right locations.
The tie-outs (where the tent poles are attached) are in the right location—right where my feet meet the edge of the hammock. This means the fabric is pulled away from my feet instead of intersecting them, as it does on other hammock models. The headroom is sufficient without the tent poles and is absolutely spacious with them.
This is a good hammock for new hangers not necessarily worried about being ultralight, but who are also looking for an affordable all-in-one kit. The price is great for a hammock that comes with so many features, including a premium suspension system and a modular weather cover that can double as a tarp. Including the shipping in the price makes this hammock an easy choice when compared with other models.
The tarp/weather cover is “just enough,” but most folks will probably want to pick up something with more coverage.
The design is very well-done, especially considering how well the components work together, how comfortable the lay is, and the considerations for storage and packing. The Jungle Hammock strikes a really good balance between mid-range fabrics and notions (and some top-of-the-line components) with a high-end design and functionality.
Installing the ridge line, the shock cords, and tying up the ends of the bug netting are all necessary but left to the user to complete.
I wish the stuff sack had a button hole or was double-sided so I could use it as a quick-deploy sack in the field. If there is one mod I’ll make soon, it will be to punch in a grommet in the bottom of the sack to convert it into a Bishop Bag.
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.