A closer look at the Hummingbird Hammock Single
I’ve been testing and providing feedback on the Hummingbird Hammock Single for many months now, and have seen a few iterations so far. The main selling points for their Single hammock is the lighter weight and smaller pack size. Hummingbird Hammock is achieving this with trimmed dimensions, lightweight fabric, and unique suspension connections.
Weight: 5.26 oz (149 g)
Dimensions: 103 × 47 in (262 × 119 cm) — 8.6 × 3.9 ft
Capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
Made in the USA
Material: 1.1 oz ripstop nylon (reserve parachute material)
One thing that has really driven innovation in hammock camping has been the intersection of industries: Whoopie Slings from arborists, Marlinspikes from seamanship, and fabrics from outdoor industries to name a few. Chris Loidolt, the Hummingbird designer and FAA certified parachute rigger, brings his expertise from skydiving.
Chris is using authentic parachute ripstop nylon fabric for the main body. If you’ve ever handled a parachute, you’ll note the stark difference between its silky, “plastic” feel compared with what the rest of the hammock industry refers to as “parachute nylon.” In reality, these “parachute nylon” fabrics are more accurately “crinkle taffeta nylon.”
Chris also uses soft shackle carabiners made from spectra cordage. It’s a technique used by many ultralight backpackers and hangers looking for a lightweight but secure linkage. Chris’s soft shackles use a unique connection that I’ve not seen before. Instead of using an eye splice and adjustable bury, these shackles use two eye splices (sewn and non-adjustable). One eye splice has a small piece of webbing sewn that acts as a toggle. One eye loop is fed through the other with the webbing tab and is then folded over into a Lark’s Head knot.
Soft shackles can be a bit tricky, and their real appeal is all about weight savings. I’ve found that an even simpler solution for infinite adjustability is to skip the soft shackle and just use the end loop on the hammock. A long webbing strap, or a short strap and a long length of Spectra line or Dyneema can then be tied to the loop using a modified Double Becket Hitch. But how you connect this hammock to the suspension and anchor point is one of the great debates, and somewhat academic (and completely personal).
One compromise with lightweight fabric is stretch, which can make it difficult to lay diagonally. When I sleep in hammocks that use 1.0 or 1.1 oz fabric, I usually slip into a central “rut” over time. This doesn’t mean the hammock itself is uncomfortable, and I would take this hammock when lighter weight and lower bulk are the main objectives. I usually sleep in a fetal position or with “frog legs” in smaller hammocks such as this. In addition, the smaller dimensions means I hang the hammock with a tighter suspension, about 15 to 20 degrees.
The construction and materials are very good. The stitching is tighter than most, but still serviceable. The edges are hemmed, and a few loose strands of nylon had escaped on my model (a product of raw cutting vs. using a hot knife). The stuff sack is about as small as you can go to get the fabric stowed, and everything is nice and tight.
The Hummingbird Hammock Single is one of just a few ultralight hammocks on the market. It provides some great competition in a niche market for folks looking to really drop weight and bulk in their packs. This hammock is also a nice addition for folks who want to lounge out on a day hike without adding too much to their summit packs. Because of its lightweight fabric, I wouldn’t recommend this hammock for everyday roughhouse use. This isn’t a hammock I let my kids play in.
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.