Therm-a-Rest Slacker Bug Shelter Review

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Therm-a-Rest Slacker Hammock Bug Shelter

Therm-a-Rest sent me a package that included their updated Slacker Hammocks, new hanging kit, and their own 360-degree bug cover. The Bug Shelter is designed to cover the hammock to provide complete insect protection.

  • Manufacturer: Therm-a-Rest, Made in Vietnam
  • MSRP: US$79.95

Available Features/Specifications

  • Weight: 17.3 oz (490 g)
  • Ridge Line Webbing: 2.26 oz (64 g) – easily removable
  • Height: 55 in (140 cm)
  • Length: 125 in (318 cm)
  • Material: no-see-um netting with nylon floor
  • Webbing strap ridge line
  • Reinforced guy points to pull netting away from occupant
  • Exposed ridge line for hanging gear inside
  • Large zipper opening

Product Description

The Therm-a-Rest Slacker Hammock Bug Shelter shares design sentiments with several similar hammock bug nets on the market. A few things that differentiate it include the sweeping and curved zipper opening, the side pull-outs, the webbing-based ridge line, and the reinforced floor.

Like it’s cousins, the Bug Shelter has cinch enclosures on the ends where the hammock passes through. Cord locks on each end ensure the ends have a positive seal around the end of the hammock.

Small loops are sewn on the base of the reinforced floor and on the sides of the netting so that it can be secured and pulled out to provide more room in the netting and keep it off your body, if needed.

The included storage stuff sack is appropriately sized for the material.

Recommendations and Review

The webbing ridge line works in a similar way to how the AntiGravityGear Quicksilver Hammock Bug Net is designed. The ridge line acts as a stopper to prevent the hammock from pulling the netting too tight and potentially damaging it. Because the ridge line is exposed on the interior of the netting, you can clip or hang items from the inside. Interestingly enough, in my tests the ridge line was too long.

This is the hammock when connected to the bug net ridge line as designed. Note how shallow the sag is, how much extra (wasted) space below, and how little head room above.

This is the hammock when connected to the bug net ridge line as designed. Note how shallow the sag is, how much extra (wasted) space below, and how little head room above.

I expected that the Therm-a-Rest Slacker Hammocks would be perfectly matched to the netting, but the hang was much too shallow, even compared with the photos on their own marketing materials. With such a shallow hang, the netting was much too close to my face, and it was in the way when I sat up in the hammock. I ended up adjusting the ridge line by tying another loop in the webbing to shorten it a little.

After adjusting the ridge line, I had more head room.

After adjusting the ridge line, I had more head room.

I like that the bottom of the bug net is reinforced. Bug netting can be notoriously clingy to detritus on the forest floor. Leaves, twigs, and bugs often hitchhike on the netting as it makes contact with the ground. I’ve even worn holes in the bottom of some nets and poked holes. The nylon floor minimizes some of those problems.

I also appreciate the side pull out tabs and floor tabs to give me options, if necessary, to pull out the netting. With other designs, I’ve just used after-market pull outs, but the Therm-a-Rest design means I don’t need anything more than a bit of string or shock cord.

The zipper design also provides a larger opening that gets out of your way, compared with other designs.

Price and Value

The Therm-a-Rest Bug Shelter is about $10 more than similarly-designed bug wraps, but it also contains features not found in it’s competition. I think it is a good value, but I wish it (and its competition) was more reasonably priced.

Best Match

This is a classic design that really shows how modular a hammock shelter can be. If you don’t need the netting, just leave it off and use a hammock by itself. It’s a great companion for simple hammocks and it works with any 10 or 11-foot Mayan-style hammock. The price and weight are in the ballpark for other competing models.

Aesthetics

I think this bug net has a more striking appearance than the other products in this category. The zipper style has a unique form that also functions very well.

Construction and Craftsmanship

The build quality of the Bug Shelter is in line with the entire suite of hammock products from Therm-a-Rest. You can expect superior craftsmanship from this company.

Similar Products

  • Kammok Dragonfly net
  • ENO Guardian net
  • Hammock Bliss Mosquito Net Cocoon
  • Ticket-to-the-Moon Mosquito Net 360
  • Grand Trunk Goods Mozzy Netting

 

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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8 Responses

  1. Mike Taylor says:

    The Most important feature I see is the ability to tie out the net to the sides to keep it off your body.
    I have another brand (not mentioned) without this feature… And the mosquitoes ate up me knees and elbows whenever they came near the net!!!
    Great new feature!

    TreefrogMT

  2. James Palermo says:

    Enjoyed the review. Can you tell me how the Slackers have been “updated”?

  3. Mike Smith says:

    Can you give the weight of the bug shelter without the ridgeline webbing? And the weight of the webbing strap ridge line only? Can you reduce weight by using a normal, thinner ridgeline and would you recommend it? If you put a big backpack and shoes and some other stuff into the bottom of the bug net, so you have reasonable weight in it, say for a long tour, will it pull the net uncomfortably tight? Will the pull outs make enough of a difference to compensate?
    Great reviews, I always enjoy reading your articles!

    • Derek says:

      I’ve updated the review. The ridge line webbing is 2.26 oz (64 g) and is easily removable. Yes, you can save some weight with a smaller line, like a 1.75 mm Amsteel Lash-it line. You could also put gear in the bottom of the net, but please note that it is not designed as a gear loft: there are no secondary supports to hold up the bottom area so the stress will be pulled through the netting. If you plan to do this, hang the hammock and net slightly lower so the bottom of the netting rests on the ground. This will also reduce the pull on the sides of the netting so it isn’t as tight.

  4. Don says:

    I have purchased this system and also thought the ridgeline was too long. I am new to Hammocking and have not been out yet. What length do you recommend for the ridgline?

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