I’ve been waiting a while to get my reviews for Yukon Outfitter hammock gear published because I really wanted to give them some extended use. The reason? Over the past several months, Yukon Outfitter’s hammocks and tarps have been regular and popular features on discounts sites like Woot. The prices are unbeatable, but some people have questioned their quality. Are they just cheap “beginner” hammocks, or are they worthy competitors to the established brands like ENO, Grand Trunk, and Ticket to the Moon?
A little background on Yukon Outfitters
Yukon Outfitters has been in the outdoor gear market for some time, but has wanted to expand their hammock product line in recent years. Like some brands, they started off with some copy-cat designs, but they’ve had a keen interest in breaking out with their own distinctive products. In fact, they reached out to me this past year to do some pro-bono consulting on best practices, trends, and even to brainstorm ideas.
What’s unique about Yukon Outfitters is that they are not just a product reseller, they own and operate production facilities in both China and the USA. This allows them to have complete control over their production and supply chain, which allows them to be more competitive with quality and price. Their goal is to produce both high-quality and value-priced gear. I’ve been impressed with how the have taken my recommendations into practice, while balancing their internal goals of value and quality. This has led them to produce and use new fabrics, change their production patterns, and introduce new products.
One new product that I’ve been very impressed with is the Freedom Hammock, so named because it is their first made in the USA hammock.
Yukon Outfitters Freedom Ultralight Hammock
- Manufacturer: Yukon Outfitters, made in Tennessee, USA!
- MSRP: US$79.99
- MIL-SPEC nylon fabric
- DWR, water repellent finish
- UN military grade woodland camouflage pattern
- Seamless design (one panel of fabric)
- Made in the USA
- 119×60 in (302×152 cm). Made with 1 panel of fabric
- 500 lbs (227 kg) rated weight capacity
- 15.5 oz (440 g)
The Freedom Hammock is among the first of many new hammocks from Yukon Outfitters that is completely produced in the USA. The fabric was custom designed from YO and has several interesting features: military-spec, high-tensile strength, DWR treatment, and a unique camouflage design. What I really like about the design is the single panel hammock body. Without the seams from multiple panels, there are no tight points and you can use the entirety of the hammock to lay in. The ends of the hammock are gathered together with sewn webbing loops, which reduces how much the sides curl into a ball at the end, which in turn relaxes the long sides and prevents the bucket seat phenomenon common with some hammock. This curling effect can promote shoulder strain and also make it harder to lay flat on the diagonal. Neither of these are issues withe the YO Freedom hammock.
The hammock is about as wide as you can go with a single panel design, and is about as long as most parachute nylon hammocks on the market, so it is within the range of most “Double” hammocks you’ll find.
The hammock comes with a stuff sack, sewn on one side.
Recommendations and Review
The Freedom Hammock was a bit of a surprise. I knew that YO was working on some new hammocks, but when the Freedom came out, it was a leap beyond what I was expecting. The fabric, in spite of its “mil-spec” description, is comfortable and soft. Much of this is due to the single-panel design, which is honestly one of my favorite features of any hammock as it vastly improves comfort and usability. It is a notable departure from the common parachute nylon hammocks on the market.
In general, camouflage fabrics tend to be more expensive than plain weave and colors. The YO Freedom hammock is no exception. It’s plain-weave cousins are much less expensive, but even then, the Freedom is aggressively priced for a hammock of its size, quality, low weight, and USA manufacture (as of this writing, the hammock was discounted to $40).
Quick Comparison Chart
To be fair, this chart is based on listed features found on the manufacturer’s website, not on my own measurements.
|YO Freedom v2 Ultralight||14.2 oz (403 g)||119×60 in (302×152 cm)||1||500 lbs (227 kg)||$79.99|
|ENO CamoNest XL||19 oz (538 g)||112×74 (284×188 cm)||3||400 lbs (181 kg)||$94.95|
|Grand Trunk Double||28 oz (538 g)||126×78 (320×198 cm)||3||400 lbs (181 kg)||$69.99|
Quality and Craftsmanship
Having used the Freedom on multiple trips, I can attest that it holds up to its description of durability. It is the highest quality you can expect for a recreational hammock, which rivals any of the other manufactured brands on the market. I can recommend it at the highest level.
Is the Freedom hammock a beginner hammock? Sure, but like any hammock, it could also be your everyday go-to hammock. It is true that we often equate low-cost with low-quality, but in this case, the tables are turned. The YO Freedom line with its made-in-the-USA production and high-quality manufacturing, it is a steal whether you find it discounted on Woot.com or at full MSRP direct from the manufacturer.
The hammock is highly-modular, like any gathered-end, recreational hammock on the market. You can mix-and-match any number of bug nets, suspension systems, tarps, and other accessories to customize it to your liking. When I went camping and backpacking with the Freedom hammock, I often paired it with bug netting, under quilts, and tarps to suit the trip. The Freedom is perfectly sized for all off-the-shelf accessories.
- Therm-a-Rest Slacker Hammock
- Warbonnet Traveler Hammock
- Dutchware Netless Hammock
- DreamHammock Freebird
- Arrowhead Hammock Single
- ENO DoubleNest, CamoNest XL
- Grand Trunk Double
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.