Hammock Bliss Sky Bed Bug Free 2016 Update
I reviewed the Sky Bed and the Sky Bed Bug Free when they first came out. Hammock Bliss has made a few modifications to the hammock since then and sent me a sample to review. One significant update is a change in the construction where the seams are reinforced but not overlaid with edging material. To save weight the webbing on the structural seam was kept, but removed on the non-structural seams below the silver pad sleeve. Also all of the silver webbing is narrower along the edges and under the structural seams which saves weight and looks much better.
The bug netting has also been significantly updated by constructing it with three panels of no-see-um, with the fabric bias situated to reduce strain on the seams.
The Sky Bed is the only single-occupancy hammocks that is engineered with an asymmetric pattern. Unlike other gathered-end hammocks that use pull-outs to achieve a pseudo-asymmetric design, the Sky Bed is actually made from different panels of fabric and sewn into an asymmetric shape. It is also one of the few hammocks that has a double layer of fabric on the bottom that has been sewn specifically for holding a sleeping pad. In fact, this pad sleeve has a pillow pocket design so that a common 20-inch-wide pad can stuff and be held securely.
While using a pad is not required on this hammock, it does help shape the hammock with a flatter lay.
This hammock also has a right-to-left lay by design. I naturally sleep left-to-right, so the Sky Bed’s design is not a natural fit for me, but it still works. I usually “flip-flop” on hammocks when I feel the fabric has stretched out of place and I want to equalize it by sleeping on the opposite diagonal. The Sky Bed, however, is fixed in one lay position.
Other updates on the hammock
- A longer zipper, which reduces strain on the seams when entering and exiting
- Brightly-colored loop pull-outs for gear clips, zipper pulls, etc., which include six internal gear loops, two on each side below the exterior netting loops and two at each end of the hammock for hanging your gear
- The seams are sewn so that the material folds into itself which makes them stronger
- The ends of the hammock are sewn and now include a simple knot in the rope at each end which helps to keep the end of the hammock shut
- The pockets on the bug netting have been moved and placed at each end of the hammock, which is more user friendly and keeps the net from sagging
- The Sky Bed, Sky Bed Bug Free and Sky Tent 2 area all now patent pending
Overall Impressions and Updates
For me, the biggest improvement is definitely the bug netting design and zipper configuration. I found it much easier to get in and out without straining the seams and the netting was more refined and engineered to stay taut. The interior space felt larger and roomier. You still can’t open the bug netting completely because the zipper doesn’t go all the way to the ends and there is no strap to pull the netting back if you want to convert it into a net-less hammock. This reduces the modularity of the hammock somewhat. You can flip the hammock upside down for a net-less hang.
The brightly-colored gear loops are a welcome change. I almost missed them in the first version because they were black and blended into the hammock. The loops are handy for clipping in gear or adding accessories like peak bags or a ridgeline.
I like that the gear pockets were removed from the bug netting. It’s much easier to get gear inside and keep gear from flipping out.
As far as the lay goes, I feel like the hammock has about the same lay as a gathered-end hammock. I don’t think it gets that much flatter, although I will concede that adding a fully-inflated sleeping pad into the pad sleeve does help a lot to flatten out the hammock. Without a pad, it feels much like a regular hammock.
The real advantage of this hammock is the pad sleeve, especially for those looking for a jungle hammock intended for camping and who want to use their current camping pad, etc. This hammock makes the transition to hammock camping much easier by lowering the entry cost and learning curve.
Recommendations and Review
|Suspension and Anchor System||♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥||Hammock Bliss uses a rope-based suspension, intended to be paired with hammock straps (sold separately). I wish the straps were bundled.|
|Construction and Craftsmanship||♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥||Overall good quality. Some loose strands, some uneven stitching. Interior has an unfinished look with exposed fabric.|
|Modularity||♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥||Not a lot of modularity with the bug netting as-is|
|Aesthetics||♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥||I like the sleek black look, and the refined bug netting looks a lot better.|
|Price and Value||♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥||Just tipping over the $100 mark, this is a good price for a jungle hammock with a double bottom and pad sleeve.|
- Manufacturer: Hammock Bliss, made in Indonesia
- MSRP: US$119.95
- Integrated pad sleeve designed to fit a 72 × 20 in (183 × 51 cm) sleeping pad (adds rigidity and insulation)
- Integrated zippered bug netting
- Unique asymmetric design
- 6mm × 100 in (254 cm) suspension ropes on each side
- Durable ripstop nylon, reinforced with webbing
- Hammock: 125 × 53 in (318 × 135 cm)
- Weight Capacity: 350 lbs (159 kg)
- 32 oz (907 g)
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 own an older version of this hammock. i love it. i have about 5-6 different hammocks and this one is by far my favorite. reasoning is because of the design one only needs to add an insulated sleeping pad (note it has to fit and has to have longitudinal tubes) and there is then no need for an under quilt on colder days. with an inflated pad you get a really flat lay. only negative for me is that sometimes the bug netting makes me claustrophobic. no idea why – i think if the bug netting were a lighter color it would not affect me as much. like a nice light grey color. (instead of black).
Glad to hear I’m not the only one. The bug netting in my Hennessey makes me claustrophobic, probably because it’s sewn in and doesn’t open.
it only happens sometimes when i wake up from a deep sleep – i wake up totally claustrophobic, feeling like i cannot breathe. funny thing i have never in my life been claustrophobic before. i think if the bug net were white or grey i would be much happier. hopefully i will get used to it.
I much prefer the zipper models for that reason.
I love to use the first one. It is very good.
This is my main hammock for camping as I love how flat the lay is with the pad. My only gripe is the bug net drooping right above my face. I’m sure that’s why they had to add the pull out on the right side of the netting. I attach a piece of shock cord and connect it to a tie out on my tarp.
Would this hammock be a good first ever one to try out? The more I read the more confused I feel. It all seems so complicated. I will be trying it out camping/backpacking in Queensland Australia, which doesn’t get below 0 C in the areas I’m likely to go, and very very warm in summer. I have been in a very flimsy 2 man hiking tent this winter, which has kept me warm, but Iv been very lucky to not have any rain yet, which can be torrential at times. I like the idea of airflow during the summer, and up high away from snakes, but am beginning to think I might need to be a mathematician to get the hang just right, and then there is the tarp to worry about. Any suggestions on which one to start with?
The Sky Bed is a great option to start. I wouldn’t hesitate OR worry too much. Hammocks are simple and I know sometimes it can seem complicated. I’m sorry for that — my whole mission is to make hammocks more approachable, yet the more stuff I throw on the site, the more complex it appears. Be sure to pick up my book where concepts are simple and illustrated clearly.