Hammock Features You Need

We want you to love your hammock. Check out five ways that Clark delivers quality:

1. THE BEST SUSPENSION KIT

Having the nicest hammock doesn’t mean much if you can’t hang it quickly and easily.  Clark hammocks come with the finest lightweight suspension kit, but getting your hammock in the air is only part of what makes it so special:

No Stretch

The Timp-Hitch suspension system includes the highest grade Spectra slings which allow quick hanging and slack adjustments while not stretching an inch when you sit

in your bed.  The slings are US-made and configured in-house.

Staying Comfortable and Dry

Instead of attaching your suspension line directly to the hammock, Clark provides the aluminum Timp-Hitch which spreads the hammock sleeve into a nice half-moon, allowing the bed tension be even.  Rubber drip points are installed on the hitch to keep any moisture from finding its way to the hammock.

Adjustable Tree Protection

The third component of this system is a 2-inch wide tree protection strap that has an adjustment buckle to allow you to fit it to the circumference of the tree.  This means that you usually only have to wrap it around the tree once, and there won’t be excess strap that could stretch.  2-inch wide straps are required in many camping sites.

 

2. THE PERFECT BED

Hammock tent, low sun

Durability

It was over fifty years ago that Clark began developing its perfect, stable hammock bed (Learn more about Clark’s history). Clark beds will not tip you out, of course. But they also must meet the highest standards in three other areas:

Clark wants its products to be very light, but not so light that the integrity of the bed is compromised. Clark beds are all over 2 oz. per yard, and substantially more depending on the model.

Low-stretch

When hammock beds are too lightweight, they stretch a lot. This means that you have to position yourself very diagonally in the bed to feel comfortable. Clark beds are sturdy enough to keep you from feeling like a banana, even when you don’t turn very diagonally in the bed.

Mosquito-resistance

Clark beds have been engineered with the help of entomology labs to resist penetrating bites by most of the world’s mosquitoes while remaining breathable so that you can be comfortable in hot, humid environments where mosquitoes thrive.  The TX-270 goes a step further, coming standard with our Z-Net accessory. This netting system velcros under the bed to create extra protection against particularly large, aggressive mosquitoes in areas like the Amazon rain forest.

 

3. THE BEST NETTING

Real No-See-Um netting

No-see-um netting is made to keep even the smallest pests out of your tent. But not all No-See-Um is created equal. The difference is most easily seen in how many holes the netting has per square inch. The more holes per square inch, the smaller the holes and the more pests will not be able to enter the hammock. Clark only uses the most protective netting, with over 1200 holes per square inch. Other companies settle on a 500-700 hole per square inch netting.

Panes

Most Clark hammocks have netting that is built in panes, accounting for the seams you see throughout. We could make our netting out of one large piece like other companies, but our experience has taught us to do better. By its nature, netting won’t hold up as long as the other fabrics of the hammock, unless it is reinforced and given ways to take the stress. The seams absorb this stress rather than forcing the entire wall of netting to do so. Otherwise, the netting would wear thin in a much shorter time and become useless.

Another benefit to making the netting in panes is that if you were to accidentally damage your netting, it can usually be repaired for free by our sewing experts without having to replace the entire net.

 

4. THE WEATHERSHIELD

Clark’s WeatherShield is the breathable fabric that zips over the mosquito netting for warmth, privacy and extra protection from the elements. The WeatherShield is standard on most Clark hammocks and is a built-in feature that is not meant to be completely detachable. That’s a good thing because you can easily zip it into place without any hassle to get the full benefit of the enclosure.

The WeatherShield is highly breathable to eliminate most condensation. It is also water repellent. While the WeatherShield is not intended to protect from direct moisture, it will shed indirect moisture like rain that blows under a rain tarp (rain tarps may be purchased separately depending on the model).

Zip up the WeatherShield completely when temperatures are very frigid, or only part-way on milder nights to provide warmth while allowing you to view the stars. You can also deploy the Weathershield on just one side to create a wind break.

 

5. THE POCKETS

Storage in camping hammocks is a big deal. Storage pockets are a patented feature of Clark hammocks. The pockets work for you in two ways:

Organization

Where are you going to put your footwear when you lie down to relax? What if you need items during the night? Is your gear going to be rolling around in the bed with you? How accessible are the items you need and how easy is it to organize them so you can find them in the dark? Almost all Clark hammocks offer storage that is easily accessible when lying inside the hammock, allowing you to place footwear in a good-sized pocket before swinging your legs into the comfortable bed. You’ll also keep items you need during the night close at hand without crowding your bed. The NX and TX models are especially well-equipped, offering interior zippers to access gear stored in pockets under the hammock. That means you don’t have to unzip your mosquito netting to access items you need during the night. Plus, since most models offer multiple pockets, you can organize your gear to easily find what you need, day or night.

Warmth

Four-season Clark hammocks like the NX series and the North American offer storage pockets that double as insulation against the cold. These pockets are intended to keep you from needing to bring any other insulation (besides your sleeping bag) in temperatures close to freezing. In most hammocks, a stiff wind even at 60 degrees F will make you uncomfortable if you don’t have extra insulation, especially if you camp near water. Clark hammocks remove the need to bring extra insulation when camping in temperatures between about 35 F and 65 F at night. Since these are fairly typical temperatures when camping, these Four-season models can save you from the extra bulk and weight of pads or underquilts on many trips.

The pockets built into Clark four-season models protect you from the cold when you place items in them to create a stable air mass underneath your body. NX models offer the best insulating pockets because they have interior zippers that close the pockets, making it less likely that very cold air will move through them.

 

ONE MORE THING… HEADROOM

The design of most netted hammocks forces the netting to be so close to your nose that you can feel quite claustrophobic. Where do you hang a light when the roof is just a few inches from your eyeballs? How do you sit up in such a hammock?

Clark hammocks are designed differently, always allowing substantial head room so that you can hang a light far enough away to be useful, and allowing you to sit up when necessary.

We understand why other companies design their hammocks with no head room. It is simply cheaper. Without a design that raises the canopy above you, much labor is avoided, bringing the costs down. Clark’s goal isn’t to dazzle you with the cost effectiveness of our design. Rather, our goal is to amaze you with ways that your hammock can enhance your adventure.

CHOOSE EXPERIENCE AND UNDERSTANDING

Don’t compromise. Clark hammock are backed by decades of testing by backpackers, professionals, tactical teams and special forces around the world. That is where real understanding comes from.  Let us use that experience to make your next adventure the best yet.

How to insulate and stay warm in hammocks

The key to staying warm in a hammock tent is finding a way to be insulated underneath.   Like camping in ground tents, you are at the mercy of the temperature beneath you.  But it’s even worse because even in the middle of a hot summer you can get frozen in a hammock when a breeze passes over water and acts like an evaporative cooler on your backside.

What provides the best insulation for hammocks?

There is only one reliable insulator: air.  Therefore, you should judge your insulation by how much air it can hold without flushing that air out when you move around in the hammock.

Pads

The best hammock insulation will conform to the bottom of the hammock without a large gap between the insulation and the hammock bed.  Pads can accomplish this, whether placed directly below your sleeping bag (or in sleeping bag sleeves such as those found in Big Agnes sleeping bags) or placed in dedicated pad sleeves below the hammock bed which some hammocks provide.  However, pads can be awkward and bulky to pack and they may not always perform well in the three dimensional world of hammocking where your body weight turns a fairly flat bed into a bathtub.  In addition, pads typically don’t breathe well, and may essentially seal the fabric below your back, making the hammock less comfortable.

Underquilts

The consensus is that insulating underquilts are superior to pads.  They breathe and are built to conform to the hammock when your weight is inside.  An underquilt must walk a fine line, keeping close to the hammock bed but not so close that your body weight flushes the air out of the insulation.

Underquilts come in various lengths.  When you purchase a half or three-quarters size underquilt, it is usually with the understanding that your legs and feet will not need as much insulation as the rest of your body.  While this is true, your heels make enough contact with the bed that you can still get cold on your feet if there is no insulation under them in frigid weather.  You may find yourself relegated to a fetal position to stay as warm as you’d like with shorter underquilts.  In addition, smaller underquilts can have trouble keeping cold air out when you move around in the hammock. For this reason, you should consider an underquilt that covers the entire bed of your hammock.

Consistent insulation for underquilts

There is one more hurdle for good insulation to overcome. In addition to trapping air and holding it close to your hammock bed, it must do so evenly and consistently.  Otherwise, one part of your body may be a few degrees warmer than another part of your body.  Even if both areas are in an acceptable range of warmth, you will go crazy at around 3:00 am just from the small disparity in temperature.  You will desperately desire for your thigh to be the same temperature are your upper back.

Staying warm in a hammock when temperatures are between 32° F and 65° F (0° to 18° C)

It is very frustrating to think that most hammock manufacturers expect you to bring insulation with you on almost every trip, since most people end up in temperatures below 65° F (18° C).  Clark stands out from the crowd here with its four-season hammock like called the NX Series.  These hammocks have built-in pockets that, when holding gear or other items, hold out a dead air space underneath the heaviest parts of your body where you compress you sleeping bag the most.  Cold breezes are then unable to affect you.  The insulating pockets on the newest Clark NX models are sewn shut on the outside, with only interior access from zippers on the inside of the hammock.  This means that it’s easier to keep cold air from seeping in and disrupting the stable air mass that your body is warming.  These pockets are intended to keep you from having to bring a pad or underquilt on typical camp-outs where you are expecting good weather and when you don’t expect temperatures to dip below 40° F (5° C).

Down vs. Synthetic underquilts

If you are not allergic to down, then purchasing a down underquilt can be a good value since they pack tighter than synthetic and are more durable over time.  However, they also cost significantly more and will not insulate you if they get wet.

Conclusion

Clark is the leader in cold-weather hammocking.  NX models provide built-in insulation that keeps you from having to bring a pad or underquilt on most trips.  They include built-in velcro to atttach full-length underquilts (called Z-Liners) that provide even and consistent warmth and can allow you to sleep down to 0° F (-17° C) if you have decent coverage inside the hammock (a sleeping bag meant for the temperatures you are sleeping in is recommended).  Because Clark underquilts attach with velcro, they effectively seal out cold and won’t flush out a lot of warm air when you move around the hammock bed. Because Clark Z-Liner underquilts use the highest grade synthetic fill (ClimaShield Apex), they pack almost as tight as down and will work even if they get wet.  Finally, you can install Clark underquilts on the hammock and pack them in a larger stuff sack that comes with the underquilt.  After all, when your fingers are already cold, the last thing you want to do is attach an underquilt when arriving at your campsite.

Hammock Tarps – How to choose

When choosing a hammock tarp, start with the obvious: it needs to keep you dry.  Not all hammock tarps can do that reliably, sometimes because they are made in an inferior way from poor materials.  But usually it’s because of the shape of the tarp itself.  Another consideration is the ability of a tarp to protect from blowing rain and shed wind.

Hammock Tarp Shapes

Many hammock tarps on the market today are diamond-shaped.  It’s easy to see why.  First, they look really cool.  Plus, it’s much less expensive to produce a diamond-shaped tarp because the triangular pieces allow the manufacturer to use much less fabric and save money.

The problem with diamond-shaped tarps is that they don’t protect a hammock very well, unless the rain happens to be falling straight down.  When blowing rain begins, a hammock camper will find that a diamond-shaped tarp has little protection anywhere but over the middle of the hammock bed.  The result is that the areas near the occupant’s head are far less protected.

Rectangular shaped tarps are also common, and protect better than diamond-shaped tarps.  But rectangular tarps are also not created equal.   These tarps have a tendency to flap noisily in the wind.  This is caused because the outline of the hammock between the tie-out points are straight.   Superior tarps are cut with curves between tie-out points to allow the hammock to shed wind and not keep you up all night listening to violent tarp flapping.

Materials for building hammock tarps

There are various fabrics and other materials used to make hammock tarps.  The most popular is sil-nylon, a silicone impregnated or coated nylon fabric.

Sil-nylon is lighter than many other materials because the silicone coating itself is lighter than other coatings used to make nylon fabrics waterproof.  In fact, it hardly adds any weight to the fabric at all.  While much more expensive than polyurethane-coated fabrics, sil-nylon is definitely worth the price.

Another material sometimes used for hammock tarps is Cuben Fiber.  Cuben Fiber is taken from the sailing and wind-surfing industry.  It is a laminated fabric that is extremely lightweight.  However, it is also more expensive than sil-nylon.

The current consensus is that sil-nylon makes more sense for hammock camping based on its price, its ability to be cut with catenary curves, and the fact that it blocks more light than cuben fiber.  If a cuben fiber tarp is not cut to shed wind correctly, it is extremely noisy.

Solution

Clark, the inventor of the camping hammock, makes sil-nylon hammock tarps that are both protective and include wind-shedding catenary curves to help you sleep better.  You also get velcro closures on each end of the hammock for ultimate protection in violent storms.  Besides the tie out point on each side of the ridgeline, Clark tarps offer you three tie-out points on each side that create a reliable, waterproof shelter.

If you want to sleep well in a hammock, make sure you have the right hammock tarp, not just a cool tarp made on the cheap.

What hammock features do I need?

Most hammocks are comfortable.  But that doesn’t mean they are all created equal.  When purchasing a hammock tent, take time to determine what features you need for the type of adventures you are planning.

Above all, take these items into consideration:

  1. What is the lowest temperature I plan to sleep in?
  2. What is the highest temperature I plan to sleep in?
  3. How important is good mosquito protection?
  4. How much awning do I want my tarp to provide for activities around the hammock on rainy days?
  5. What is my primary sleeping position (side, back or stomach)?
  6. What weight threshold would I like my combined shelter, insulation and sleeping bag to stay under?
  7. How long do I need my hammock to last?
  8. How do I wish to store my gear when sleeping in my hammock?
  9. Do I want to share my hammock with another person?

If weight is your only concern, you will be able to find many hammocks that are extremely light.  But that also means that you’ll sacrifice durability.  It also means that you may not have adequate coverage from your rain tarp.

Be aware that some kinds of added weight to a hammock can actually save weight in other areas.  For example, the four season hammock models by Clark include insulating pockets that (when used properly) can save you from having to bring any other insulation on trips that are above 32 degrees F (0 degrees C).   And when you add an underquilt (such as the Z-Liners made by Clark) you can save weight by purchasing a sleeping bag that has no under-insulation (such as those made by Big Agnes).

If you are most worried about high temperatures and mosquitoes, it’s best to get a hammock that allows breathability while keeping mosquitoes off your back.  The best example of this type of jungle hammock is the Clark TX-270, which has a breathable bottom that is mosquito-proof against all of the world’s mosquitoes.  This feature adds weight to the shelter, but for complete protection, it is worth it.

If you hope to share your hammock with another person, decide whether you are okay being forced together all night long in one big hammock bed, or if you need two separate beds that give each of you your space (see the Clark Vertex and Double V hammocks).

Clark hammocks are built for the long haul with the features that keep you comfortable when weather and terrain are at their worst.  See the unique features that make Clark hammocks the envy of the industry.