Today’s review is about another excellent product, made by the UK based manufacturer Snugpak. This time we have a closer look at the Snugpak Tropical Hammock and the general pros and cons of using a hammock vs any kind of sleeping pad.
Requirements/ usage of a Hammock
The usage of hammocks is wide spread, most of the time you will see them in the jungle. But more and more you see hammocks being used in middle Europe. Hammocks are easy to install in less than 5 minutes and the only real requirement is that there are some trees around.
The main advantage over a sleeping pad is that you are far away from the cold sucking ground during the winter time, while you are also protected against the ground’s wetness in the summer. The next advantage is that, you don’t have to argue and fight against bucks or other small animals. You can also start a small fire under a hammock to heat you up. Be aware that the fire used here should be very small and controllable, because otherwise the hammock and you could get fried up pretty easy.
We (120kg and 80kg) have used the Snugpak Tropical Hammock during an evasion exercise.
Because of the easy set up, it was the best choice to take a rest for some time.
One of us was resting while the other stood guard to protect the team against the hunter force, so both of us could get some decent naps. Temperatures ranged from zero to -4 degrees Celsius. It should be noted that the wind chill felt like our biggest enemy, this is a general drawback of using a Hammock, but it could be prevented by simply wearing the right clothing.
If you use this hammock with a sleeping bag like the Carintha Defense 4 or Snugpak SF2 you will have a cozy and warm sleep. If it’s still too cold or windy, you can add a bivvy bag or even add Snugpaks own hammock insulation system called the Cocoon. We don’t have any experience with Snugpaks hammock insulation yet, but we think that it is a great concept as it doesn’t compress inside the hammock as a sleeping bag would do.
One disadvantage could be that, if it’s too windy, there is a possibility that you get seasick due to the swing. You should really be aware of this because, again, wind could really get your biggest enemy. Another drawback of hammocks is that like I said before, you need trees to set it up. Again, the question of using a Hammock or a sleeping mat is a part of pre mission planning. The fact that you don’t find any trees in the desert to set up your hammock is a mistake made by you, not by the product design team. On a side note, you are not limited to trees as you can use buildings or vehicles as an anchor point.
The Snugpak Tropical Hammock is a light weight(600g) and small parking hammock, it fits in your army trousers pockets, so it serves well as a part of a small E&E Kit. It is a very straightforward design, the seams are triple sewed and very durable. It comes with steel carabiners, which is one more advantage against other hammocks which make use of more fragile aluminum carabiners. But you can also use the Snugpak Tropical Hammock without the carabiners, not using the the steel carabiners will save weight and space, but makes setting up and adjusting the hammock more difficult. The hammock also comes with a nice zippered pouch (that serves well as an utility pocket) and a stuffsack.
The equipped 500 paracord is strong enough to hold you in place, if you use the suspension sleeves you are not only protecting the tree and the paracord, but you also don’t leave any traces that may show your last hole up site. The hammock is made out of parachute nylon, which offers a good weight while keeping it pretty rugged and also windproof. The Tropical Hammock can carry a person up to 190 cm in height comfortably.
The Tropical Hammock is not only a nice piece of equipment for sleeping in the jungle It is also able to handle a middle European winter if you add some additional pieces of equipment, like a sleeping bag. You can also use a bivvy bag or just an emergency blanket to keep the wind out. The suspension sleeves allow you a secure and hidden sleep. In terms of saving weight and space the Snugpak Tropical Hammock is a great choice and also an real alternative to a ground based sleeping pad. So, the question about a Hammock being an utility asset for tactical use can clearly be answered with a definitive yes, as long you know where you operate and how prone you are to sea sickness.
Thanks to K. for writing this guest article!
You can order the Tropical Hammock directly from Snugpak
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