Wednesday, 07 December 2016 11:42

Snugpak Jungle Hammock and Cocoon tested and reviewed

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Snugpak have taken a look at the problem of cold when using a hammock and come up with a novel idea, a sleeping bag, or Cocoon, that sits around the hammock. We tested the Cocoon in combination with Snugpak's own Jungle Hammock.

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Jungle Hammock:

Refreshingly Snugpak's Jungle Hammock comes ready for use straight from the box. Other than a couple of trees you get everything you need in one neat, zipped, storage bag, with all the lines you need to set up the hammock pre-rigged to carabiners and ready for use. You even get a couple of tree protectors thrown in!

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At 790g it's by no means the lightest hammock on the market, but it's strong, simple and reliable. The integral mosquito net lifts well away from the user with two lines rather the common single line, giving a less claustophobic feel. A full length zip allows access when the mosquito net is in use, or when it's not needed the net simply lies on top of the hammock base. For those overnight essentials that need keeping off the ground you get a single pocket that hangs outside the hammock.

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Snugpak Cocoon:

 Snugpak describe the Cocoon as "A novel solution to the problem of sleeping bag and clothing insulation compressing under the tension from the hammock." As anyone who uses a hammock will know, cold air passing underneath the hammock can be one of the biggest downfalls of sleeping raised above the ground. Insulation underneath the body compresses and the movement of the cold air constantly strips warmth away from the underside of the hammock. Using a standard mat will increase the insulation but mats weren't really designed for use where the sleeping position isn't flat and level. Snugpak's answer is essentially to put the whole hammock inside a sleeping bag.

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Simply surrounding the hammock with a close fitting sleeping bag would still have the same problems with compression as weight is applied, but the Cocoon is desgned not to be load bearing. The idea is that the bottom of the Cocoon hangs below the hammock; close enough to insulate but not close enough to bear any weight. Shaped like a giant pea pod with a zip down the middle, the Coccoon has an opening at each end for feeding the hammocks lines through, but also has its own attachment lines.

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Snugpak repeatedly warn in the enclosed instructions that the Cocoon is not meant to be load bearing and in set-up you do need to remember that the hammock will sit much lower under weight and potentially pressing on the Cocoon.

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With the Cocoon set up the user can close the central zip, which raises the underside of the bag, and become fully enclosed in what is, in effect, an oversized two season sleeping bag. On its own it's probably good from around May to September but being oversized it can be supplemented by a seperate sleeping bag. We tried it in September and October combined with a variety of synthetic bags and found it generally adds a season to the sleeping bag's range. It undoubtedly reduces the impact of cold air flowing underneath the hammock and when used with a sleeping bag inside it gives a highly adaptable system for regulating temperature through the sleeping bag and Cocoon's seperate zips.

The downside of the Cocoon is that with the hammock enclosed inside it becomes impossible to use the mosquito net, but in real life use the chances are that flying bugs are unlikely to be active at the temperatures where cold is enough of an issue to need the Cocoon. A more practcal issue is that in rain the array of lines holding the hammock and Cocoon in place provide convenient, downward sloping, conduits for water; the water flowing down the lines and straight into the openings in the Cocoon where the lines emerge. While the size of the opening is adjustable it's not possible to completely close it. It's not a new issue, and something that affects all hammocks due to the way lines under pressure will always run downhill, but the additional securing lines do make water ingress more likely.

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At almost 2kg the Cocoon isn't a lightweight choice, with the additional weight of a hammock to add, and it's going to take up a fair bit of space in your pack. What it does offer, however, is a very comfortable night's sleep and a "smile" effect. There's something about lying suspended above the ground that's much more enjoyable than sleeping on terra firma.

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Last modified on Thursday, 08 December 2016 11:13

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