Grand Trunk Nano 7 Hammock
Weight (tested): 6.68oz with the included Carabineers (no suspension included)
Weight as used: 6.5oz (Tree straps, whoopie slings, toggles, ridgeline, cord sleeves and hammock)
Weight limit: 300lb
My size: 5'8" 180 lbs.
In 2010 I decided to do a "stunt" and try to get my pack weight below 5 pounds, and have that system include a hammock camping system. I started working on creating my own hammock from scratch, because I didn't know of anyone making hammocks light enough for this sort of weight range. I called my stunt the Super UltraLight (SUL) Challenge, which I later renamed Stupid UltraLight Challenge.
I started posting about what I was doing over on Hammock Forums, and this prompted a member there, Pak-Man, to recommend the Grand Trunk Nano 7 to me, and recommend me to the Grand Trunk folks. Before you knew it, I had this baby in my hands and started working.
The construction is a basic gathered in hammock made from ripstop nylon about 48" wide x 108" long. The ends are triple stitched for better strength, and it includes a sewn on pouch that also serves as a stuff sack for the hammock. The ends of the hammock are "gathered" with two carabineers that weigh 23 grams each. and the sack includes one other small keychain sized carabineer. The material appears to be about 1.1 ounce nylon. No suspension is included in the package. I talked with a Grand Trunk rep at Trail Days and he said that is because they have found that people looking at this size of hammock are already going to put on their own suspension so no sense in adding that in the package. Makes sense to me.
Since the hammock does not include a suspension, this was the first thing I had to figure out. The idea was to make the hammock as light as possible. I could probably write a whole 'nother article about all the experiments I did trying to get the weight down. But, for the sake of time, I'll skip right to what I used in the end and why I did that.
First off, I decided that the carabineers were nice, but I wanted to get even lighter, so all three went away. BUT there is a reason they use those carabineers - the material is light and you don't want the suspension to cut through the hammock body. Whatever I did use had to take that into consideration. In the end I ended up using Dynaglide whoopie slings as the main suspension ropes. I only made these slings about 4' long because I like low camps in between close trees and I will have thousands of trees to chose from where I'm taking this. To protect the body from possible damage, I added the shell of some military issue 550 cord to the whoopie slings. Weight of the hammock without the carabineers: 4.91oz (139 grams) Total weight added: 0.35oz (14 grams) for both sides.
The next part to figure out was attaching the "ropes" to the trees. I tossed around some ideas and tried different materials, but the one that worked best for me was to take a ratchet strap and make my own tree straps. It was the lightest 1" straps I could find, and they don't have any stretch - I've used these straps to suspend my canoe from the ceiling of my carport for about 6 months. They have a load strength of 300 lbs and a breaking strength of 900 pounds, this is about the same as the Dynaglide whoopie slings I am using. So I took one of these straps, removed the long end, and made two 4.5' straps that have eyes on one end. The weight of the material is about .148oz (4.2) grams per foot, so 10' of material came out to 1.48oz (42 grams) total or 0.74oz (21 grams) each.
The next part needed was the link between the whoopie slings and the straps. In all actuality almost anything can be used to create the spike hitch in the tree strap. But for the sake of experimenting with it, I got some youth target arrows made from hollow aluminum and kept making shorter and shorter toggles until I got them down to 0.035 ounces (1 gram) each. I attached them to the eyelets of the tree straps with some of the cord "guts" of the 550 cord I used to make the shells for the whoopie slings that way they would always be on the tree straps by where I was placing them.
The last thing I added was a ridgeline. I decided to go with something that was non-structural. To do this I took a piece of mason's twine and put mitten hooks at both ends. This would serve as a lifting support for either a bug net or a hammock sock in various conditions. Total weight for the ridgeline was 0.18 ounces (5 grams).
So now the total package for hammock is less than the advertised weight and mine has a suspension. Not Bad.
The next component to figure out was the weather cover. I initially started with a Hennessy tarp off a Hennessy Hyperlight at 6.95oz (197 grams), but ended up going with a WarBonnet Edge tarp made from Spinn material at 8.69 ounces (246 grams). The Edge was a little larger and only added 1.7 ounces (48 grams) to the load. I also made a bug sock for 2.44 ounces (69 grams) and a winter sock for 6.04 ounces (171 grams). But neither of them have been used in the field so far.
I spent about 5 nights sleeping in the hammock during my SUL Challenge, and I've spent one other night in the hammock working on insulation systems. I've experienced temps down into the high 40's, one night of moderate rain, and one night of heavy rain with flooding and high winds. The only issues I really had was staying warm at night which was no fault of the hammock. There are some things about the hammock that do bear covering though...
First thing I think needs mentioning is the "lay" of the hammock. Since the hammock is on the smallish side compared to some other hammocks, so it takes a little getting use to. In other hammocks I've used, you lay off center by about 15 degrees and you get a good, flat sleeping position. And when you get there, there is still hammock around the sides to make you feel secure. Some hammocks, like the Hennessy Ultralight, have small bottoms (48", same as the Nano 7) but they have attached bug nets to give you that extra feeling of security in the hammock. But with the Nano 7, when you get that sweet spot, there is almost nothing left to the side. But you have to trust the hammock - I've had no problems spilling out, once you are in place, you are in place.
Another thing to mention is the stretch. In other hammocks the material is heavier or has double layers, and this makes the stretch of the material when you get into it fairly small. But the Nano 7 is a single layer of light material, so the initial stretch when you get into it a little more than most people are use to. That said, it still wasn't a show stopper.
To help with the lay and the stretch, I found it helped to pitch the hammock with a little extra sag in it. Using a ridgeline when none was really needed helped me to gauge when I had the pitch loose enough but still tight enough for my preferences.
Being small, the area need for rain coverage was also small. The Edge tarp was just fine even in a bad storm. With the Dynaglide whoopie slings I didn't have any issues with water coming down the lines to the ends of the hammock either. Based on my experience with hammocks I would even venture to say that I could use a simple diamond or asym tarp like the Hennessy and have very good protection for minimal weight. Something I have looked at for this tarp is a Spinn version of the asym tarp from Mountain Laurel Designs at 4.4oz for $90 and a Cuben 5'x8' tarp from ZPacks at 3.0oz for $130.
But being small and easy to manage, something I found myself doing was throwing up the hammock more often than I usually do. Stop for lunch - put up the hammock and sit down! That is always nice.
This hammock is not going to be for everyone. In my experience many hammockers are looking for something more. That more could be a more complete system, it could be a flat lay, it could be a beefier suspension for more weight, it could be any number of things. But overall my experience is weight of the basic hammock is not what people are looking at when choosing a hammock.
That said, this hammock fills a niche. There are some of us out there that are tying to get as light as possible but still be in the trees, and this hammock fills that niche at a reasonable price. Add to that, the hammock is perfect in another respect for that niche - it comes ready for you to trick it out as light as possible with your own suspension and rain protection. As far as I know, there is not a single other production hammock out there in the sub 8 ounce weight range that meets these needs yet. There is one company I know of that is working on that, and that is Mountainfitters who is working on a Cuben fiber hammock in the ~4 ounce range. It will be interesting to see if any other hammock companies jump into the niche with light hammocks. But for now, Grand Trunk seems to own the marked on this end of the spectrum.
If you are seriously looking to get that really light pack weight, you are already willing to do some DIY work and accept some of these traits that the Nano 7 has. I recommend this hammock to the gram counters of the hammock world.
To grand Trunk - thanks for letting me play with your hammock. The only recommendation I could think to make for you guys is to possibly look at using some other material like the