Full confession time: I’m not a hammock guy. Now, hold off before you start typing your hate mail. I understand why a lot of people like to spend the night in hammocks. They’re relatively lightweight alternatives to tents that pack easy and set up even easier. Slap a couple of straps around two trees and you’re golden. No need to clear a tent site of rocks and sticks, no need to even find level ground. I get it. And I understand why a lot of backpackers have come around to the hammock revolution in recent years. I’m just not one of them, mainly because I like to sleep flat, on firm ground. I don’t want to curl up like I’m back in my mother’s womb. But mostly, the slightest bit of movement from a hammock makes me throw up in my mouth. I know; I’m a delicate flower.
So I wasn’t super stoked when I got a new Lawson Hammock to test out. I don’t want to go out like Jimmi Hendricks, drowning in my own vomit, which I’m convinced is what will happen if I spend the night in a hammock. Alas, I’m a journalist, so I set up the hammock and faced my fears. Luckily, Lawson’s Hammock isn’t like most other hammocks on the market. It’s more like a one-person version of those whimsical tree tents that came out of nowhere a couple of years ago.
While most hammocks are built to sag and cradle you in its parachute-walled caress, the Lawson has tension polls on either end of the “floor” that give you a relatively flat surface to lay on. Yes, the floor gives with your body, but add a good sleeping pad, and you increase the stiffness while still being able to enjoy a little bit of the give that hammocks are known for. Even better, the Lawson has a built in screen, sort of like a one-man bivy, that gives you a secure “tube” to keep the bugs and creepy crawlers out. Add the rainfly, and you’ve got a dry nest sandwiched between the trees.
It took me a couple of tries to set the Lawson up (the strap system isn’t as idiot-proof as some of the others on the market), but once the hammock was up, I dug it. It’s spacious, comfortable and doesn’t feel like you’re being wrapped in a parachute. It’s versatile too—if you’re in a spot without properly spaced trees (nature can be difficult sometimes), you can set the Lawson up on the ground like a bivy. Like I said, it’s more of a tent than a hammock. But a tent that you can hang between two trees. 4lbs; $169; lawsonhammock.com