No Cold Shoulder Spreader Hammock:

I like the spreader bar on this new hammock from Rei. This would stop that annoying thing where the hammock fabric compresses the insulation of your sleeping bag at shoulder-to-elbow and creates a cold spot.

There are several other ways around this eg a wider mat, a pad extender, etc, but I feel that this is genius and could also be done very lightly as a mod (by sewing in two reinforcing patches and attachment points eg some webbing formed into tubes) to any hammock and that the spreader could be as simple as a bent stick which would go up above your head (towards the end of thr hammock so that it did not interfere with getting into the hammock.

Only I am resting a torn meniscus in my left knee today (and that it is raining) stops me  from getting out a hammock and the sewing machine and getting to work on it. (You could probably even do it using a couple of tarp clips). I figure I could do this without adding any more than 20 or so grams to the hammock. This rivals that other wonderful spreader idea which allows two people to hang side by side from just one pair of trees under a single tarp. Anyway, watch this space – my knee cannot be stuffed forever (MRI Monday)!

The Rei Flash Air Hammock system

Detail of their spreader bar

Rei Flash Air Hammock System (including mosquito net, fly, etc) available here: US$199.95 (July 2018)  Weight:2lb 12 oz complete

Some other hammock ideas:



5 thoughts on “No Cold Shoulder Spreader Hammock:”

  1. Some hammocks have tie-outs that you can guy out to a tent peg (or other anchor, like a tree). This keeps them spread.

    1. Good idea. I had not encountered one yet. I doubt whether a peg would give enough tension to keep the material from compressing your insulation against your arm though, and trees are so often in the wrong place. You would get enough force from a bent branch approx 1 cm thick though. Cheers, Steve.

      1. Check out WarBonnet Blackbird XLC, click to enlarge the photos, several show the side of the hammock guyed out to keep it spread. I bought a WBBB XLC and a WBBB, they both have this feature. A tent peg is enough to hold the hammock out, the underquilt isn’t compress because the hammock is above it, or diagonally above and to the side of it; below and to the other side (the outside) there is nothing so it’s free to loft. Other hammocks use the same guy-out technique, like the Dutchware Chameleon.

        I saw Nemo some tents/bivies were using “AirBeams” rather poles, these are basically inflated tubes. The benefit was for pack-ability and resisting extreme wind (they’d bend and collapse rather than snap). Such a feature might be better than a spreader pole because it packs smaller – useful for bike-packing etc.

        1. Hi Benny, I’m not sure we are talking about the same thing. I don’t use an underquilt – just my Neoair Womens mat in eg a Hummingbird hammock with a cuben fly. The hammock plus fly weigh around 300 grams. Usually I would use a couple of pieces of foam to keep my elbows warm, but this idea is much lighter, just a couple of pieces of material sewn to the hammock – perhaps 10 grams, and a green branch stolen from a tree. When I get time I will make and post it. Had a look at the Warbonnet – much too heavy for me. I don’t use bug nets for one thing, just an 8 gram head net if they are very bad. Have a look at Cheers, Steve.

          1. Your idea will probably be lighter than guying out, as the cordage and stake (unless you bush-crafted one) would likely be heavier.

            Guying out the side of the hammock should stop the hammock from compressing your sleeping bag against your shoulders and elbows though; but as you pointed out your idea is probably lighter since you are bush-crafting the pole.

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