Woman sitting in hammock

Review: Sea to Summit Ultralight Hammock

The lightest hammock in the world. And exceptionally small once packed down too. Ideal for day hikes and lightweight overnighters.

The Ultralight Hammock is in a league of its own when it comes to packability. And with Sea to Summits super simple to use suspension system (bought separately), you can whip up the whole thing in less than a minute. For thru-hikers and lightweight backpackers, the Ultralight is the ideal solution to camping comfort that shaves even more grams off streamlined packing. And for those just looking for somewhere comfortable to chill out on the trail… well look no further.

Sea to Summit Ultralight Hammock: The stats

Weight:5.4 oz/155g
Length:8.5 ft/2.6 m
Width:4 ft/1.2 m
Pack size:5.5 x 3.5 x 3.5 in (14 x 9 x 9 cm)
Material:20 denier Nylon 66 monofilament fabric
Load:300 lb (136 kg)

Design features of the Sea to Summit Ultralight Hammock

Pack down size

Packed Ultralight hammockThe monofilament fabric of the Ultralight is a highly compressible type of nylon. So once packed down into its stuff sack, this little guy fits right in the palm of your hand and totally disappears in your daypack or backpack. The addition of suspension straps into the bargain barely adds any size to this neat little package due to the stuff sack doing a very good job at compressing it all down together.

Weight

Hammock with strapsThe smaller than average dimensions of the hammock account for some of its low weight. But it’s the unfathomably thin and lightweight material that make the Ultralight live up to its name. It is so light in fact, that since I’ve had it, there is always a place for it in my hiking daypack. It provides a most luxurious lunch stop with (ideally) a great view. And if I don’t get to use it, then there’s always next time.

Stuff sack

Ultralight hammock stuff sackThe 30 denier Cordura fabric of the stuff sack is also mega lightweight with some great features to help keep things in order. At the closed end of the sack is a small slot for one the suspension buckles to fit through for easy setup and takedown. And there is also just enough room in the sack to fit in whatever suspension system you choose to use with the hammock, plus a small pocket on the inside of the ‘hood’ for extra buckles, carabiners, cord, surprise candy – whatever really!

Buckles

Hammock straps on treeThe high strength aluminum buckles at each end of the hammock are also, yep you guessed it, of the ultralight variety. They are sewn into small webbing slings that are triple tacked onto the end of the hammock fabric to ensure a super strong hold. These buckles are also designed to slot into the Sea to Summit suspension system, if you choose these.

Suspension straps

Quick Connect bucklesThese are sold separately to the hammock itself but are worth investing in as they are both lightweight (6 oz/170g) and small without compromising on good useable length (9 ft 10 in/3 m). To add to the deal, their Quick Connect Buckles fit with the hammock buckles with incredible ease and speed, and the 15mm wide webbing is also sewn with reflective thread for added visibility at night.


Sea to Summit Ultralight Hammock review

The Ultralight is something of a niche hammock for fast and light backpackers and thru-hikers. Designed as a replacement sleeping arrangement to heavier and more cumbersome tent setups, it does an exceptional job at providing an instant bed that is arguably much more comfortable than the lightweight closed-cell foam sleeping mats favoured by the ultra-light obsessed. But, as with all hammock setups, it also relies heavily on supporting structures, and you’ll also have to add to the weight with a tarp and potentially a bug net, depending on your location.

Having spent a couple of nights trying to get to grips with the smaller than average dimensions of the Ultralight, I am yet to hone my position to find enough comfort to truly sleep well. More on that later.

Woman sleeping in hammock

Where is really shines though is at providing a comfortable spot to rest in on big day hikes, or even as your luxury item on overnight hiking trips. Set it up near your camping spot as a replacement camping chair to chill out in, or take a cool and airy post-hike nap before you get started on your evening “chores” at camp. The low weight barely adds anything to the overall weight of your pack, and so long as you pack the rest of your stuff sensibly, it’s well worth carrying.

The Quick Connect Buckles that join the hammock to the suspension system makes for an incredibly easy, simple and very speedy setup. Whilst your pals are seeking out the most comfortable rock to rest on for their lunch stop, you’ll have whipped up the Ultralight and be settled into your food with time to spare to smugly enjoy the view in luxury. No questionable knots, or complex rope systems. Just wrap the wedding around the tree, feed the connector end through the buckle, and link the Quick Connect Buckle to the hammock buckle. It’s fully adjustable to find the perfect hanging position, and disconnects just as easily.

The material of the Ultralight is slightly see-through and very flimsy feeling, much like a net curtain! A little disconcerting when you first get in it. But boy is it strong, and the more you wriggle about in it, the more confident you become that a sharp elbow or pointy toe won’t go straight through it!

What I love the most about the Sea to Summit Ultralight Hammock

The size and weight of the Ultralight is mind boggling. Sea to Summit claim it to be the world’s lightest hammock and I can believe it. Even when combined with the lightweight suspension system, this tiny suspended snooze-sling is still super small and mega light in your pack. And because of this, I love how it opens up a whole new dimension to day hikes. I find myself constantly looking out for good trees next to cracking views to hang out in.

Sitting in Ultralight hammock

What I don’t love so much about the Sea to Summit Ultralight Hammock

Although plenty long enough, the hammock is a little on the narrow side to be able to get properly comfortable for overnighters. I’m 5ft 4in and I struggle to get a flat lay on the diagonal without my feet poking off the side. So I end up gravitating towards the centre of the hammock, not lying flat and risking Cold Butt Syndrome (CBS), not to mention sore back complaints!.

But if you’re happy sleeping on hard closed-cell foam mats that provide good insulation but little comfort, then I’m sure the Ultralight will feel like a cloud to sleep on. Solid sleeps all round. Or maybe you’ve just got that hammock sleeping knack that us less experience hammockers are still working on. For me, however, it’s a little on the small side to choose over my bivy bag and sleeping pad, just yet anyway!

Verdict

Carrying a lightweight hammock in your hiking daypack may be a bit of a luxury, but when it’s as small and light as the Ultralight, then really, why wouldn’t you? The addition of suspended comfort not only gives you the break you need on big hikes, but it also opens up a new way to enjoy the views, and a different angle from which to explore your surroundings. It provides a place to stop and relax. A place to properly take it all in and enjoy. And so for the this purpose, it would be madness to consider any other hammock.

For overnight hammock camping, however, the Ultralight is a little on the small side to provide the comfort that most will need to sleep soundly. One night here and there is totally manageable, but for extended use the Ultralight doesn’t quite cut it from a comfort point of view (unless you’re the type that will sleep anywhere – in which case it’s perfect!).

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Sea to Summit | REI | Backcountry

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