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Hands-on Gear Review
Grand Trunk Nano 7 Review
Cons: Not large enough for taller sleepers, narrow throughout, rip stop nylon not as durable as parachute nylon
Bottom line: The Nano 7 is a fantastic option for minimalist and ultralight campers where space and weight are the top concerns.
The Grand Trunk Nano 7 is a niche hammock, being both very light and very packable. For those looking to get a stellar ultralight setup, this model is outstanding. At a scant 7.5 ounces and about the size of a baseball - including the light wiregate carabiners — this product is a great companion on backpacking trips or for squishing into carry-on luggage, where space and weight are at a premium. While lightweight gear often comes at the cost of durability, we feel this product performs admirably under varying conditions, from camping beside backcountry lakes at 10,000 feet to a quick lounge in the backyard.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Grand Trunk Nano 7 is the second lightest hammock we reviewed, at only 7.5 ounces. Made from rip-stop nylon, we fell in love with this compact piece of equipment and recommend it to backpackers who are looking for the lightest gear possible.
Comfort is definitely one of the places this hammock couldn't help but fall short of the rest of the pack. While it is a highly subjective matter, we don't feel out of line saying that there are some people - and perhaps a lot - who just won't enjoy spending multiple nights in this hammock. By design, it is very thin and narrow, which helps shed weight. That said, after a hard day of hiking or travel almost any hammock is "comfortable enough", and when shaving ounces counts, the Grand Trunk Nano 7 may just be worth it. Campers over 6 feet tall may find their feet falling off the side when sleeping at a diagonal, which is the most comfortable and appropriate way to sleep in a hammock. We found that by using a sleeping bag and pad, there was little issue with cold or wind while camping, and we were able to get decently comfortable.
The lightest hammock we tested was the Sub7, tested as part of the ENO SubLink Shelter System. This hammock is a whopping 6.4 ounces and, while also very thin and narrow, we found it to be a bit more comfortable. Our Best Buy winner, the Grand Trunk Ultralight Starter was also a bit roomier and therefore a bit comfier.
There is a reason why rip-stop nylon is found so often in lightweight backpacking gear. Whether a tent, backpack, or a sleeping bag, the low weight, thin material is ideal for the rigors of life in the outdoors. In addition to the material, the Nano 7 weighs so little because of a few key features that stand out from other lightweight hammocks. In lieu of being designed with excess cord at the ends, the Nano 7 simply has wiregate carabiners passed through the gathered fabric, which reduces weight and bulk.
One of the tenets we found with hammock camping is that a good hammock doesn't so much answer the question "Why bring it?" but more appropriately answers "Why not bring it?" Being able to squirrel the hammock away in a back pocket or the lid of a backpack means that there is almost no inappropriate time to bring the Nano 7 along.
The only hammock we tested that was lighter was the Sub7, which is an ounce lighter, at 6.4 ounces and won our Top Pick for Ultralight Versatility as part of the SubLink Shelter System we tested it with. The next lightest hammock was the Grand Trunk Ultralight Starter at a full 5 ounces heavier.
Ease of Set-up
The Nano 7 doesn't come with a suspension system, so despite the fact that set up is as simple as clipping carabiners into an anchor, without knowing what that anchor will be for you, it's hard to properly judge how easy the whole process will end up being. Because this hammock is not particularly long, it can sometimes be challenging to find good anchors when everything available is far apart. It's not a bad idea with this hammock to bring a long and adaptable suspension system, which of course will add weight to your final package. None of the open model hammocks we tested came with a suspension system. Only the expedition models, like the Hennessy Ultralite Backpacker Asym Zip and the Warbonnet Blackbird, included straps for hanging.
Durability and Protection
A plastic spoon is a fine instrument until it comes time to scoop out some ice cream. In the same sense, the Nano 7 does the job of a light and compact travel hammock extremely well, but if used incorrectly or in the wrong setting, you may be on the receiving end of some woes. Despite multiple nights in varying conditions, we were unable to find flaws in the construction, seams, or stitching, and though heavy use will inevitably cause a few tears or runs in any fabric, we were very satisfied with the performance of the rip-stop nylon build.
Wind is an issue when lounging or sleeping in the Nano 7, as a 4-foot-wide hammock is difficult to wrap up in. Without a pad or a sleeping bag, an average-sized person could cocoon decently enough to avoid harsh sunlight or a gentle breeze, however rain and a cold night mean that there is not much in between you and the elements. Overall, the Nano 7 offers fine protection for summer or fair weather but is lousy in a storm or poor conditions. If you want a versatile setup with a very lightweight hammock, take a look at the ENO SubLink Shelter System.
The versatility of the Nano 7 is not nearly what it is with the ultra durable, highly comfortable parachute nylon double hammocks, like the ENO Doublenest or the Kammok Roo. When cutting weight down to a minimum, there are going to be losses in other areas, and in this case the limited size and lower weight capacity of 300 pounds means that, barring fairly small couples that don't mind being very close together, this is a one-person hammock. In addition, the thinner material, though plenty durable for a mature backpacker, is not a great piece of gear to let kids play in. However, an ultralight hammock also isn't meant to be the most versatile thing in the world. It's meant to serve a particular purpose, and the Nano 7 serves that purpose quite well. If versatility is what you're looking for, look at some of the interesting expedition models we tested, such as the Warbonnet Ridgerunner or the Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip.
Casual and hard core users alike will greatly benefit from the Grand Trunk Nano 7, as the incredible light weight and compact size allow it to be brought along just about anywhere. Serious backpackers may want to bump up to a more comfortable hammock, like the Warbonnet Blackbird, and couples may prefer something with a higher weight capacity, like the Kammok Roo. Backpackers who sleep in tents but bring a camp chair would do themselves a great service in ditching the heavy stool-style backpacking chairs in favor of the Nano 7 hammock at a fraction of the weight.
At $70 the Nano 7 is moderately priced, though it's not going to be for everyone. However, those looking to shave every ounce off of a heavy pack or jam a fun accessory into a carry-on will appreciate the small size and minuscule weight. If you want to spend less money and still get a very light though not as small hammock, check out our Best Buy winner, the Grand Trunk Ultralight Starter at a friendly $20.
If you are one of those hikers or bikers that cut your toothbrush in half and have a spreadsheet with the weight of every article in your backpack, this is the hammock for you. For the rest of us, the Nano 7 is an amazingly light piece of niche gear that can add a lot of fun to anything from a day hike to an extended expedition. However, for serious weather and cozier lounging, you may want to upgrade to a larger model or add accessories.
Other Versions and Accessories
If you want to start out with something a little more basic but still lightweight, check out the Grand Trunk Ultralight Starter, which won our Best Buy award. It's a bit more comfortable due to its larger size and will only add another 5 ounces to your pack.
Grand Trunk also offers the Parachute Single for $60 or the Parachute Double for $70. They are both available in a ton of fun colors and will provide you with a bit more durability and comfort, though also quite a bit more weight.
Finally, Grand Trunk offers several suspension options, starting at $20, as well as the unique Mozzy Net for bugs at $70 and the All Purpose Rainfly which includes stakes and guy lines for $80.
— Penney Garrett
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