This easy-to-use hammock was a hit with our testers and beat out the previous winner, the Warbonnet Blackbird to take the title of our Editor's Choice backpacking hammock! This model is large and spacious and made of comfortable, durable nylon. The integrated bug net comes with an incredibly easy suspension system to keep those pesky bugs at bay. We loved how simple and comfortable this hammock was, and found it incredibly easy not only to use but also to be comfortable in so many different positions. And the price tag! So much lower than other models with bug nets we tested. It's always nice to save on gear! In fact, the only thing we didn't love about this hammock was the heavy carabiners and tree-damaging rope suspension system that come with it. Fortunately, Grand Trunk sells lighter carabiners and 1-inch trunk straps as an upgrade — and you'll STILL be spending less than you would on similar hammocks! If you're in search of a bug-defying hammock that's simple to use, comfortable, and easy on the pocketbook, we think you'll love the Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro!
Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro Review
Cons: Trunk straps cost extra, bug net can’t fold completely back
Manufacturer: Grand Trunk
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Testing hammocks is one of the few times when lying down on the job is encouraged! We certainly did a lot of lying down while pitting these hammocks side by side to see how they compared. The Skeeter Beeter Pro emerged victorious among all the hammocks we tested for many reasons. We loved how comfortable and easy to use it was and felt like it held a high value. But to really learn what we loved most about this hammock, read on!
The Skeeter Beeter Pro scored highly in comfort. Made of 100% 70D parachute nylon, this hammock felt soft against our skin. Even the bug net is soft, and not scratchy compared to other bug nets — a nice touch, as you're likely to hit your head against a hammock's bug net frequently while getting in, getting out, midnight fumbles, shuffling to find your perfect spot, or maybe just because you like how it feels so much.
Unlike some expedition-style hammocks like the Warbonnet models and REI Flash Air, the Skeeter Beeter is a traditional banana-with-bunched-ends shape. It's also much larger than other expedition hammocks, boasting a full 10.5 feet of length and 5 feet of width! This design allows the user to find all kinds of comfortable sleeping/lounging/reading positions — and even allows room for a friend to take shelter with you! It's possible to achieve a flat lay easily by using the diagonal-lay trick. We also found this hammock comfortable regardless of if we left it hanging relatively loosely or tightened it up.
Our only complaint about the comfort of this hammock is that the bug net doesn't zip all the way to the ends, meaning you can't ever fold it back or tuck it out of the way and use this 'mock as a regular backyard lounger, hanging your feet over the side, etc. We also found that if we didn't string up the bug net suspension high enough, it often hit us in the face while we were sitting up. It was soft, so we didn't mind too much, but it certainly made for some funky hairdos! Overall, we found this hammock from Grand Trunk incredibly comfortable to enjoy in a lot of different positions.
The Skeeter Beeter wasn't the lightest hammock we tested, by far. However, as a very large hammock with an integrated bug net, we felt that 28.8 ounces (without the rope suspension system) was pretty reasonable. You can also save weight by swapping out the heavy included carabiners and the thick bug net suspension system for lighter versions. Compared to other hammocks with bug nets that we tested, like the REI Flash Air, Warbonnet Blackbird, and Warbonnet Ridgerunner, the Skeeter Beeter Pro fell about in the middle of the pack.
If you're really after saving weight, but don't want to miss out on the benefits of the bug net, you might consider the ENO SubLink, our winner for Ultralight Versatility, that's part of a system of components that you can take or leave at home depending on the protection you'll need at your destination. If you really want to save weight, check out some of the ultralight models we tested, like the Sea to Summit Ultralight or Grand Trunk Nano 7. But neither of those have bug nets, and we're guessing if you're reading about the Skeeter Beeter, you're looking for a bug net. At the end of the day, we feel that the weight of the Skeeter Beeter Pro isn't a selling point for this hammock, but also isn't outrageous for the comfort and protection you get.
Ease of Set Up
Like many of the hammocks in this review, the Skeeter Beeter was pretty simple to set up and depends more on the suspension system you choose to use with your hammock than anything. A simple carabiner on each end clips you into your sweet swing — just please don't use the included rope slings on a living anchor (aka a tree)! This easy set up is common with a lot of hammocks included in this review, from the Best Buy bestowed Bear Butt Double (a functionally very similar hammock, minus the bug net) to the incredibly lightweight Grand Trunk Nano 7. It's also a much easier system to set up than the complications of models like the Warbonnet Blackbird and Ridgerunner that come with a full set of instructions on how much higher the foot end should be over the head end, require plenty of adjusting after set up, and pack a hefty learning curve.
The Skeeter Beeter didn't score right up there with the highest performers in this category is because you have to take the extra step of suspending the integrated bug net. However, as the system comes with simple bungee cords (extra long!), looping the cord through the elastic bands and tying them around the same trees as your suspension system is a relative snap! One thing to note, however, is that if the two sides of the net suspension are too close together (such as if your anchor tree is quite narrow), the bug net is a bit confining. We much preferred using medium to large trees, which gave us plenty of room inside the bug-free zone. Compared to other hammocks with bug nets, we felt the Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro is positively a breeze to set up!
Durability and Protection
We were pretty impressed with the durability of construction of this hammock from Grand Trunk that boasts a 400-pound capacity. Enjoy it with a friend! The 70 denier nylon is triple stitched along all seams — from the joined colors to the sides to the gathered ends of the hammock. Our testers felt this hammock was a very solid construction, with hefty zippers to aid in the longevity of this hammock. And with the integrated bug net, the protection value of the Skeeter Beeter is much higher than that of a hammock without a bug net such as the Bear Butt Double, or even just a single-width hammock like the Trek Light Single. The relatively tight weave of the bug net even provides limited protection from a slight breeze as well.
That being said, we felt that the rope suspension system (never a good idea to use on a living tree) and bungees to suspend the bug net weren't of the same high quality as the actual hammock. The ends were left to fray and both the rope and bungee cord didn't feel to us that they would last the test of time, and instead were begging to be replaced. And of course, a hammock without a rain fly will never score as high for protection as a hammock with a rain fly like the REI Co-op Flash Air or Hennessey Expedition Asym Zip. But for what features it has, we thought the Skeeter Beeter was pretty durable and provided a decent amount of protection from the elements and creepy crawlies.
In this category, we scored the Skeeter Beeter lower. While we felt there were many ways to hang and adjust this hammock and all kinds of ways to find comfort in its parachute cloud, we just couldn't use it the same in the backyard or at the city park with friends. The bug net zips open to about a foot from the end, meaning there's no way to easily unzip the net and leave it open for regular hangs. However, it is large enough for two people to sit in (though sleeping is a different story), so perhaps you can simply invite your buddy in for a chat and a beverage.
If you're seeking a hammock with greater versatility, you might consider picking up a system like the ENO SubLink that you can choose which pieces (hammock, rain fly, bug net) to take or leave depending on where you go. You might also consider a hammock that has a bug net you can fold all the way back, like the previous Editor's Choice, the Warbonnet Blackbird or even the Best Buy for a Complete System, the REI Co-op Flash Air. Still not what you're after? You could also pick up a simple hammock like the Bear Butt Double and buy a bug net to slip over top when you feel the need for a protective barrier and the six-legged flying Draculas. But if you live in Bug City, Skeeterville, or Insectopia, the Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter might just be your new BFF.
So why would you buy a hammock with an integrated bug net? Well, if you're asking that question, then you might not live in a place that has to deal with a lot of biting insects! Hammocks like the Skeeter Beeter Pro, with bug nets built in are a great way to keep yourself itchless while hammock camping. Integrating the bug net with the hammock helps keep the total package weight down instead of having separate hammock and bug net. It also makes the whole thing simpler to set up, and the Skeeter Beeter is one of the easiest to set up and use hammock/bug net combo models we tested! However, an integrated bug net can also reduce the overall versatility of a hammock, as perhaps sometimes you don't need that bug net but now you're carrying it around all the time. Even more true in the case of the Skeeter Beeter whose design forces you to use the bug net, as there's no way to tie, fold, or roll it back out of the way. We feel the best situation to use the Skeeter Beeter is camping out in a buggy area, and not so much an afternoon BBQ with friends.
This is one place where we felt the Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro excelled! Compared to similar models (aka ones with bug nets, like the REI Flash Air, ENO SubLink, and Warbonnet hammocks), the Skeeter Beeter Pro is an absolute steal! If you're looking for a hammock with a bug net but aren't sure you want to spend $200+ on such a piece of gear, the Skeeter Beeter is a great solution at less than half the cost! And if you end up loving it, you could buy a second one for your buddy to come camping with you, and still have only spent as much as you would have on one of the other models.
We hope we've been able to show you why the Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro is our Editor's Choice throughout the body of this article. But if you just skipped down to the conclusion from the top, here's what our testers had to say at the end of the day: the Skeeter Beeter is a durable, comfortable, spacious, easy-to-use hammock that offers great protection for a fraction of the cost. If you've been teetering on the edge of a bug net/hammock, we think you'll love the cloud-like feel and fortress-like protection of the Skeeter Beeter Pro.
Other Versions and Accessories
Grand Trunk offers many versions of hammocks, including the Grand Trunk Ultralight Starter, Ultralight Nano, Single, Double, and even a Junior option! They also sell trunk straps (replace those rope slings already!), lightweight carabiners, and even a stand so you can enjoy the magic of a hammock without trees — even indoors! Not sure about the integrated bug net? Grab another Grand Trunk model and add the Mozzy Net later. Headed out in rain? They even sell a rain fly! Grand Trunk is truly a one-stop-shop for all kinds of hammock gear.
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Most recent review: May 10, 2018
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