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Kootek Portable Review

A great way to save money but still find all the comfort, simplicity, and webbing suspension straps that you expect from top hammock brands
Kootek Portable
Photo: Kootek
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $26 List | $21.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Comfortable, large, easy to use, versatile, surprisingly low cost
Cons:  Not the lightest, sticky carabiner
Manufacturer:   Kootek
By Elizabeth Paashaus ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 7, 2019
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58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 16
  • Comfort - 40% 6
  • Weight - 20% 5
  • Durability and Protection - 20% 5
  • Ease of Set Up - 10% 9
  • Versatility - 10% 5

Our Verdict

We selected the Kootek for our Best Buy for Day Use Award among some pretty stiff competition. The hammock market is flooded with seemingly identical options, with little difference other than price. Kootek's large size, beating all but a few, makes it one of the most comfortable hammocks we reviewed. Excellent straps (included) give it an easy hang and a wide range of set-up options. It also has one of the highest weight capacities at 500 pounds, making it perfect for relaxing with a friend. If you are looking for a simple, end-gathered hammock, all of our research and testing leads us to recommend the Kootek as the best bang for your buck.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Kootek Portable
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Kootek Portable
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $21.99 at Amazon$155 List$80 List$159.95 at REI$24.95 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Comfortable, large, easy to use, versatile, surprisingly low costSpacious, comfortable, easy to set up and use, integrated bug net, customizableLightweight, spacious, easy set up, versatile for day use or backcountry shelterComfortable asymmetric design, budget friendly, package includes full shelter systemAffordable, lightweight, comfortable
Cons Not the lightest, sticky carabinerSuspension sold separately, can't remove bug net completelyAll components sold separately, can only use branded suspension system, pricey for the full systemMore complicated set up, small rain fly, bug net is not removableLimited durability and protection, only moderately sized
Bottom Line A great way to save money but still find all the comfort, simplicity, and webbing suspension straps that you expect from top hammock brandsSuperior comfort with a dedicated footbox, spacious fabric, and all the features needed for many nights of cozy sleepThis lightweight all-around model makes no sacrifices when it comes to comfort and versatilityThe trimmed-down design of the Expedition offers a comfortable asymmetric shape and keeps both the weight and the price lowA very affordable and easy-to-use hammock that provides a great entry point to try out hammocking without breaking the bank or the scales
Rating Categories Kootek Portable Warbonnet Original... Sea to Summit Pro D... Hennessy Expedition... Ultralight Starter
Comfort (40%)
6.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
4.0
Weight (20%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Durability And Protection (20%)
5.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
4.0
Ease Of Set Up (10%)
9.0
7.0
7.0
4.0
9.0
Versatility (10%)
5.0
5.0
8.0
4.0
5.0
Specs Kootek Portable Warbonnet Original... Sea to Summit Pro D... Hennessy Expedition... Ultralight Starter
Measured Weight - Package (ounces) 23 oz 27 oz hammock, bug net, webbing/buckle suspension 16 oz 42 oz 14.6 oz
Measured Weight - Hammock Only (ounces) 23 oz 26 oz hammock, bug net, webbing/buckle suspension 16 oz 30 oz (hammock, bug net, suspension) 10.3 oz
Measured Weight - Hammock and Suspension (ounces) 37 oz 26 oz hammock, bug net, webbing/buckle suspension 19 oz 30 oz (hammock, bug net, suspension) N/A
Measured Weight - Shelter System (no stakes) N/A 42 oz with Mini Fly tarp 42 oz (hammock suspension, bug net, tarp) 42 oz (hammock, bug net, tarp, suspension) N/A
Capacity (weight) 500 lbs 350-400 lbs depending on options selected 400 lbs 250 lbs 300lbs
Hanging Straps Included? Yes, 10' straps no, can add onto purchase for extra $ No Yes No
Hammock Size 9'10" x 6'6" 10' x 5.25' 10' x 6'2" 10' x 4.92' 8'9" x 4'8"
Size Compact 9.8" x 7.4" 10" x 4" 4" x 6" 9" x 7" x 4" 8" x 4" x 4"
Connectors Steel carabiners Whoopies/straps or buckle/webbing (sold separately) Buckles Polyester rope Nautical grade carabiners
Material 210D nylon 40D or 70D Nylon (depending on options selected) 70D nylon ripstop 70D Oxford Nylon King Rhombic RipStop Polyester
Construction Triple interlocking stitching End gathered, asymmetric hammock, single or double layer fabric, zipper along 1 side, integrated bug netting. Storage shelf and foot box Ripstop nylon, double interlocking stitching Single panel double-stitched seam connection to zipper and 30D polyester No-See-Um netting. 3mm integrated ridgeline. 5mm cord connected to hammock anchor point to tie around tree strap. Dual stretch cord attachments to pull hammock body away at sides. Mildew resistant, tear resistant
Sizes / Colors 1 size, 5 colors 27 colors, 3 fabric layering configurations 2 sizes, 4 colors Multiple other sizes/configurations available under other Hennessy product names 1 size, 3 color options
Capacity (height) Not stated 6' Not stated 6' Not stated
Accessories (compatible, not included) None Rain flies, bug net, carabiners, fish hooks, under quilts, top quilts, suspension systems Suspension straps, Rain fly, bug net, gear sling, wider tree protection straps, Tree straps, larger rain flys, insulation, "snakeskin" stuff sacks Trunk strap, aluminum carabiners, stand
Accessories (included with hammock) Tree straps, steel carabiners Guylines, bugnetting, storage shelf, continuous loops (for attaching suspension system to), stuff sack Continuous loops Tree straps, 70D polyurethane coated polyester ripstop rainfly, integrated bug net Stuff sack, carabiners
Extra Accessories Tested None Mini Fly tarp, webbing with buckles suspension, Rain fly, ultralight suspension straps, bug net None None

Our Analysis and Test Results

Take a few yards of fabric, tie a rope to either end, and you've got yourself a spot to swing. Honestly, there isn't much more that goes into an end gathered hammock at first glance, so what's the difference, and how did we select the Kootek as our Best Buy for Day Use?

The Kootek provides a well-constructed 'mock with triple interlocking stitching, soft parachute fabric, and a voluminous 9.8 feet x 6.5 feet of lounging space. The included heavy-duty webbing straps have the most adjustability, allowing for both long and short tree spans. Need to know more? Read on for the nitty, gritty details.

Performance Comparison


The Kootek's huge amount of fabric gives you a wonderfully...
The Kootek's huge amount of fabric gives you a wonderfully comfortable place to take a load off.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Comfort


With end-gathered hammocks, comfort equates to size, which relates to how you pitch it. The Kootek hammock in the large size that we tested is one of the best (by some narrow margins because honestly, many of the basic end-gathered hammocks are very, very similar.) It is the widest hammock we tested at 6.5 feet beating the competitors by anywhere from 1 to 5 inches. It's also one of the longer hammocks we tested, measuring a whopping 9.8 feet.

How much space do I have?
How much space do I have?
Photo: Adam Paashaus

The fabric of the Kootek is the same soft parachute fabric that we found in every other similar model. Even the higher-priced models seem to be made of the same material. When you get into the lightweight end-gathered hammocks, you start to see more fabric variation. They typically save weight by using thinner material and smaller cuts. We like this parachute fabric for its soft feel on our skin and quick-drying ability.


Like most hammocks, the most comfortable reclined position is found on the diagonal line rather than end to end. With a large hammock-like the Kootek, it is easy to find many comfortable spots. In smaller hammocks, the limited length confines your feet and shoulders.

In our tests, we had plenty of room to relax sideways, add in a friend, or two, or three kids. The width of this model allows the user to sit sideways with head support and plenty of fabric to spare. Many models are similar in their wide swaths of fabric but don't always include straps as nice or keep the cost as low.

Getting on the diagonal sometimes means the excess fabric drapes on...
Getting on the diagonal sometimes means the excess fabric drapes on your face.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Weight


The Kootek was nothing special weight-wise. At 23 ounces (not including straps), it was on par with the other similar models.


We probably wouldn't throw the Kootek in our packs for a multi-day backpacking adventure but will happily tote it around on day trips, down to the river, and even on overnighter where weight isn't as critical.

The Kootek isn't a super compact package but is plenty portable for...
The Kootek isn't a super compact package but is plenty portable for day excursions.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Durability and Protection


An open, day-use model will never rank as high in protection as an expedition hammock that comes with bug netting and a rain fly, but there are a few factors to consider. The hammocks like the Kootek with wider fabric allow you to cocoon up inside, giving you some protection from bugs and maybe a drizzle.


Thicker fabrics can cut the breeze a little bit. The parachute fabric of the Kootek is thicker than that of some ultralight models but is still pretty thin and breathable. On summer days, the way the breeze comes through the fabric is a great respite, but in cooler weather, you may want to add in a blanket or pad to cut the chill.

Wrapping up like this is fine for a short period of time but for...
Wrapping up like this is fine for a short period of time but for overnight use, a bug net and tarp will give you the protection you need.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

If you are looking for a hammock to use as a shelter in anything but the perfect weather, you'll probably want to add a bug net and tarp. Kootek doesn't offer any accessory options, but those from many other brands will work just fine.

We carefully inspected the stitching and construction in the hammocks we tested, trying to determine a difference between the end-gathered day models. What we found was very little difference. We expected to see more durable construction in the higher-priced models, but, to our eyes, they were the same. The Kootek and similar models all share triple interlocking stitching and parachute fabric that feels and appears to be of the same quality.

We felt secure in these hammocks, but it's important to be cautious about sharp belt buckles, keys the might fall out of pockets, and any other item that could poke a small hole. Once a hole is poked in a parachute fabric under tension, your bum is hitting the ground. For increased durability, we tested some models that used a rip-stop fabric.

When unpackaging the Kootek, we noticed that the cord tied to each end was loosely tied, with the ends floating free. Upon first use, the knot tightened up just fine but could just as easily have come undone altogether. You should always use caution and inspect knots to ensure they are tied properly before use.

The cordage gathering the ends was loose when we got it but once...
The cordage gathering the ends was loose when we got it but once tightened up was safe to use.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Ease of Set Up


One thing that makes us stoked about the Kootek is the inclusion of straps. And not just a piece of rope but high-quality, heavy-duty webbing straps with triple bar-tacked loops. No other tested model had straps of this quality included in their price. For day use hammocks, this type of strap is our favorite; quick to set up and adjust, durable and confidence-inspiring, and wide to protect tree bark.


Kootek's included straps have 18 loops to attach the hammock to, compared to ENO's Atlas Strap at 15 loops, giving the Kootek slightly more adjustability. However, Kootek's straps are 59 inches long compared to ENO's Atlas Straps which measure 62 inches. A few extra inches in strap length increase the versatility of your hang more than a couple of extra loops because it allows a greater range of tree size and distance.

We had trouble discerning the difference between the excellent...
We had trouble discerning the difference between the excellent quality of Kootek' straps and ENO's Atlas Straps.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Kootek uses a carabiner on either end to connect the 'mock to the straps. The 'biner included is a cheaply made steel carabiner. It's heavy compared to the lightweight climbing grade 'biners, and the gate would often stick open, and we had to close it manually. You could easily replace it with a nice wire gate carabiner from any climbing shop to further improve the ease of setup, but it's certainly not necessary. We like the Black Diamond Oz for an uber light and strong, high-quality carabiner.

The gate sticks open and doesn't have very smooth action: A sure...
The gate sticks open and doesn't have very smooth action: A sure sign of a cheap 'biner just waiting for the gate to fail.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Versatility


A large end-gathered hammock is always a versatile camp item. They are often used for lounging and reading a book, watching a sunset with friends, or even sleeping at camp. The 550-pound weight capacity makes this 'mock versatile for a few friends or the kids to all pile into.


Once you add a tarp and bug net to the Kootek you would have a pretty heavy system that wouldn't be ideal for carrying on a backpacking trip but has excellent potential for car camping and other trips where weight is not critical.

There's always room for one more when your buddies are little! How...
There's always room for one more when your buddies are little! How many kids can you fit with a 500-pound weight capacity?
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Value


Even if the Kootek weren't so inexpensive, we would still rank it up there with well-known brands. Its quality and size are on par with other tested models we tested. It's one of the few day-use models that come with tree protection straps included, and you can't beat the price.

One unique thing about the Kootek that may add value for some is the surprising absence of any labels. Nowhere on the stuff sack, hammock, straps, or carabiners will you find any logo or name dropping.

Conclusion


If you're looking for a hammock to give you a comfortable place to chill, the Kootek is one of our favorite options. Maybe you are considering a hammock but don't know if you'll like it or how much use you'll get out of it. If that's the case, you can't go wrong giving the Kootek a try for the price of a couple of 6-packs of craft beer.

Chill, munch an apple and watch the river flow by on a beautiful...
Chill, munch an apple and watch the river flow by on a beautiful spring day in the Kootek hammock.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Elizabeth Paashaus