Sea to Summit Pro Double Review
Cons: All components sold separately, can only use branded suspension system, pricey for the full system
Manufacturer: Sea to Summit
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Sea to Summit's Pro Double hammock allows you to pick and choose the components you need for any outdoor hammock adventure. This long and wide 'mock gives you plenty of space to find a comfortable diagonal position for sleeping or sitting with a friend at the park.
Add Sea to Summit's lightweight tarp and zippered entry bug net with a spreader bar, and you have an a la carte system every bit as light as all but the lightest hammock systems on the market. With the combination of comfort, low weight, and versatility, it's easy to see why we chose the Sea to Summit hammock system as our Top Pick for Ultralight Versatility.
The larger size of the Pro Double makes it almost as comfortable for lounging as some of the other end gathered hammocks, like the voluminous Kootek. Sea to Summit's Pro Double exceeds the ENO Doublenest in length and only comes up 9" short of the longest hammocks we tested. In width, the Pro Double is 7" narrower than the Kootek. It measures a whopping 26" wider and 15" longer than the ENO Sub6, which is what gives it superior comfort.
The Pro Double is very comfortable as a shelter system. Our testers like its width and were able to find a comfortable, flat position much better than smaller shelter hammocks. Still, the size and shape don't provide as much of a spacious feel and flat position as the asymmetric hammocks.
When using an end-gathered hammock, comfort is dictated by the size of the fabric and how you hang it. Because the Pro Double is larger than other ultralight models we tested, 10 feet long and just over 6 feet wide, it makes it much easier to find the diagonal sweet spot. Even our 6' tall testers had plenty of room to stretch out. Another benefit of the large size is that we can get comfy and when sitting sideways whether we hung the hammock loosely or taut. The hammock also has plenty of room for a buddy.
The hammock itself weighs just a pound. It's lighter than all but the ultralight models making it viable for taking on multi-night backpacking trips where weight is important. While this weight itself isn't impressive compared to ultralight hammocks like the ENO Sub6, once we added in the tarp, straps, and bug net, these two shelter systems came to the same weight at 42 ounces.
Sea to Summit uses a lighter weight material in their tarp than ENO does in their Sublink system, saving 5 ounces. They save another almost 2 ounces on the bug net and 2 ounces on the suspension straps. Add in ENO's fleece-lined stuff sack pillow, and you make up the 10 ounces difference in hammock weights. If you prioritize comfort, the Pro Double is going to make you happier.
Durability and Protection
In many ways, the Sea to Summit Pro is identical to the other basic end gathered hammocks we tested, but the thing that sets it aside is the material. The hammock is made with lighter weight nylon than the day use models. Sea to Summit uses a ripstop material to increase durability while decreasing weight. This also makes the Pro Double a very compact hammock. Only ultralight models are smaller.
When using the Pro Double as a backpacking shelter with a rain fly, Sea to Summit's Hammock Tarp really shines. It is light-weight and easy to set up and adjust with built-in cord tensioners on each corner. Sea to Summit's tarp uses a 5 point shape that gives you more protection from the wind and blowing rain on one side of the hammock and more visibility on the other. You can set the hammock up so that the large side faces into the wind and enjoy the weight savings that come from not having an entirely rectangular tarp. The tarp is an excellent compromise between protection and weight savings for those who like to camp even if there is rain in the forecast.
We like that the Sea to Summit Hammock Bug Net has a spreader bar to keep the net off our faces. The world's tiniest little tent pole is inside the stuff sack, and you assemble and slide it into a pole sleeve on the net. The pole doesn't keep the net very high off of your face (a few inches lower than the ends of your hammock). If you tend to be claustrophobic or want to be able to sit up a little bit better, a bug net with a ridgeline might be a better fit. Even though the net isn't very high off your face, the material is soft and stretchy, so we found it pretty easy to sit up anyways.
We like the large door of this bug net. It is much easier to get in and out of than the sleeve-style netting which you have to slide down over you like a sleeping bag.
The Sea to Summit Bug Net is very soft, but the less dense weave leaves us concerns about smaller insects such as no-see-ums. We also suspect the durability of this material which showed tears near the snap that holds the bar in after just one use. This area sustains the most force when setting the net up and is easily stressed. The other durability issue we found with this bug net is that it drags the ground unless your hammock is set pretty high, therefore, when you get out of your hammock you are likely to step on the net if you're not extra careful.
Ease of Set Up
Setting up the Pro Double is very quick and intuitive. We tested it with Sea to Summit's Ultralight Suspension Straps. These have a metal hoop on one end, allowing you to quickly pass the end of the webbing through. It's not hard to pass a webbing line through a webbing loop, but the metal buckle means that you encounter virtually no resistance, so the process is smooth; no fiddling required.
The tree straps should have been wider, at ¾-inch they don't provide much protection for the tree's bark, but they are better than just a piece of cord. Sea to Summit uses an innovative metal buckle to hook the hammock suspension to the tree strap. This makes hanging your hammock a cinch and reduces wear on the webbing and cord. The other complaint we have about the suspension system is that the webbing doesn't tighten or release very easily. We had to manually thread the webbing through the adjustment buckle rather than lifting the end and sliding it smoothly. It's important to note that Sea to Summit hammocks can ONLY be set up with Sea to Summit straps and vice versa. Don't buy one without the other.
If you are using the bug net accessory, you'll need to slide it on over one end of the hammock. Our testers found that if you try to do this after putting your sleeping bag and pad inside the hammock, it is a tight fit and a little harder to hold the hammock off the ground as you unhook its attachment to the tree. The best idea is to put the bug net on when you set the hammock up and just leave it bunched up at one end until you need it. We also found that it is difficult to attach an underquilt with the bug net because the net is cinched up around the hammock ends, right where you need to attach the underquilt.
The Sea to Summit's hammock shelter system is versatile enough to award it our Top Pick for Versatility. Its combination of lightweight materials and the ability to pick and choose which components to take on any given trip allow you to buy one hammock for all uses. Without an integrated bug net or tarp, you can just take the parts you need in your day pack and head to the park or pack everything for a week on the AT and still have your shelter only weigh in at 42 ounces.
Because this hammock is almost as large as the comfortable day use end-gathered hammocks, we often chose to bring it along because of its lighter weight. The 400-pound weight capacity also lets us rest easy knowing that it won't limit most people from hanging out and watching the sunset with a friend.
For the lightweight versatility and comfort, you get with this hammock, the higher price tag is worth it. But, if you're considering the whole system, it's the most expensive one we tested at over $300 for all the components. And you can get a more comfortable hammock with the same protection for the same or less weight. So why buy the Pro Double? The value of this hammock comes in its quality components and ability to hold its own in weight and comfort while giving you the option to pick and choose what pieces you need. For those who want that flexibility, the Pro Double holds tremendous value because we couldn't find another system that rated so high in all metrics including versatility.
They say that you can get one piece of gear that can do it all, but it won't be able to do any one thing all that well. We think the Pro Double comes pretty close to being able to do it all and do it well. It balances low weight, quality components that protect you from the elements, and a spacious hammock. It also leaves your options open as to which pieces you want to carry with you on each adventure. If versatility is number one, the Pro Double with a tarp, bug net, and straps may be the system for you.
Other Versions and Accessories
Sea to Summit offers a Pro Single that we haven't tested and an Ultralight hammock if you like this system but want to save a little or a lot of weight. Sea to Summit also sells 1.5-inch wide tree straps that would probably work better.
— Elizabeth Paashaus