The Sea to Summit Ultralight is a shockingly lightweight single hammock that, thanks to its integrated compression sack, stuffs down to about the size of a 12 oz can. This is possible due to small dimensions (nearly the smallest in our test suite) and thin (see-through) nylon fabric. Point being, this hammock isn't for everyone. If you're on the tall side or have broad shoulders, you will feel constrained. If you plan to sleep in the Sea to Summit, choose your bedding material strategically and accept that you won't be able to lay diagonally, which means flat. But, if you're a thru-hiker and the size and weight of every single thing in your pack are of the utmost importance, then this might be a dream come true.
Sea to Summit Ultralight Review
Cons: Suspension not included, small dimensions, material is thin and not very soft, buckles don't accommodate a carabiner
Manufacturer: Sea to Summit
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Sea to Summit Ultralight is a niche hammock, perfect for the weight and space obsessed hiker, backpacker, and camper. It compresses down to the size of a soda can and weighs under 6 ounces (without suspension). While its dimensions are small and not conducive to sleeping diagonally or piling in a thick air mattress, for the serious backcountry adventurer that counts every gram, this is worth consideration.
For how light, thin, and small the Sea to Summit Ultralight is, it's still quite comfortable for smaller users — at least for uncomplicated sitting and lounging. Our main tester is 5'9" and felt fine in this hammock but wasn't able to get a diagonal lay and felt cramped when trying to add much bedding. If you plan to lounge and are comfortable sleeping on your back, this is fine. But if you are much taller than 5'10" or need to lay on your side while sleeping, this might not be a good choice.
If instead, you want to lay flat (achieved by being diagonal), and weight is still important to you, you might check out the Grand Trunk OneMade Double TrunkTech or Sea to Summit Pro Double, which are the lightest double hammocks we reviewed and still have plenty of space to get flat.
A clear winner in this category, the Sea to Summit Ultralight only weighs 5.8 ounces with its integrated stuff sack and a mere 4.8 ounces by itself. If weight and space in your pack are major concerns, you can't get lighter or smaller than this impressive model. However, this weight doesn't include suspension, something you'll obviously need. Sea to Summit does have a very lightweight and compatible option - their ultralight suspension straps weigh less than 3 ounces. They are thin though, and to be tree-friendly, you have to add their compatible tree protector straps, which adds 4.75 ounces to your bag.
Other lightweight options in our test suite included the 5.7-ounce ENO Sub6, 7.3-ounce Grand Trunk Nano 7, and the 12.5-ounce Grand Trunk Ultralight Starter Hammock, but neither of these was very comfortable or protective. If you want a full camping setup that remains lightweight, the Hennessy Ultralite Backpacker weighs in at 32 ounces, which includes an integrated bug net, rain fly, and suspension.
Ease of Set Up
Setting up this hammock is simple, though there are a few things to be aware of. If you get the ultralight suspension system offered by Sea to Summit, which is specific to their hammocks, all you have to do is slot the buckle on the hammock through the one on the straps. Simple as that. But, if you don't have their system and need to put together your own, it gets a little more complicated. The buckle doesn't accommodate a carabiner — the hole in it is too narrow.
Durability and Protection
While the Sea to Summit Ultralight is beyond impressive for weight and size, the natural tradeoff is durability. It's made from high-quality 20D Nylon monofilament, but it is very, very thin. A moment of not paying attention to keys on your belt loop or sharp branches on a nearby tree could easily tear the fabric. It does come with a patch kit though, so at least you'll be prepared. And yes, the super thin material is breathable and moisture-wicking, which is great for a hot and muggy summer night, but not so much for even a slightly cool mountain breeze. For just 2 ounces more, you could try the Grand Trunk Ultralight Starter which is made out of ripstop nylon and protects against wind a bit better than this model does.
The Sea to Summit Ultralight is not a versatile piece of gear on its own. The small dimensions mean that there aren't as many options for how you can lay or what sleeping gear you can pile in. That's unfortunate because the thin material means you can't make it through even mildly cold nights without extra gear. The shortened length also means that anyone taller than 5'8" or so will feel constricted. If you're a thru-hiker counting every gram in your pack, however, this model offers a lot. Since it's a specialized model, it's all about how you plan to use it.
If you want a great combo of versatility and weight-consciousness, add the 13 ounce Sea to Summit Hammock Bug Net, the 10 ounce Sea to Summit Hammock Tarp, and the Ultralight Suspension Straps for a complete package that weighs just over 31 ounces. For added comfort (and weight), swap the hammock for the Sea to Summit Pro Double and you'll have our Top Pick for Ultralight Versatility.
The Sea to Summit Ultralight is a niche hammock perfect for the weight-obsessed thru-hiker and milder weather conditions. But it's not the smartest choice for the casual lounger or anyone who wants a solid diagonal lay for flat sleeping. Its dimensions are quite conservative to save on weight, so if you're tall or broad-shouldered, you will probably find yourself pretty constricted. Considering the price point on this hammock, we recommend it for people that need to save on weight and space in their pack. Otherwise, there are more durable, comfortable, and versatile options, many of which are also cheaper.
This hammock is $90 without suspension. Suspension from Sea to Summit will set you back at least another $20. Also consider that, if you plan to sleep out overnight, you will need even more gear. Bottom line, this is an investment that only makes sense for those who need to cut every spec of extra weight possible. If weight isn't a priority, spend roughly the same amount or less on another model and get thicker material and more room to spread out by yourself or with a buddy. But for the right adventurer, this is a solid piece of professional gear, and the price tag makes sense.
We like the Sea to Summit Ultralight. It is a solid choice for anyone needing a ridiculously light setup. It offers an integrated compression stuff sack that allows it to squish down to the size of a soda can and, if you get the dedicated suspension system from Sea to Summit, set up is super straightforward and easily adjustable. However, if you don't need to stay ultralight, this hammock probably doesn't need to be on your shortlist. It's very thin, and its dimensions are small — so if you have a bigger build, too much bedding, or cold temperatures, you won't be a happy camper. This is a classic scenario of having the right tool for the job — if your job at hand involves being compact and uber light, this is a fantastic tool. But if your job is more in line with spreading out for a luxurious lounge or cuddling with friends, keep shopping.
Other Versions and Accessories
The Sea to Summit offers suspension systems — both ultralight and regular (which they call pro), tree protectors, a tarp, gear sling, and bug net. They also have a thicker pro single and pro double model.
— Penney Garrett