Hands-on Gear Review

Sea to Summit Ultralight Review

Price:  $90 List | $85.85 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Extremely light, integrated compression sack, patch kit included, breathable moisture-wicking fabric
Cons:  Suspension not included, small dimensions, material is thin and not very soft, buckles don't accommodate a carabiner
Bottom line:  For the weight and size obsessed outdoor enthusiast, the Ultralight is an incredible choice - but for regular everyday hammock users or anyone tall and broad-shouldered, there are smarter choices.
Editors' Rating:   
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Capacity (weight):  300 lbs
Hanging Straps Included ?:  No
Hammock Size:  8' x 4'
Manufacturer:   Sea to Summit

Our Verdict

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 (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 very broad shoulders, you will undoubtedly feel constrained. If you plan to sleep in the Sea to Summit, choose your bedding material strategically and accept that you won't achieve a diagonal lay. 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.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Backpacking & Camping Hammocks of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Penney Garrett

Last Updated:
Saturday
February 3, 2018

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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.

Performance Comparison


This ultralight hammock was surprisingly strong and comfortable for its weight and size  though getting comfortable enough to sleep was much more challenging.
This ultralight hammock was surprisingly strong and comfortable for its weight and size, though getting comfortable enough to sleep was much more challenging.

Comfort


For how light, thin, and small the Sea to Summit Ultralight is, it's still quite comfortable - at least for uncomplicated sitting and lounging. And if you're not too big. Our main tester was 5'9" and felt fine but wasn't able to get a diagonal lay and was noticeably cramped when trying to add too much bedding. If you plan to just 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.

When sitting upright or laying on our backs  this hammock was fine. But it wasn't big enough to do much more than that  especially once we added gear for sleeping.
When sitting upright or laying on our backs, this hammock was fine. But it wasn't big enough to do much more than that, especially once we added gear for sleeping.

We had some several favorites in this performance metric. Our Editor's Choice, the Warbonnet Blackbird, offered a fantastic diagonal lay due to its asymmetrical design. Our Top Pick for Side Sleeping, the Warbonnet Ridgerunner, came with spreader bars - a unique feature for a camping hammock. It performed more like a cot and allowed us to lay on our side and even stomach easily. And finally, the ENO Reactor: a generously sized, plush open model with double thick material that creates a sleeve for your sleeping pad or mattress.

Weight


A clear winner in this category, the Sea to Summit Ultralight only weighed 5.8 ounces with its integrated stuff sack and a mere 4.8 ounces by itself. This is almost an ounce and a half less than our next lightest model, the 6.4-ounce Sub7 which we reviewed as part of the ENO SubLink Shelter System, our Top Pick for Ultralight Versatility. 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 if you want to be more tree-friendly and add their compatible tree protector straps, you'll have to commit to another 4.75 ounces in your bag.

At 5.8 ounces for both the hammock and the included compression stuff sack  this is arguably the lightest and smallest hammock you can get your hands on.
At 5.8 ounces for both the hammock and the included compression stuff sack, this is arguably the lightest and smallest hammock you can get your hands on.

Other lightweight options in our test suite included the 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 Asym Zip weighed in at 22.3 ounces, including its integrated bug net. With its full setup which includes a tarp and suspension, it still only tipped the scale to 33.6 ounces. The ENO SubLink Shelter System weighed 44.6 ounces altogether — the hammock, suspension, tarp, bug net, AND stakes.

Ease of Setup


Set up for this hammock is simple, though there are a few things to be aware of. If you get the suspension system offered by Sea to Summit and specific for 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 because the buckle doesn't accommodate a carabiner - the hole in it is too narrow. We ended up girth-hitching a small climbing sling and then attaching our carabiner to an ENO suspension system we already had. Still simple, especially for anyone with random climbing gear laying around, but requiring a bit more thought and prep.

Because we didn't have the Sea to Summit brand suspension that integrates with the buckles on this hammock  we had to get creative with some extra climbing gear.
Because we didn't have the Sea to Summit brand suspension that integrates with the buckles on this hammock, we had to get creative with some extra climbing gear.

Durability and Protection


While the Sea to Summit Ultralight is beyond impressive for weight and size, the natural tradeoff was in this metric. It's made from high-quality 20D Nylon monofilament, but the fact is that it's really, really thin. A moment of not paying attention to keys on your belt loop or sharp branches on a neighboring tree could easily mean a tear. This was the only hammock to come with a patch kit though, so at least you'll be prepared. And yes, the super thin material is breathable and moisture-wicking - great for a hot and muggy summer night, but not so much for even a slightly cool mountain breeze.

For this hammock to achieve its shockingly low weight  there were some sacrifices in other areas. The material is incredibly thin and won't keep any sort of weather out  but we did appreciate the included patch kit for potential mid-adventure emergencies.
For this hammock to achieve its shockingly low weight, there were some sacrifices in other areas. The material is incredibly thin and won't keep any sort of weather out, but we did appreciate the included patch kit for potential mid-adventure emergencies.

The models most impressive for both durability and protection were our Editors' Choice the Warbonnet Blackbird and the burly and well-constructed Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip. Both of these hammocks have considerably thicker nylon and also come with tarps and bug nets.

Versatility


The Sea to Summit Ultralight is not a versatile piece of gear on its own. The small dimensions mean there aren't as many options for how you can lay or what sleeping gear you can pile in, and the thin material means you can't make it through even mildly cold nights without extra gear. The shortened length also means that hammockers taller than 5'10" 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.

While we got a pretty thick air mattress and sleeping bag into this hammock  it didn't leave us much room to move - and moving around too much made flipping out and onto the ground quite easy (we actually accomplished this feat twice). For sleeping  we recommend a thinner pad instead of an air mattress.
While we got a pretty thick air mattress and sleeping bag into this hammock, it didn't leave us much room to move - and moving around too much made flipping out and onto the ground quite easy (we actually accomplished this feat twice). For sleeping, we recommend a thinner pad instead of an air mattress.

If weight isn't your primary concern but versatility and features are, be sure to check out both Warbonnet models and both Hennessy models. They are all conducive to more comfortable laying positions, have integrated bug nets, and include tarps and suspension. If you want a great combo of versatility and weight-consciousness, our Top Pick for Ultralight Versatility, the ENO SubLink Shelter System is fantastic. It gives you the option to take only what you need (a 6.4-ounce hammock perhaps?) and leave the rest behind. But if you do need a tarp or a bug net, you have the option to bring those too.

Best Applications


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 that wants a solid diagonal lay for 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.

Value


This hammock is $90 without suspension. Suspension from Sea to Summit will set you back at least another $20. Consider also 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 that need to cut every gram of 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.

Conclusion


We liked the Sea to Summit Ultralight. It is a solid choice for anyone needing a super 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 with a bigger build, too much bedding, or cold temperatures, you likely 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.

If you're a serious thru-hiker or just someone who can't afford to add much weight or mass to your bag  the Sea to Summit Ultralight is like a dream come true. Just be aware that it's small and thin. Plan accordingly.
If you're a serious thru-hiker or just someone who can't afford to add much weight or mass to your bag, the Sea to Summit Ultralight is like a dream come true. Just be aware that it's small and thin. Plan accordingly.

Other Versions and Accessories


Sea to Summit offers suspension systems - both ultralight and regular (what 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

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Most recent review: April 24, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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 (2.0)

0% of 1 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 50%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Backpacker

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   Apr 24, 2018 - 09:01pm
scope · Backpacker · Atlanta

Imagine you've got a solo tent that's 3lbs, but now you're offered an "ultralight" version that is basically the same thing except instead of 6' long, its 5' long, and even less side space than you had before. How does that strike you? Hey, you're saving a half pound or so probably, right? Yeah, I imagine sleeping curled up in that short tent only goes for so long. This is what you have with this version of an ultralight hammock. Its an 8' hammock folks, a full foot shorter than an ENO single which is already short.

For reference, my 11' long x 65" wide BIAS hammock weighs 8oz, and is truly comfortable, which is why you use a hammock in the first place.

This product gets an extra star for actually using ultralight materials, and for the right person, it certainly could work. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone over 5' tall, and even then, the narrow width makes it difficult to lay diagonal.



Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.


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