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Sea to Summit Ultralight Review

For the weight and pack size obsessed, the Ultralight is incredible. For everyday hammock users or taller, broad-shouldered folks, there are better choices
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Price:  $90 List | $75.95 at REI
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
Manufacturer:   Sea to Summit
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 2, 2018
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52
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 16
  • Comfort - 40% 4
  • Weight - 20% 10
  • Durability and Protection - 20% 2
  • Ease of Set Up - 10% 8
  • Versatility - 10% 4

Our Verdict

The Sea to Summit Ultralight is a shockingly lightweight 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 aren't petite, you'll feel constrained. If you plan to sleep in the Sea to Summit, accept that you won't be able to lay diagonally. But, if you're an ultralighter 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.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Sea to Summit Ultralight is a niche model, 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 fairly comfortable for smaller users — at least for uncomplicated sitting and lounging. Our main tester is 5'9" and felt fine in this 'mock but wasn't able to get a diagonal lay and felt cramped when trying to add bedding. If you plan to lounge and are comfortable sleeping on your back in a banana position, 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.

Weight


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.

While it is clearly ranked at the top in terms of being the lightest option we tested, that comes at a price. You don't get much in terms of comfort or features in this minuscule package.

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.

Ease of Set Up


Setting up this 'mock 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 models, 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.

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 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, which is 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.

Versatility


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 mild 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.

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.

Value


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.

Conclusion


The Sea to Summit Ultralight 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 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.

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 (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