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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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