Monday, August 26, 2013

Gear Review: Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Hammock

The scout troop I'm an adult leader for made a trip to a mosquito infested swamp that was once a strip coal mine. On that trip, the mosquitoes were so bad that many were kept awake at night due to the constant buzzing in your ears. I have a small life hack that helps, but it was still miserable. 80+ degrees, raining and buggy as it gets makes for a long night. If I was covered in my patrol bag, I was hot and sweaty. If I chose to uncover, my deet wouldn't last very long and I'd be awakened by constant biting. It was really a no win situation.

At the time I was using a Grand Trunk lightweight hammock and it worked great for normal conditions. A simple tarp was used to cover my sleeping area. This picture is from another stay a month or so before the fated swamp stay. Same equipment though. The only thing that kept me sane was a small head net and a baseball cap to keep it off my face while I slept.
 After that weekend of little sleep and many bites, I decided to look into a way to keep the little buggers off me and out of my ears while I slept. I searched the web for an option and even looked at the army surplus stores. After much research, the Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro was on the radar. I waited until Amazon had a sale and snagged one at a decent discount. I'm sure they will have them on discount in the off season this year.

The Skeeter Beeter hammock has a 400lb capacity and is big enough to fit two people if you're in a pinch. The material is a similar consistency to the standard lightweight units, but this one is constructed of at least two different color fabrics. The netting is super small matrix mesh netting with elastic banding sewn into the netting. One side has a very well made and easy to use zipper for entry/exit. It goes 80% of the way down the side of the hammock to make entry a breeze. You can even use a toe to open the zipper by pushing it down the side with your foot! The sides are high walled and keep the light and wind from intruding into the hammock.

 The unit comes with a couple pieces of rope and some elastic cord to hold the netting up above the hammock and off the user. The rope is fairly small, and if you have a decent size tree, it will be difficult, if not impossible to get it  around the tree. Being a high walled design, it's not the best for the more flat style, offset sleeping some can be used for. You definitely sleep in it, not on it. If you stretch it tight, side sleeping is fairly comfortable.

Overall, I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a summertime hammock that effectively keeps the bugs off and is durable for extended use. I've used the item many times now and will continue to do so as long as the bugs are out. Once the bugs go away, I'll go back to the lightweight unit I use regularly. It's lighter and better for side sleeping. It has the same bug issue that most hammocks do, they can bite through the bottom and get you that way. You will need to get something under you to protect yourself.

The Pros: Big, with a high weight limit. Comes ready to set up, no extra stuff needed. It works well and sleeps comfortably. I've never had to worry about bugs keeping me awake while using it.

The Cons: Not great for side sleeping. Slightly heavier and bigger than a standard model. Could use longer ropes than the ones it comes with. Slower setup than a standard model.

This Item was purchased with my own money and is intended for my personal use. I was not paid to review the item, nor have I been offered any deals for a favorable review.

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