When you initially hear the word “hammock”, the first thing that springs to mind is the American-style hammocks that you spread out in your back yard and enjoy on a sunny day. Even though the Lawson Hammock does work in a similar way, it’s actually much more advanced, and an excellent camping tool.
With things like an integrated zippered bug net, spreader bar, O-ring for lights and a fully enclosed rain fly, can this be the perfect all-in-one for your next camping trip? Let’s take a better look at it and find out.
The suspension system and the tarp
The Lawson Hammock makes use of rope clews to connect the anchor point with the hammock. You have ropes that are first threaded through the spreader bars and then tied with metal grommets to the hammock. If you want to, you can remove the loop from the clews and replace it with a climbing-rated carabiner, which may make it easier if you want to attach longer straps or a whole new suspension system.
The tarp is more or less what makes the hammock an all-in-one. Even though with a regular hammock you may be covered with a bug net, the tarp basically turns the hammock into a complete shelter. If you don’t want to bother with buying everything separately, this is a simple setup that also happens to work admirably.
You’ll find that the tarp is actually designed to wrap around the hammock. You have points on the hammock body where you usually attach tent poles, and these corners are where the corners of the tarp will clip, with small shock cord loops. You’ll also find additional patches of hook-and-loop that only add more places for the tarp to grab onto the hammock. With this attachment system, you won’t have to guy out the corners. However, if you want a tighter pitch, you’ll still want to do this.
Unfortunately, not all is perfect. The hook-and-loop attachment may not be as effective, depending on how you’re using the hammock. Also, the system is close to impossible to secure if you’re inside the hammock and the bug net’s zipper is closed.
The hammock itself and the bug net
The hammock is actually very comfortable. It’s wide and long, and a single person could easily fit inside with plenty of room to spare. On the exterior, the hammock’s body does have a waterproof coating so you can have the hammock touching the ground without worrying about water coming in if it is wet. The bathtub-style floor also offers additional weather protection.
You will find the ends of the Lawson hammock are slightly gathered, which creates somewhat of a pocket that slightly lowers the center of gravity. The material of choice, polyester fabric, is a great option because it doesn’t stretch as much as nylon. Therefore, you get a firmer place to lay on, while still getting an ergonomic position.
There’s one thing we have to mention, and that’s Lawson’s meticulous attention to detail. To begin with, you’ve got two mesh pockets that are placed right within arm’s length so you can place your smartphone or other important essentials such as a toothbrush or a headlight, right next to you. There’s also the inclusion of two small O-rings right above the head, in the hammock’s ceiling. This allows you to hang a light, whether it’s a large light or a small reading light. These may be small details, but if you want a place to live in when you’re traveling, they do make a world of difference.
Let’s discuss the bug net system for a moment. At this price point, we would’ve expected fiberglass poles. However, they’re quality aluminum tent poles instead, which makes them much more durable than you’d expect. Even though they pull apart in somewhat odd places, they function really well. There’s a shock cord running through them, as expected, and it makes setting them up, as well as pulling them apart, really easy. Once assembled, they stay in place and hold the bug net really well.
The bug net itself can be accessed from a single zippered entry on one of the sides. This makes for simpler construction and one that will last a bit longer. One thing to note, however, is that you should let the bug net’s door hang out of the hammock when you’re entering. This way, you won’t end up laying on top of it, or pulling on it, which will create a lot of stress on the seams.
When you do set it up and get inside, the bug networks admirably. It’s tight enough for no bugs to be able to get in, yet you still get plenty of fresh air and breathability. Honestly, it’s the best of both worlds.
Conclusion – who is the hammock for?
If there’s one thing we must mention when it comes to the Lawson hammock, and that’s the fact that it’s not for everybody. To begin with, it’s far from the lightest weight hammock. You could remove the tent poles and spreader bars to eliminate some weight, but that takes away from the usability, so it’s not something that’s recommended. Also, if you’re using it for yourself, it’s excellent. But if you’re a couple, you may find that it’s not that comfortable. Last but not least, even when packed, the hammock does take up quite a bit of room. Therefore, if you’re only traveling with a small backpack, it may be a bit too much.
On the other hand, if you’re open to the idea of sleeping in a hammock, and want a great all-in-one solution that won’t break the bank, this may be a great option. It covers all the basics – a quality construction, a comfortable sleeping position, a good bug net and then some. It’s a great option for just about anyone, and definitely a worthy investment.