Camping In The Air: Blue Ridge Hammock
Over the past few years of covering the outdoor sports and recreation markets, I've seen a number of hammock tents. Now if you've ever watched shows like Man v. Wild and Survivorman--or the slew of derivatives that have recently hit the Discovery Channel pretty hard--you know that sometimes camping on the wilderness floor with disease-and-poison-carrying varmints isn't always the best course of action. That, and it's just a whole lot more comfortable sleeping in a suspended hunk of polyester rather than a rock covered patch of hard dirt.
The latest hammock tent I came across is this here Blue Ridge Camping Hammock from Lawson Hammocks. What I like about it is that it looks a little roomier than other models like the Eureka Chrysalis. That's thanks to its pole supported arches. It's more like the dome tent to other hammocks' A-frame.
Another distinct advantage of the Blue Ridge's poles is that they allow it to double as a bivy, a good thing because you don't always have two ideal trees to hang your hammock on.
Lawson also brags that the Blue Ridge was voted #1 by Backpacker and Outside magazines, two of the top resources in the industry. The problem there is that they give no mention as to what that #1 rating was for. Is it best camping hammock, best new innovation, most likely piece of junk to get tossed from your backpack and replaced with something better? Specifics, Lawson, specifics.
The Blue Ridge's canopy is covered in mesh for cooling and ventilation. It includes a waterproof nylon rip-stop tarp for those wetter evenings and holds up to 250 lbs. Designed for backpacking, the Blue Ridge weighs 4.25 lbs. and packs down to a relatively small 22 x 6 inches.
Here's a few other lightweight, easy to set-up and otherwise awesome tents that I recently saw at Outdoor Retailer.