Ultralight OR Comfort. Seems to be the toss up.
Ultralight packing was supposedly the most important factor in backpack camping... And like so many others, I believed ultralight was the answer.
The lighter the better, right?
I learned my lesson.
Honduras don't play!
One of the most unforgettable nights of my life was in Honduras. I was part of a medical team that paddled out to remote villages in dug out canoes.
We were informed that there was nowhere available for us to sleep where we were going. Camping it is!
Knowing we'd turn down our beds with the atrocious bugs found in this region and likely face heavy rain, we packed hammocks and tarps.
It was muggy and hot, even at night it felt like trying to breathe through a wet towel.
I had opted for an ultra lightweight hammock system, thinking ULTRALIGHT mattered most since we were packing minimally in order to save room for supplies.
In turn, I ended up with a small hammock that felt like sleeping in a Venus Fly trap and a shelter that was so close and tight it was really just holding me steady for the bugs to feast on me through the sides.
The netting of the shelter was so close to my face and body that the bugs were swarming right by my face and ears all night.
It offered no shelter from the noise and they could sting me through the close netting.
I’ve never been claustrophobic before that night..or since.
And then it started to storm. And not just your typical rain storm. RAINFOREST rain storm.
The water started to pour into my hammock from the end. It pooled underneath me like I was being cradled by an open water balloon.
I’ve been drier while wading through a river.
It was miserable. And that was only the first night of the first week we were there.
The remaining nights never got any better.
Just a different night, same story.
I’m not sure that I slept the entire trip.
I wondered if I would have traded this lighter hammock and tarp for a little extra weight, if it might have meant more successful sleep out here!
I Know What I Want! Why Not Build It Myself?!
At this point, I realized that if I wanted gear that offered the protection I needed and the comfort I wanted. I was just going to have to make it myself.
The process of researching, and testing, and designing brand new gear was grueling (bringing wild ideas to LIFE - not just choosing the same products out of a manufacturing catalog and slapping a logo on it).
What we learned through this process was the reality that YOU CAN go to sleep in the wild, wake up in 8 hours, and be well rested and ready to face the day.
YOU CAN sleep like a baby through a storm, without getting "rained out"
YOU CAN have a full night’s unbelievably comfortable sleep - and you don’t have to struggle with inadequate gear OR pack your king-size mattress to get it!
The Weight vs. Comfort Battle
By using and creating state-of-the-art materials and solution based designs, we build high quality hammocks, shelters, and camping gear that is unprecedented in its protective structure while maintaining light AND incredibly comfortable quality.
While we believe watching the scale is very important, the Sierra Madre way is to focus more on a holistic experience.
Sometimes carrying an extra 6 ounces or so is absolutely worth it because of the pure comfort and rest that item provides.
This balanced approach on the weight vs. comfort battle is built into all of our gear. Getting a full night of restful sleep does wonders for your enjoyment in the wild, in fact it changes everything.
In the wild, you are pushing your body to its limits. Long hikes on untamed terrain, in every sort of weather, while carrying everything you have on your back wears your body down no matter how in-shape you are.
A restful night is the only way to recover. Yet - if you don’t prioritize COMFORT, then unfortunately, quality rest in the wild is hard to find.
We’ve all been there at one time or another, rolling around, using our extra (damp and dirty) clothing as a pillow or sleeping in a hammock whose comfort level can only be described as one step away from Dracula’s coffin.
Or, in my case, stuck in a hammock in Honduras with terrible bug protection and a river running into my hammock and down my backside.
Or, if you're new to hammock camping and can't relate to these disastrous scenarios, oh, just wait, you will . (Unless you make the RIGHT choice in the gear you buy, unlike I did... just a hint, where do you think the rain goes when the ends of your shelter ARE OPEN?)
As outdoor enthusiasts ourselves, we know how much that restorative night’s sleep means to the type of experience and energy you will have on your trip the next day.
A solid night's sleep is vital to your overall experience in the woods.
That is why we paid extra attention to detail in designing our exceptionally comfortable hammocks.
Sierra Madre Hammocks
Our hammocks are silky smooth, yet incredibly strong, and designed to offer you an easy set-up and wonderful, restorative sleep for real comfort in the wild.
We offer the Rolls Royce of hammocks with our Ninox hammock. It has a roomy interior with a patent pending comfort wave pattern and proprietary fabric, allowing you to lay flat and in any direction.
The Pares hammock is our lightest full size camping hammock that allows you to sleep side by side in an 11’ long hammock made of our x-wide Teslon3 fabric that is ultra soft, weather resistant, breathable, and incredibly strong. It all weighs less than a pound and pairs perfectly with our Nubé Hammock Shelter.
Not a hammock, but certainly useful in one! The Pufflo is a weather-resistant comfortable pillow that blends softness and support. Most camp pillows feel like a plastic blow up pool toy, but the Pufflo features a hidden adjustable air bladder and twin chamber to keep your head and neck supported with zero pressure points.