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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Gear Review: Byer of Maine Easy Traveller Hammock

Backcountry hammocks–the easiest way to bring tropical comfort to your wilderness paradise.

by: Will Rochfort

Relaxing at Estes Cone above Estes Park in RMNP
Relaxing at Estes Cone above Estes Park in RMNP
(Courtesy Photo)
(Courtesy Photo)

The Specs
Cost: $40
Weight: 17 oz (on BP scales)
Byerofmaine.com
There were two major concerns I used to have with backcountry hammocks: they were either a) too difficult to set up, or b) too heavy (or sometimes both). The Easy Traveller puts both of these concerns to bed. To address my first concern, all you need for set up is two anchor points and a very, very basic understanding of knots. You simply tie one end of the built-in hanging system into a loop, wrap it around the anchor, and then run the metal bar on the other end of the cord through the previously tied loop (see photos 2 & 3 on the above slideshow). As for the knot, I prefer a figure nine, just because I’m used to using it for guyline. But anything that makes a sturdy loop will work! Repeat on the other end and you’re done, sans the standard rigmarole of complex rigging.

I set it up in a few minutes without even considering the directions; the hardest part was trying to find two anchor points with a view. As for the weight, 17 ounces might not be the lightest item in my pack, but it’s definitely lighter than most of the other hammock and easy-hang combo systems I came across in this price range. Plus, it has one of the best weight-to-enjoyment ratios in the business. It also packs down to a six by six inch square that’s no thicker than a stack of pancakes, so it’s easy enough to find a corner of your pack to cram it into. The Easy Traveller’s body is constructed from parachute nylon cloth, which has proven its strength and durability in uses that far exceed the requirements of a hammock.

One caveat: the design is such that Byer recommends you stretch out diagonally, otherwise it’s pretty easy to get spun around and fall out. Although I can’t get a good night’s sleep in any hammock I’ve been in, I had no trouble catching a glorious afternoon nap after hiking to Estes Cone in Rocky Mountain National Park.

In addition to getting horizontal, the hammock also doubles as a comfortable hanging chair, which was nice when I actually wanted to sit up and have a conversation with someone without appearing to doze off. The integrated stuff sack even doubles as a hanging pocket that’s easily accessible without getting up, which is very handy for snacks, sunscreen, or shots of single malt.

With its low price point, packable/lightweight material, and integrated hanging system, there’s only one major downside to the Easy Traveller. It’s so comfortable that even if you’re the person who schleps it all the way up the hill, you might not be the person who actually gets to enjoy it. Although Byer makes double-occupancy hammocks, the Easy Traveller has a weight limit of 250 pounds, so it’s only recommended for one person at a time. I was reminded of this the hard way on a recent vacation to Colorado, where I frequently found my better half occupying the best spot in camp, citing something about ‘adding integrity to the review by getting a female’s perspective.’

Bottom Line: Few pieces of gear have had such a significant, positive impact on my backcountry comfort than the Easy Traveller; just make sure you call dibs before you set it up.



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READERS COMMENTS

Josh W.
Oct 29, 2010

I bought this hammock after reading this article. And the value is unreal. I've had ENO hammocks, but this is the same quality and like half the price. Also, mine holds two people alright, its just cozy.

Risa
Oct 12, 2010

I love sleeping in a hammock, but end up cold real quick even in weather that would be great if I were sleeping on the ground. Any tips on how to insulate from the cold air underneath? My 0 degree sleeping bag and thermarest don't seem to do the trick.

Risa
Oct 12, 2010

I love sleeping in a hammock, but end up cold real quick even in weather that would be great if I were sleeping on the ground. Any tips on how to insulate from the cold air underneath? My 0 degree sleeping bag and thermarest don't seem to do the trick.

REAL
Oct 07, 2010

I have the Byer Mosquito Traveler Hammock; same basic thing with a micro netting attached. For its price it is amazing. Many people are skeptical when they first see it due to the "lightweight" strings but I have yet to have an issue and I have loaded it with my 200# of mass numerous times. It is as comfortable as any Brazilian style hammock, and sized perfectly for efficient use. Wider than most travel hammocks, small enough to be efficient. A wider size for home use may be better for some, but for packing this is great. I have frayed a few strands here and there and it still holds up well, plus I trust hanging my unconcious body in it. Take some time to find the "sweet-spot" to where you'll drift away, once you do you'll be amazed how comfortable they can be.

Only issues are nylon-type sleeping bags will slide so my weight becomes centered, which is a little too far down for my body-type. Secondary issue is that the instructions recommend to have mounts 10' apart - this is too close for me as the hammock swings down to low. I recommend mounting points further away to have the hammock more level.

Buy one and enjoy true post-hike relaxation (including elevated feet to reduce swelling)

HammockMan
Oct 04, 2010

I haven't tried this Byer model yet, but I've been using a Trek Light hammock for almost 5 years now and no other hammock I've tested even comes close. 16 ounces and it holds up to 400lbs, so it seems to be much stronger & durable than the one tested here. Everyone has their own preference of course, but I highly recommend checking out Trek Light Gear's line.

Gman
Oct 02, 2010

Using ropes (yes I know they supply it with them in m poor form) can damage the liner layers of the bark on trees. In some cases enough to slowly kill the tree. In some areas hammocks have been banned due to the use of ropes around trees. Much better is to use webbing designed to protect the tree by distributing the load over a greater area.

itsjustbusiness
Oct 01, 2010

If you want to ditch the tent try the warbonett blackbird hammock or a clark jungle hammock. Pretty sure you could sleep in one of those, and no back pains

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