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Hennessy Hammocks Supershelter SPOTLITE REVIEW

A lightweight system for using a Hennessy Hammock in the shoulder and winter seasons.

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Overall Rating: Recommended

The Supershelter system is an excellent approach to using a Hennessy Hammock in cold conditions. The system keeps out wind, snow and rain and the bottom insulation adds a lot of warmth to the hammock. However, it needs additional bottom insulation to be a true 4-season solution.

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by Doug Johnson |

Overview

2007 Hennessy Supershelter SPOTLITE REVIEW - 1
The UnderCover wraps around the sides and ends of the hammock, enclosing the UnderPad

The Hennessy Supershelter system is made to fit a Hennessy Hammock. It includes three components: the UnderPad, UnderCover, and OverCover.

The UnderPad and UnderCover are sold together for $129.95. They are designed to work in tandem to provide both bottom insulation and wind and waterproof protection. The open cell foam pad attaches to the hammock’s rain fly clips with elastic cords. It is cut and sewn to follow the natural contours of the body when lying in the hammock. The silnylon cover attaches to the hammock by sliding the main hammock support ropes through holes in the cover and also running the hammock’s side guyouts through holes in the cover.

2007 Hennessy Supershelter SPOTLITE REVIEW - 2
The UnderPad attaches at the ends of the hammock with elastic cords.

To attach the UnderPad and UnderCover, it is necessary to take down the hammock. This makes it inconvenient to add these components when the weather turns bad. Instead, plan ahead and attach the UnderPad and UnderCover when first pitching the hammock.

The UnderCover completely envelops the bottom of the hammock and covers about 4 inches of the mesh on the sides and end of the hammock. It is both wind and waterproof and adds a good deal of extra protection against heat loss due to wind, windblown rain, and spindrift. The cover has a hole for easy bottom entry into the hammock; just slide the pad to the side and climb right in. Combined with the UnderPad, these items add significant warmth to the Hennessy Hammock.

The OverCover is sold separately for $34.95 and completes the Hennessy Supershelter system. Like the UnderCover, the OverCover is attached to the hammock by sliding it through the main support ropes and side guyouts of the hammock. It layers underneath the OverCover at the edges, completely enclosing the hammock. The OverCover is made of breathable but windproof uncoated nylon and includes a 7 inch round breathing hold that is positioned above the head for extra ventilation and condensation protection.

The OverCover is intended for use in “dry, subfreezing conditions” and not during normal 3 season usage. While I experienced some condensation when using the OverCover, the breathable fabric and breathing hole kept this to a minimum. It certainly did hold in more warmth, especially in windy conditions. It also blocks out all of the views and creates a bivy tent-like experience.

According to the Hennessy website, the Supershelter system is “capable of supporting a lone traveler in extreme cold weather environments down to -12 deg. C (10 deg. F).” However, I found this to be an unrealistic claim, at least from a comfort perspective. I had comfortable nights when using the UnderPad and UnderCover with a warm quilt in the upper 30’s. When adding the OverCover on a night in the low 20’s, I experienced cold spots on the bottom of the hammock- the ¾ inch open cell foam was just not enough insulation. After adding a 1/4 inch closed cell foam pad inside the hammock I had a warm night’s sleep. With no additional insulation, though, I’d estimate that I would be comfortable in the lower to mid 30’s. However, warmth when sleeping depends a lot on other factors such as personal metabolism, site location, clothing choices, etc.

2007 Hennessy Supershelter SPOTLITE REVIEW - 3
The UnderPad is ¾ inch open cell foam.

If additional insulation is needed with the Supershelter, it’s possible to put extra clothing, dry leaves, or an extra pad between the UnderPad and the hammock. However, the tight fit of the UnderCover may compress a down underquilt.

Overall, the Supershelter is a great system for taking a Hennessy Hammock into the shoulder seasons and even into the winter. It is a well thought-out solution to the problems of bottom insulation, wind protection, and staying dry in windblown rain and snow.

Features and Specifications

  • Weight- total system: 20.5 oz (582 g)
  • Weight- components: UnderPad- 8.5 oz (241 g), UnderCover- 7.9 oz (225 g) , OverCover- 3.4 oz (95 g), stuff sack 0.7 oz (21 g)
  • UnderPad size: Length- 68 in (), Width- tapers from head- 21 in , midsection- 28 in, foot- 11 in
  • Materials: UnderPad- open cell foam, UnderCover- 1.1 ounce 30 D silicone nylon, OverCover- uncoated 30 D nylon
  • MSRP: UnderPad and UnderCover- $129.95, OverCover- $34.95

Citation

"Hennessy Hammocks Supershelter SPOTLITE REVIEW," by Doug Johnson. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/2007_hennessy_supershelter_spotlite_review.html, 2007-12-16 21:39:00-07.

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