Rating: 5 / 5
I live and hike in South Florida, and have recently been turned onto hammocking by a family member who has spent a lot of time hunting in the Everglades. In s.Fl hammocking is really the only way to fly because it assures whether u can find 100% dry ground or not you can still set up camp.
After doing a bit of research into the different options in the Hammock-tent world(both custom and premade, all in one and piece-by-piece.) I settled on what seemed to be the leader in the field, and got myself a Clark Tropical (very similar to the ultra light, only 2.5oz heavier with the addition of 2 extra storage pockets in the hammock as well as 2 more gear pockets on the underside). I decided to go this route because price wise the all in one pre-made worked out to be about the same as piecing things together or having somethign custom made, the space and weight requirements seemed to be the best in Clarks all in 1 options, and Clark seemed to be a bit ahead of the curve with mosquito proof bedding, tippless hammock, etc, even tho you do pay a bit of a premium for their gear.
Upon arrival I was amazed by how small it packs into its stuff sack, easily able to fit into the very bottom compartment of my 65L Gregory Renegade pack, (hell it even fits inside the main compartment of my 1500cucm Camelback Fourtuneer day pack with ease).
One mistake I would suggest to not make though is to assume you don't need a sleeping bag because your hammock is more cozy then a traditional tent. Granted the hammock takes you off the heat sucking ground, but it also opens your body up to cross currents of wind beneath you which can and do suck the heat right out of the hammock. I have had this 3-season hammock in nighttime temperatures from 40 degrees to about 80 degrees. The weekend it was 40 the weatherman steered me wrong and I only had a sleeping bag rated to 55 and was definitely chilly, not the hammocks fault. But in the pine barrens the nighttime temperature was about 70 and I had opted not to take my sleeping bag because I am normally comfortable around 70 degrees at night. Well that night I learned about a cross currents ability to keep the hammock cool. So I always do recommend bring your sleeping bag just in case.
Also unlike some of their competitors Clark claims a lab tested 100% Mosquito Proof bed lining, which I was skeptical about at first but after this past weekend in the Pine Barrens in Central FL I believe their claim 100%. Throughout the night I was bitten 0 times but upon opening up the netting I was bitten 2x before I even had my boots back on.
I see some reviews complaining about the "heavy weight" honestly maybe I don't have the experience of some of these other back packers complaining about this issue, but 2.8lbs for your entire "Tent" really doesn't strike me as "heavy." And for what I have and will use it for, I wouldn't leave home without my hammock. Would I necessarily suggest a hammock for EVERY hiking situation? Probably not, but you know what? So far I have had the hammock set up in the Mangroves, Cypress Swamp, and in Pine Barrens and it has performed FLAWLESSLY in all 3 environments (2 of the 3 a regular tent WOULD NOT have even been an option, due to the fact that in the cypress the ground is only dry for about 2 months out of the year and in the mangroves there is no clear never the less dry ground at all).
And as for a claustrophobic feeling the first few times in the tent I am not the tallest guy only about 5'7," but I can still kinda relate to that, because upon entering/zipping/and situating yourself in the hammock the first few times, it can feel a bit confining, but once you lay back and kinda find yourself settled I actually came to find it pretty roomy, to the point that I can even sleep with my legs to the side without pressing up on the netting at all. So it is actually comfortable to even lay back in and relax or read/write or whatever even once completely zipped up.
So I have to say as an avid outdoors-man, if your heading into the wilderness and you are not sure if their will be flat or dry ground of even ground at all, AND your in an area that MAY be heavy in unwanted blood sucking traveling companions, I would recommend a Clark to anyone who can spare 2.8lbs outta their bag, I have only had my hammock a matter of months so far have been able to use it in multiple enviorments and have not seen a true flaw to the concept or design yet. So, Happy Hammocking.