High-flying hammock shelter gets modular refresh

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The Nube Stratos improves on the original Nube with modular design

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Camping hammocks and suspended tents allow intrepid campers to sleep in style above the cold, hard ground. But even popular designs can be improved upon, something the team at Sierra Madre Research has tried to do with the Nube Stratos, a modular update on its original design which turns any hammock into an insect and weatherproof shelter.

Sierra Madre Research was founded by Richard G.Rhett Jr, who was left thoroughly underwhelmed by the quality of the camping hammocks and drinking water on a trip to Honduras. Having arrived home, he set up a production facility in Nicaragua with the goal of manufacturing quality outdoor gear, with a portion of the company's profits going toward the foundation of clean water wells in developing regions.

Launched in 2013, the Nube (new-bay for those reading aloud) aimed to improve the average camping hammock by sheltering occupants from insects and the elements. It also provided somewhere for campers to store their bags. The new, modular Nube Stratos retains all its predecessor's functionality, but comes with a host of improvements.

The insect and weather shields are now separate, allowing campers to tailor their shelter to the conditions. The StratosFly layer acts as a shield from the weather, with a patented asymmetric shape aimed at keeping a whole hammock sheltered from the storm. It attaches to the hammock suspension lines, using syncing Closure Sleeves to create a watertight seal on the line.

The other part of the design is a StratoShield, which acts as an insect guard and gear holder. It's made of a lightweight mesh which keeps unwanted bugs out, but still lets fresh air flow through. Sierra Madre Research says its design gives campers more space in their hammocks, with a taut roof panel that stops it drooping down and getting in the way like a regular insect net. There's also storage for 100 lb (45 kg) worth of gear in the base of the StratoShield.

Fully assembled, the StratoShield measures up at 54 in (137 cm) long and 38 in (96.5 cm) wide, but it packs away to 9 x 5 x 5 in (23 x 13 x 13 cm) when not in use. The StratosFly covers a 48 square foot (4.47 sq m) area when assembled, and shrinks to 7 x 5 x 5 in (18 x 13 x 13 cm) when packed. Both elements can be used separately, or connected up to create the full Nube Stratos. Bundled together, the full system packs down to 11 x 6 x 6 in (28 x 15 x 15 cm), and weighs 2.25 lb (1.02 kg).

At the moment, Sierra Madre Research is seeking funding for the Nube Stratos on Kickstarter, where it's raised more than US$21,100 of its $40,000 goal with 40 days remaining. Pledges start at $25, but the full Stratos requires a pledge of $225. The individual StratoShield and StratoFly are also available as individual components for $95 and $165 respectively.

Should all go to plan, delivery is estimated to start in April 2017. Beyond that, retail prices for the Stratos are expected to kick off at $308.

Check out the Kickstarter pitch video below.

View gallery - 14 images

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