Bright, roomy tent-hammock is at home on the ground or in the trees
Dual-purpose hammock-shelters have been all the rage lately, with new debuts like the Crua Hybrid and Flying Tent hitting crowdfunding sites over recent months. While versatile, those shelters, and predecessors like the Lawson Blue Ridge and Clark Mark2, are compact, single-person camping/backpacking solutions. The all-new Sunda Tent Hammock from Kammok is a roomy two-person standalone tent that can also take to the trees to serve as a hammock shelter. It may be the most versatile dual-purpose hammock-shelter yet.
Kammok set out to break from the familiar world of hammocks and hanging shelter accessories and design its first ground tent. It focused its efforts on packing the Sunda (which isn't a cutesy play on the easy-morning "Sunday," but a flying lemur of Southeast Asia) with versatility, livability and ruggedness.
The Sunda's livability shines through the minute you lay eyes on it. The Kammok's DAC NSL aluminum frame creates a long, 8.3-ft (2.5-m) space, with upright walls that extend the 40 in (102 cm) of headroom end to end, instead of limiting it away from center, the way more traditional, angled tent walls would. The difference maker is the central ridge pole of the external frame, which holds the fabric up out past the end arches. Below that suspended roof, the Sunda sleeps two on 35 sq ft (3.3 sq m) of tub floor.
We know the Sunda is a hammock tent, but its versatility starts before it even gets off the ground. Not so different from other backpacking tents, the Sunda offers two configurations to help campers and backpackers strike the right balance between full shelter at camp and low weight in the pack. The full tent with rainfly, poles, stakes, stuff sacks and everything else needed to pitch weighs just over 4 lb (1.8 kg) packed, which is light enough for backpacking but not ultralight in today's marketplace.
Those looking to shed weight can also opt for the "fly light" configuration, which leaves the insect protection of the mesh tent at home, relying on the rainfly, poles and footprint to drop to 3.3 lb (1.5 kg, estimated packed weight), while keeping a roof over your head.
Somewhere during Sunda development, Kammok realized something: it's specialized in hammocks and hanging shelter solutions since launching in 2011. So why not apply that know-how to the Sunda and create even more versatility? So that's exactly what the company did.
The Sunda grabs hold of the included straps with "mini kanga claw" carabiners and hangs up in the trees, pulling the camper off the ground (it only sleeps one in hammock configuration). The poles stay in place, keeping the mesh structured, and the rainfly doubles as a tarp, blocking precipitation and wind.
Flip it upside down, and the Sunda also functions as a regular open hammock for lounging at camp, the mesh tent body dangling below. That might sound like it'll get you dirty if the tent spent any time on the ground, but Kammok includes a separate footprint to slide underneath the tent floor when pitching on the ground. Usually sold separately, footprints are designed to prevent wear and tear on the tent floor, and in the case of the Sunda, the footprint should also keep the floor cleaner for use as a hammock.
The all-in-one hammock-tent configuration with straps and hammock hardware, footprint, rainfly and all other tent components weighs just over 4 lb 14 oz (2.2 kg), so it's light enough to backpack around and wait until arrival before selecting between hammock or tent mode. Deep, wet mud? Hang 'er up. No trees around camp? Pitch it on the ground. The only caveat is that if you have two backpackers who plan to sleep in it, you'll have to use it as a ground tent.
Beyond a compelling double-agent design, Kammok has keyed in on other details to create a high-performance product. It's chosen reflective Lumos 20D ripstop for the rainfly, a material it claims simultaneously bounces sunlight to maintain a cooler interior and amplifies interior lantern/headlamp light to even out the glow and eliminate dark spots.
The tent has doors on each side for easier entry and exit, a vestibule over each door, and zippered windows at both ends for added flexibility in venting and visibility. The interior has nine gear-hanging loops for the likes of lanterns, and six storage pockets, two specially designed for holding lighting.
Kammok got its start with a Kickstarter campaign and launches its fourth with the Sunda (we looked at its rain-collecting Glider tarp, which is now part of its line, back in 2013). It's already smashed right through its US$75K goal with more than a month left to go. The tent hammock is available at pledge levels of $299, a $100 drop off the estimated $399 retail price. If all goes smoothly, shipping will begin next June, right in time for the Northern Hemisphere summer.