Saturday, February 21, 2015

Review: Sierra Madre Research - Nube hammock tent

I have been waiting to get a good set up to take pictures of this next piece I wanted to share with you all..

Quite some time ago I backed a Kickstarter project for what  I thought was a pretty far out idea. A tent for a hammock. I love hammocks, you may recall I have several already, from the vast 5 person Hummingbird Mega-hammock to the pocket sized adventure ready Eagles Nest Outfitters hammock.

The folks at Sierra Madre Research came up with an answer to a question that has been posed by hammock lovers: how do you get tent like comfort in a hammock?

This is the Nubé.

The Nubé (pronounced "new-bay" for those who don't know how to pronounce the squiggles) is more than just a hammock shelter like a tarp or other top-cover, it’s a more like a safe haven for you and your gear wherever you are. Regular tents are subject to ground water, lumpy terrain, and all kinds of ground critters.

The Nubé is a complete hammock shelter,  which not only acts as a very broad rain cover, is fully enclosed with mesh side, protecting protecting you from insects, snakes and facehuggers. It keeps you and your gear elevated and protected, letting you hang out in comfort.

The Nubé is designed to be compatible with any camping hammock system and does itself not bear any weight. It attaches to and is suspended by your hammock suspension system, which in turn bears your weight and the gear stowed in the underslung Gear Stash below.

At the top of the Nubé is made from a 40 Denier nylon rip stop with 2 coats of silicone on the top and bottom of the fabric. The corners of the rain-shield hosts the Sky Hooks, a pair of reinforced webbing straps connect to 3mm Dyneema cordage (with easy-spot reflective tracers in the weave). These attach to hammock suspension system and are held taught by it.

At six points around the base of the cover, 2mm Dynema cords attached to similar webbing straps (which all also bear reflective flashings).

The cords tied down to the very nice aluminium mini-star picket with eyelets to feed the cords through, so you don't loose them when you're well off-grid somewhere. The tie-downs are notched to facilitate better attachment.

These come in a pouch that attaches to the tent pouch. This is probably the least elegant part of this system. The tie down cords wrap around the webbing, and are kept in place when in storage by a very clever hook and loop flap built into the webbing.

The Nubé fits around the hammock and completely encloses it, and works its way up the attachment system cords at both ends, and has Verso Closure Sleeves an elastic drawstring sphincter, with a cord-lock. These seal down around the main cords and not only block the rain, but also keep out bugs and all manner of creepy invaders.

The whole Nubé weighs  1.2kg (2lbs 10oz) and when fully set up is 3.6 - 3.9m (12 - 13') depending on how far the end Closure Sleeves are set up.

The Nubé sits at 2.7m (9') wide, not counting the tie down cords. That is a lot of umbrella coverage, which really impressed me.

And then you need to see the INSIDE of the tent.
The mesh bug-shield is fully integrated with the cover and zippers shut, along the whole length of one side. There are toggles spaced along the opposite wall allow you to tuck it all away as needed.
There are lots of internal features inside the shelter as well. On both sides there are two triangular pockets which both also feature gear clips at the bottom. The height achievable from the ground is based basically only restricted by where you have slung your hammock, but I have found that I can stand up fairly comfortably stand (at 6'4") in the shelter at the height I like slinging my hammock. There is even room to sling a SECOND hammock, forming what Sierra Madre call a HamBunk, (seen here in green and orange).

    The base of the  shelter is where the Gear Stash is located, made of 70 Denier nylon with a rip stop weave (with a PU coating of 1200mm) along the very bottom of the mesh lined bottom half and it is almost long enough to act as a mini hammock all on its own (it's certainly big enough for Tactical Baby, now 3, to lay in happily).

     The Gear Stash has it's own suspension cord, and a cinch closure as well, which keeps it off the ground and secured. As the Nubé is not designed to be weight bearing, the fact that the Gear Stash has it's own cords means that you can really load it up.

    I was really impressed with every aspect of the Nubé (apart from the peg bag, but I also cant think of a better way to store them, so I won't complain too loudly).

    The Gear Stash is quite spacious, and I can imagine you being able to fit a bunch of stuff down there, it's long and narrow, so a big wide pack like an MALICE 2 pack might spill over the sides, but it can certainly take a number of narrower packs, like the Platatac Nomad covert, and the Mystery Ranch 1Day Assault Pack easily enough, even togther.

    One of the really cool things the Sierra Madre team have thought to add are a number of QR 2d barcode links to "how-to" for each of the features on YouTube. I found this really useful (and thankfully when I set it up for the first time I was in a service area), and the tabs themselveswere of a long lasting plastic, so hopeully they will last for next time I am caught scratching my head lookign at a web of parts.

    That said the Nubé was remarkably intuitive to set up, but with so many features, its worth doing your research and learning how to use it most effectively. All the Seirra Madre products are fitted with compression sacks, and even these had had a lot of thought out into them.

    The Nubé sack features four tightening points, but these are made with two U-shaped loops of webbing, so you have no loose trailing ends, and a carry handle built in. It packs down to 25 cm x 15 cm x 15 cm (10" x 6" x 6") and is a neat little ball.

    Everything about this system was really well thought out, and I'm really looking forwards to my next outdoor sleeping experience (post-apocalyptic LRP "After The Fall").

    The Nubé is constructed by skilled hands in SMR's manufacturing facility SMR ILLUMINATE in Managua, Nicaragua. They also do humanitarian work, it gives me a good feeling to know that not only did I back the creation of a cool product, but the people that do it go on to make the world more robust.

    Stay tuned for reviews on their other components to the Nubé system:

    • The Pares Hammock, the purpose built, deluxe platform to base the Nubé around.
    • The xPlor hammock, the base level hammock, perfect to add to build the HamBunk twin system.
    • The Nubé Floor is an accessory that gives you the ability to set up your Nubé as a ground shelter, without trees.
    • The Nubé Winter Barrier is an accessory that gives your Nubé 4th season protection. 

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