Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Review: Range - Treeo hammock

An innoxious bundle concealing great potential
main sheet, tree-straps and guy-lines unfurled
My idea of ideal hanging out  usually revolves around a hammock.  I'm very fond of them. They're my preferred camping option in a variety of settings and I've amassed quite a collection of them, from the massive  Hummingbird family hammock to the versitile Sierra Madre nube tent family of hammocks and accessories  to the unconventional lines of the hooded Go! outfitters  hammock tent and the inspired Tensile style sky-tents all the way to the classic lines of the Eagles Nest Outfitters hammock.

So, it takes something a little different to catch my eye in new hammock design. The kind of design seen in the Treeo. You may remember I did a Wish-lust piece on the Treeo a while back, well, it finally arrived and I eventually got around to testing it out. Designed with the outdoors in mind, the designers wanted to create a product that could be utilized by anyone, anywhere:

Easy set-up made easier with extra hands
From the avid adventure seeker to the family who spends summer nights at the park, the simplified design can be taken full advantage of with it's 3-in-1 capabilities. From hammock to ground sheet to rain fly within seconds (minutes, realistically), the Treeo is like the Swiss Army Knife of hammocks.

The real magic behind the Treeo is the Quick Draw Cord System found at either end (inspired by the simple draw-string backpack). By pulling the cords tight on each end, it creates the hammock function which then attaches to the tree strap and carabiner. The heavy Blaze Orange paracord of the draw-cord adds other slinging options too, depending on the space you have at hand.

By slinging the guy lines up high you can hang the Treeo above your encampment to provide shade from the sun or shelter from rain. And finally, by pulling the cords apart and staking each corner down, the Treeo can be used as a beach blanket or ground cloth. Made from Ripstop Nylon Material known for being lightweight, durable, and waterproof thanks to its PU 2000 coating. It features triple-stitched & taped seams preventing any rips or tears. The heavy paracord style drawstrings are made from single length of looped to enable it to be tightened from both corners of each end simultaneously.
accessories in a zippered side pocket
Doing so gathers up the corners and the short edges 213cm (7') to bundle into a hammock. The generous 274cm (9') long edge makes for a large hammock. The drawstrings then becomes part of the suspension rig. The double thickness 198cm (6.5') webbing 6.5' tree straps  are wide enough to be grippy to tree-bark without being bulky. They feature 8 loops sewn in at the working end with heavy bartacking to make very stiff and secure points to feed the included carabiners.

bomb-proof webbing loops for optimal hang adjustment
The webbing has a triple line of bright green trace threads run through it which helps identify twists in the webbing when setting it up. Twists in webbing reduce the stability of the loop against the surface it is holding onto and reduce the overall strength of the webbing to support the load (you). The webbing also has a eye-loop at end of its length to facilitate forming a knotless loop for hanging the hammock by feeding it through itself. The included steel carabiners slip neatly into these loops and take the drawstrings ably to ensure a very secure attachment.

The combination of the long drawstrings, long webbing and the overall length of the hammock makes for a long span that can be bridged by this system, shorter distances are easily managed by adjusting the point at which the webbing and drawstrings are connected.

snug as a bug in a rug. deep sides to snuggle under
The four corners and the midpoint of the long edge feature well sewn-in webbing loops to be used as anchor points and tie-down points when used as a cover sheet or ground sheet. Four hefty aluminium tent-pegs and a bundle of guy-rope with slider tensioners are included to make staking out or stringing up as a shelter very easy.
When in hammock mode, the corners are all drawn in tight so aren’t really usable but the midline loops are and could be used as gear hangers or stabilising tie-points if desired. The attached stuff-sack, (sewn into the mid point) also affords gear-storage, by putting a draw-string closing bag with a zipperaeble side-pocket. The pegs and guy-ropes all stow away neatly In that zippered side pocket when not in use.

When packed down in its stuff-sack the system packs down to a mere 28cm x 23cm (11" x 9") and weighs only 1.3kg (2.8 lbs)

solid stitching and impeccable finishing
As a hammock, the ample expanse of fabric used affords a comfortable hang. Even with is classic “banana” shape, the broad sides allows a good spread and stretch in its folds. The PU coated fabric was smooth and whilst not breathable, it also cut the wind nicely, adding to the comfort on a cool windy day whilst testing it. I chose to lay on the uncoated side to avoid the “laying on plastic” feeling and was happy. The triple-stitched and taped seams held weight nicely and gave no impression of stretching . The Treeo certainly catches the wind, so staking out when used as a ground sheet is crucial. I suspect that when used as a rainfly, care will need to be taken ensure sufficient tension is maintained to avoid rain collecting in pools, nor the sheet blowing around negating cover.

well placed stuff sack for slung gear stowage
One thing I noted was the tie-down loops are not placed such that the Treeo can be used as a hootchie tent without some additional work. A couple of extra loops of webbing would suffice and I may look into setting this up myself. It’s certainly good size for it and that PU coating will make it excellent at shedding rain.

included accessories from the zippered side pocket
as a ground sheet it is Tactical Baby approved

lots of leg room for lanky bloggers

a comfortable and supportive hang for supervising playground antics

Fourth mode: improv sail for kayak adventures?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Review: Yaasa Studios - Infinity Blanket

Long enough to cover a Tactical Coyote
Being cold is awful. I'd rather be too hot than too cold any day.   Fortunately we have the technology to battle the chill. I'm a big fan of curling up in the corner of a couch in a hoodie and wrapped in a woobie. Some of my favourite blankets have been the Go-Anywhere by Tribe Provisions which have pride of place in my car as picnic blankets and car-trip bundling as well as my go-to camping blanket.  I was excited to see a Kickstarter come up with a new blanket project in the form of the Infinity Blanket by Yaasa Studios.

Soft enough to bundle a Tactical Baby
 The chief selling points of the Infinity Blanket are its size, reported at  2.0m x 1.5m (80" x 60") and the material from which it is woven. a 72% organic cotton and 28% Celliant blend. Celliant is high tech fabric. Reported as a revolutionary, patented technology that recycles the body's natural energy (heat) into infrared (IR) light that is emitted back into the body's tissue.

Infrared is widely recognized for having positive effects on the body. The use of Celliant® fibers converts the body’s natural energy (heat) into infrared (IR) light and emits it into the body’s muscles. They propose that over 60% of your consumed energy is lost simply through heat escaping your body. and that rather than simply trapping your body heat like a space blanket might, Celliant® turns that wasted energy into infrared light. The result is a responsive textile clinically tested (in one paid study) to benefit the human body, utilizing a blend of minerals and proprietary ingredients embedded into the fiber’s core.

The Infinity Blanket blends Celliant® material with organic cotton to create a fabric that recycles and emits infrared light. On average, (it has been estimated) your body emits 100 watts of energy in a given moment. The Infinity Blanket is a unique way of taking advantage of that energy! This supposedly increases blood flow, energy, strength, endurance, and decreases recovery time after an active day, supporting a more restful night's sleep.

Drapes as a cloak
Magic fiber! I can't comment much on it's clinical properties, but it was enticing enough that I wanted to check it out. What I can comment on is that it is very soft, and comfortable. It breathes nicely and is quite water resistant. Upon ariving (too late to be the Giftmas present I had hoped it to be, the struggle and gamble of being a Kickstarter backer) I noted its lightness at only 1kg (2.2lbs) and with an overall density of 320 gsm, and how well it packed down. For some reason I had expected the blanket the blanket to be looped, like an Infinity scarf. It is not. A simple edged rectangle, with rounded corners. I have a lot of polar fleece throws which have come to be a winter and camping standard and the Infinity Blanket blows them all away as far as comfort goes.
Wraps like a burrito to use as a sleeping-bag
Hemmed with an internal blanket stitch, the two-tone grey and cream material is thick and buoyant feeling without feeling "fluffy". The pile is quite dense and uniform feeling, almost felt-like.

The colour tones are relaxed and subdued, and very reminiscent of the old grey woolen Army blankets but without the smell or scratchiness. It is sufficiently heavy to not blow off in a breeze and maintains a nice drape without being heavy (at 1 kg vs the wool Army blankets 2kg) to sleep under. It's also very comforting to snuggle under when feeling a little under the weather. Be it cold or hangover riddled. Tactical Baby is very fond of it and that's generally good enough for me. Good thing I got two! when folded longways twice and rolled up it makes for a very hikeable bundle, especially when bundled with bedroll straps. I' m going to have a go at making some leather straps myself but till then , dual slip-knotted looped string will do.
Rolls into a tight bundle for easy packing

The Infinity blanket has a nice drape to it as well, and will form a solid shelter with just a ridgeline line and corner pegs. I'm considering sewing loops into the corners and midpoints, much like those found on the original woobie, the classic Poncho Liner to serve as peg anchors to make an impromptu pup-tent. The dense cloth is very good at blocking light and would make an excellent sun-shelter.

The Infinity Blanket is manufactured with green practices in Europe and uses certified organic cotton. Up to 12 plastic water bottles are recycled in the production of each blanket. This makes it an environmentally responsible product and should give you that warm feeling of righteousness.

Stretches to make  pretty decent shelter

Whether you're an athlete looking for a tissue oxygenation recovery trick, a wasteland survivor bunkering down for the night, or simply someone who's looking to improve sleep; The Yaasa Studios Infinity Blanket might well be perfect for you. I really like mine and it goes into an overnight outing pack-list these days.

Lastly a post-production note from Yaasa Studios themselves. They noticed an issue with the weave and wanted to explain to backers,this kind of openness from a vendor is very reassuring.

It has been brought to our attention that some of your blankets were too short compared to the dimensions (80" x 60".) intended. We took immediate action and reviewed this with our manufacturer in Germany.

During our investigation into the cause of the shorter dimensions, we discovered that it occurred in the raising and stretching process. The weft yarn (this is the yarn woven in the width of the throw, and the length of the travel size) Celliant fiber contracted more than expected. This resulted in the blanket coming in slightly under the specified width, or length.

Due to this being such a unique new fabric, the factory technicians are still familiarizing themselves with its behavior. We want to assure all backers that we used the material as specified and marketed in our campaign for all of the blankets, and you were not by any means shorted on the Celliant material. This issue lies in the tensile properties of this new fabric, and while this resulted in shorter dimensions of the blanket, you will still experience the same benefits from the blanket.

Despite our earlier prototype run, this eventuality was unforeseen until we had completed a full production run. As this dimensional issue was not our intention, we appreciate all of our backers for your feedback and bringing this to light to always ensure quality control. We truly apologize for this inconsistency and hope that the quality and benefits you receive from the blanket outweigh the shorter dimensions.
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