Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $40--watch for sales on Campmor!
Great entry level hammock at a decent price.
- Lightweight (cuts 3lbs of gear from my pack)
- Can be set up in places tents can't go
- Storage pockets are worthless
- Hanging ropes are "okay." I replaced them.
The Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro has been my entry experience into hammock camping. I originally bought this hammock on a whim because it was on sale dirt cheap. It's a great entry level hammock for those curious about hammock camping, but not wanting to spend a fortune.
This is a revision of my original review, as I have used and learned much more about hammock camping in the last year.
Weighing in a 28oz. the Skeeter Beeter and fly shaves nearly 2lbs off my pack, when you take into account the weight of a tent and footprint. While a true Ultralitest will just sleep on the ground with a tarp, I found the comfort of sleeping in a hammock is worth the extra ounces. Plus, the No-See-Um mosquito netting gives me what I need from a full tent. Adding a rain fly (in my case the Grand Trunk Funky Forest Tarp) protects from the elements.
In the past year, I have spent a total of 20 nights in this hammock in all kinds of weather. I have slept in heavy snow, pouring rain, and nighttime temperatures ranging from mid-70's down to 23°F. I've retreated to my hammock as the mosquitoes have become unbearable.
When mosquito netting is not needed. The Skeeter Beeter hammock can be flipped over and used like a traditional hammock. The picture below shows some modifications. I've added a hammock "ridgeline" made of Amsteel Blue. I replaced the prussic cords that came with the original hammock with Whoopie Slings made by Dutchware.
A note on the hanging ropes that come with the Skeeter Beeter: They're "okay." If you are car camping or backyard hanging they'll do fine. If you are planning on using this for backpacking, there are lighter and better options out there.
Another limitation are the pockets. Grand Trunk's website states:
Two interior storage pockets keep smaller items organized (like the ones in a tent)
These are basically worthless sewn on pockets. I tried placing my Android phone in one—it fell out. My headlamp in the other...it fell out. I ended up just hanging everything off my hammock ridgeline in a small stuff sack.
Finally, I'm not a fan of the shock cord system to hang the mosquito netting. Ditching their shock cord, I use Dutch Clips (again Dutchware) to clip it to the TARP ridgeline (clipping it to the hammock ridgeline leaves is dropping in your face.
In summary: If you are looking to try hammock camping, this is a good place to start (Do your research though. Hammock camping is not as "intuitive" as pitching a tent...but OH! so much better!).