While ENO is widely known for their hammocks, I have…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: >$30
While ENO is widely known for their hammocks, I have found many of their accessory items to be lacking. That is the case with the HotSpot. There are much superior units in the cottage industry. My own DIY unit is superior and cheaper.
- Compact (folds down flat)
- Doesn't fit many pads
- Sides are not high enough
- Did not do the job it was suppose to
- Not for bigger frames
The strange thing about ENO is they are undoubtedly the top hammock seller in the U.S. Their hammocks are excellent, but their hammock accessories are subpar. In another review I mentioned how I returned the ENO Ember the day after it arrived, because it was such a substandard underquilt.
I purchased the HotSpot in the same order (and thanks goes to Trailspace, whose January gift certificated to Backcountry.com made all these gear purchases possible!).
How You Use It 101
The Hot Spot fits into the category of "Pad Extenders." When you are sleeping in a hammock in temps below 70°F, your pressure points (shoulders, back, butt, feet) will get cold. This is because your body compresses the fill of your sleeping bag. Without the loft, there is no insulation. [This happens on the ground too. You just don't notice it, because you are sleeping on a pad.] To stay warm in a hammock, you have two choices: sleep on a pad or add an underquilt (UQ).
The pro's of pads are: 1) They are cheaper, 2) They are readily available, and 3) If you have to "go to ground" in your hammock, a down UQ won't insulate (see above).
The con's of a pad are: 1) They slip away from your body as you move (Think trying to get on a floating pad on a lake or pool), and 2) The aren't typically wide enough to keep your shoulders and hips warm.
With the con's in mind, hammock hangers began adding Pad Extenders to widen pads along the torso.
The Hot Spot slips over a standard sleeping bad and provides two padded "wings" to wrap up around your shoulders and hips. Because you're wrapped into the Hot Spot, the pad won't slip out from under you as you sleep.
Immediately, after opening the package I noted it is a well-made item--good stitching, quality materials. It's also pretty light. I can't complain about the workmanship.
I also noted the side panel/wings seemed pretty narrow.
As I went to use it, the first thing I discovered was that the hot spot did not fit my primary sleeping pad. The pad was too wide for the Hot Spot to slip over. In fact, as I started grabbing other pads from around the house, I discovered 50% of the pads my family owns did not fit this unit (It did fit my Thermarest.)
Slinging my hammock up in my garage and putting the Hot Spot & pad in it, I was really disappointed at how little coverage there seem to be for my shoulders. I'm not a "broad shouldered" guy (42" chest), but this just seemed insufficient. I also noticed the wings wanted to collapse constantly. This proved to create quite a bit of work to get into the hammock and get set up.
Having seen many YouTube videos of cottage-industry & homemade Pad Extenders, the Hot Spot just seemed...less.
Once I was in the hammock, my doubts were affirmed. The Hot Spot did not wrap around me sufficiently. If I turned on my side, the wings would fall over, and I would have to readjust them. My shoulders were cold.
I did not return the Hot Spot. In the end, I found it works well with my 9yo son, who sleeps in a narrower hammock than I do. On a 40°F night, he was quite comfortable with the Hot Spot.
If you are a smaller-framed hammock hanger, the Hot Spot might fit you well, but it did not work for this 6'2", 190lb. hanger.