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Hammock Gear Journey

rated 5.0 of 5 stars
photo: Hammock Gear Journey tarp/shelter

A SilPoly tarp with built in doors, the Journey is one of Hammock Gear's best kept secrets. Well designed, reasonably priced, very durable, and built by an Ohio-based company. Great shelter for hammock or ground sleeping.

Pros

  • SilPoly doesn't absorb water
  • Well designed and constructed
  • Doors!
  • Sewn-in side pullouts
  • Durable

Cons

  • Need to do your own seam sealing
  • Can't order w/o D-rings

 

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Fall on the GLT

I recently realized that I have neglected to share Hammock Gear's Journey tarp here on Trailspace despite the fact that I have been using one for years and bought a second one last year for family trips. While most of the talk about tarps involves DCF and high prices, this tarp has advantages over SilNylon without costing a fortune. Let's talk tarp...

Specs:

  • Ridgeline 11' or 12'
  • Baseline Length 73"
  • Width (Middle of Baseline) 114"
  • Tie Outs 6 Baseline 4 Door 4 Side Pull
  • Weight 16.37 oz (11') - 17.54 oz (12')

Construction & Durability:

Hammock Gear hit all the marks when it came to creating the Journey. Materials, design, and craftsmanship all come together to create a very functional tarp that holds up on trail to use and abuse in camp and in pack.

The material employed is a silicone impregnated ripstop polyester 20D fabric. This stuff is wind and waterproof of course, but it sets itself apart from nylon fabrics by not retaining nearly as much water. It packs up better wet and dries faster when given the chance because it never gets as "wet" as nylon.

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Good look at stitching and tie out reinforcement panel

The grosgrain tie-outs all have a 210D polyester panel to provide reinforcement in the areas that take a lot of stress. Standards hardware includes 1/2" Beastee D-Rings on the perimeter tie-outs. Upgrading to Lineloc3 hardware is a $10 charge if that is your preference.

The sewing is very well done all around. Seams are even and true with uniform stitching. Even after years of use the structure is solid with no stretching or loose threads. This is a big part of the Journey's durability I am sure. Heavy winds, downpours, and even a falling branch or two have not left a mark.

Features:

Now we can talk about the design. Hammock Gear didn't really invent anything new with the Journey. In my eyes they just took the most commonsense features a person needs on trail and put them together really well.

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Note how the doors hang without retention

The door panels are not very large, but when in place do a really great job of channeling wind around the shelter rather than through it. Depending on conditions they can be tightly bound or left more open for ventilation. The same line used to secure them closed can be pulled back and attached to the side pullouts to hold the doors open.

The side pullouts can be used in several ways. The most common is for guying out the side panels in strong wind. They also can be used to attach poles across the ridge to hold the tarp open wide. HG makes a point of really stitching the panels that secure these tie-outs so they can do their job without hurting the tarp.

Testing Conditions: 

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The Dark Olive color blends well in the forest. Copper color also available

I've been using the first Journey purchased for three years on most three-season trips. Primarily used as a hammock shelter, but also to close off the front of a shelter a few times in bad weather. I would guess that tarp has seen about 150 trail nights at the least over those years, but I don't keep exact records heh.

Conclusions:

I liked the Journey so much that I got a second one to share with the family in case you were wondering about the five-star rating. Hammock Gear has a reputation for both quality and respect for the fact that not everyone is made of money. Their Econ line of down quilts is what brought them to my attention. After having good results with those I decided to try their shelters and have been happy I did.

I do hate that they won't custom make my tarps without D-rings, but I understand they don't do custom orders like that. When a new tarp comes in the first thing I have to do is cut those things off and I hate throwing more plastic in the trash.

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Not a winter tarp, but a little snow is cool

That really is about all the negative I can get about the Journey though. On trail I find it a joy to sleep under in most weather. Don't think it would hold up very well in the snow, so I try to avoid using it when storms are expected. I have the Cooke Custom Tundra for that heh. Thunderstorms with wind and rain have come at it, but even without using the pullouts I have ridden out whatever was thrown at me.

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Everything but the tarp is wet on last day of the Cohos

Packing up wet is never a joy, but the difference the SilPoly makes was really noticeable on those days. Water sticks to the surface, but doesn't permeate the material even after a long soaking. After shaking off as much as possible I pull the mesh skin over it and stuff it in an outside pocket. Previous experience with nylon tarps stuffed in wet was usually to have water pouring out of that pocket. The Journey doesn't do that and when given a chance to stretch out in drier air it dries out fast.

Overall I am very happy with this purchase. As mentioned, so much so that I have purchased another. I feel badly about forgetting to review it sooner, but I think that is partly because of how well this tarp works. I sort of forget about it. While I am always pondering stove options, the Journey is a grab and go, no thought, always in my pack, item. If you are in the market it is certainly worth a look.

Background

This tarp has been used for three seasons, about 150 trail nights. I have many other tarps and have been using them for many years.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $140 + shipping

About the Author

John (LoneStranger) enjoys both solo adventures and family escapades on the trails and waters of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Alone or with his wife and daughter the preference is always for places without people where you can hear the breeze or watch a patch of sun slide through camp. He and his family help maintain a section of the Cohos Trail in northern New Hampshire and are seasoned veterans of Maine's Baxter State Park. On his own, John likes to push himself to always think a little bigger, higher, or farther and has hopes to do some longer distance trails. If you meet him on a remote summit you'll recognize him by the Trailspace hat on his head and the cheese and sausage he's stuffing into his smiling face.

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Specs

11 ft 12 ft
Price MSRP: $129.99
Reviewers Paid: $140.00
Weight 16.37 oz 17.54 oz
Baseline Length 73 in
Ridgeline Length 132 in 144 in
Total Width 114 in
Fabric 20 denier silpoly (1.1oz/yd²), 1500 mm head pressure
Product Details from Hammock Gear »

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