Soft Shackle Suspension Attachment
While the Kammok Single Roo and Roo Double use carabiners to attach to their suspension systems, the Roo Single UL saves weight with a “soft shackle”–in this case, an aluminum toggle on one end of a Dyneema cord, and a small loop on the other. You pass the toggle through a connection loop on your suspension, and then “button it up” by pushing the toggle through its own Dyneema loop. It’s meant to be used on a daisy-chain style suspension system like the Python UL (see below) but could conceivably be used with any suspension system that requires a carabiner to attach the suspension to the hammock. This design is not unique to Kammok but they do execute it elegantly and effectively; see our Hummingbird Single Hammock and Tree Straps Review for another example of the button-up soft shackle concept.
The Roo UL has 6 webbing loops around the perimeter (3 per side) which serve primarily to connect the Kammok Firebelly Quilt (reviewed here), or their warmer weather Bobcat series of quilts, as underquilts. If you don’t have a Kammok-brand underquilt, the loops can serve a couple of other functions: you can add tie-outs to them to help with a diagonal lay or attach stuff sacks from other Kammok products to organize small essentials.
There are longer webbing loops on the inside of the head end and foot end of the Roo UL. On the larger Roo models, these are good for clipping the Pongo Pad and Puffin Pillow into (read our review here). The Puffin Pillow will fit in the Roo UL, but, as described above, the Pongo Pad is far too big for the Roo UL. You could also use these as gear loops to attach a headlamp or other small item.
The Kammok Dragonfly Bugnet, which has its own ridgeline, cinches around the bottom of the hammock, and has zippers for entry. If you have your own bugnet, you’ll need to also rig up a ridgeline on the Roo UL to hold it off your face. I like to keep a bugnet on the hammock when I’m camping in bug season so I can set it up quickly and don’t trap bugs inside the netting when I’m putting it on the hammock, but if you do this with the Roo UL (even using Kammok’s own Dragonfly net) it won’t fit in the integrated stuff sack. You’ll have to put it in another stuff sack, or assemble the parts (hammock plus underquilt plus bugnet) once you arrive at your campsite.
If you know you’ll need a bugnet frequently, Kammok makes a hammock system with a removable zip-on bugnet and integrated ridgeline, called the Mantis, which also comes in the Mantis Ultralight version.
Kammok Kuhli UL Tarp Review
The Kammok Kuhli UL Tarp is a tapered, hexagon-shaped tarp with lineloc tensioners on the guyline and catenary cut edges. It’s seam-sealed and fully outfitted, so you can use it out of the box without any additional setup.
Specs at a Glance:
- Tarp with guylines: 12.07 oz (12.2 oz, actual)
- Stuff Sack: 0.4 oz
- 4 DAC Stakes: 1.5 oz
- Tarp Dimensions: 132 inches x 88 inches / 335.3 cm x 223.5 cm
- Packed Dimensions: 3.75 inches x 7 inches / 10 cm x 18 cm
- Tarp Material: Patagium 15 denier diamond ripstop nylon with Silicone/PU + DWR
- Guyout points with Hypalon Grommets: 2 ridgelines, 6 side guyouts
- Integrated Cord Pockets: 2 (for ridgelines)
- Included: 4 DAC aluminum V- stakes, 8 guylines (the 2 ridgelines with attached aluminum hooks), tarp stuff sack w/ integrated stake stuff sack
The Kuhli UL tarp has Linelocs on all guyouts and is attached to the tree via aluminum hooks on the ridgelines. I’ve always scoffed at adjustment hardware (like Linelocs) on shelters. “Learn to tie your knots!” I’d think. Going without hardware means lighter weight and less to break. But the first time out of the bag, I pitched the Kuhli UL drum-tight in about one minute. That got me rethinking my hardware aversion. Don’t get me wrong, I still think backpackers should learn their knots and have a basic understanding of how to fix likely problems that may occur with their shelters, but I’m not such a hardware Luddite anymore.
I thought back to a hammocking trip earlier this year in the hail where the winds were making my MYOG tarp fly like a kite when I was trying to pitch it, and how nice it would have been to just hook it to the trees and pull it tight. I’ve started packing the Kuhli UL tarp from the middle first, so that the two ridgeline cords are the last things packed. Then, when I open up the stuff sack, I can hook one ridgeline cord to a tree with the rest of the tarp packed, then walk to the next tree, holding the second ridgeline hook, while letting the tarp come out of the bag slowly, and hook the second ridgeline cord to that tree. This way, the tarp never touches the ground, and on a windy day, you can get it anchored to the first tree before the tarp is even out of the bag.
The guyline has reflective tracers woven in, so it’s easy to find your shelter in the night by the light of a headlamp. The guylines have fixed loops on the ends to go over the stakes, and are adjusted with Linelocs. It’s important to coil and tie off each of these guylines before stowing; if not, they will quickly get knotted and tangled with each other makes for a spaghetti nightmare. My second pitch took a lot longer than a minute because I hadn’t stored the guylines carefully enough.
The Kuhli UL has a number of setup options (see video above) and illustrated on a tag attached to the inside of the stuff sack. In addition to the standard A-frame hammock pitch, it can be pitched in “covered porch mode” with trekking pole tips fitting into the Hypalon (a durable synthetic rubber often found on underfoot straps for winter gaiters) grommets at the corners, to lift one side of the tarp like a flat roof. This is nice for increased visibility or for creating a kitchen area for cooking under the tarp during rain. It can also be pitched on the ground for use without a hammock, using trekking poles as end supports.
However, I believe the other two pitching options advertised are holdovers from the standard (non-ultralight) Kuhli tarp. “Storm mode” allows both ends to be closed off like doors, but requires the 2 additional side guyouts on the standard Kuhli not found on the UL version. “Extended coverage/ asymmetrical mode” is pitched on the diagonal, but the Kuhli UL guylines on the corners are way too short to use as ridgelines. In order to pitch it this way, you would need to switch the positions of the ridgelines, which you would want to do before your trip, not in the field, as it is tedious to undo the knots, unthread the line from the Linelocs, thread it through different Linelocs, and knot the cord again. When I initially saw the possibilities of so many pitching options, I was excited, as I imagine other customers may be, but the reality is that only two of them are viable options. Hopefully, Kammok updates the tag and instructional video to reflect this.
Stake-holder integrated into tarp stuff sack
A feature that I hadn’t seen before is the integration of a stake stuff sack into the side of the tarp stuff sack. This solves a number of issues common with packing stakes. Stakes are tricky to pack because they are pointy and can damage other gear, especially ultralight fabrics, so they’re usually stored in their own stuff sack apart from a shelter. But you also want to store them in a way that you can access them quickly to set up your shelter, especially if you pull into camp in a storm. And, stake stuff sacks are small and easy to misplace or forget, and while there’s a bunch of things you can use in place of stakes in a pinch, it’s frustrating to lose them.
Kammok solves these issues by creating a stuff sack that holds the tarp and stakes separately but as part of one package. The Kuhli UL’s stuff sack has two sewn channels on the outside designed to tightly hold two pairs of the high-quality aluminum DAC V-shaped stakes which come with the tarp. This style of stake has excellent holding power in soft or wet ground. I love the convenience and simplicity of having the stakes stored with the tarp in this way. The downside to the integrated stuff sack is, if you want to bring extra stakes (more than the 4 that are included) to utilize the side guylines, there’s nowhere to put them–you’ll need to bring a stuff sack just for the extras! A couple of ultralight titanium shepherd’s hook stakes do fit behind the “V” of the DAC stakes, but the hook part protrudes from the top and I’d be wary of it catching on sleeping bags, puffy jackets, or other delicate gear in the pack.
Kammok Python UL 10 Straps Review
Kammok’s Python UL 10 Straps may look familiar if you remember Ultimate Hammock’s Ultimate Straps. Ultimate Hammocks was purchased by Kammok and the Ultimate Straps were rebranded as the Python UL. While 1 to 2-inch wide tree straps are recommended for Leave No Trace, the Pythons use two narrower (2 centimeter-wide) pieces of webbing connected with short horizontal pieces 2 inches apart, to save weight while still distributing the load over a wide area on the tree trunk to prevent damage to the tree. This design continues for the tree-hugger section of the strap, and then becomes a single half-inch daisy chain strap where the hammock connects. Each strap is 10 feet long, hence the name.
Specs at a glance
- Total Packed Weight: 3.2 oz / 90.1 g (3.3, actual)
- Trail Weight (straps alone, no stuff sack) 3.0 oz / 85 g (3.1, actual)
- Max Weight Capacity: 300 lb / 136 kg
- Strap Length: 10 ft / 305 cm each strap
- Unpacked Dimensions: 10 ft x 2-0.59 in / 305 cm x 5-2 cm (straps taper from double-width to single-width)
- Packed Dimensions: 3 in x 2.75 in / 51 cm x 7 cm
- Strap Material: SpiraLineTM ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene
The Python UL 10 straps are a daisy chain-style suspension that is easy for beginners to learn and a foolproof way to connect your hammock without fear of slippage. The split tree-hugger design makes the straps a little awkward to pack–since you have to fold the doubled area first, they don’t roll up as neatly as solid webbing tree straps–but sometimes I just fold them and stuff them, and they still fit into the tiny included stuff sack.
As someone who is used to using a marlin spike with tree hugger straps attached to whoopie slings attached to a hammock, the simplicity and security of the Python suspension is attractive. Integration with the ultralight soft shackle of the Roo UL is perfect, but you can also easily attach another vendor’s hammocks with a carabiner or carabiner alternative. You just need to find the loop that the hammock will reach while keeping the strap at a 30-degree angle, and clip in (or button in your soft shackle).
Kammok’s Ultralight Camp Kit is a minimalist backpacking hammock setup that includes the Roo Single UL Hammock, the Kuhli UL tarp, and Python 10 UL Hammock Suspension Straps. The Kuhli Tarp UL and Python UL Straps are great lightweight tools for all-around use. The Kuhli UL has a lot of smart and convenient features that make it a pleasure to use, like the integrated stake stuff sack, the Hypalon grommets, and the ridgeline hooks. The Python UL Straps pack small and light, and are simple and secure to use. The Roo UL is a comfortable, small, compact, and truly light hammock at 5.6 oz including the soft shackles. This soft shackle system is a fantastic way to cut weight without losing functionality, but users should understand the minimalist dimensions of the product and test out whether this size hammock is a good fit for their intended uses, as well as if they need to add on a bugnet for their locale.
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Last updated: 2022-05-13 08:10:28
Disclosure: Kammok provided the author with product samples for this review.
About the author
Greg Pehrson is an ultralight backpacker who was bitten hard by the MYOG (make-your-own-gear) bug. He repairs, tinkers, and builds gear, often seeking to upcycle throwaway items or repurpose things from outside the backpacking world.
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