ENO OneLink Sleep System Review
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While camping gear has changed radically over the years – think similarly attired boy scouts traipsing off into the wilderness of Yellowstone, and you’ll catch my drift, the basics of camping remain the same. Get out into the wilderness for some R&R, and you have only a handful of basic needs. My basic needs typically include beer and shelter – I rethink my beer selection every time, but it’s been quite some time since I’ve rethought my shelter needs. Enter Eagle’s Nest Outfitters (ENO), a company based around creating the ultimate relaxation experience – they’ve rethought traditional shelter needs and created a system which does away with the tent altogether – the ENO OneLink Sleep System fits the bill for one or two people. I can tell you right now after my testing period of a couple of months and a handful of trips, I’m a huge fan – who needs a tent when you’ve got the right hammock?
Initial thoughts on the ENO OneLink Sleep System
I first ran into ENO several years ago – there was a trade show here in Denver, and they had a booth. I forget the specifics, but what drew my attention was actually a contraption that looked part chair and part trapeze act. This chair (the ENO Lounger Chair) was so comfortable that my friend bought it on the spot. Years later, that chair is still a fan favorite at my friends residence. ENO builds their products to last. So this year, when I first saw the ENO OneLink Sleep System in action, I knew it was going to be a great candidate for testing. The great people over at Eagle’s Nest sent over the Double Nest option out of the ENO OneLink Sleep System lineup, which has several different options to choose from. At prices ranging from $209.95 (SingleNest) and up, they are easily in the same price range as an entry level packing tent, and actually much cheaper when accessories are considered. I chose to test the DoubleNest + Insect Shield , which came with the following options standard: DoubleNest hammock, Atlas Straps, ProFly Rain Tarp, Easton Stakes and Guardian Bugnet. I highly, highly recommend the BugNet, cause I even here in bugless Colorado (yeah right), the mosquitos will eat you alive if you’re anywhere near a water source in the front range. As you can see in the photos, for my afternoon nap I chose to use it without net/rain fly, but for nights I was all about the full combo.
As mentioned above, my testing phase ran for about two months, across a handful of camping trips. As I took the whole family with each time, I never packed in or out – with two kids below the age of five, we vastly prefer car camping adventures. While the kids slept in a Kelty tent (reviewed here by yours truly), I slept nearby in the ENO OneLink Sleep System. For all trips, the temperature was a downright balmy mid 80’s during the day, and dipped as low as 40 overnight on one occasion. I weathered only a little light rain and light wind; other than this, it was clear skies and fantastic camping. This didn’t exactly bear out well for testing, but was great for the family. I particularly enjoyed the night during which the wind kicked up as I was nodding off; it was pretty much exactly like being rocked to sleep.
Testing the ENO OneLink Sleep System
I’ll get right into testing the backbone of the ENO OneLink Sleep System – the DoubleNest hammock. At a scant 20oz., the DoubleNest hammock is light enough and small enough to fit into just about any pack/bag I’d take with me. Complete with aluminum wire carabiners and roomy enough for two people, the DoubleNest hammock is beefy for being so light; in fact, it’s rated up to 400 lbs. I can’t attest that it will actually hold 400 lbs., but it did hold the family and me when we all piled in at the first campsite, or roughly 340-350lbs. It actually bore the weight well, and didn’t give any ominous rips or moans, despite my boys’ best attempt at treating it like a jumpy castle. On top of using the ENO OneLink Sleep System to sleep at night, I took quite a few naps in it as well. The build material is a nylon “parachute” type which dries quickly and stays cool even during hot days in direct sunlight – this was awesome, as I hate waking up sweaty from an afternoon siesta. As for two people in the hammock, it took the wife and I a bit of wriggling around to find a comfy sleeping arrangement. If you’re big on personal space, sleep in this alone, as no matter how you shift and squirm you wind up sleeping on top of each other. When sitting side by side in the ENO OneLink Sleep System (as shown on the ENO website), it’s perfect for two people, with plenty of room to spare.
Believe or not, the entire doublenest hammock from the ENO OneLink Sleep System fits pretty easily in the attached stuff sack. I was a little skeptical when I saw it come out of the packaging, as some products (try as I might) just never seem to go back in correctly. Of all the components of the ENO OneLink Sleep System, I actually found this to be the easiest portion to put away, as the nylon is soft and fluid in your hands. Sewing the stuff sack onto the DoubleNest hammock was a nice touch, as you’ll never be able to lose it. If you’ve never slept in a hammock while camping before (and I haven’t, except by happy accident), be sure to make note of the fact that a hammock is a warm weather invention. I honestly felt that without a pad, the weather I was sleeping in was the lower limit of sleeping in a hammock. At 40 degrees, the bottom of the hammock gets pretty chilly, even when using the warmest of sleeping bags. This is because the hammock is literally designed to stay cool and dry in the hottest temps. There are several solutions to this if you’d like to get comfortable in colder temps (and because it always gets this cold on most Colorado nights up at elevation), a few of them even sold by ENO. I’ll probably order the hot spot myself (to pair with the entire ENO OneLink Sleep System), as I found that getting comfortable on my sleeping pad in the hammock on one cold night did take a little doing. I don’t move too much when I sleep, so pairing the hammock with a sleeping pad actually ended up working out just fine for me. It’d just be nice to have that extra security holding the pad in place.
As mentioned above, the DoubleNest hammock is only one component of the entire sleep system. The ENO OneLink Sleep System comes complete with your choice of strap system (I chose the Atlas over the slap straps), and the ProFly rain tarp with Easton stakes. The reason I chose Atlas was due to the length of the strap system – I wanted a long option to maximize the distance in which I was able to set up the ENO OneLink Sleep System, but still wanted the adjustability to set it up in tight spaces. A quick glance at the strap comparison chart tells you all you ever wanted to know (FYI – they have these awesome comparison charts for just about every product on the site) about straps and then some. Essentially, this strap allows for the maximum amount of adjustment in your strap distance. The slap strap options are great as well, being made up of a slightly different material which shaves a few ounces off for the weight weenies out there. The straps couldn’t have been an easier set up – I had them around the trees, and the hammock height adjusted to a comfortable level in about half the time it would take me to set up tent poles.
I was much, much more comfortable inside the bug net, especially since I like to read at night. I’m that guy that always gets a million mosquito bites, too, so I appreciated having the extra layer of protection between me and all the bloodsuckers out there. The Guardian Bug Net may seem a bit pricey at an extra $60, but it’s well worth the cash to pony up, and there is an ENO OneLink Sleep System option that already includes it. Basically you run a guy line up over your head and clip 6 different plastic loops to it to hang the bug net over the hammock. A zipper bisects the length of the hammock to allow easy access. Keep in mind this was absolutely a two handed job to open the zipper (think headlamps people, not flashlights), but as I said in the end it was worth it. Each end of the bug net has a drawstring, integrating it nicely into the ENO OneLink Sleep System – it took only a minute to slide the hammock through one end and out the other. The added bonus was that it can work directly with the ProFly Rain Tarp. Simply throw the tarp over the Guardian Bug Net and you have the extra bonus of being waterproof. As I said above, the weather was tremendously accommodating on all of my outdoor endeavors this year, so all the rain fly kept off of me was dew. I did, however, pour water over it to test just how well it sheds rain and heavy amounts of H2O. I have every confidence that when taught, the ProFly would keep you comfortable and dry in all but the heaviest storms. One key thing in adding the bug net and rain fly to any ENO hammock. KNOW HOW TO TIE KNOTS. I know a couple of handy slip knots and a few basic fly tying knots for fishing, which totally saved me on setting up this system. If you didn’t learn how to tie knots, you’d be up the proverbial creek when it came to setting up the ENO OneLink Sleep System. For next time, I’m going to learn how to tie a taughtline hitch, or basically a knot which allows for easy tightening of the tag end in order to increase tension. As you can see in the photos, my rain fly sagged slightly in the night – not enough to cause any problems, but during a stiff breeze it would’ve been all over the place. All that is used to secure the bug net and the ProFly in the ENO OneLink Sleep System are knots.
Final thoughts on the ENO OneLink Sleep System
The ENO OneLink Sleep System has become a staple of all my camping trips to come. The comfort is superb, and if you’ve never slept in a hammock, well, you’re just missing out on one of life’s greatest pleasures. With a little bit of prep, the hammock is perfect for multiple seasons, and more versatile than any tent due to the fact that your choice of campsites just expanded exponentially. All you need are two fixed object to make a loop around and you’re set. True, it was a bit chillier than your average tent camping set up, but with the right sleeping pad (and the ENO HotSpot mentioned above) the ENO OneLink Sleep System is a winner all around in usability, durability, and price point. As mentioned above, the system tested runs at $239.95 – you can add or remove all the options listed above, but I recommend the items listed above at a minimum. Head on over to www.rei.com or www.amazon.com/ENO to check out all of the hammock options and additional swag listed.