Therm-a-Rest Slacker Single ReviewJanuary 4, 2018
- One-piece design
- Soft fabric
- Good rain fly
- Suspension buckle system
The Slacker Single is a one-piece design, which means there aren’t any seams along the edges. Our testers found this made it more comfortable overall, since some people don’t like to feel lengthwise seams underneath them, especially if there’s no pad or sleeping bag in use. It’s also one less feature to worry about wearing out.
The fabric is a soft ripstop polyester with just a little bit of give. It feels good against the skin and supposedly dries faster than nylon, though our testers didn’t notice a difference in the field. The fabric is gathered at each end and sewn onto a webbing loop with a wire-gated aluminum carabiner attached. The design creates less tension in the fabric than models that are gathered more tightly at the ends. The result is more head and foot room and looser side edges.
The Slacker is roomier than most one-person hammocks – there’s ample space for lying diagonally – but it’s definitely not large enough for two average-sized adults to rest comfortably. Therm-A-Rest also makes a double version.
The Slacker’s stuff sack is attached in the middle, and was the biggest in the test. It’s large enough to hold a hardback book, and it fits the hammock itself without much effort. It closes with a single small plastic buckle.
The Slacker suspenders ($30) have a unique two-piece design: each one goes around a tree with a girth hitch, but instead of the standard daisy chain, it has a sliding metal buckle attached to a separate piece of webbing to clip the hammock to. The design allows for finer adjustments than daisy chain suspension systems, and it eliminates clipping and unclipping to find the right fit. The suspenders are black and hard to see at night.
The rectangular Slacker rain fly ($90) has six stake out points with integrated cords and sliding metal length adjusters. (These cords have reflective threads – why couldn’t the suspenders?). It comes with four aluminum stakes – creating a complete package for quick and easy protection from the weather. Therm-a-Rest also makes a self-inflating mattress sized to fit inside a Slacker that was new in 2017.
Ease of Use
Once you get the hang of the Slacker’s suspension system, it’s not too hard to set up. It would have been nice to make the two pieces of webbing different colors as some of our testers sometimes got stuck for a moment trying to figure out which piece was the one that goes around the tree.
The catch with the two-piece design is the suspenders can’t shorten beyond a certain point; unless hanging from giant trees, there’s always a certain length of blank webbing leftover between the bark and the buckle. If the tree is small enough, the strap can be double-wrapped around it, but the fit has to be just right.
The carabiners are large and the hammock and straps each fit into the nylon mesh stuff sack easily. The rain fly has to be folded up somewhat carefully to go in smoothly. Each sack has a page of instructions attached, which is handy the first few times and easily cut off once familiar with the process. The Slacker and rain fly pouches both have nylon loops on the outside, which is a nice touch.
The Slacker’s fabric is so soft it seems like it might be more prone to wear, but there were no snags or tears throughout the tests. The suspenders are standard 1-inch nylon webbing, and the rain fly is especially well made with reinforced corners and tie-out points.
You’d think the Slacker’s one-piece design would make it one of the lighter hammocks in the test, but you’d be disappointed. It was the second-heaviest model overall, with a combined weight, including straps and rain fly, of 2 pounds, 12.5 ounces. This isn’t a big leap over the next-heaviest model – 4.3 ounces to be exact, counting the hammock only – but it should be lower.Continue Reading
Over the course of a few weeks, our testers spent multiple nights in each model, using the same sleeping bag, pad and inflatable pillow. Since the testing was based in Oregon, about half the nights involved precipitation of some kind. Each model was set up and stowed in each combination multiple times, on trees of varying diameters and distances. If a model is described as fitting two people, a companion was enlisted to check fit.
Runner, cyclist, father, writer—Julian Smith is a guy with a lot in tow, and a lot to say about the best running strollers and trailers for active parents wth kids.