The Thermarest Slacker Bug Shelter is a full coverage, add-on bug net for your hammock. We have already taken a look at the Slacker Single Hammock and Rain Fly, and the Slacker Bug Shelter works great with these. I’ve set this shelter up several times now and slept in it quite a bit. This bug net works well but I did have to make a modification for it to work with my style and preferred hammock setup.
The Slacker Bug Shelter is a separate piece of gear from the Slacker Hammock and can be left at home in the colder months when bugs are less of a problem. Setting up the bug net is pretty simple. The ends of the Bug Shelter cinch onto the hammock suspension at either end. A webbing ridgeline connects to the carabiners at the end of the Slacker Hammock and forms a ridgeline. The ridgeline is exposed on the inside of the shelter so an organizer or light can be easily hung if needed. I found the webbing ridgeline to be too long for my preferred hammock setup. I like to hang the hammock with the suspension rising at about 30 degrees. This lets the hammock hang loosely enough for me to lie diagonally (head left/feet right) and have a flatter sleeping position. I tied simple knots in the webbing to shorten it up. Once the knots were in place, everything worked out well. Replacing the webbing with a shorter piece of cordage is also possible. I am told that Thermarest is already working on an update to provide an adjustable ridgeline for the Bug Shelter.
The Slacker Bug Shelter has a door on one side. A long curved double zipper forms a large opening and makes entry easy. Snagging was not an issue but operating the zipper is made easier by using two hands and hanging onto the no-see-um mesh while zipping. Thermarest made the Bug Shelter so that a durable nylon bottom makes a floor to stand in while taking off shoes. I normally take a piece of Tyvek house wrap to lay on the ground for the same use, so I enjoy the floor. Gear can be stored below the hammock inside the bug shelter as well. Reinforced guy points are provided to let you pull the bug net outward and make some more room. I never had a reason to use the extra guy points because I had plenty of space anyway.
The pros of the Slacker Bug Shelter are the built in floor, ease of entry, and easy setup. The cons are that it is a bit heavier and bulkier than some other options. The Slacker Bug Shelter weighs 16.8 ounces on my scale. It packs down to roughly 7 by 9 inches but can be compressed a bit more.
The Thermarest Slacker Bug Shelter has an MSRP of $79.95. While I might not carry this bug net backpacking on a trip where weight and pack size rule, I will definitely use it on sorter trips, kayaking, car camping and in other situations where conveniences and comfort are more important. Again, the build quality is great. Click here to browse over to the Thermarest website.
I’d like to thank Thermarest for providing the Slacker hammock and hammock accessories for testing and review. We at Industry Outsider have limited budgets just like everyone else. Being able to take a look at gear and pass along information hopefully benefits everyone.