More on Roof-Top Hammocks, Hitch Hammocks, and Roof-Top Tents

Roof-Top Hammocks

Last year I posted about the TrailNest, which is a folding metal contraption that you put on top of your roof so you can set up a hammock or two up there. Instead of a roof-top tent, it’s a roof-top hammock.

I recently got an email from Chris, the guy behind TrailNest, informing me that version 2 of the hammock stand is currently taking pre-orders. The original TrailNest was $349. Version 2 is $799. My first question to Chris was why version 2 is more than double the price of version 1, and here are the key points that justify the price increase:

  • The metal floor that you can stand on to get in and out of the hammock—which used to be an add-on accessory—is now included.
  • Shipping is now free.
  • The stand is now made from aluminum rather than steel, so it’s much lighter.
  • “We’re now using waterjet cutting and other CNC processes, so the deployment mechanisms and everything else are now much simpler and easier to use.”

The product is made in the US in a facility just north of Denver, Colorado. You can learn more about the product and pre-order it here. A 2-person version is also available for $1,299. Here are some pics:

TrailNest Rooftop Hammock Stand

While you can’t deny after looking at those pictures that it’s a cool product and looks like a ton of fun, my first reaction to this is that it’s now too expensive for most people. At $349, its certainly wasn’t throwaway money (for me, anyway), but it was something I could see myself trying out at some point. At $799, it’s getting into roof-top tent territory. This Smittybilt roof-top tent is $850, and it comes with bedding and an actual tent that provides complete weather protection. With the TrailNest, you still need to provide the hammock, underquilt, tarp, etc. For the price of the TrailNest, I’d want them to at least throw in a cheap hammock just so that you can use the thing as soon as you get it. (For example, here’s one on Amazon for $9.99 that includes carabiners, tree straps, etc. Why not just include something like that with your $800 purchase? I understand that TrailNest may want to be making and selling their own hammocks in the future, or that they want one made in the US instead of a $10 Chinese one, but still, I think a hammock should be included.)

All of that said, some people simply prefer sleeping in hammocks to sleeping in a bed. If that’s you, I can absolutely see the $799 price tag making sense. Even $799 is cheaper than a week’s worth of hotel stays is most places. But I’m just a little bit sad that it’s now priced high enough that I will never get it.

An Alternative

If that $350 price tag for a hammock-related accessory is still calling to you, check out the Hammock Mount by McClean Metalworks. I know I’ve written about it before here on the blog, but it’s just such a smart design that I wanted to mention it again as long as I’m talking about funky car hammock accessories.  While it doesn’t have the roof-top wow factor of the TrailNest, it’s half the price and is arguably more practical in that it’s easier to get in and out of the hammock and is easier to set up, not to mention easier to store when you’re not using it.

McClean Metalworks hitch-mounted hammock stand

(McClean Metalworks, if you read this, I’d love to review one of these for real if you’re willing to send me one. I’m going on a monthlong road trip in a couple of weeks and can provide you with lots of action shots and would also probably make a video about it. Hint hint. Wink wink. Nudge nudge. Beg beg.)

A Quick Thought on Roof-Top Tents (RTTs)

If I had $2,500 burning a hole in my pocket, I’d get a hard-sided RTT to try out. Probably this one. But I don’t have $2,500 burning a hole in my pocket and probably never will. So that leaves me with options like the aforementioned $850 Smittybilt RTT or something like the Tepui Tents Ayer Sky 2 Tent ($1,050). That Tepui RTT is particularly interesting to me because it’s being sold at REI. REI has coupons a couple of times a year for 20% off a single item, and it apparently works on Tepui RTTs. So that’d knock the price down to $840. That’s still more than I’d want to spend on something like this, but what I would consider doing is buying one for $840 (or around $880 after tax), using it for a summer, and then selling it again for $700 or $800. I’d be willing to take that much of a hit on one just to have had the experience of trying it out. Indeed, my fiancée and I are thinking about using some of our wedding money to get one so we could try it out on our planned honeymoon road trip.

(Yes, another option would just be to buy it from REI and then return it using their rather liberal return policy after I’ve tried it out, but that’s kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth if I never had the intention of keeping it in the first place. Taking advantage of a company’s return policy like that is bad karma.)

Anyway, I just wanted to share that as a viable option for other people who are interested in trying out a RTT but don’t want to permanently sink $900 into one and don’t have any RTT rental places near them.


This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Exploring 1000-Year Old Ruins in Utah and Colorado

In this video I spend a day checking out a bunch of Native American ruins in southeastern Utah and then western Colorado. I also have several wildlife encounters of the reptilian kind and see a bunch of petroglyphs (and a couple of pictographs). (Click here if you can’t see the vide below.)

And check out the new Cargo Hammock that’s now for sale in the store!

GPS COORDINATES
* Campsite: 37.2906, -109.6354
* First ruins: 37.2774, -109.6464
* Wolfman Petroglyph Panel: 37.2746, -109.6461
* Crap ruins: 37.2743, -109.6479
* Cadillac Ranch RV Park (shower): 37.2826, -109.5515
* Hovenweep National Monument: 37.3863, -109.0755
* Painted Hand Pueblo: 37.4544, -108.9695
* Colorado campsite: 38.2628, -108.2831

MY FAVORITE ADVENTURE YET! – 2 Days Kayak Camping in the Desert

This is my favorite video I’ve ever made. In this video I meet up with a friend and spend two days kayak camping on the San Juan River in southeastern Utah. We explore Native American ruins, find petroglyphs and potsherds, find a crappy campsite, and just have a great time overall. (Click here if you can’t see the video below.)

Well That Was Unexpected!

After a completely unexpected start to the day, I take care of some business in town and then head out to Cedar Mesa to hunt for Native American archaeological sites. I end up at one of my favorite places to camp. (Click here if you can’t see the video below.)

GPS COORDINATES
* House on Fire Ruin trailhead: 37.5374, -109.7323
* House on Fire Ruin: 37.54376, -109.74461
* Mule Canyon Towers trailhead: 37.5325, -109.7322
* Mule Canyon Towers: 37.5264, -109.7321
* Butler Wash Ruins trailhead: 37.5243, -109.6324
* Butler Wash Ruins: 37.5252, -109.6399
* Arch next to Butler Wash Ruins: 37.5256, -109.6394
* Campsite: 37.266934, -109.809694

I Didn’t Plan for This!

In this video things don’t quite go as planned, but I make the most of it and have a great time. I then head up into the mountains and find a beautiful campsite. (Click here if you can’t see the video below.)

GPS COORDINATES
* Newspaper Rock: 37.987997, -109.518012
* Roadside Ruin trailhead: 38.163169, -109.762572
* Cave Springs Trail trailhead: 38.157228, -109.751666
* Pothole Point Trail trailhead: 38.170258, -109.806539
* Big Spring Canyon Overlook: 38.178284, -109.817132
* Slickrock Trail trailhead: 38.177042, -109.814502
* Wooden Shoe Arch viewpoint: 38.150536, -109.781514
* Campsite: 37.8773, -109.4465

I Had It All to Myself!

In this video I check out a natural arch and waterfall up in the La Sal Mountains east of Moab before descending back into the red rock desert to hunt for a little-known but absolutely incredible arch. (Click here if you can’t see the video below.)

VIDEO LINKS
* My Arches National Park hiking guidebook
* Kamchatka Gear (My online store)

GPS COORDINATES
* Geyser Pass: 38.4863, -109.2320
* Brumley Falls Trailhead (Squaw Spring Trailhead): 38.4791, -109.2901
* Brumley Falls: 38.4752, -109.2920
* Brumley Arch: 38.4754, -109.2924
* Otho Natural Bridge “trailhead”: 38.5764, -109.4593
* Engagement Ring Rock: 38.5674, -109.4562
* Otho Natural Bridge: 38.5546, -109.4672
* Campsite: 38.346866, -109.459636

Two Interesting New Products for SUV RVers, Vandwellers, and More

I occasionally check Kickstarter to see if there are any products that I think would be interesting or useful to those of us who spend time traveling and sleeping in our vehicles. For those unfamiliar with the site, Kickstarter is basically a way for people with ideas for products to raise money so that they can put those products into production. They do this by pre-selling the product before it’s been produced. If you back a project on Kickstarter, you pay the money and then can expect to get the product in 3 or 6 months or whenever it’s ready after being produced. (See the note at the end of this article.)

One of the products currently raising money on Kickstarter is called the Moki Doorstep. It’s a piece of metal that attaches to your car’s door frame to give you an extra step to make putting things on or taking things off of the roof of your car much easier. Here are some pics:

The Moki Doorstep
The Moki Doorstep
The Moki Doorstep
The Moki Doorstep

It costs $30. This product could be great for those of us who put cargo boxes, kayaks, skis, or solar panels on the roof of our vehicles. Check the Moki Doorstep out here on Kickstarter. There’s also a great video showing how it works, which I’m embedding below (though you may not be able to see it if you’re an email subscriber to the blog).

The second Kickstarter product I wanted to share is a bit silly but still, er… interesting. It’s called The Car Pool. It bills itself as “The world’s most portable toilet for men.” It’s basically a long tube. One end gets hooked up to an empty plastic bottle, and then the man pees into the other end. Here’s a pic:

The Car Pool
The Car Pool

To me, this product seems completely unnecessary for most people. If you’re a guy, it’s already not that hard to just pee into a wide-mouthed bottle. The one instance in which I could see it being useful is if you have limited mobility. Then maybe something like this could make a difference for you. But hey, if you think you’d like it, by all means get one and let me know how it goes. One Car Pool costs $19 to $25, depending on which tier you back the project at. There’s a dumb video that shows off the product, but I don’t want to embed it here. If you’re interested, go to the product’s page and watch it there.

What do you guys think of these products?

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Note: Backing a product on Kickstarter does not 100% guarantee that you’ll get it. You can learn more about risk and accountability on Kickstarter here.

Free Campsites Don’t Get Much Better Than This!

In this video I wash my hair with a little spray bottle, check out some very easily accessible Native American rock art, and head into the La Sal Mountains and find one of the most beautiful campsites ever! (Click here if you can’t see the video below.)

GPS COORDINATES
* Golf Course Rock Art Site: 38.537785, -109.479424
* Campsite: 38.413940, -109.223498