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Depending on your surrounding environment, hammocks can have a number of advantages over sleeping on the ground in a tent or bivvy bag. If the ground is rocky or uneven, a hammock can elevate you above it, and hammocks are extremely lightweight and compact. They're also quick to set up and tear down. And even if you're not spending the night in your hammock, it provides a comfy place to sit down, read a book, or take a nap.
Unfortunately, the obvious Achilles heel of a hammock is its requirement for elevated mounting points — usually trees. If you're in an area where the trees are too small to support your weight, too sparse, or nonexistent, finding somewhere to rig your hammock will be a challenge.
A new Kickstarter campaign by Texas-based small business Nido Structures aims to launch the Swiftlet, which it calls “the lightest-weight free-standing hammock stand on the market”. The Swiftlet hammock stand is made of powder-coated aluminum, and includes adjustable tie-in points that fit all standard nylon camping hammocks.
The Swiftlet's base can be configured with a small base bar for a 41-inch-long footprint, or a big bar for a 74-inch-long footprint. “Tea cup sliders” on the upright bars allow the user to precisely adjust hang height and tension. The entire system can be disassembled and packed into a 46″ x 8″x 8″ canvas carry bag; weight is just over 12 pounds.
While it may be lighter and smaller than other stands on the market, the Swiftlet still isn't the sort of thing you'd take on backpacking trips. However, we could see it being a great option for car camping, trips to the beach, and various other casual outdoor activities.
The Swiftlet is available through Kickstarter for $165, or can be purchased along with a Nido Structures hex-weave nylon hammock for $195. Lower early-bird prices will also be available for a limited time. For more info, check out the Swiftlet on Kickstarter.