View Full Version : Crazy Crib LE Hammock

01-23-2003, 16:08
Reviewer Name: DebW

Age: 47

Height: 5' 6"

Weight: 120 lb

Experience: 30 years hiking and backpacking, much of it in the Whites.
300 AT miles in Vermont, MA, CT

Similar Products Used: My first outdoor hammock. Have a Central American
cotton hammock hanging indoors.

Locations/conditions tested: 5-10 degrees F, 10 mph wind


Weight (advertised): hammock 16 oz, tarp 15 oz, packed weight 46 oz

Weight (as tested): hammock 23.5 oz, tarp+guy lines 21.6 oz, packed 48.3 oz

Price: MSRP $55, purchased for $40 at REI

Manufacturer web address: www.crazycreek.com

Phone Number:

E-mail address:


Construction, Design, or Initial Impression:

The hammock is a simple 46 inch by 95 inch rectangle of doubled nylon with one long side left open to insert a foam pad. The short ends contain sleeves with triangular stiff reinforcements in the corners. 1 inch wide straps goes through the sleeves for hanging the hammock. The 11.5 foot long strap goes through the hammock, is wrapped 540 degrees around a tree, then secured through a hefty metal buckle. Two drip rings on each strap. The tarp is factory seam-taped. Came with 6 aluminum stakes and a single piece of nylon guy rope 80 feet long, which I cut as follows: 2-7 ft pieces for the ridgeline peaks, 2-6 ft pieces for the ridgeline ends, 6-5 ft pieces for the tarp bottom edges, and 4-6 ft pieces for the center side tie outs (these may be needed only when setting up the tarp on the ground). The tarp appears rather small for use on the ground under conditions of blowing rain.

I picked this up because the price was so good ($40) and reviews on backpackgeartest.org claimed very good performance in cold weather. If I like hammock camping I may buy a Hennessey for warm buggy weather. But this one could still get a lot of use in my backyard when it's not bug season.


Initial Tests:

I slept out in the Crazy Creek hammock behind my house and was generally comfortable at 5-10 degrees F. It was a somewhat breezy night, so I picked a spot in the woods and low down so as to miss most of the wind. I inserted 2 closed cell foam pads so they reached to both edges and overlapped in the middle. The buckle system for hanging the hammock was much appreciated in the breezy 10 degree weather - it was easy to set up with mittens on. I use a double sleeping bag system in cold weather, so I put both sleeping bags in the hammock. I got in both and was immediately too warm, so got out of the inner bag. The outer bag is usually good to 30 degrees outside or 20 degrees in a tent without wearing clothing inside the bag. I had on fleece pants, heavy wool socks, a wool undershirt, wool shirt and balaclava when I got in the bag, and I didn't want to undress out in the wind. I tried removing the pants inside the bag, but since I hadn't tried such contortions in a hammock before, I gave that up and kept them on. I was quite warm, except my feet seemed to be off the end of the pad and my heels were cold. So I stuffed a fleece jacket inside the bag under my feet, and then was toasty everywhere and fell asleep. At 3:30 I woke up and noticed that the sky was clear and the air was colder. Since I was a little chilly, I pulled the second sleeping bag around me inside the first and fell asleep again. I've been quite warm in this 2 sleeping bag combination in a tent at -10 and can probably go to -20 easily. Later I found my feet slightly cool, maybe because they were partially above the sides of the hammock whereas the rest of me was below the sides and well protected from any wind.

I was generally warm and I slept well. No pressure points and I was able to sleep in one position much longer than usual. This was my first full night in a hammock. It differed from tent camping in that I couldn't move around as much or change clothes inside the bag (maybe I will learn this later). Also somewhat harder to store gear around me or inside the bag. There is no ridgeline or other storage mechanism. I stuffed my booties, mittens, and headlamp between the side of my sleeping bag and the hammock. Some of them worked their way under me during the night and the headlamp was hard. My wind parka I draped over the lower half of the hammock. I had a pint water bottle inside the sleeping bag - it wasn't too difficult to deal with. But I wouldn't have wanted to have my boots in there - I think they would have been hard to deal with. For this night, I tied the boots together and hung them over one of the hammock straps, but normally they would have been in the sleeping bag with me under those conditions if I was using leather boots.

I might considering sewing in the foam pads. It would make hammock use more convenient and setup easier. I'd take full length pads (or as long as will fit) and cut them into 3 lengthwise sections, one under the body and two along the sides. This would give the occupant insulation on 3 sides and the foam pads wouldn't have to buckle as much. The hammock could fold along the longitudinal seams and be rolled up just like you'd usually carry your foam pad.

More to come... I have yet to try setting up the tarp .

01-24-2003, 05:57
yeah hammocking does keep you limber if your trying to change clothes inside....:D

Uncle Wayne
01-24-2003, 09:10
Wow! Good job with the review. I don't own a hammock but reports like this can make you take a second thought about getting one. This is good info. Thanks.

01-24-2003, 09:54
Here's the report from my 2nd night in the Crazy Crib, which was not quite as successful as the first. I decided to test the envelope, so I set up on a hill where I would get a bit of wind. I also put up the tarp. The tarp provided very good coverage all around, but really cut down on the headroom and accessibility when setting up my sleeping gear. I would have like to set the tarp higher, but I put it as high as I could reach. Temperatures was again 10 degrees when I went to bed, dropped to around 8 overnight. This time I used the 20 degree bag and a fleece liner, plus wearing fleece pants, etc. Decided to try a thermarest standard pad, and it didn't work out as well as the closed cell foam. I just didn't feel as secure in the hammock because the pad didn't fold around me - though this is partly because I didn't pitch the hammock taughtly enough. I was never really warm with this setup - wasn't cold, but wasn't warm enough to sleep really well. At 1:30 I got up and swapped the thermarest for the 2 closed cell pads, set to the sides of the hammock with a bit of overlap in the middle. Also tightened the hammock, which helped alot to give me a flatter and more secure sleeping position. Now my backside around the hips and shoulders felt chilly, so clearly losing heat through the bottom. Also had cold heels when they were resting on the pad. I did manage to sleep until 5 am, then went in the house and used my husband to warm my feet (isn't this what husbands are for?)

Tenative conclusions: Where you pitch a hammock can make a big difference in comfort. According to some tips on Ed Speer's site, you need to be prepared for wind chill, not just temperature. This might mean carrying more sleeping insulation than you would in a tent, so maybe Sgt. Rock has the right idea on this one - to minimize weight in cold weather, sleep on the ground. It will be interesting to get Simva's report on the underquilt and topside panels, as this should minimize some of the effects of wind. Meanwhile, I'll keep testing.

SGT Rock
01-24-2003, 10:03
Excellent review and follow up.

I just spent a 21* night out with 15* wind chill in a Crazy Crib LEX and the pad sleeve is nice, but I felt limited to how I could lay in the hammock. Because of how the LEX is made, I felt like I was laying at the bottom of a pipe. I really like the way you can lay off angle to center line in other hammocks. You may be able to do this in an LEX but not if you are trying to stay on the pad. This sort of re-enforces my decision not to add a pad sleeve of some sort to my Hennessy. I used a heat reflector, and two closed cell foam pads. All were 24" wide, so no overlap or anything like that - just straight pads all across.

01-27-2003, 09:11
Your report looked so good I think I will try to follow the Rock's guidline next time.
Your first report was really good, I'm just curious about the total weight and the breakdown of weights for everthing you needed/used.
I am still awaiting material-one piece left to get-the aluminized sil-nyl, but I fear it will be warm by the time all the accutrements are gathered!
But excellent report DebW, impressive!
No, I dont plan on doing a LEX but again am convinced that an underquilt that can full comform the the shape of the HH bottom is my route.

SGT Rock
01-27-2003, 10:01
My Crazy Creek LEX weighs about 70 ounces (ouch), the two pads weight about a total of 2 pounds(giv e or take) and the sunscreen weighs 5 ounces. I feel it is too heavy for backpacking. But that is just my opinion.

01-28-2003, 09:51
For my 3rd night in the Crazy Crib, I set up an old polarguard summer sleeping bag like the Peapod - opened the sleeping bag zipper across the foot and put the hammock through it This system was AMAZINGLY WARM. I still had the 2 foam pads (blue foam, one 3/8 inch thick, the other 1/2 inch thick) in the hammock sleeve and used the same 20 degree down bag. This system was much easier to use than the double sleeping bags inside the hammock like night #1 or the sleeping bag with fleece liner like night #2. Temperature was 10 degrees when I went to bed. I stripped down to just long underwear, got inside, and was HOT. Even took my feet out of the sleeping bag for awhile. Overnight the temperature dropped down to -5 degrees. There was almost no wind, and I was pitched in a protected spot with my back only 6 inches above the snow. At 5 below I was still comfortable, though the back of my shoulders was a little chilly (the top of the "Peapod" was somewhat open there and not tight against the hammock). My butt remained very warm in the center of the "Peapod", my feet were occassionally a little chilly. After getting up to pee at 5 am, I left on a fleece pullover and my shoulders then stayed warm.

This was a very successful test and bodes well for the underquilt design also. Though I would guess that having continuous insulation all around the hammock might hold in more heat than an underquilt. When the weather turns milder, I'll try eliminating the foam pads. Using the Peapod system turns the hammock into a tight tunnel, which some people might find claustrophobic. I was concerned that the overbag would compress the loft of my down bag over my feet, since my feet stick up above the sides of the hammock. That could be remedied with a upward guy-out point on the peapod. As another note, I had my husband climb into the Crazy Crib. He is 6' 1" and didn't really fit into it comfortably - his head and feet were very close to the ends where the hammock is quite narrow.

01-28-2003, 13:55
Originally posted by Simva2020
I'm just curious about the total weight and the breakdown of weights for everything you needed/used.

The weight of sleeping bags and foam pads is the same as I would have carried for sleeping in a tent in the winter in New England. To be prepared for -20 and sleeping on snow, I carry a 20 degree down bag (~ 4 lb), a 35-40 degree down or polarguard bag (~2.5 lb), a closed cell full-length foam pad (10 oz), and a 3/4 Thermarest standard (27 oz). For the hammock I substituted a 2nd closed cell pad for the Thermarest, saving some weight but adding bulk. The hammock/tarp weighs 3 lb, a solo 3 season tent is about the same. A solo 4 season tent would weigh a bit more. So weight considerations for hammock vs tent are neutral if one can use the same insulation setup in either. A single -20 down bag could be used in a tent and would save some weight over the 2 bag system which is preferable in the hammock (assuming one bag is used like a Peapod and adds needed underneath insulation). If considerably more insulation is needed in a hammock in windy conditions, then the tent is the winner. I'll have to test the peapod system with wind.

01-28-2003, 17:43
I vote to make you reviewer of the year at Whiteblaze.net
again well presented and because of your report I am looking at my Arc Alpinist and considering ways to use its integral strap system inside the HH to ensure no air gaps....regardless I am not prepared for -20, no matter what I do...I dont think even with all my WM bags together I could get that deep in the cold!
Thanks again for needed info....
but answer this...having both HH's and LEX, which would you advise others to buy?

01-28-2003, 18:07
but answer this...having both HH's and LEX, which would you advise others to buy? [/B]

I don't have an HH, just the Crazy Crib (and it's not a LEX, its the cheapest one). Rock, who has tried both, seems to prefer the comfort and sleeping postion of the HH. The Crazy Crib does pick up quite an oscillation if you move around in it - like removing a jacket while sitting up. I"m thinking I might buy a HH for my husband - he doesn't often go on overnights because he doesn't like sleeping on the hard ground. He's also a warmer sleeper than I am and he hates bugs. The Crazy Crib seems to be a good design for cold weather, probably very similar to the Speer hammocks. It's such a simple design it would be very easy to sew your own. Maybe it's Hennessey for summer, Speer or Crazy Crib for winter. Or Hennessey all year long for you southerners.

01-31-2003, 08:31
Well I consider myself a 'southerner' whatever that means but in my neck of the woods it gets cold in October and stays cold until late May....I may be southern in lattitude but not in altitude!

Wander Yonder
01-31-2003, 09:33
Deb, that was an excellent review! You are a real trooper to brave those temperatures in a hammock without having to! :)

02-05-2003, 10:50
Another night in the Crazy Crib, just because I wanted to enjoy being outside. Temperature started at 35 degrees and dropped down to maybe ~25 degrees (we're having a warm spell). This time I traded the 20 degree down bag for a 35 degree down bag (Marmot Never Winter), still using the "peapod" and 2 foam pads. I set up on the hill in my yard to enjoy the forecasted breeze of 10-20 mph. The gusts would set the hammock swinging a bit, which I enjoyed. I had a warm and pleasant night.