Hello hammockers!! NMBL and I recently purchased a couple of DutchWare Half-Wit hammocks. Our first trip with the new hammocks was for the May 20th weekend (our long weekend) in Tofino on Vancouver Island. We were there for 4 days, 3 nights. Enough time to get a good feel for the hammocks.
Dutch has thought this hammock out well. It’s a minimalist approach to a hammock which is great for us as motorcyclists. We only have so much space on a bike, in much the same way as a backpacker only has so much. It squishes down nice and small. Plus it has a double ended stuff sack which makes it easy to pack down AND hang; leave the amsteel loops out of the ends for easy deployment. Remember, red for head!
The integrated bug-net works as advertised. It’s easily moved out of the way along the integrated ridge-line when not needed and put back into place when the bugs are a menace. The net itself drapes down like a gossamer curtain that fills in the blanks between your topquilt and the hammock. The mozzies tried to get in but they didn’t get any blood from us!
The Half-Wit comes equipped with side tie-outs to open up the body of the hammock and give width to the bug net. This allows it to drape well over you and your sleeping gear while keeping it off of your face. It basically tents the bug net.
The best part is the “Knotty Mod” which takes up the excess fabric by your feet creating a nice cozy footbox. The way this thing is designed it almost begs for the 30 degree lie-down. Your feet always stay in the box and never end up over the edge of the hammock. Nor do you have flaps just dangling. It’s about perfect. I can see this idea becoming a standard for all hammock manufacturers. It just works.
Use in the Wild
So, how did we sleep on our first trip? Overall, comfortably. Nereid now has her definitive go-to hammock. She sleeps like a baby in this thing. We had them wrapped up in our Loco Libre under and top quilts so we were both warm and cozy. For me, it was good but not perfect. I’m a bit on the tall side at 6’1″ and fairly broad through the shoulders. I’m also a restless sleeper as I’ve been dealing with a nagging shoulder injury (hockey) for the past couple of years.
For me the Half-Wit was a tad small. I would roll over and run out of hammock. I woke up more than a few times in the bug-net. Basically the 58″ width is not quite enough for the tossing and turning side sleeper. Also, it’s only 10.5′ so I had a bit of a problem with the ridge that formed down the middle on the foot end. I had the head a touch lower than the foot but there just wasn’t enough fabric to take care of that little problem. All in all, if you’re taller and a bit restless, this may not be the hammock for you. However, there is hope!
I contacted Dutch and he made me a wider, longer Half-Wit! Kind of a Half-Wit and a Half… or a One and a Half-Wit. Semantics aside, I got a bigger hammock with a bunch of features that I like. The order was placed and I saw it in a few weeks. It is made from the 1.6 Hex in green due to the fact that Dutch had limited fabric in the extra width. Before getting it I was really looking forward to the bigger version. I really wanted this to work because the features are so darned good!
In the mean time, NMBL did use hers again up in Pemberton, north of Whistler, and again found it to be a fantastic hammock. I went back to my Eno Double Nest as it’s a wonderfully serviceable hammock, even with the bug net having to be added on afterwards. Oh how I missed that lovely drapery.
Fast forward a few months and the “One and a Half-Wit” was my hammock on our longest trip to date: three weeks through Western Canada with a lot of time spent on the prairies and in the mountains. The extra length and width was perfect. I felt like I had enough hammock to be in as a restless sleeper.
Pros & Cons
The basic features highlighted under the features are also the pros. The hammock is thoughtfully designed with a nod to space and weight saving. The integrated ridge-line takes the guess work out of the length of your hang every time. Not that you can’t put a ridge-line on a standard hammock, but guys like me pick and choose our lazy times.
The half bug net (hence the Half-Wit name) solves the biting bug problem while saving the sleeper the trouble of zipping themselves in. The thing just flips off to the sides and slides back above your head. It’s especially handy when nature calls in the middle of the night… no fumbling!
The side tie-outs keep the bug net off of you by giving it shape. It also stops the edges of the hammock from flopping over all the time. Combined with the knotty-mod, which creates a better footbox by taking up excess fabric at the foot, this hammock hangs without all that excess floppy fabric, making it easy to get into sleep in.
We have two cons for the Half-Wit. The first is that the bug net, even with the slide attachment to the ridge-line, doesn’t quite slide back far enough for pure “No Bug Net” enjoyment. It may seem like a small thing but both NMBL and I like to read in our hammocks and the bug net does get in the way.
The second is that the ridge-line, by necessity, is outside the bug net. This means that anything you hang on your ridge-line is inaccessible while you are protected from the wee biters. That thing you now need which is currently hanging on your ridge-line requires you to temporarily remove that lovely protective gossamer net. And here come the bugs.
Those two minor points aside, the Half-Wit is a great hammock. No hammock can have absolutely everything a person wants. It can hit all the right notes on the must-haves for the type of hammocker you are, feature a few nice-to-haves, and still be completely serviceable with a couple of things that don’t work perfectly. The Half-Wit does this perfectly for NMBL and me. While we have other hammocks that we do really like, the extras featured on the Half-Wit are so wonderfully functional that we just won’t camp without them. Period.
Our experience with the Half-Wit from DutchWare have been wonderful. Maybe you’ve had an experience with another hammock that you want people to know about. Write us about it and you might just be our next Guest Reviewer.