Back in 2013, Richard G. Rhett Jr., founder of Sierra Madre Research, decided to fix what he saw as the main problem with camping hammocks by launching the Nubé — a $289 lightweight cocoon that could wrap around any existing hammock, creating a bug-proof enclosure that also featured a fly-like tarp to protect you from the elements. Another of its signature features was a gear storage compartment slung under the hammock that kept your backpack and other items off the ground.
The idea proved popular and the company scored $167,226 in pre-orders for the Nubé. The design, however, had its limitations: As an all-in-one system, you either wrapped your hammock in a Nubé or you didn’t — there was no way to choose the amount of protection the shelter gave you. “The questions we received from prospective Nubé customers were, ‘Can I use the Nubé without rain protection on a clear night?’ and ‘Can I pack only the fly to save on weight?'” Rhett told Digital Trends via email.
These questions confirmed what Rhett already knew he needed to do — give the Nubé a design refresh that tackles the versatility challenge head-on. The $225 Nubé Stratos (now available on Kickstarter) takes the best parts of the Nubé and makes them modular: The fly and the mesh bug screen are now independent parts, giving campers way more control over how much protection or exposure they want.
The two major components, the StratosFly and the StratoShield, are offered together at the $225 price point, but you can also order them separately at $165 and $95, respectively. Sierra Madre Research calls these components “QuikConnect” layers, and has designed them to work well together (using color-coded hooks and cords to avoid confusion) or separately, something Rhett claims was “no small challenge.” With an asymmetrical shape, the StratosFly can be adjusted to offer varying amounts of view and protection. The StratoShield, which is the bug-proof cocoon, still features the gear compartment and creates a spacious volume around your hammock thanks to its multiple lines that pull the mesh away from you in all directions. Each comes with its own stuff-sack and together they weigh about two pounds.
Cleverly, both the fly and the shield use closures that tightly seal around hammock lines so that these points do not become easy entrances for either bugs or water.
You can order the fly in one of three colors: Olive Drab, Desert Khaki, or Steel Grey, and the company expects to be able to ship Nubé Stratos anywhere in the world by April 2017. This time period should be treated with some caution (good advice with any crowdfunded project) as the company’s previous effort shipped several months after its estimated due date.