Hammocks used to crisscross the basement of the home where Chris Loidolt grew up. He’d used them for naps and sleepovers with friends.
Chris always loved a good hammock. He took one hiking and camping. He liked a hammock’s portability, how wherever he went he could hang one up and lay down.
“They are a really great place for naps,” he said. “Wherever you are.”
Eventually Chris decided he wanted to make one, and in so doing landed on the secret to making one of the best lightweight hammocks in the world.
Chris is a certified parachute rigger. He like the idea of building a hammock out of sky diving materials – a sport he was passionate about. And so he did. The result was a truly ultralight hammock that packed down super small.
Chris and his college roommate decided to go into business, launching Hummingbird Hammocks using a Kickstarter campaign.
They built the hammocks entirely out of the material Chris used for sky diving, from the fabric to the ultralight carabiners. He sewed the first batch on his grandmother’s sewing machine.
“The whole thing is so simple,” Chris’ mom Kathy Loidolt said.
Yet the results were revolutionary to hammock-loving hikers everywhere, or hammockers, as they call themselves.
Hummingbird Hammocks pack down to the size of a coffee cup and weigh only 5.2 ounces, yet can hold up to 300 pounds. Before Hummingbird Hammocks, the lightest hammocks weighed at least 7 ounces and those were incredibly expensive, Kathy said.
People took notice.
“They said ‘Nobody has changed hammocks in years, so this is awesome,’” Kathy said. Kathy and her husband were so impressed with their son’s new product they bought out his roommate and made it a family business.
Chris was always a kid who thought outside the box, Kathy said. Once he made a flashlight out of batteries.
“He’s just sort of been inventing things his whole life,” Kathy said. “You know Chris is just a design center walking.”
Chris’ parents knew when they saw his latest creation it would fill a hole in the outdoor market. It was an affordable, yet incredibly durable and lightweight hammock people could take with them anywhere. They received positive feedback immediately.
Even people who buy them because they know they are lightweight are surprised when they arrive.
“People get them in the mail and say ‘What’s in the box?’” Kathy said. “When they realize it’s the hammock they say ‘That’s so small.’”
It’s what makes it perfect for taking on extended backpacking trips. It won’t add weight or take up space, yet provides a great way to relax at camp.
The Denver-based company has expanded, offering several different sizes of hammocks, including a single-plus , double and mega-size that can hold three people.
After the company increases its color offerings in the basic hammocks, Kathy is sure Chris will expand the line to include new variations.
“You know Chris is just a design center walking,” she said.
Chris no longer sews the Hummingbird Hammocks on his grandmother’s old machine, but they are all still built in the USA.