McLean Metalworks – Bare Bones Hitch Mounted Hammock Mount – Full Review
While Traveling in the Backcountry of the Sonoran Desert has Serene beauty and seems surreal compared to so many woodland adventures.
It lacks a certain availability to find a place to hook up a Hammock.
I mean, seriously have you ever been in the Dessert or high plains and thought to yourself man it would be nice to lay back and relax, but the ground was seriously up appealing.
Throwing up a Hammock creates such a great tailgate time with family and friends.
We thoroughly enjoy cuddling with our kids outside and swinging in the Hammock while we read or just look at the clouds.
We were lucky enough to find a great solution to bring Hammocking into our back-country experience in the desert and now we use it everywhere and you probably will want to when you see it too!
Before I tell you about Jillian and Chris, let me tell you how they saved the day for my wife and I and really more importantly for “The Dread Pirate Sparkles”… My youngest son lost his stuffed dragon somewhere during the Overland Expo West.
This is his most favorite possession in the world.
After a few hours of panickily searching the huge, crowded vendor area I had almost given up hope.
At this point my Wife who was getting the boys fed calmly retraced the boy’s steps back to the McCleans booth to find “The Dread Pirate Sparkles” on display proudly at their table.
If there is anything that can make him forget about Sparkles it’s a Hammock. As any parent to a spirited 4-year boy would be, we are forever grateful.
Testing the Hammock Mount on the 4Runner Hitch
Jillian and Chris are not operating a massive company like many of the vendors at Expo, they run a small part-time business in Seattle.
When speaking with them, I had mentioned that we would be passing by their area this summer and asked to stop by and check it out.
Being the gracious people, they are to a random weirdo said sure it’s in our garage, but we would love to have you see it. I was actually thrown back a bit.
Quality ‘Made in the USA’ Hammock Products
After looking at the quality of design and build of their hammock stands, I was surprised that it wasn’t coming from a larger operation.
The design of both models is very functional and good looking from the gauge of the steel to the welding and powder coating.
I love seeing high-quality American products and businesses, like Mclean Metalworks, in action.
Which hammock model did I choose?
There are two hammock mount models to choose from the Original and the Bare Bones:
While both models accomplish the same solution of a mounting a Hammock Stand to a standard 2″ vehicle receiver hitch, they go about it very differently.
Both models are designed around the ENO and Thermarest Hammocks, in either single or double. They sell Thermarest directly on their site; I’m guessing to support another Seattle based business. Weight Limits for both are 300 pounds.
The Original is akin to high-tech bike rack.
It folds and telescopes out of a single self-contained compact package.
The demonstration of the deployment is incredibly fast and easy. I will admit I had some sticker shock with the Original.
The weight is coming in at 40 pounds, while the compact package ensures it is not overly hefty it is still a good amount of weight. With only two cons, this made a very hard decision.
The Bare Bones model uses more of a rudimentary approach with a solid base and individual interlocking poles for the arms weighing in at about 25 pounds.
The Bare Bones model is the only one available in bare metal to make it as affordable as possible, or for those that have a powder coat hookup.
Choosing the Bare Bones: While I really wanted the Original, we chose the Bare Bones. There are always many factors that come into play when making any purchase, and all are individual.
But for our needs, the largest factors that came into play was cost and weight.
Driving a 4runner or any gear laden adventure beast weight always becomes a factor.
The 15-pound difference doesn’t seem all too bad when compared to self-contained ease of the Original.
However, the weight savings and cost savings were enough to sway us to the Bare Bones Model.
Unboxing the Bare Bones Hammock
Mclean Metalworks ships their products as shown above.
Their packaging method is compact, which makes it convenient for easy shipping, not to mention, more affordable!
Bare Bones Hammock Parts & Setup
The Bare Bones Hammock comes with both sets of arms and base.
It does not include the anti-rattle hitch pin or the hitch mount extender that I used for my 4Runner’s setup.
Remove Hitch Cover to Install Mount
The first step when working with the receiver hitch is removing the ubiquitous Storm Trooper Hitch Cover.
- Storm Trooper Hitch Cover – Check Today’s Price
The hitch can remain attached with poles stored for transportation. I am using a Kurt Anti-Rattle Hitch Pin.
This pin pulls double duty as an anti-rattle device and way to securely fasten the hitch to the vehicle as you need a 3/4” wrench to remove it.
I would look into a true locking hitch such as the BOLT Receiver Lock if you plan on leaving it mounted full time.
It also allows the use of your Toyota key to secure it without the need for the large custodian key ring for everything locked down on your rig.
- Curt Anti-Rattle Pin – Check Today’s Price
- BOLT 7023584 5/8″ Receiver Lock for Toyota Keys – Check Today’s Price
Attach Anti Rattle Hitch Pin
The cross-section (minus the vehicle outer tube) shows how the insert tightens against the inside wall and the bold.
It removes all movement and noise.
Install Hammock Base
The hammock base is installed with the McClean Metalworks sticker facing up. And, then, the inserts are angled outwards shown in the following steps.
Install the Supportive Arms
Arms simply insert into each other. The larger diameter tubes will be inserted first.
The second set of arms have a ring at the base. Insert into the first tubes until they are fully seated.
Attachment points should be slightly angled away from the center.
Connect Hammock Carabiners
Connect the hammock carabiners to the attachment points.
Once weighted, the attachment points will naturally adjust to their properly secured position.
Mount Hammock on 5th Gen 4Runner Hitch
Important Note: You can still open the back-lift gate of the 4Runner with Hammock installed (with or without receiver extension.
Standard Hammock Hitch Mount Extender
Hitch Extender – An optional 2-inch hitch extender is available for those that have a rear tire mount. Or in my extreme case those with kids who really push the limits of swinging in Hammocks. This where a safety disclaimer should be inserted but really if you have kids, especially two spirited boys than there is no need for warning as they can turn the safest thing in the world into a hazardous play toy. This part does not need a non-rattle pin set to connect to the Hammock Mount as the tolerances are very close enough that it is easy to insert but no play. The one I purchased was not powder coated. This may be because of the tight tolerances. Depending on pin choice of the McLean Metalworks Hitch Extension provides 4-7″ of extension then depending on orientation can give you 2″ of a drop or raise for your hitch. Giving it some drop may allow tiny humans to safely access the Hammock. Note: Not for towing.
Other Options Include:
Tire Stand – Another innovative option from McClean is their Tire Stand. Which essentially allows the user to strap a 2-inch hitch receiver to a tire. I thought this would be a good addition down the road for when we get a second unit that way, I’m not fighting the kids to get my Hang On.
Profile of Standard Bare Bones Hammock Mount
The Original comes in two versions standard length and extended the length to avoid the need for an additional extender.
Profile of Extended Hammock Hitch Mount
Above is a profile view of the Extended Bare Bones Hammock Mount set at the furthest hole settings.
There is also a cover for those who choose to keep the Original Hammock Mount attached to a 2-inch receiver during transportation.
My initial color choices I thought I had been black, black or bare steel.
So, I went with black. However, I found out later after looking on the website that they do over some custom powder coat colors upgrades.
One could choose to get the entire thing one solid color or you can get the base one color and arms another. Cool idea if you’d like to match your rig.
One word… Awesome!
It is a true joy to be able to relax in the hammock after a strenuous drive and enjoy the beauty around us.
I no longer have the need to hitch it properly to a tree or even find a tree, for that matter.
The desert, beaches, and grasslands are now open to hanging. So, bring the McCleans Metalworks Bare Bones Hammock anywhere!