Crua Hybrid – a tent and hammock with air mattress and sleeping bag – Four camping essentials in one

Two Crua Hybrids connected

Crua Hybrid – a tent and hammock with air mattress and sleeping bag – Four camping essentials in one

Crua, maker of a range of fine tents, recently introduced their latest offering, the Hybrid, through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.

Is it a tent? Is it a hammock?

It’s both.

And it comes with a built-in air mattress and sleeping bag.

So it’s four camping essentials in one.

And Crua’s received more than $155,000 for a campaign that asked for $20,000. Impressive.

Let’s take a closer look…

How many people does the Crua Hybrid sleep?

The Crua Hybrid is a one man tent / hammock.

For this scenario, our hypothetical test candidate is Lood de Jager, a Springbok rugby player that weighs in at 125 kgs (276 lb) and stands 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) tall.

Clearly a big guy. Will he fit inside the Hybrid, without killing it when used as a hammock?

Hybrid dimensions:

  • Length: 2734 mm
  • Height (head): 740 mm
  • Height (foot end): 420 mm
  • Width (head): 900 mm
  • Width (foot end): 640 mm

Our hypothetical test candidate, Lood, fits inside the Crua Hybrid easily, with enough room for a huge teddy bear at his feet.

But that’s not the complete story.

Here’s why…

Link two or more Hybrids together

This is a great feature. You can buy a Crua for each of your family members and link them up to create a little camp city.

This is not just pitching your tent next to the person you like most. The Crua Hybrid literally links, via a zipper, to another of its kind. Theoretically, it’s possible to link an infinite amount of Crua Hybrids together.

Maximum weight capacity

The Crua Hybrid, when used as a hammock, can handle a maximum weight of 129,274 kgs (285 lbs). That’s impressive.

Our test candidate, Lood, makes the cut, albeit it a close call. He definitely won’t be able to enjoy an afternoon snooze with his better half in his arms though; she’ll have to bring her own Hybrid.

Here’s the thing, 285 lbs seems to be well above average for a camping hammock.

Hang the Crua Hybrid between two trees with straps
Hang the Crua Hybrid between two trees with straps.
Hang the Crua Hybrid between your bakkie and a tree. Compatible with other bakkies too, not just Ford
Hang the Crua Hybrid between your bakkie and a tree. Compatible with other bakkies too, not just Ford.

Crua Hybrid cost

The Hybrid’s not available yet, but Early Bird backers get a significant discount of 38% off the retail price.

Crua Hybrid Early Bird pricing
Crua Hybrid Early Bird pricing.

For the purpose of this article, I’ll compare the expected retail price of the Hybrid with similar one man tents.

TentCost (at time of writing)
S2S Specialist SoloZAR 5599
Crua HybridZAR 4844 (expected retail)
Outdoor Elements Sunny 1 Man TentZAR 2299
Vango Soul 100ZAR 1099

At face value, the Crua Hybrid is not the most expensive tent on the list, although it’s not cheap at all. It’s expensive for South Africans.

You need to add $45 dollars to the price if you’re shipping to anywhere in the world except the USA and EU countries.

I ran a calculation on dutycalculator.com and came up with a possible price of ZAR 7508.76. This includes the Crua Hybrid, $45 shipping and $10 insurance. On top of that, additional handling fees might apply.

This camping excursion is getting expensive. However, the Hybrid is not just a tent.

With that in mind, let’s cost a few other things too, to level the playing field.

We need an inflatable mattress, a hammock and a sleeping bag. Here’s what I found (according to my taste):

That gives us the following prices for the three tents competing against the Hybrid in the table above:

Here's what the three competitors cost with additions.
TentTent price (ZAR)Air mattress price (ZAR)Hammock price (ZAR)Sleeping bag price (ZAR)Total price (ZAR)
S2S Specialist Solo559989949018998887
Crua Hybrid7509
Outdoor Elements Sunny 1 Man Tent229989949018995587
Vango Soul 100109989949018994387

The Hybrid remains an expensive option for the South African camper / hiker.

While it is expensive, it makes your camping trip a lot easier.

How long does it take to pitch the Crua Hybrid?

Check the video below to see how quickly and easily the Hybrid is set up.

It seems the Hybrid can be set up in under five minutes. Remember, you won’t be narrating and trying to stay out of the camera’s way as you pitch. That cuts out a significant amount of time.

This is standard, unless you use one of those instant popup tents, which don’t offer you the same level of shelter, or a hammock, or a built-in mattress and sleeping bag.

Crua Hybrid weight

The Crua Hybrid weighs 3,152 kgs (6.95 lbs).

Here’s a weight breakdown of all the parts:

  • Tent hammock – 1,95 kgs (4.3 lbs)
  • Sleeping bag – 0,612 kgs (1.35 lbs)
  • Air mattress – 0,58967 kgs (1.3 lbs)

How much do other tents weigh?

The other tents in the table above weigh in as follows:

  • Vango Soul 100 – 1.85 kgs
  • S2S Specialist Solo – 0.635 kgs
  • Outdoor Elements Sunny 1 Man – 2 kgs

Let’s add the extras…

Tent weights with extras, compared to Crua Hybrid.
TentTent weight (kgs)Air mattress weight (kgs)Hammock weight (kgs)Sleeping bag weight (kgs)Total weight (kgs)
Crua Hybrid3.1523.152
S2S Specialist Solo0.6350.580.51.8933.608
Vango Soul 1001.850.580.51.8934.823
Outdoor Elements Sunny 1 Man Tent20.580.51.8934.973

Surprise, surprise. The Crua Hybrid weighs less than any of the competitors.

Fold up size

The Crua Hybrid fits into two bags. One bag takes the tent / hammock and mattress, the other one the sleeping bag.

These bags can be carried individually or clipped together.

Here are the sizes:

  • Tent / hammock bag:
    • Length: 50,8 cm (20 inches).
    • Diameter: 22,86 cm (9 inches).
  • Bag for sleeping bag
    • Length: 30,48 cm (12 inches).
    • Diameter: 15,24 cm (6 inches).
  • Longest pole: ~ 40 cm (14 inches) long.

Water resistant

The Crua Hybrid contains a water repellent outer shell made from rip-stop nylon with a hydrostatic head of 5000 mm.

For Crua, this is old technology. This is one of their USPs, in fact. They use a hydrophobic outer layer in all of their tents.

Is the hydrostatic head of 5000 mm sufficient? Let’s take a look at the other tents’ stats.

Hydrostatic head specs for Crua and competitors.
TentHydrostatic head
S2S Specialist Solo1000 mm
Vango Soul 1002000 mm
Outdoor Elements Sunny13000 mm
Crua Hybrid5000 mm

The Hybrid is the best of the lot.

Here’s the thing though: hydrostatic head means nothing if the rest of the tent doesn’t keep the water out.

You can have the world’s greatest umbrella, but if the sections of the umbrella are stitched together using a cheap wool and those connections aren’t sealed, you get drenched.

Crua’s construction (of all of their tents) is such that they make sure water does not get into your tent under any normal camping circumstances.

Crua makes their tent walls from TPU-laminated poly-cotton. There is no requirement for aftermarket spray treatments. It’s as waterproof as a tent can be, out of the box.

With the Crua Hybrid, you won’t be waking up drenched, even if it rains cats and dogs.

The Crua Hybrid makes use of a durable waterproof ripstop nylon with a hydrostatic head of 5000 mm
The Crua Hybrid makes use of a durable waterproof ripstop nylon with a hydrostatic head of 5000 mm.

Dealing with condensation

One of the worst things I’ve ever been exposed to was condensation inside a tent. I might as well have been sleeping outside.

Crua’s tents dramatically reduce condensation, but condensation is guaranteed if your tent doesn’t offer ventilation.

This from their website:

The materials used to make a Crua tent were chosen for several attributes, including breathability. That said, no matter how breathable a tent is you still need ventilation to combat condensation. Through exhaustive testing, we’ve designed the optimal ventilation system that dramatically reduces in-tent condensation. With other tents, condensation can become so bad, it may as well be raining inside the tent.

Bug resistant

The Crua Hybrid contains an interior mesh layer that keeps out the bugs.

You won’t be cuddling with a fuzzy eight legged creature the sole aim of which is to pump you full of venom to see you cry like a baby.

The Crua Hybrid helps keep out unwanted sleeping partners
The Crua Hybrid helps keep out unwanted sleeping partners.

Flame retardant

All Crua’s tents are flame retardant as specified by the CPAI 84 test procedure.

Be careful of labels. Just because a manufacturer says that their product is flame resistant or non-flammable, does not mean that the product is fire proof.

If a product is classified flame retardant, it means said product delays the spreading of flames. The higher the retardant factor, the longer it takes the product to burn out.

According to this post, the CPAI 84 test was designed specifically for tent materials.

This whole subject is seriously involved, but let me try and simplify it slightly for you.

The CPAI 84 test is entirely voluntary. Tent manufacturers are not required to have it done.

The test involves the floor, wall and top material of the tent.

Tests have to be done on:

  • specimens that were leached and unweathered
  • specimens that were unleached but unweathered
  • specimens that were weathered but unleached
The Hindenburg was not flame retardant enough
The Hindenburg was not flame retardant enough.

Flooring material

When subjected to the test, no specimen from a sample unit of flooring material shall be damaged within 25mm of the edge of the hole in the flattening frame.

Wall and top material

When subjected to the test, no specimen from a sample unit of wall and top material shall have an after-flame time (length of time a specimen continues to flame after removal of the test flame source) of more than 4 seconds; the average after-flame time for all specimens in a sample unit shall not exceed 2 seconds.

Portions or residues that break or drip from the test specimens shall not continue to flame after they reach the floor of the test cabinet. They should self-extinguish before (or as) they contact the floor.

It’s simple…

Don’t pitch your tent near a fire and don’t have an open flame inside your tent. This goes for any tent, not just the Crua Hybrid.

The poles are tough

Crua spared no expense. They’ve opted for tent poles made of lightweight aircraft grade aluminium. If you choose to pitch the Hybrid as a hammock, the poles won’t bend and cause you to go crashing to the ground, where all sorts of snakes and alligators gleefully await your arrival.

A statue of Józef Piłsudski, one tough Pole, but not as tough as aircraft aluminium tent poles.
A statue of Józef Piłsudski, one tough Pole, but not as tough as Crua’s aircraft aluminium tent poles.

Shock cord system

Also known as bungee cord. This cord is inside the poles. This is what makes the poles snap together when you assemble. It’s also what keeps the poles together once the tent’s been assembled.

Nothing special here. This is standard in many tents.

Built-in insulated air mattress

The Crua Hybrid comes with a built-in inflatable mattress.

I’ll be honest: I’m a little skeptical about this feature. I don’t sleep well on thin mattresses; might as well crash on the ground. But that’s just me. Many others won’t have the same problem.

The Crua Hybrid’s mattress inflates to a thickness of approximately 40 mm. It’s also removable, as well as replaceable. This is great. You’re not bound to using the Hybrid’s mattress. Even better, you could purchase another Hybrid mattress and double up.

The sleeping bag

I had to email Crua for info on their sleeping bag, since the Kickstarter campaign doesn’t contain any info on this aspect of the product.

Derek, the owner of Crua, graciously replied with the info.

The sleeping bag is made from an insulated hollow fibre.

The best sleeping bags are made from down, but they’re extremely expensive. Also note that the only purpose of a sleeping bag is to keep the warmth in. It doesn’t produce warmth. You produce the warmth.

You could be making use of a -18 deg bag and still freeze off your behind. If you don’t fuel your own body to create the heat, you’re in for a cold night.

So don’t get hung up on sleeping bag ratings too much.

Andy Kirkpatrick shares some valuable information on how to maximise sleeping in a sleeping bag.

How do you clean your sleeping bag?

The Hybrid’s sleeping bag is not attached to the Hybrid. You can wash it the same way you wash any other type of sleeping bag.

Luminous guy lines

Ah, nothing quite like slipping out of your tent on a warm summer night to take in the gorgeous views. What’s that moving over yonder? Mmmm, need to take a few steps to the left to see it better. Oh wow, it’s a lesser spotted…

“Dang it! I forgot about the guy lines!”

That ever happen to you? I’ve been a victim of my own stupidity in that regard, numerous times; falling over guy lines.

Crua’s guy lines are luminous at night. No more falling.

Stakes

Crua makes what they call a storm stake, to peg your guy lines firmly into any ground. It’s a u-shaped tent peg made from a heavy duty aluminium alloy.

They’re available through the Crua website (link at the bottom of the article).

Crua heavy duty storm tent pegs
Crua heavy duty storm tent pegs.

In conclusion

The Crua Hybrid seems like a fantastic product.

Crua puts a lot of effort into making their products something worth writing home about.

I can think of no better way to spend an outdoors night sleeping inside a well-insulated tent that’s hanging between two trees and keeps you safe from the elements.

It’s a pricey tent for South Africans, but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt in life, it’s that you get what you pay for.

Visit the Crua Hybrid webpage for more information.

Your thoughts?