Bridge Hammock Basics
I've been investigating the various types of hammocks, and given my history of back issues and my propensity to sleep on my side, I think I'm leaning toward a bridge hammock. First though, I need to get some nitty gritty details that I haven't had so much luck digging up.
I see two potential issues with this sort of hammock. First, it seems like it might be a little more hinky to set up. It would seem it really needs to be pretty darn close to level, where a gathered end hammock would just let me shimmy around to find a level spot in the arc. Seems it would also need a little more specific setup site.
The other is weight. I plan on doing a thru-hike on the AT in the next couple years, and weight is one (lesser) reason I'm considering a hammock over a tent. I would think a bridge hammock would be a bit heavier overall than a gathered end hammock. I have a few ideas already for cutting down on the weight and bulk, and my small stature (5'8ish and about 150lbs) should let me keep it pretty compact.
Anybody who's familiar with this flavor of hammock able to either confirm or dispel my impressions, and offer some advice? It will definitely be a DIY project, and I'm already reading through a tutorial thread GrizzlyAdams posted a few years ago.
I am far from an expert as so far i have just 3 nights in a bridge hammock.
So in a gathered end hammock i prefer the foot end slightly higher than the head end. This helps me say on top of my insulation and jamming my feet into the end of the hammock.
Guess what. I also prefer the foot end slightly higher than the head end in a bridge hammock.
In a gathered end hammock i have found i do need to get in and out a few times to do some fine tuning.
In a bridge hammock i find i need to get in and out a few times to do some fine tuning. However, i think its possible since i already have experience setting up a gathered end hammock, that experience in setting the sag right may simply be used in setting up the bridge hammock.
Also i think your correct. With your stature i think a commercially available bridge hammock is overkill. You should be able to drop some weight.
The weight can be less than a gathered end but you have to use hiking poles for spreader bars. The fiddle factor is about the same although it is easier to fit an UQ on a bridge and it doesn't (UQ) need to be as wide. You can get by with less tarp on a gathered end.
They both have their pros and cons but nothing is too bothersome on either. Since you aren't going on your thru for a couple years you will probably have several hammock by them. In any case I think a bridge is fun and making them is easy and fun.
Well, I guess it must depend on which bridge hammock, or maybe the user. But, I def have to hang my JRB BMBH head end higher by ~6" or so. Otherwise I am head down.
Pros and cons as usual. For me a bridge is way better in some areas, both comfort related and functionality. In others, the non-bridge has the advantage.
As already mentioned, there is really no reason a bridge has to be heavier except the spreader bars. And some folks manage to use their hiking poles for that anyway. But I'm pretty sure my JRB bridge(a dbl layer)- even with the spreader bars, is actually slightly lighter than my WBBB 1.7 double. But then the WB will carry more weight, so I suppose that is not apples to apples. A WB 1.1 dbl would be a better comparison, and there the bridge is a few oz heavier, counting spreader bars. Use hiking poles and not much dif.
I think leveling the hammock is less of an issue with a bridge because you have two ways to lay in it. I like the head end a bit higher so when I lay in it (Upper body is heavier than lower body so if the head end is hung a little higher than the foot end...) it becomes flat. I just string up the hammock and climb in. If one end is lower I just turn around and make the other end my head end. I almost never have to adjust the hammock more than once. Even over the blackbird hammock the JRB bridge is my favorite hammock.
JRB BMBH 37 oz http://www.jacksrbetter.com/BMBH.htm Blackbird double 1.7 hammock with the heavier suspension 40 oz, with the lighter suspension 36.5 ozhttp://warbonnetoutdoors.com/blackbirds.php
Personally, I use leki two section hiking pole... perfect size when securely collapsed for the BMBH... Those at Fall MAHHA witnessed this rig...Immediately drops hammock weight 8 oz...Less than most if not all other double bottom hammocks...Thus totally stock with updated 3 side zipped bug net 28 oz
For the adventurous, and willing to integrate amsteel blue for the intermediate straps and loose the rings, double bottom and OT the BMBH is reduceable to 14 oz incl tri glides and primary straps... Sew on a minimal 1/2 bug net and you at at 16-17 oz...Personally tested this rig at Trail Days 2009 and in the Maine Wilderness AT hike fall 2009.
There are plenty of original model BMBH with the removable bug net out there for modification on the resale, less expense market... Many of those folk are looking to upgrade to the zipped model so ask around. Make two folk happy
Looking at Grizzly's tutorial, I had already figured on using my trekking poles for the spreader bars, especially being that I don't weigh too much, I don't think I'll have any trouble with bending them. I plan on making my own poncho, which will double as my rainfly, so I can cut some weight there. My first inclination was to use a poncho liner for a UQ, but I'm wondering if carrying a poncho liner on the AT would be a bit overkill, considering I plan on starting fairly late in the season, and doing a flip-flop to hang with the good weather. I'm leaning more towards a pad now instead of a UQ, so I can use the pad in shelters and hostels when necessary (my intention is to avoid the shelters except in bad weather). I'd like to hear some opinions on that decision though.
I've got some ideas for a permanent bug net that should keep weight low, as well as going with a fairly shallow design, to keep material to a minimum. I can also likely get away with relatively lightweight hardware and suspension materials.
I just met with some success on my first attempt at making my own silnylon, so thats going to cut the cost of this little endeavor radically.
Thanks for that tip, Pan! Maybe it is time for me to get some new hiking poles? Mine are over 10 years old anyway. Is there just one model of those Leki 2 section? If not, what model did you use?
Originally Posted by Peter_pan
I guess the only drawback is you lose your tarp porch pillars. I guess I could just hunt for some stout enough sticks.
I don't have a bridge hammock (yet) but am a notorious side sleeper addict. My WBBB and Traveler have some sort of FM (Freakin' Magic) that allows me to sleep on my back. No small feat. The FM also allows me to side sleep in comfort...I have not found an asym position that did not work well (haven't tried stomach and will not).
You have a bunch of fellow hangers in state (Dutch and I hear he has two of everything). I'd suggest you see who will give you a test ride to see what fits. Maybe even attend a group hang.