BB vs. Clark comparison
I have seen several hammock comparisons, but I have not seen a comparison of the Warbonnet hammocks with the Clark hammocks. The Clark hammocks seem to be a different approach to hanging with the spreader bars. Is a comparison with the Warbonnet hammocks reasonable, and how do they compare?
I have owned both. As of now (3) Blackbirds, (2) NX-250's and a North American.
There really isn't much to compare the two brands in my opinion. So I'll just try to give you my observations.
The Blackbird is VERY well made and very light. The sewing is so well done I posted a thread about it some time ago. It's also huge considering it's weight. You lay pretty diagonal in it. I love the Blackbird and only have two complaints that have nothing to do with functionality.
1. With "my" feet in the box I really can't see out to my left side.
2. The bird has wings, and those wings get staked out. So, when you get in and out of it, the shock cord is all in your face.
That's it in the complaint department. Nothing big as you can see. When you lay in it, it's soft and comfortable. It packs small. It also looks pretty cool.
The Clarks are totally different really. The lay is less diagonal. Which I prefer. The NX models have poles which get on my nerves. They are not shock corded, and there isn't an obvious place to pack them. The NA requires you to somehow tie up the weather shield and bug net. It's not as wide as the NX models or as long. They also have pockets underneath that Clark claims help keep you warm. Personally I just don't see it. They are nice in the summer, but I could do without them.
The Clark weather shield: this is huge for me. I simply love this feature. It does add warmth, no doubt about. It also adds a certain bit of privacy.
*There is an aftermarket solution which you can buy from AHE for the Blackbird.
Gripes about the Clark.
1. It's heavy for a hammock, this is somewhat negated by the feature set. Never the less, it's heavy.
2. Clark doesn't cut their material with a hot knife or something. After a while you start to see little whiskers from the material. This hasn't ever been a problem, but it just seems like an overlooked detail for such a high price item.
3. Tarp seems small. It make no difference to me, but it puts some people off.
Right now I choose a Clark. Only because the lay of it suits me right now. There is absolutely nothing wrong with either one of them and they are both great.
Don't get caught up in the hype of either one in my opinion. The Clark costs a lot and it comes with a lot. They also make a lot of claims that don't amount to a lot if you ask me. The Blackbird has a cult following and there are some zealots out there, but it's well deserved.
In my opinion, They are the two best hammocks, but not because they are like each other. It's because they both stand and deliver. Hope that helps.
WOW great post southpaw!!! I have both as well due to the weight and the fact that bb lays flatter I prefer the bb,The nx 150 made my knee's hurt.
What is the aftermarket item from AHE?
Good luck on the AT bat, Wish I could go with you.
Great right up and right on the mark on all of it.
I agree with SouthPaw too, both hammocks rock!! Both have good points and both have not so good points. I started with a Clark Tropical, loved it!! I still found it to be a tad hot in the summer and it's heavy and the tarp is small. Same things SouthPaw said!! I now have a BlackBird 1.0 double. I went with the double so that skeeters couldn't bite me in the summer when I'm not using an UQ. This worked out so well that my Clark was just sitting around not being used. So When a friend wanted to buy it, I sold it. I do miss that weathershield. But I've learned how to do without it.
Main differences I found between the two hammocks was how I lay in it and the view. The Clark I'm basicly straight down the middle and I could see out fairly easily. The BlackBird, especially when I have the shelf staked out tight, it's harder to see out. I lay in it sideways or way off center. The Clark feels more like a cocoon and is tighter to the body. The BB seems to feel more wide open and I can have my arms up or sort of out to the side while sleeping. The Clark has every bell and whistle you could ever think of, but you're gonna pay dearly for them. I found that I really didn't use, need or even want some of them. Again though, that weathershield is just a work of beauty, it works extreamly well. Between the two, the weathershied is the only thing I miss not having on my BB and one day will get around to either making one or ordering something to cover the skeeter netting.
I agree with most everything said so far but for me, I like the Clark best. First off weight does not really matter. I don't hike. I am either kayak/canoe camping or car camping. So most of the time my Clark is a base camp for a few days. All of the features like the pockets, weathershield and such are way more important to me than a few ounces. One thing not mention is the ability to move the net completely out of the way. I also like the fact that I can get in on either side. I am relatively short at 5'7" and lay asym in mine. Not as steeply as the BB but asym. I have heard many complain about the Clark tarp size but I find it plenty big enough to keep out the weather and it is certainly better than my stock tarps on the HH.
As for the BB it is comfortable but those side tie-outs get in my way, especially the one on the side you get in on. The net is also lower to the hammock and make sitting up with the net zipped harder. The shelf is ok but the pockets on the Clark hold way more and there is no chance of damaging the netting. I have a run in my net on the BB because something hung in the net as I was taking it out of the shelf.