Review: Ridgerunner Hammock, Lynx UQ, Cloudburst Tarp
I just got home from a 3 day, 2 night hike with my new Ridgerunner hammock and associated accessories, and thought I'd share my impressions.
The package from Warbonnet containing my new goodies was delivered late by the USPS so I didn't have time to play with any of it before leaving on my trip. In fact, the package showed up mid-morning on Tuesday and about 3 hours later I was in the car heading for Vermont. I ordered the Ridgerunner with the line and strap suspension, but because I didn't have any time to try it out and make sure I knew how to tie the proper knot, I quickly changed out the suspension for a whoopie sling, carabiner, and tree strap suspension from one of my other hammocks. I also made lines for the Cloudburst tarp using the roll of dyneema I had ordered along with the other items. Once done with this, I quickly packed my backpack, made a run to the grocery store for food, and was out the door.
I hung for two nights, the first night at Story Spring Shelter on the AT/LT, and the second night at Stratton Pond. Both nights I had a good sleep. The first night the trees I hung from were a bit closer together, and I had a fairly steep angle on the suspension. The second night the trees were further apart and I had a shallower suspension angle. I think the hammock was a bit flatter on night two.
This is the RidgdeRunner hung at Stratton Pond. I think it's possible I had it hung too tightly, but I'm not sure how to tell.
The weather was awesome, cool, dry, and fresh. Oddly for Vermont, even late in the summer, there were no bugs! The bug netting stows away neatly at the foot end of the hammock. This makes it perfect for lounging.
Just for comparison, here is what it looks like with the netting deployed. The netting is held plenty high and it feels quite roomy inside.
This little loop of elastic with a toggle is sewn in at the head end of the hammock. I've no idea what it is for; maybe I should be threading the spreader bar through it? I don't recall any mention of it in Brandon's set-up video. And it seems wrong to have anything putting lateral forces on the spreader bar.
There is plenty of storage in the hammock 'saddlebags', one on each side at the head end. They are cut in such a way that each side has a deep part and a shallow part. I put all of the stuff sacks from hammock, tarp, underquilt and top quilt in one side, and my book and head-lamp in the other side. Since I was using the hammock without the bug net I could hang my eye glasses over the outside lip of the saddlebag as well. With the netting closed this won't be possible, so I think I might add a ridgeline inside the netting running from one netting support to the other, so I'll have a place to hang my glasses.
I also purchased the full length Lynx underquilt. It is tailored to fit the Ridgerunner hammock, and fits beautifully. At each corner there is a section of fabric as shown in the photo, which extends to the corner for attachment to the hammock via strong elastic and mini-biners. The UQ hugs the bottom of the hammock tightly. I was surprised by just how taut the UQ is when attached to the hammock. It makes an easy and fool-proof insulation system.
The Cloudburst tarp is huge! There is lots of room under it. I failed completely to get a taut pitch; I assume this is because I just haven't figured it out yet, and not any issue with the tarp. The lines on the tarp are dyneema, which I have not used before. This stuff is slicker 'n snot! I have always used taut line hitches on all my tarp suspension and guy lines, but they just slide on the dyneema and do not hold at all.
The really wide spreader bar at the head end of the hammock is the biggest challenge when pitching a tarp. I had a very flat pitch to clear the bars, which likely would have resulted in puddling on the tarp in a rain. I think perhaps I need to pitch the tarp with the ridgeline higher. This is going to take a bit more futzing about until I get this figured out.
I also noticed that the suspension triangles on both ends of the hammock are quite large, and you cannot cover the apex of the triangle at both ends with the Cloudburst tarp. If the hammock is centered under the tarp then the apex of both triangles will be exposed to the rain. That being the case, water would run down the suspension until it reaches the point where the suspension attaches at the corners of the hammock. I like to hang things from the hammock suspension, so that is a bit of a worry to me. I would also worry about water getting to the UQ, though of course I don't know if this will be an issue or not until I use the hammock and tarp combo in a rain.
So, the hammock. I found the Ridgerunner a bit more comfortable than my other bridge hammock, the JRB Bear Mountain Bridge UL. The Ridgerunner is less deep, and of course much wider at the head end. It feels less like sleeping inside a half pipe. The saddlebags provide plenty of easily accessible storage. The end caps at both the head and foot ends form a little mini-hammock when the hammock is hung, and I quickly found this useful for keeping things in place. I use my nearly empty clothing stuff sack as a pillow and whenever I got out of the hammock I would just toss this up into the head end and it would stay there. I would say that this hammock is slightly less comfortable than my Hennessy. Comfort is subjective, of course, and I must also note that between lounging around reading in the afternoon and sleeping at night, I probably spent 12 of every 24 hours lying in the hammock, so it certainly isn't all that uncomfortable!
I like everything about the Lynx underquilt. A lot of thoughtful design and obvious quality workmanship. My only complaint is that Warbonnet did not include a storage bag with it. Over the years I've collected a number of different down sleeping bags and a couple of other quilts, and every single one came with a storage bag. I will also note that once or twice when sleeping on my side I would get too far to one side with my back up at the edge of the hammock and would notice a bit of a chill since I was above the edge of the UQ. It was easy to shift my body back towards the center of the hammock without coming fully awake.
Sticking with the topic of missing accessories, there is no bag for the hammock spreader bag sections either. You certainly need something to keep the sections together; it would be especially easy to lose track of the short 4" section. I have a JRB spreader bar bag, so I used that.
I think I will likely stick with my Hennessy for summer hikes where miles are the goal and I want to keep things lighter and simpler. I avoid the weight of the spreader bars and the big tarp. It is also dead-nuts easy to get a taut pitch with my MacCat tarp. For easy hikes with lots of lounging around camp I would go with the bridge. I think I might turn to the bridge in the winter as well, as under-insulation is easy and nearly foolproof; much less fussy than with my Hennessy.
ZQ, just had a thought.....
what if a short cf pole could connect the spreader bar to the internal pole mode....one at each of four corners? snap in place when you get in for the night....they'd keep the cuben goodness from contacting spreader bars.
Just a thought.