First test in JRB hammock.
I just received my hammock friday night. I quickly set it up and got in it for a test. My first thought was "this thing is squeezing me to death how can anyone think this is comfortable??? ... wait a minute ... the spreader bars ..."
After inserting the spreader bars :) I got in for another test. Very flat and comfortable. The sides were lower than I thought they would be. It was tippier that I expected but not a big deal. The bottom of the hammock forms a "V" and both sides of your body tend to want to slide to the low spot but I don't think that will be a problem.
Next step was to insert the pad. I used a large ridgerest 25 X 77. It fit almost perfectly except that it was a few inches too long. This seemed to make the hammock even more comfortable. I'm glad I had a 25" wide pad. A thinner pad would have shifted to one side and not provided good coverage. I think this is the perfect pad for this hammock.
The best news for me was that I fell asleep almost instantly! For whatever reason I can't fall asleep in a regular hammock. They are comfortable for resting in but I just can't sleep in them. The down side is that the JRB didn't seem that comfortable as a chair. The sides support your weight so they are very tight and not comfortable if you have your legs over the side. I need to try some different configurations for sitting.
I bought a north face cat's meow saturday and tested it sat night. It worked really well. With the pad in the pocket and the flatness of the hammock, getting in the sleeping bag was very easy. In fact I would say it's easier than getting in a sleeping bag in a tent. The thing that impressed me the most was the simplicity. Since the pad is part of the hammock all you have is a hammock and a sleeping bag.
I'm going to order the 10X11 JRB tarp and test it for real next weekend. The bad news is that if it works I have to buy another set for my wife!