Bridge vs. Non-Bridge
Just looking for a listing of pro's and con's of bridge vs. non-bridge hammocks. I have a WBBB (really like it), but have been keeping an eye on this new Ridge Runner. Without trying it, there appears to be a few things I like, a few I don't, and some things that I question, like the diagonal vs. straight laying. Ex; Can you lay flatter in a bridge or diagonally, in a non-bridge?
Hands down, a bridge gives you a flatter lay. On the down side, you have to deal with spreader bars, extra rigging, a bigger tarp etc. They are both pretty cool, and I own one of each!
1: Leg comfort ( lack of calf pressure points and knee hyper-extension) can not be beat by any non-bridge I have tried, and actually the bridge is superior to almost all non-bridge in this category. Plus more consistant: IOW, some times some non-bridge come very close to my JRB BMBH in this area, but on another night not so much.
2: repeat above for side sleeping with out any side discomfort from being curved in the wrong direction, with legs straight or slight fetal. The bridge is almost always the winner in this area, though sometimes some non-bridge come quite close on some nights.
3: ease of UQ ( and even TQ ) use ( all of this just based on my opinion per my personal experience). With the exception of using a Pea Pod, it just seems like less opportunity for set up error and snafus when putting MY UQs ( JRB MWs ) onto a JRB BMBH ( old original model). It just always works about as expected, I'm not sure how any one could set it up not to work perfectly if a reasonable attempt was made to follow JRB direction. First set up should take all of 5 mins and should work perfectly 1st time and all other times. There won't be any potential gaps or leaks around the foot or head end edges, and no creases in the hammock which can act as cold air funnels and highways. TQs seem to me easier to keep in place.
4: If you like to use pads in a hammock, a bridge hammock with pad pocket is hands down the most comfortable way to do this.
1: generally looses to many non-bridges in the roomy shoulder area ( and for many in shoulder comfort) unless the spreader bars are several inches wider than on the JRBs. Not a significant problem for some of us, but more so for others
2: Spreader bars have a potential for interfering with tarp coverage and even for tarp damage and for equal coverage would require a larger heavier tarp than for a non-bridge.
3: wider bars used to provide more shoulder room ( and maybe knee room for side/fetal position) would most likely increase the tarp/bar problems even more
4: Bars are going to add maybe 6 oz or more to the weight of the hammock, and are one more thing to keep up with and find a place for in your pack. You can rig some hiking poles to function as spreader bars, but I often use my poles to rig a tarp porch or to serve as a pull out "tree/post" for my tarp, which increases room for my bars. But if I use the hiking poles as spreader bars, I loose that function. I guess I could use fallen branches with my tarp porch? Still, a hassle.
5: unless using those pretty wide bars to get that much improved shoulder room, full fetal position is probably going to be easier in a non-bridge hammock.
All I can think of at the moment! Pick your poison!
On the pro side for bridge hammocks is zero calf pressure. They give a much flatter lay, IMHO, than a gathered end hammock.
If you are a DIY type person, an underquilt for a bridge hammock is a simple rectangle. No complicated 3D geometry needed. I've bought 1 bridge hammock and made 2, and I feel bridge hammocks make for a better lounging chair. I also find they are easier to exit than a gathered end hammock.
On the con side, there is the issue of spreader bars to consider when packing and pitching your tarp. However I feel the benefits far outweigh this item. If you are a fit lightweight person your trekking poles can be used a spreader bars there by reducing the overall weight of your hammock.
I have been sleeping in a BMHB Ul now quite a few months every nite and its the best comfort and sleep I have in any hammock,,just this week, pulled out my DYI Momentum 90 ripstop which is way softer feeling, but after 2 nites, jumped right back to the Bridge and slept like a baby last nite..all but no comparson for me, the Bridge rocks. One thing about a bridge,,if you get one, give it a chance by learning the lay of it and getting it adjusted the way you want. Takes a dash of time, but to me,,well worth it. I took a new BMHB UL and totally revamped it including striping the bug net off it and getting it down to 14 oz or so without the spreader bars so lots of options using the bridge the way you want it. :)
+1 very well said
Originally Posted by BillyBob58
I have a Lawson Blue Ridge. With that you sleep at the level of the spreaderbars rather than below. It feels more like a king size cot than a hammock. It is tippy unless you tie off a corner. It its tied off it is as stable as a table.
I've only had a DIY gathered end hammock and now a new RR. If there is a better hammock than the RR I'd sure like to try that too. The RR has a very flat lay, excellent visibility out the sides, and no shoulder squeeze whatsoever. Beat that. Pretty tough to do. Could be lighter a la the Grizz bridge, or the 14 oz. stripped down BMBH UL . Although a stripped down single layer RR would be similar.
I have not fell in love with any of the bridges i have laid in......I do want to give them another chance. Hopefully an all nighter!!!
This is a good question to ponder and the points made above are all valid. I had a chance to hang in a WBRR at MAHHA (thanks Jesse) and found it to be quite comfortable for my size - in fact perfect. But I only spent a few minutes in the bridge and do not know what a full night would feel like.
I too do not like the calf pressure that is prevalent in most gathered hammocks and found the RR to be very roomy and comfy. My concerns are as follows:
1. Do I need to invest in a new tarp and under quilt to fit the bridge?
2. Is the weight difference worth it?
2Q is putting a Center Pole mod and doors on my MacCat Deluxe. That might (should) do it. I'm not sure about the insulation although I'm going to guess that my Phoenix or Incubator should be fine. The weight thing is subjective to the individual.
Brandon at Warbonnet is running a sale on the netless RR SL this weekend. I'm thinking about it Greg (you thought I might).