Ridge Runner - Noob's Initial Experiences
Got a Single Layer Ridge Runner with Bug Net from cliffhanger in the For Sale section which came in about 6 days ago. As soon as it arrived so did our lovely Montana Spring weather - read windy and snowy. This weather situation has created some challenges for me.
1. My Zpacks Cuben Tarp - A treasured possession which is not quite configured for the spreader bars needs to be configured so that I don't wreck it.
Solution - Enter Dutch Tarp Pullouts - They have worked flawlessly in winds upwards of 20 mph. In a real camping situation (as in not my sparsely treed lawn) I would be able to minimize the wind exposure but my tree choices seem to be strategically positioned to maximize punishment from the wind.
2. My JRB Torso Length Underquilt - Probably just me but I had a whale of a time getting this adjusted properly to the RR. I would think I had it situated and cinched and wake up chilled. (Night temps have been around 30*F.)
Solution - I was perusing HF and saw a post from BillyBob58 and he discussed how he did a crossover with the suspension at the foot of his UQ - Brilliant! I tried it out and it's working! The plus of holding in my TQ with the bug net retracted is fantastic too.
The Warbonnet Ridge Runner
Setup - Nearly as easy a gathered end hammock. I have the adjustable webbing suspension on mine which I use in the yard and a set of whoopies for the real outdoors. The reason I use the adjustable web at home is my whoopies create too long a suspension for most of the usable spots in the yard, where the adjustable webbing can be adequately shortened to provide the 25* angle that seems to work best for me.
I have read several posts about the length of the suspension for the RR being an issue when finding a spot to hang. I haven't found this to be an issue. I can hang my RR anyplace I hang my LiteOwl. True - I have to use the adjustable webbing straps to do so but if I build a slightly different version of my whoopies, which I probably will, I could hang the RR any place I can hang an 11' gathered end hammock.
The spreader bars are easy to install and other than the threat they pose to my tarp and the added weight to my pack they don't add anything in they of a fiddle factor for setting up.
Sleep - I won't go into build quality and stitching - It's a Warbonnet, of course it's great. I bought this because I side sleep and while I can sleep quite comfortably in my LiteOwl the flat lay of the bridge hammock called to me as did the scenic vistas afforded by the RR's unique design. (The better to stare at the inside of my tarp with?) The sleep comfort does not disappoint. I find I still need a neck pillow to be really comfortable but man this is living. The Single Layer has the right amount of give for me (I am 190 lbs) and it's the best night's sleep I have ever had outdoors since I was a kid and could sleep on a rock and be happy.
It does feel narrow when laying on my back, not because it squeezes me but because I can feel the very stiff edges of the hammock if I am even slightly off center. It almost feels like a nylon packing strap is running along each side of the hammock. This creates a negative for this hammock...
Lounging - Using it as a chair. I love sitting in my LiteOwl and relaxing but the RR for me - not so much. The edge is uncomfortable on the back of my thighs. You can mitigate this by removing the spreader bars but then you need to hang your suspension higher or your on the ground. So as a lounge chair it's not a winner for me.
Storage - The pockets or saddle bags are fantastic but I do miss the ridgeline for hanging my little flashlight. I just can't get into wearing a headlamp while I am laying down. However, if I had to choose between the pockets and a place to hang my flashlight I would absolutely pick the pockets. For me they're much more useful than a ridgeline organizer and the little "pouch" above the head is terrific for my stashing my gloves and flash light. The storage design on this hammock is a definite win.
Stability - I had read about this issue with the Ridge Runner specifically and with "Bridge Style" hammocks in general and it is definitely an issue. Fo me getting onto the hammock, sitting on the edge, sleeping, they all feel totally stable. No real adjustment to be made. If you feel insecure laying on the RR without the usual edge guards of a traditional hammock you can always zip up the bug net and presto - instant feeling of security. I personally have never felt like I was going to flip over and I am not a static sleeper. I like the sway of the hammock, which I noticed is greatly exaggerated over a typical gathered end job. It's a comforting, gentle swinging motion much like being in a raft on a calm lake.
Sit up and your whole world changes. The gently rocking raft has become a canoe and your standing up! Very unnerving and not something I handle well at 3 in the morning. Definitely put your leg out of the hammock as a stabilizer if you get the call of the wild in the wee hours of the morning. Brandon says that spreading out a leg in the hammock makes it more stable and this is true but it's going to take me a while to develop the core balance needed to feel comfortable sitting inside this hammock.
Conclusion - This is the most comfortable outdoor sleeping experience I have ever had, including using a nice sleeping cot. It sets up easy, takes down easy and provides an excellent sleeping platform. This does come with some trade offs -
1. Weight - it's heavier than a lot of hammock options out there but compared to sleeping in a tent it's still packable.
2. The only negative about this hammock that I didn't know would be an issue is using it as a lounging chair. While this is disappointing it isn't the reason I purchased this hammock and YMMV on this issue.
In all I love this hammock and I am looking for ways to trim down my pack to compensate for this luxury sleep system.
1. If you have the cash or you're just starting out pick up a Lynx UQ or the AES Ridge Creek UQ. They're lightweight and designed to fit the unique design of the Ridge Runner.
2. Get a tarp designed for the bridge hammock. My Zpacks Tarp is fine but a tarp with longer sides and pullouts spaced to properly handle the spreader bars would be a big plus.
3. If you want a flat laying hammock that will give you the kind of sleep you expect from a quality mattress - check out the Ridge Runner. I can almost guarantee you won't be disappointed.:boggle:
This is my first review. If you actually read all the way through this - I hope my thoughts were informative and have a great Spring!