First JRB Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock impressions.
I spent my first night in a BMBH in the yard last night as part of my winter preparation testing. This is my 4th night in a row hanging in the back yard (and 8 nights total, so I'm still a newb).
My wife and I both say we haven't slept this good in a long time, and she's not even in a hammock! "Really Honey, I've never heard myself snore"
My first impression was "Boy, this is really different; I'm not sure I'm going to like it. When I first sat in it chair style, I had it pitched too high and maybe too taught and couldn't even get out (hope the neighbors weren't watching) I needed a better exit strategy. After a few adjustments, and using a leg throw/roll it almost felt second nature.
The next step was attaching the Mt Washington-3 UQ. Even though Pan explained it to me over the phone at the time of purchase, and reviewing their website instructions, when you're out "in the field" and it's cold, it seems hard to recall the details. So after a few fumbles and going back in to re-review the instructions, it seems obvious. I had left the elastic suspension cords attached to my HH, but should have left them with quilt so I can use it with either hammock. (or get a second set). The fit with the MWUQ and the BMBH is like a factory fit (well, it is).
The hammock seems to be lower to the ground than the HH when loaded, so I have to make sure the UQ doesn't touch the ground. And in inclement weather (blowing snow) I will probably use a weather shield (got a DryDucks poncho for this).
The overnight low temps have been remarkably consistent this week at 19-20°F with light winds. I found last night in the BMBH to be a little cooler than the previous three. The difference may be that I use an undercover with the HH Exlp UL. This acts as a partial wind and vapor barrier which should also serve to keep the down UQ away from body moisture. Also, I didn't use the bug net, but I'm not sure that it provides any substantial protection, other than for bugs. I certainly like not being totally enclosed, which is why I purchased this hammock. On the other hand, it seems substantially more open which allow more breeze (good or bad, depending).
As for the body fit, it does allow one to lay substantially flatter. A pillow is needed, so I used a jacket in a pile-lined Thermarest pillow stuff sack. The hammock comes with an air-pillow but I didn't like the feel directly on my skin and didn't have a pile bag for it. I'll try it again though. The other major fit difference is that it's much narrower than the HH and some shoulder squeeze is noted if you lay with your arms at your side, but I never sleep like that anyways. I found myself laying on my back about 25% of the time (I'm NEVER on my back when on the ground or in bed). When laying half on my side (semi-fetal), the hammock side provides snug back support. This however, seemed to trap my Sierra Sniveler over quilt when I turned from side to side. I think this caused to quilt to pull tight and compress the the down, resulting in cold shoulders.
I used the BMBH with the HH Silnylon Hex Tarp, which provided just enough length coverage. But in storm conditions some end beaks or end doors might be helpful. I have three Cooke Custom Sewing Silnylon tarps which I have used almost exclusively for camping for the past 7-8 years. The largest I believe is 12x12', so I'm going to see how that matches up. One difference I've noted is that the spreader bars are very close to the tarp when it is pitched in "normal mode". The bars rub on the fabric when getting in or out. I'm wondering how this will be when the tarp is pitched in "winter mode" with steep sides close to the ground.
I do miss the ridge-line for hanging stuff, so I added one but it's sort of too low. A tarp ridge-line would be better.
Overall I'm pleased with the quality and design of the product, but it will take some adjustment on my part. Looking forward to more "tests".