After using a HH Expedition bottom entry all last year and summer, which I loved and got me into hammocking, I was quickly frustrated trying to manage the larger bags, pads, etc. with the bottom entry. So, I decided to make a DYI top entry hammock for the winter as well as an UQ. This also worked well and I am very happy with that setup. I also liked the fact that it was longer than the Expedition (an Explorer would have been a better fit for me).
As summer is approaching and I desired a bug net again, I decided I would rather spend my limited time in the mountains instead of a sewing room, so I put aside my grandiose plans for making the ultimate DIY hammock and bought a BB.
Its general characteristics and features have been well documented, so I won’t waste a bunch of time on that, but will offer some of my observations.
Service: I ordered my BB about 2 weeks ago and was happy to find that it was shipped in 3 days and arrived exactly a week after it was ordered. A+
∑ The BB comes in a double ended stuff sack. Probably should have known this, but never picked up on this fact. I don’t really care for this and will swap it out with a Bishop’s bag.
∑ Based on all the discussion on how big the BB is (or feels), I was surprised that it did not come with a remote for the garage doors, and shocked to find it didn’t have garage doors at all!
∑ On a more serious note, I was actually surprised that most of the stitching was single lines. It is all very good stitching, but I will be interested to see if this becomes an issue over time.
∑ I ordered the strap suspension as I wanted to try a different style and can always swap it out with whoopee slings later. The straps are a lot smaller (thickness and feel) than some of the tree straps I have been using. They are actually much smaller and lighter than I expected.
I was very pleased with my initial inspection of the BB.
First Usage: I had a Scout Camporee over this last weekend, so I took it out over lunch on Wednesday to do a practice setup, make sure everything was good to go, and I knew how to set it up successfully. Setup was quick and easy and I had no troubles with the cinch buckle, either adjusting or releasing. They worked great.
I was hoping to check its comfort level, but after I laid down, I woke up 30 minutes later and needed to rush back to work. No time to evaluate if I was comfortable or not.
First Campout: I used the BB on Friday and Saturday nights and it worked great. Setup was very easy and I didn’t notice any first use stretch from the hammock or suspension. It stayed exactly where I put it. I had two great nights and really enjoyed the BB.
I used my DIY winter UQ and did get some good ideas for my summer UQ. I will need to take into accounts the tie-outs. They could not be used with my winter UQ and I lost a lot of the open feeling they provide.
Interesting Note: The only item of interest that I can add, that I have not seen discussed numerous times, is the length of the hammock. I was very surprised that the hammock was shorter than I expected. Meaning, how close my head and feet were to the ends (I am about 6’ tall). I was within a finger tip reach on both ends I would guess. I had made my DIY about 11’ long, so when I am laying in it, the ends are actually quite a ways from me in it.
This did not seem to affect the lay of the hammock at all. I had plenty of room to lay on my back or either side. In all positions, I felt like I was laying very flat. It actually had considerably less "calf pressure" than my DIY. Just an interesting observation (at least to me).
Put me down as another very happy customer.