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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Gathered end or Bridge

    Hi I am new to the forum, my first post, thanks for all the information
    I was planning to get a Warbonnet BB then the Warbonnet RR came out, at first this was not too interesting for me because of the weight, but now I realise I could use hiking poles for the spreader bars, suddenly the weight is similar or even less than the BB.
    But I know nothing about the Bridge style of hammocks, are they generally for people who cannot find comfort in a more traditional hammock, or is there some other advantage? I guess this is a question for people who have both of these hammocks, which is more comfortable?
    The disadvantage I see with the RR is other gear e.g sock and underquilt are made specifically for this type of hammock, so if you have both styles you will need to double up on underquilts etc


  2. #2
    Senior Member Mancat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    A couple of points. Personally I wouldn't buy a bridge without trying one first. Bridges are not for everyone. Try to make it to one of the group hangs. Someone normally brings a bridge and they are usually nice enough to let you try it out. That said there is a huge difference between laying in a hammock for 5 minutes and sleeping in one. Alot of UQs will fit both bridges and gathered. Jacks R Better sells some really nice quilts that work on both. Make sure you can use your hiking poles as spreader bars on the bridge you do buy. Not all bridge hammocks or hiking poles are set up for that. Also make sure you get a tarp that is big enough to cover a bridge. They need a bigger tarp than a gathered end. Good luck!
    "If animals could speak the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow, but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much."
    - Mark Twain

    - Mancat

  3. #3
    Senior Member SweetLou's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    DIY gathered end
    DIY cat cut
    Button Suspension
    For me, a bridge hammock is not as comfortable. I don't like the flat lie. When flat, I don't like to sleep on my back, so I am moving around from side to side. Also, I need a pillow in a bridge hammock. The other thing I don't like is the shoulder squeeze. Another disadvantage for me is the longer minimum distance between trees. When I lay on my side, I need to have my lower arm above my head and wrapped around a big pillow. This means the hammock has to be long enough to accommodate my arms. This and the suspension triangles makes the overall length of the hammock longer.

    Another disadvantage of the bridge hammock is the tension on the sides. A lot of bridge users say this is uncomfortable while trying to sit on the hammock at camp. This seems to be especially true if using rope and not webbing as the side suspension. It seems to like to dig into the back of the legs.

    The tarp doesn't really need to be bigger but rather you need a way to keep it away from the spreader bars. Some people use tie outs to pull the sides away.

    The advantages are the ones I mentioned above that I don't like. But others like the flat lie. Also, making an UQ is easier for a bridge hammock. I also think making an attached bug net is easier. Also, I don't have a problem with my TQ falling out in my traditional hammocks, but others have. Bridge hammocks don't seem to have this issue.

    But I'd say give one a try. You might like it more, others have.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Tupelo, MS
    I am one of those folks who seems to be particularly prone to a painful pressure in the leg(calf) once I lay on the diagonal of a non-bridge hammock. This can be miserable. Some gathered hammocks seem to be much better in this regard than others, but even in those it is possible to have this problem. It depends on how I lay in the hammock and maybe how I hang it, lots of variables. Sometimes I have none of this pressure, but then the next night I do, with the same hammock! There are a couple of hammocks where I virtually never have it ( like Safari or Claytor No Net or Speer) or usually have very little, not enough to really bother me most of the time, like my HH Explorer UL. This problem can usually be over come with a stuffed sack under my knees. Do a search for "calf/leg pressure/pain" and see how much you find!

    A related, but not nearly as big a deal to me, problem is knee hyper-extension. But this problem is even more easily solved with a stuffed sack under the knees. Of course, you must have something available to use for that purpose. Depending on how UL you are going and how many of your clothes you plan on sleeping in, you may or may not have something available for this purpose.

    I never have any comfort issues in my back or shoulders in my non-bridge hammocks, most are superb in this regard. Though it is possible to hang too tight and cause some problems. And in most of them I can sleep comfortable, or very comfortably, on my side, though in some that has to be pretty much in a fetal position, which is just fine with me.

    So to me, the BIG dif is leg comfort, knee and calf, and less so side comfort. But in both of these regards the JRB Bridge ( the bridge I have used the most) solves the leg issues 100%, 100% of the time. There are some non-bridge that are not comfortable for me on the side with legs straight, and need a fetal. Again solved for me by the bridge 100% of the time. Those are the biggies, with leg issues being the dominant issue or dif.

    But I'm thinking: if I didn't have the leg issues ( and some don't! ) I don't think I would bother with a bridge. The non-bridge are at least as comfy and probably even a little more comfy in the shoulders than a bridge. There are no spreader bars to keep up with, or to worry about them damaging your tarp. They usually weigh less, because no spreader bars. Maybe they even cost less- no bars to pay for. It is easier to get a given tarp to cover you adequately in a storm or severe wind, because - you guessed it - no spreader bars! And I can use my Pea Pod (which I love) with my Claytor and my HH Super Shelter ( also quite fond of that) with my HH, but not a bridge. So if I did not have that highly irritating pressure in my calf muscle, or my knees were not in a painful position, why would I bother with a bridge?

    But if you do have those problems, there is just nothing that solves them like a bridge. For me, these problems disappear with a BMBH, period!

    I can think of one other benefit for a bridge: It seems MUCH easier and more sure to get an UQ to work with virtually zero fiddle factor. At least it has for me using the JRB MW series on a JRB BMBH. This always works as designed first time every time, and I suspect it does for every body 1st time every time. There are no gaps or drafts and none are going to develop in the night. You can not roll off of the UQ, and it will not move and come off of you. No learning curve past the 1st 5 minutes of attaching per JRB directions. Plus, I am fairly sure TQs work better for me with the narrow U shape of this hammock. The TQ just seems to get funneled down onto me, and seems easy to keep tucked around me. Some combos I have used have proven to be a hassle trying to keep TQ tucked and UQ in position at the left shoulder through the night.

    Find that hard to believe? Then I suggest a search for problems related to being cold using an UQ, where folks got their new UQ and were shocked to find themselves cold at 40 in a 20F UQ. You will find lots and lots of threads on this subject and pages on how to solve the problem. ( and the problems CAN be solved) I bet you $1 that you won't find those threads associated with a JRB quilt and bridge hammock. Nor will you find it with a Speer Pea Pod, the only other system I feel is as bomb proof.

    Don't get me wrong! I have used JRB full length and WB torso UQs quite successfully on non bridge hammocks, absolutely. But, they can be tricky, there can be a learning curve. Some UQs might slip off of your shoulder waking you up cold unless you know the trick to prevent it. Or move up or down causing venting and getting cold. Not so with a bridge hammock. I just feel any one can nail it perfect on the 1st try. So I guess that is another advantage.
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 09-23-2012 at 14:34.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Thanks for all the info, I have decided to go for the BB

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