I have both hammocks and appreciate each in its own way.
But, I don't see me hiking with the RR much. It'll happen, but it won't be the norm. It is ridiculously comfortable IMO and the views can't really be beat. But here's the thing, there is too much stuff to go along with it for my taste. It's the first bridge design that I've really fallen for, but I just can't get past the hardware and suspension extras. For car camping it will probably be my goto.
The Blackbirds are downright groovy, but since getting an XLC I'm not entirely sure I've even touched my Blackbirds. I was already leaning to a more traditional hammock approach with the simplicity of the Travelers, but that dang XLC has it all depending on how I configure it for a trip.
Stay tuned. I'll probably have a new favorite within a few months. That's just how things work in my deranged corner of the world.
I've had good nights in both. I really like that a pad stays put in the Ridgerunner, and the lynx underquilt design works better than anything else I have IMO.
I use the RR pretty much exclusively now and for me, it is worth packing the little bit of extra weight. No fiddle factor, it goes up, I go to sleep, and don't wake up until morning. No pad or quilt shift, and feels like sleeping on air.
With the saddle bags, I don't miss the ridgeline at all...my paperback, headlight, gloves, what have you, go in the pockets and they are out of my way. The net disappears when I don't need it, and I love sleeping out in the open air. The view is awesome.
Well, I made it out last weekend to test both hammocks and have decided to keep the RidgeRunner and send the XLC back (unless anyone nearby wants to save the wait and shipping charges and buy it before I send it back - see next post).
It was a more difficult decision than I thought it might have been going into the weekend because I did get to like the many different positions/postures that are possible in the XLC vs. the RR which is a bit more confined in terms of it's shape and space. I can now better understand why some might want one of each. It really came down to three differences that I decided were more important to me, overall.
1. Versatility of insulating options. Using a pad (I tried reflectix, a 25" foam pad, and a 20" wide insulated air pad) is absolutely no problem! Even the 20" air pad helped to flex the sides of the RR enough to reduce the already negligible amount of shoulder squeeze that I experienced when just using the thin sheet of reflectix. I suspect that a wider air pad would help even more. I had little, if any, problem with the pads moving around. And then there's the Lynx underquilt option that I haven't even tried yet! VERY difficult keeping any pad situated in the XLC, on the other hand. Plus, I'm not sure that, even with a UQ, that I'd be able to keep myself covered in some of the spread-out positions/postures that I found to be enjoyable in the XLC.
2. Ease and comfort of using a mummy style sleeping bag. I found it much easier wiggling around and changing positions inside of my sleeping bag because the "structure" of the RR seemed to help keep the bag in place better compared to sliding around in the extra real estate of the XLC. I doubt I'll ever need to buy a top quilt.
3. The RR seemed to be much more forgiving in terms of how you hang it. Although I did experiment with the pitch just for kicks, the only adjustment that I ever NEEDED to make was to ensure that the head end was lower than the foot end to keep myself from migrating to the foot end while inside. This was so even when I was pitched between trees that were almost a foot closer than the minimum recommended distance apart, although I did experience a bit of instability the second time I pitched with a 14 foot tree spread. I thought maybe this was due to the thicker air pad I used that time, but it might have just been that I rigged the suspension differently.
Hope that helps those who may be considering these two hammocks.
I am not yet able to post an item for sale, but if anyone wants to save the wait and shipping charges, I'll sell the XLC instead of sending it back to Brandon. Let me know by Sunday because I plan to send it back early next week if no one is interested. It has been laid in for no more than 12 hours. I don't even remember taking the nylon cover out of the stuff sack. It's the double layer 1.1 model.
$250 PICKUP ONLY.
I will be in east central Ohio this weekend, or it can be picked up next week on the south side of Columbus, OH.