Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Tupelo, MS
Thoughts on BMBH
I still have not yet racked up near as much experience in my JRB BMBH as I would have liked by now. This is primarily because I am not really set up for keeping warm on the bottom. I don't have any wide CCF pads. I have a wide thick Thermarest self inflating which will definitely keep me warm and improves the hammock in some ways. But I have not been willing to test with this over night because it is too heavy to backpack with, and despite improvement in some areas it is a negative in some other ways, things having to do with center of gravity and such.
I have a WBUQ, but I don't think I have yet been able to get that to mate perfectly yet. I can get it to seal real good on both ends and the sides( if I tighten it enough), but I suspect ( not sure yet) that, due to conflicts in shape difs between the hammock and UQ, the is an air gap out of sight right down the middle, along the backbone. I also suspect that a down vest between the hammock and the UQ center would fill up this spot, but I have not yet found time to test it yet. And I don't have a JRB UQ, and my PeaPod won't work. Thus, now that it is cold weather, I have been limited in my testing ability.
I got one of the first BMBH's that came out. I never was able to work out issues with the "shoulder squeeze to my satisfaction. I was not yet willing to spend more hundreds on an UQ and I couldn't figure out how I was going to keep my elcows warm with a pad in the pad pocket. And I felt my SPE would just further decrease room and raise center of gravity. Time was running out on the 30 day no questions asked return, so I regretfully returned it, hoping for a hinted at big boys model to come later. I say "regretfully" because, despite the above perceived problems, there were many things I liked about the hammock. I wish Pan and I had communicated more, because I think he would have given me more time to try it out.
Later I had second thoughts about this, as I read more reviews by people as broad shouldered as me who were happy and had no shoulder issues. So I got another unit, and have been playing around with it for several months.
So here are overall thoughts. ( I would have taken it on my Wind River Trip, except I wanted to us my PeaPod or WBUQ, and couldn't. One night I was wishing I had the BMBH, though). I have decided that, for me, the shoulder issue is not worth worrying about. Yes, things are different in the shoulder region. But it is not really a "squeeze". It is more like my back/shoulders, as long as my hands are positioned correctly, assume the "u" or "v" shape of the hammock. So the sensation is though I am standing with bad posture, with my shoulders slightly "rolled" forward, or slumped. But after geting used to it I became of the opinion that it was not really uncomfortable, like squeezed shoulders are in a too tight hammock. I think this is not so much a "broad shoulders" issue, as just the shape of the hammock. My 120 lb wife got in there and said she also felt a little restricted in the shoulders, and I think it is just the shape of the hammock. But it is not really uncomfortable, as much as just a different feel. The bottom line is that I can lay there like that for a long period, and my over all comfort level is still very high, maybe the highest overall comfort of any hammock I have tried. And whatever slight shoulder comfort there may or may not be, it is not enough to detract from the over all extreme comfort, in my case.
In addition, I have discovered that mime is wider near the spreader bars than it is in the middle. Thus, if I scoot a little more towards the head end, so that the end caps are providing a bit of a pillow, I have more shoulder room or less curve, whatever. So the shoulder issue at this point is even smaller, by a good bit.
In addition, if I have my wide Thermarest pad in there plus stay more towards the end caps, the shoulder issue is close to zero. ( size 45 coat, 6'1", 205 lbs.) While again, my over all comfort level is at least as good- more likely better- than with any of my other hammocks.
Finally, I can go to a very slight partial side position, at which point shoulder issues are zero.
Having a non diagonal lie is great with pads. It is basically like laying on a flat cot, with the pad simply staying put in a nice flat shape. Claytor is good with a pad, this is better.
Side sleeping is hands down the best among all hammocks I have tried. ( I knew this before I returned the first one) I can side sleep reasonably well in my Claytor, on a diagonal, with legs straight or drawn up. But I have to work to find the sweet spot. I can side sleep in my HHEXP, but only on one side and with legs drawn up fetal style. So I can do it with pretty good comfort, but it is just easier and more comfortable in the JRB, it is simply a non-issue. There is only one issue with side sleeping: I can not draw my knees up more than a small amount, unless I am using my big pad. So, if you absolutely need a "fetal" style, this might be an issue, but it is not for me. Although, once again, I can go to a partial side position, and draw my legs up. But sometimes the slipperiness of the fabric makes it tough to keep them up.
I find the hammock really quick to set up, as it is pretty uncritical as far as "sag" amount. I love the net( always did). It can be a pain sometimes dealing with the omni tape, keeping it together when you get in and out. But still, if it is even half way correct, it keeps the bugs out. Often I have not even bothered to seal it up, and have had parts of it just draped over the edges. So far so good. And the net is always far above my face, nice and open.
Love the tri-glides. Usually they are quick and efficient to use. But, sometimes if the trees are close and I have a lot of webbing, I don't bother and just do a round turn with half hitches. Works fine. The triglides come in more handy when I need the full webbing length, or close to it.
It makes a great chair in the traditional hammock sense. But, I can get in and scoot all the way to the end, and lean back as tough in my recliner at home. This is far and away the best reading position I have found in a hammock. Similarly, I can lay down with my head up towards the end caps, this is also a great reading position relative to other hammocks.
The hammock body is not very long. Along with the built in triple rings on each end blocking water flow, it is unusually well protected from rain, in my experience.
Extremely easy to get in and out of and to change position while in the hammock.
Very comfortable and convenient for pad use compared to all other hammocks.
That is all of the positives I can think of at the moment.
Can't draw legs up very far when on side. Can't put hands at side when on back. ( both no big deal for me).
I have had a lot of trouble with either the hammock or the suspension stretching and putting me on the ground, unless supports are quite close. This may be getting better with use.
Because of the above, I usually have the hammock quite high to start with, especially if the trees are not pretty darn close together. This means the stiff ( for a hammock) body turns up on it's side when I try to get in, it can be a struggle to keep things ( quilts, pillows, whatever) in the hammock when getting in. Not a big deal. Hopefully I will be able to hang a bit lower if the stretching finally stops with use.
Needs a bigger pillow than other hammocks, though head on the end caps mitigates this somewhat.
With my other hammocks, I hang my feet higher. I have to be sure to do the opposite ( as per JRB's directions) with this one, or my head will be down hill.
Bottom line: for me, overall and all things considered, this is the most comfortable hammock. Which is not to say my HH and Claytor are not plenty comfortable, and they each have their own set of pros. And of course I like to use my SS with one, and my PeaPod and WB UQ with the Claytor ( and Treklight! and Speer!), and I hate to give those items up. But overall, the BMBH is the most comfortable hammock I have tried, shoulder issues or no shoulder issues. Now that I am used to it and know to scoot up a tad, I don't even notice the shoulder thing any more. And there are a couple of other issues unique to this hammock that I love ( chair, net, hanging light items on the bars). Overall great hammock, maybe the best.
I wasn't going to issue this report until I had some more long term use. But I have a BB coming, and will be figuring that out for a while. So I wanted to get this report out. Main thing is: I originally thought I had major shoulder issues with this hammock which was otherwise great. After working with a 2nd one more, I have decided that the shoulder deal is a non-issue with me, and I am not all that small.
Now if I can just figure out how to keep warm without spending hundreds more and obsoleting the gear I already have. I really must order a wide CCF pad.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
Last edited by BillyBob58; 12-08-2008 at 22:05..