Ridge Runner takes the early lead
I still have lots of time for evaluation, but I FINALLY received both hammocks yesterday, and after some considerable setup consternation, chose the RR for my first night trial.
After quickly setting up both hammocks in the back yard yesterday afternoon, it was immediately very obvious to me that there is going to be much more of a "fuss factor" involved in figuring out how to get comfortably situated in the XLC vs. the RR. All told, the trees that I have for setup in my back yard aren't as wide apart as I thought they were - just over 14 feet. I assumed that this was going be more of an issue for testing the RR than the XLC, but it ended up being the opposite. After a very quick setup and 30 minute recline in each, it was VERY obvious that the XLC was going to require much more tweaking and experimenting to figure out how to get comfortable and stay warm in without a UQ for insulation - which I don't yet have. Based on that, I decided to go with the RR for the first night test in the back yard.
Dumb luck or not, I was immediately comfortable in the RR after throwing the suspension up and sliding a piece of reflectix between the layers. I only adjusted the suspension enough so that I was sure to keep it a few inches off the ground after getting into it. No other adjustment was needed or made the remainder of the evening. Lucky for me, since I really didn't have much space to work with.
My first concern after lying in the RR for a while was shoulder squeeze. I'm only 6 ft. tall and 180 pounds, but am prone to shoulder aches and pains at 56 years of age. Right away I could feel my shoulders ever so slightly bunched forward while lying on my back. After a 6.5 hour evening, though, I only felt a very slight bit of stiffness in my right shoulder - less than I usually feel after a night in bed. Definitely not enough discomfort to be discouraged - yet, at least.
I was able to easily change positions during the night while lying INSIDE of my bulky military sleeping bag with gore-tex bivy. I never felt a bit of instability while moving around. I was even able to get nearly full fetal by wedging my feet and knees between the webbing on either side of the hammock. I didn't stay in this position long, but wanted to see if it was comfortable and stable - and it was. I did require moving around a bit to avoid stiffness in my lower back, but no more than I usually do in bed. I'm hoping that I can eventually reduce the need to move even as much as I did by tweaking the suspension.
I used a 48" x 24" piece of reflectix between the double layers of the RR and was VERY pleasantly surprised how well it stayed in place in this hammock. I don't think it moved at all from where I initially positioned it. It only got down to 51*F last night, but I'm confident that, with the addition of a wing of some design added to the reflectix and a couple layers of clothes, I'll be able to stay warm down to the low 40s / mid 30s. If not for my upper arms, i would have been very comfortable in the sleeping bag with a t-shirt and shorts last night. I added a light poly/wool top to keep the upper arms warm.
Now that I know I can stay warm at this season's temps, I'll be getting out to test both hammocks in a better selection of trees. After the first day/night, the XLC has some catching up to do, for sure.