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  1. #1
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    New JRB James River UL bridge hammock

    At last I can talk about this, I have been biting my tongue for months:
    https://www.jacksrbetter.com/product...light-hammock/

    First, consider the source( i.e. me ). I have been hanging since I set out for a week in the northern Rockies with my HHSS in Sept 06. Over the years sense, I have used many different brands and styles of hammocks, including one of the very first JRB bridge hammocks to be released from JRB, actually the first bridge hammock from any vendor here. Then a few years later I got their second bridge, which was a lighter version of the original, and not as deep. So the thing about any report from me is: over all of these years, I have never quite been able to declare an absolute favorite among the available hammocks. There are maybe 1/2 dozen of them that I can be happy with, and they all have their pros and cons as far as comfort goes, and then they differ somewhat on how the different insulation systems work with them. I.E ccf pads vs UQs(full length vs short UQs) vs Pea Pods vs HHSSs. So when I am trying to pick a particular hammock for a trip, or a test, my available insulation gets into the decision as much as does the hammock. But it is often a difficult choice for me to choose between bridge and gathered- especially for a back pack, back yard or car camping I am usually going bridge), or to choose say a Claytor used with a Pea pod vs my HH with a Super Shelter or a JRB with an MW3 or 4 or even pad, a WBRR with the AHE custom UQ or pad, etc. All of those are more than acceptable choices and will work for me, and I can be comfy and warm in any of them. Though I might sometimes need to add a knee pillow to my GEs.

    Now, with all that said, I have been testing a prototype new version, JRB UL hammock for months. And it is one more superb hammock for me. It is UL, even with the spreader bars only 18 oz( 9 oz if you rigged up hiking poles).

    Some folks, even with the WBRR much wider spreader bars, still complain about shoulder squeeze even with that bridge, which is significantly wider than either previous JRB. So I need to point out one more thing about me: I do not have any shoulder squeeze issues with any of the bridge hammocks, not even the original JRB which- due to it's depth and not so wide bars- has the least shoulder room of any of them. When I first got that original JRB back in maybe 07(?), I thought I had shoulder "squeeze", plus it was so different in so many ways, I panicked and returned it during the "no questions asked" time period. But later, I got to thinking about how I had ZERO calf pressure or knee extension, and how I had zero side discomfort, how even with the "shoulder squeeze", I might have been more comfy over all than any other hammock, etc, and wondered if I had given it a fair chance. So I got another one, and have had many a comfy nights sleep in it since then. I realized I did not really have shoulder squeeze, like I sometimes got if I hung a GE too tight. Rather, my shoulders- flat on my back- had to assume the shape of the hammock, which was similar to if I have my arms crossed over my chest. A position I often assume anyway. If I do that, then even in the most narrow JRB, my shoulders simply touch the sides of the hammock, but they are NOT squeezed, and it is quite comfy. And if I go even slightly to my side, my upside shoulder is not even in contact with the hammock, so squeeze is impossible.

    So, I do not have shoulder squeeze in any of the bridge hammocks. But, like the WBRR, this new JRB has much more shoulder room than the older JRBs. Since it has wider bars like the WBRR, it is going to also need a wider pitched tarp, a negative compared to the the older JRBs. I don't think the bars are quite as wide as the WBRR with the 4" extender bar, but they are a good bit wider than the older JRBs.

    Since the bars are wider, the triangles are longer and, just like the WBRR, are going to require more distance between the trees than the older JRBs, or most GEs. Another negative compared to the older JRBs.

    However, the comfort is superb, very similar for me to the WBRR, with some slight difs/pros/cons. I think one dif it has a slight advantage for me: it is a bit deeper and as well as wider in the middle, I think. Seems to me wider(in the middle) anyway. I have not measured that width, just basing that on how it feels in fetal position. I have more room for my knees when pulled up in fetal than in the WB. And being a bit deeper(pros and cons), I can still lay back into the side with no worries of falling out, which I love to do. I can also do that in the WBRR, but always feels a bit risky. Other than that, they have a very similar feel. I do miss the saddle bags on the WB, but I have other ways of dealing with that.

    There is no pad pocket in this model, unlike my WB and original JRB. But bridges work so much better for me with pads, I think I could still use one if desired. But, I have not really experimented with it much.

    It has worked great with my JRB convertible MW3. I especially love it with my MW3 in short mode, and my sit pad under my feet, a perfect, gap free fit from the top of my head to under my thighs. Since that UQ is wider than the hammock- just as with previous JRBs- when I lay back into that side, the UQ keeps my back toasty. Maybe JRB is planning a custom UQ, such as exists for the WB? But, if so, I hope it still will work as well for when I lean back into the side of the hammock.

    I'll think of some more to say about it later, and see if I can round up some pics. But, bottom line: as always, pros and cons, but I rate this one at least tied with the best I have used, either bridge or GE. And for fetal position, it is maybe the very best for me.
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 07-03-2019 at 20:19.

  2. #2
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    What is the length from the ends of the triangles? Wondering if a 12' tarp with doors will close. With the WBRR it comes close but won't close. Also you mentioned tree spacing. How much room do you need compared to WBRR? More, less, same?

  3. #3
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grubbster View Post
    What is the length from the ends of the triangles? Wondering if a 12' tarp with doors will close. With the WBRR it comes close but won't close. Also you mentioned tree spacing. How much room do you need compared to WBRR? More, less, same?
    I have not yet measured it, and it is pouring rain right now. But, I don't think it is any shorter than the WBRR. Certainly not much dif, seems about the same to me.

    Dang it, I can't find any of my pics!

  4. #4

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    Congrats to Don and JRB... tough to get a new product out the door and probably a big relief to finally launch.

    Clever name!

  5. #5
    DGrav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    Congrats to Don and JRB... tough to get a new product out the door and probably a big relief to finally launch.

    Clever name!
    Thanks for all the feedback. The JRB JRB UL took longer than we expected but we believe the final result was well worth it.
    Jacks R Better, makers of the of the Original Under Quilt and Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock.
    www.jacksrbetter.com
    Facebook: JacksRBetterQuilts
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  6. #6
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grubbster View Post
    What is the length from the ends of the triangles? Wondering if a 12' tarp with doors will close. With the WBRR it comes close but won't close. Also you mentioned tree spacing. How much room do you need compared to WBRR? More, less, same?
    OK, the rain finally stopped. I went outside and hung er up, and added a ridge line so I could measure along it. I got 10 ft, 10", from triangle apex to apex, based on my estimate of th correct amount of tension. Which is shorter than I thought. Do you know what the WBRR is? I have not measured the distance on my WBRR yet.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    I hung mine up(I don't hang much in the hot MS summertime) so I could measure the length for Grubbster. I was reminded of how comfy this hammock is. and very light for a bridge. But of course, you still have the spreader bar weight unless you rig up some hiking poles to replace the bars, assuming you use hiking poles. 9 oz without, 18 oz with the bars.

    Notice the knees in relation to the stiff edge of the hammock.


    I am 6'1", with my feet and butt against one side of the hammock, with my knees pulled up pretty far into fetal, there is plenty of room.

    As normal with a bridge, zero calf ridge and no knee extension, no hunting for sweet spots. I don't know what the minimal distance between trees is supposed to be, or the exact distance between the triangle apex for optimum hang is supposed to be. But if I don't get quite "enough" distance between the apexs, I can perceive just a hint of knee extension. That rule might apply to all bridges. With just a bit more distance, there is no knee extension. I have been shooting for my rule of thumb for my all my bridges: a slight reverse banana. IOW, viewed from the side, unoccupied, the middle bottom is just slightly higher than the ends, the opposite of how a GE looks. But, just a slight rise, not much. The looser you hang it the more it will approach the traditional GE curve, and the least GE banana curve will not work well for me, as far as knee extension. But, it is pretty easy to get the right distance. For me, that means tension it until all banana curve disappears, and then just a tad more, until there is a hint of reverse banana, so to speak. Maybe DGrav knows what the perfect distance is between the Apex, or perfect RL length? And, there is probably a max length that provides both comfort and a perfect fit with the JRB UQs. But, just by doing as I described above, I have obtained excellent over all comfort with no knee extension(and never any calf ridge, regardless).

    Plenty of shoulder room for me.

    UQ hooks or if you prefer loops for attaching UQs.

    Viewed foot end to head end. I don't usually use a ridge line, I just threw this on here to make a measurement, which was 10'10" between the apexs.


    The JRB green tape on the bars is to help me keep my JRB bars separate from my WBRR bars. This hammock is uber comfy for me. As is the case with all bridges, calf ridge is 100% defeated. The fetal position is also quite comfy, or side sleeping with legs straight. And as with all my other JRB bridges, I lone to lay back into the sides, a sort of semi side sleeping.
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 07-04-2019 at 11:43.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for checking that BillyBob58. Not sure of the length on the WBRR but I do know you can't completely shut the doors on a 12' tarp so this seems shorter. If the poles are 36" on the ends my carbon poles should work. They weigh 5.7 oz in the stuff sack so that will save a few ounces.

  9. #9
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    OK, the rain finally stopped. I went outside and hung er up, and added a ridge line so I could measure along it. I got 10 ft, 10", from triangle apex to apex, based on my estimate of th correct amount of tension. Which is shorter than I thought. Do you know what the WBRR is? I have not measured the distance on my WBRR yet.
    Quote Originally Posted by grubbster View Post
    Thanks for checking that BillyBob58. Not sure of the length on the WBRR but I do know you can't completely shut the doors on a 12' tarp so this seems shorter. If the poles are 36" on the ends my carbon poles should work. They weigh 5.7 oz in the stuff sack so that will save a few ounces.
    Grubbster, You are welcome. I just hung the WBRR up at the suggested 25 degree angle, placed a ridge line, and measured 12'5" between apex. So the WB has about 1 1/2 ft greater min distance between triangle apex than the new JRB which I measured at 10'10". However, I don't yet know the optimum distance between apex for the JRB, I don't have any recommendation from JRB on this, and I am just guessing, and going by the appearance of a reverse sag or reverse banana that I have used for other bridges. It might turn out that I need to tighten a few more inches to get the optimum for the JRB, though I surely do not think it would be much more than that. So, most likely, less than 11 ft(JRB) vs 12 1/2(WB) between apex. Which, BTW, that minimum hang distance(the apex spread plus minimum suspension needed)is still more than the original JRBs which came in several feet shorter than the WB, as do all of my GEs.

    The WB head end bar measured about 40.5" with the ~ 4" inch extension in, though I can easily do with out that with out much noticeable loss in comfort. The WB measured 29.5 on the foot end bar. The JRB measured 37.5" on the head, and 33.25 on the foot. So, once you account for the removable section on the WB, pretty similar spreader bar width.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Finally got some new pics of my JRB MW3 convertible on the new JRB James River UL hammock. It seems to be a perfect gap free fit, from the top of my head to about mid thigh.


    No gaps at the side or bottom, well covered from top of head to almost my knees:


    Knees and feet well covered by MW3 short and JRB James River UL bridge.:


    I am a bit too far towards the head end, as I tried to get this pic, but still notice my head is well insulated by the MW3 on this James River bridge, no pillow needed:


    Experience tells me this is going to be plenty warm for me to about 20F, side sleeping or flat on my back. Total weight about 31 oz for hammock, bars and short UQ, plus whatever weight for my foot pad, though I would already have that with me as a sit pad. About 9 oz less if using my hiking poles in place of the spreader bars.


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