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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    Aurora, CO
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    WB Ridgerunner
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    11

    Side By Side Bridge Hammocks

    Hey Everyone,
    My first post here. My wife and I do a lot of backpacking and car camping here in Colorado and while I love the tent that I have, I'd love to sleep a little bit better when I'm out. After absorbing as much information from the site and various YouTube videos, I've been looking at the Warbonnet RidgeRunner (as many others have). I tend to side sleep so the bridge style is appealing and if I'd like to DIY some quilts for it, the "rectangular" design of the RR looks a bit easier than something like the Blackbird XLC. I'm trying to get the wife on board and since she and I enjoy being next to each other in the tent, hammock camping together might be a different experience (both positively and negatively). After doing a lot of searches, I don't think anyone has addressed a specific thought of mine. I was curious if anyone a) has any experience doing a side by side set up with two bridges as opposed to gathered ends, and if so, b) what size spreader bar (bars?) would I need and c) what size tarp I would need for decent coverage for the both of us. It looks like with the GE hammocks, one spreader bar works well enough and something like the SuperFly gives adequate cover. I'm thinking that might not be the case with bridge style hammocks and it might require a bar at both ends and I might have to construct my own tarp with exaggerated dimensions out of Cuben or something similar. Any and all responses appreciated.

    Chris

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Valpo, IN
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    Towns-End Luxury Bridge
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    1,510
    Welcome to the forum

    I'm not aware of anyone doing a side by side bridge setup off hand. Not impossible, but you'd likely need to sleep 'head to foot' to make it work in any practical way with a RR because of the dramatically different lengths of the spreader bar.

    That aside:
    Go buy a ridgerunner. AND see if you actually like it. Then see if your spouse actually likes it. Some prefer the bear mountain bridge, some don't like bridges, some prefer my bridges. Some hate bridges. Only one way to find out!

    Some may disagree; but in general I find hammocks take a year or so to really switch over. The biggest obstacle is sorting out the hammock itself. To speed things up a little I suggest people concentrate on selecting a hammock they prefer before you go tricking out a custom rig that will in and of itself take time to develop. Noting worse than spending a bunch of time and money only to find out that you tricked out the wrong hammock for you.

    Keep in mind you're trying to do this for two people... and if one of them is slightly skeptical... you want to get things sorted out a bit first. You can easily turn someone off with a poor setup and it's that much more effort to win them over down the line when you do have it worked out. As the kiddos say- 'you do you bro'. Once you have your hammock sorted out enough that you know how it should feel- then introduce your partner to it. I've done that with my wife too many times, lol. I drag her over to check out something I just made only to realize a week or so later that I didn't have it set up quite right in the first place... then I have to overcome her first impressions on top of asking her to try something she isn't to fired up about to begin with.

    The other problem with the RR specifically besides sleeping head/foot is tree to tree distance.
    The RR already has a long tree to tree setup at roughly 13-15' needed to hang it. That is apex to apex (where the dogbones of the suspension meet at a point).

    From there- if you add a spreader bar to separate the two hammocks you will need another suspension triangle to reduce force on the spreader bar you use so you don't need a bar so heavy it would kill the rig. So some rough math on that...

    With a 42" or so head bar on the RR- you'd probably need about that to spread the two apart. You'd need about that for each piece of suspension to get back to the tree. Round that up to about 48"... and take 3/4 of that and you need roughly 3' of ground distance per side.

    So that puts you about 13-15' plus 6 more feet between trees.
    While your tarp won't get crazy- you're still probably looking at a roughly 8' wide footprint at minimum plus stakes.

    Point being- you're basically looking for 10x20 (a one car garage) worth of clear space to set up your rig now.
    Maybe not the end of the world in Colorado, but a deal killer for those of us east of the Mississippi in denser woods.

    One huge issue with hammocks is addressing what to do for couples. I don't really think there is a great solution personally as they all come with tradeoffs you need to juggle.

    Backpacking is hard as if one of you doesn't 'switch' then the 'two man' tent you were splitting gets heavy. So now you have two busted systems you're rebuilding. Even if you both go for it... it gets debatable if you really do save all that much by teaming up. You shave a little in the tarp... but you balance that out with a spreader bar and extra suspension.

    You need to balance the needs of both people. You need to weigh the downsides of each of the three options: split ground/air vs. side by side vs two standalone hammocks.

    One option not discussed often here- is the ground air combo. In that you flush out your hammock tarp into a more tarp tent style shelter with a ground sheet and netting so that one partner can sleep in the 'tent' while one is in the hammock.
    Either 'bunk bed style' or offset from each other so you can still see each other. This can meet many tent needs some have (privacy to change, four walls, room to spread gear, etc) but still allow one spouse to hang. Unlike the other options- this one can save some weight and while site selection issues are there... they won't be as dramatic as some options.

    With car camping- Weight is no obstacle, but site selection can get tough or you'll find the need to invest in a stand. Often the parks don't allow hammocks, or the park is too crowded to allow you to drive around until you find the site with decent trees you can snag. So your costs and setup times only increase. At some point I personally feel it gets silly... you can buy an aero bed for $200 and slap it in a nice cabin tent and sleep pretty nice. Devoting months and $2000 creating some custom hanging palace just to 'hang' is cool.. but not that practical overall. Unless you sleep in hammocks at home, there are ways to be comfortable car camping without reinventing the wheel.

    Even with paired gathered ends... you're still dealing with different user weights, bouncing each other at night, and site selection issues. I have noticed the critical factor is both partners really wanting to sleep next to each other. That benefit/requirement tends to sweep lots of things under the rug. But many backpacking couples I know don't really care, or are even turned off by sharing bedpace at night. You're spending ALOT of time with each other already and often having your own personal space to retreat to at the end of the day can be the key to a healthy hiking relationship.

    End of the day though- Bridges are a great way to start. I do believe they smooth out the transition from ground to air and make that switch a little cleaner and easier. You can use your ground pad and sleeping bag you own... which means you can actually sleep in it without any extra investment. So get one and see. Unless you are going to switch- the rest is meaningless really.
    Last edited by Just Bill; 10-15-2019 at 09:07.

  3. #3
    New Member
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    Thanks for the thought out response Bill. After having read many of your posts, I should expect nothing less.

    Right off the get go, I'm certainly only going for one set up. Hell, I haven't even hammock camped yet so to spend a bunch on two hammocks and a whole bunch of custom stuff would likely be setting money on fire. That said, I suppose my question was just a bit hypothetical in nature. Assuming I like a bridge, I guess I was more curious about the ability to "upgrade" it to a two hammock system later and if there were different challenges in going tandem with a bridge vs. a GE. It appears that my initial inclinations were correct -- that it's a little bit more of a PITA (and costly) with bridges than otherwise. All that said, I'm weighing in my mind whether or not it would be prudent to start with an asymmetrical gathered end just so that if and when my wife wanted to join the hanging world, it would be an easier and cheaper "upgrade" with the GE (would just need a spreader bar and the current tarp that I have would work) vs. a bridge (two longer spreader bars and a custom tarp, not to mention the tree distance issue you brought up). Or, maybe eventually I just end up with a couple of hammocks like many of you -- one for my time with my buddies and one for hanging with the wife. Decisions, decisions.

    Chris

  4. #4
    cougarmeat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Bend, OR
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    Often a person comes from sleeping in a bed and thinks they need to sleep the same way in a hammock. That may not be the case. You sleep the way you do in bed because of the pressure points that develop with a mattress. I'm not saying you won't need to sleep on your side; I'm saying you might not need to.

    Both I and a hiking partner have Ridge Runners (actually, she has my second one ) and I seldom bring both on a trip. If she has a Ridge Runner, I take a GE because it gives me more flexibility in tree selection.

    Before I started using a hammock in camp, I thought, "How hard can it be; there are trees everywhere." Now my eye is much more discriminatory. As Just Bill said, that Ridge Runner wants trees 13 - 15 ft apart. I'd probably say 15 - 17 ft if you can find them. But wait, there's more. Nature has a way of taking two perfectly good, right diameter, right distance apart, trees and putting a third tree between them. It won't be in a parallel line with them, but it will be close enough to mess with the tarp set up. Nature's little sense of humor.

    My point is, finding a site that will support two bridge hammocks may be more of a challenge than you'd think. A good point was made that you are going to be in separate hammocks (GE or Bridge) or one person may be on the ground. So you are just concerned about being close - as in nearby - rather than "together". That will ease up the tarp situation. You would each have your own tarp. Maybe one would be mostly to cover a hammock. Like an asymmetrical design or something like the WarBonnet MiniFly. The other could be a large tarp that you could set up in porch mode and have room for both of you the hang out - in a dry (or shade from the sun) environment outside your hammock. One of the joys of hammock camping is being able to sit out under the tarp watching the rain, rather then be "trapped" inside a tent.

    It would be really great if you could try some of this stuff out first. For example, we have one of those "knit" hammocks we put out every summer. It's padded with a rectangular lounge chair pad. A person can hang out in that, take an afternoon nap, etc. In other words, get comfortable in something that isn't a bed and isn't sleeping on the hard, uneven, pine cone and stick invested, ant and spider crawling, ground.
    In order to see what few have seen, you must go where few have gone. And DO what few have done.

  5. #5

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