Here are my initial impressions of the JRB BMBH...
(Want to skip all my drivel and just see the pictures? They're at the bottom.)
I have ZERO background knowledge on bridge hammocks other than pictures I've seen, videos on this site, and descriptions via threads. I've had my share of hammocks over the past couple of years - Clark North American, Trek Light Double, ENO Singlenest/Doublenest, Warbonnet Blackbird, Hennessy Expedition, Grand Trunk Skeeter Beater Pro, and finally to my new Jacks R Better Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock.
For insulation I've used sleeping bags, Thermarest Ridgerest, Speer SnugFit, KAQ Potomac, and now my new Exped DownMat 9 DLX.
Unpacking and testing:
The entire JRB BMBH setup comes in a nifty sil-nylon bag. Everything you need to know about setup is included with a getting started guide attached to the drawstring. New user? Read that guide! Takes about 2 minutes to grasp the concept. Easy as pie. Normally guys don't take time to read instructions. I did, but I was already a bit familiar with the spreader bars (how to and how NOT to use them!) as well as being familiar with the tri-glides...so preparing the BMBH for my first hang was a breeze!
After pulling the goodies out of the bag, getting the suspension lines straight and pre-installing the tri-glides, I kicked everyone out of my way and took the hammock out to the backyard. Got dirty looks from my wife and dogs. Guess they didn't appreciate me frantically pushing them out of the way so that I could play with my new toy...um..er...I mean, so that I could test the new man-equipment. Yeah, that's it....
Hung the hammock losely between my favorite 2 trees, assembled/installed the spreader bars, tightened the suspension lines a bit, physically raised each end so that it was waist high, then I finally eased into the contraption. ****! Have to run inside and get my pillow. Precious seconds wasted! Ran back outside, tossed my pillow in the hammock, got back in, and moved around like I had ants in my pants. I tried all kinds of different positions! Takes a little getting used to because I'm more familiar with my Blackbird. It's the hammock I've spent the most time in...so far.
Plenty of room from head to toe! Bit of shoulder-squeeze, though. For reference, I'm only 5'10" and 150 soaking wet. Maybe inserting my new Exped DownMat 9 DLX will help in that regard. Yep! Sure does! Man oh man. It's like sleeping on my bed. I can sleep on my back, my sides, and even my stomach! I actually tended to prefer the head end of my BMBH a wee bit higher than my feet. Not by much, though.
My wife came out to see just what the hell I was doing. She wanted to try it, of course. 15 minutes later and I was STILL begging her to get out so I could do more testing. Sheesh! Her words: "I like this one the best out of all your hammocks." Oh no! I can see the writing on the wall. Not even 10 minutes with my new BMBH and she wants it!
I ended up testing the BMBH in different configurations. I used it as-is, used my Speer SnugFit with it, and my Exped DownMat 9 DLX. I can't wait to field-test all this stuff at an upcoming hang in November!
I never did really use the separate bug netting. I mean, I installed it while my wife was in the hammock...but we both agreed that it's nice to have, but not necessary. I'll take it with me on outings but I just don't think I'll use it that much. If I need something over me to ward off no-see-ums, I'll probably just use my family size Neat Sheet as a bug shield/barrier.
With Speer SnugFit
Top view with Speer SnugFit
Top view with Exped DownMat 9 DLX in the pad pocket
Valve from DownMat at foot end/entry of BMBH pad pocket for easy tweaks to air pressure