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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Elmira, NY
    Hammock
    WB Ridgerunner, Dangerbird
    Tarp
    Big Daddy
    Insulation
    HG 3 Season/IX UQ
    Suspension
    Straps
    Posts
    1,861
    Images
    10

    First impressions of new gear.

    My friend and I just returned from an eight day backpacking trip in north central PA. I was trying out four major purchases during this trip and thought I'd give my intial impressions.

    The weather was lousy to put it mildly. It rained or snowed to some degree almost daily with heavy downpours and lightening for a day and a half. Night temps ranged from mid 20s to mid 30s and day temps were mostly in the high to mid 40s. The ground ranged from wet and muddy to a foot of snow.

    I was testing out for the first time an OES MacCat Deluxe tarp, a Hammock Gear three season Incubator UQ, a WBBB 1.0 dbl and an Aarn Natural balance backpack. We car camped the first night so we could determine the minimum amount of gear we could get away with. I left the next day (with some reservation) with a 30 degree Western Mountaineering bag and the Hammock Gear UQ. I did throw in a couple of extra articles of clothing but not much.

    I'll start with the Aarn. My full weight including everything was about 28 lbs. Without a doubt this was the most comfortable pack I've worn.. I loved the way the front bags balance the pack front to back. It's also the first time I've had zero issues with my hip bone. Very comfortable. The only hassle was deciding what to put in the front backs. Pretty much I put most of my food, snacks and all the other little doodads we carry. OH...and did I mention all my precious down products stayed bone dry for all those days thanks to the Aarn built in but removable waterproof liner. I hauled a trash can liner but never used it. Loving my Aarn.

    On to the Hammock Gear 3 Season Incubator. Coming from a homemade synthetic UQ I was rather dubious about the Incubator's claims of a 20 degree rating. That's why we car camped the first night with temps about 28. I was extremely pleased with the results. I was toasty all night with just the Incubator and the 30 degree bag. I already had faith in the bag. I decided I'd leave the pads in the car and rely totally on the Incubator. I was never cold the entire trip. I love the oh so simple suspension system and found it to be tight enough as it came from Hammock Gear. I also very much liked the way it slides back and forth on the bungee cord. I did add a short line to hold it in place on the foot end to prevent it from slipping toward the lower head end. It stayed put. I didn't run any lines from side to side over the ridge line as I didn't feel it was necessary. I do think it's another great feature. I did fluff it out each time I removed it from the pack and it lofted beautifully. Loving my 3 Season Incubator form Hammock Gear.

    The OES MacCat Deluxe Tarp did a superb job of keeping everything totally dry. It stayed taut in even the heaviest of rains. Not much to elaborate on other than it's a quality item that gives plenty of coverage. Loving my tarp from OES.

    Last but not least my new WBBB. I debated if I should leave the BB at home and take my Clark NX 250, especially considering the weather forecast. A desire for low pack weight, less volume and my natural curiosity won out. I did bring a Neet Sheat and some clips to act as a weather shield if needed. I used it a couple of nights and it made a difference. Had a little condensation on the netting after the night of heavy rain. I was very happy with the Blackbird. Very easy to set up and absolutely the most spacious and comfortable hammock I've owned. Did I mention the shelf.....I LOVE that thing. Throw it in there and forget it! I did have a bit of a time occasionally with the strap buckles. (or whatever they are called), but was always able to adjust them. I also can't seem to get the ridgeline just right. It always seems to be too tight regardless of how I position the straps on the tree. What is the secret? Almost forgot the footbox...I like it very much as it prevents the dreaded leg lock I've experienced in some hammocks. The bottom material comes up and suppoprts you right under the knees.....just where you need it. I am loving my WBBB!

    A couple of other items I should mention were the Steripen and Micro Spikes.
    The SteriPen failed me again due to batteries. Maybe I just bought a bad batch but I'm rapidly losing faith. The Micro Spikes were awesome when we bushwacked up a very steep snow and ice covered hill.

    There you have it...a 100% batting average with my new gear. I of course owe that to the sage advice and reviews of gear right here on Hammock Forums. Here are a few pics.

    Miguel
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Senior Member GIHanger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Cherry Valley, CA.
    Hammock
    WBBB 1.7DL/ HH Explorer Deluxe
    Tarp
    Mamajamba
    Insulation
    Depends on Weather
    Suspension
    Webbing
    Posts
    135
    Thanks for your time-- I can't believe you have a Clark 250 and spent the $ to buy another hammock. Seems like the Clark is the end all be all hammock.

  3. #3
    MAD777's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    South Florida
    Hammock
    DIY, WBBB & Switchback
    Tarp
    HG cuben,OES Spinn
    Insulation
    DIY down 3/4 UQ/TQ
    Suspension
    Dynaglide & Dutch
    Posts
    8,596
    Images
    39
    Quote Originally Posted by JPBeck View Post
    Thanks for your time-- I can't believe you have a Clark 250 and spent the $ to buy another hammock. Seems like the Clark is the end all be all hammock.
    I assume that you are not a backpacker. The WBBB weight slightly more that half of the NX250 and packs down accordingly .... nuff said
    Mike
    "Life is a Project!"

  4. #4
    OutandBack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Hammock
    Snipe WinterGnome
    Tarp
    TtTTG 12x10
    Insulation
    WL-TQ/UQ, HG 3/4UQ
    Suspension
    stock
    Posts
    4,226
    Images
    129
    Great Report and picts. Is top row #4 your Aarn?

  5. #5
    Senior Member GIHanger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Cherry Valley, CA.
    Hammock
    WBBB 1.7DL/ HH Explorer Deluxe
    Tarp
    Mamajamba
    Insulation
    Depends on Weather
    Suspension
    Webbing
    Posts
    135
    I am a backpacker-- I just dont stress out about a few ounces, I'd rather train harder. nuff said
    Last edited by GIHanger; 04-09-2011 at 21:09.

  6. #6
    cataraftgirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Sandy, Utah
    Hammock
    Trek Light double
    Tarp
    Wilderness Logics
    Insulation
    HG/Leighlo
    Suspension
    webbing & CB
    Posts
    1,160
    Great report & gear review. I used my MacCat Deluxe last summer and loved it. I have since added 2QZQ doors to it, so it should be pretty much perfect. I haven't been out with my new 3 Season Incubator & Burrow yet. Good to see that you stayed nice and warm in it, and that it was easy to use.
    KJ

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    White Mtns, NH
    Hammock
    DIY 1.1 yd/sq oz Basic Gathered End
    Tarp
    DIY Cuben
    Insulation
    Yeti UQ
    Suspension
    Whoopie Slings
    Posts
    105
    Your steripen may have been suffering from the cold weather. Mine Was giving the sad face last fall when temps were around freezing.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    CT
    Hammock
    WBBB
    Tarp
    MacCat/Mamajamba
    Insulation
    Go Lite/3S Incu
    Posts
    55
    Did you find that the front pockets of the Aarn ever got in the way? They didn't rub your arms or anything? I like the look of these packs and am considering one.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Elmira, NY
    Hammock
    WB Ridgerunner, Dangerbird
    Tarp
    Big Daddy
    Insulation
    HG 3 Season/IX UQ
    Suspension
    Straps
    Posts
    1,861
    Images
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by JPBeck View Post
    Thanks for your time-- I can't believe you have a Clark 250 and spent the $ to buy another hammock. Seems like the Clark is the end all be all hammock.
    Too heavy, too bulky. It's my winter hammock. The NX 250 is overkill for most of the year...especially when backpacking.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Elmira, NY
    Hammock
    WB Ridgerunner, Dangerbird
    Tarp
    Big Daddy
    Insulation
    HG 3 Season/IX UQ
    Suspension
    Straps
    Posts
    1,861
    Images
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by OutandBack View Post
    Great Report and picts. Is top row #4 your Aarn?
    Yes....it is.

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