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  1. #1
    Spurr's Avatar
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    Gathered or Bridge, for larger hangers

    Noob here, with no gear and no clue. I've been on the forums for about a month and would like to buy my first hammock. My question goes out to the larger hangers in here who know that finding something that fits can be an adventure. I'm not very tall at 6'0" but make up for it in the girth department weighing in at 260lbs with real broad shoulders. My queston is preference between a gathered or a bridge hammock. The WBB 1.7 double looks like great gear and was recomended by a larger hanger in here who likes it a lot. I'd like to hear from a bridge owner as well for some input on this. My major concern in going with a gathered might be my shoulders feeling scrunched. Where as the bridge just looks more spacious. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    BrianWillan's Avatar
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    I am of similar size to yourself (5'9") and I also have broad shoulders. I started out with the WBBB DL 1.7 hammock. I could never get comfortable in that hammock and always had issues with the calf pressure despite trying all the usual solutions. I traded that hammock for a Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock and I am never going back to gathered end.

    There are a couple of things about the bridge hammock. First is that the hammock is hour glass shaped when laid flat and it conforms to your body rather snugly. So this means, for me at least, it is necessary while sleeping on your back to fold your arms across your body in some fashion as they won't easily lay by your side. I don't find there to be a shoulder squeeze issue. If you're used to a gathered end style of hammock then the feeling of a bridge is just different.

    Next item is that full length underquilts for a bridge should be on the narrow side. There is a reason the JRB Mt. Washington quilts are 42" wide and attached to the grosgrain loop a few inches below the spreader bar rings. This is less of an issue with partial length underquilts.

    As for the argument that the bridge hammocks weigh more because of the spreader bars, I find that not really to be the case. There are many ways to make a bridge hammock lighter. If you are of the DIY persuasion you could make your own bridge and use your hiking poles for the spreader bars. The stock BMBH weights 37 ounces with the spreader bars. The stock WBBB DL 1.7 with the adjustable webbing suspension weighs in a 40 oz.

    Hope this helps

    Cheers

    Brian

  3. #3
    Spurr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianWillan View Post
    I am of similar size to yourself (5'9") and I also have broad shoulders. I started out with the WBBB DL 1.7 hammock. I could never get comfortable in that hammock and always had issues with the calf pressure despite trying all the usual solutions. I traded that hammock for a Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock and I am never going back to gathered end.

    There are a couple of things about the bridge hammock. First is that the hammock is hour glass shaped when laid flat and it conforms to your body rather snugly. So this means, for me at least, it is necessary while sleeping on your back to fold your arms across your body in some fashion as they won't easily lay by your side. I don't find there to be a shoulder squeeze issue. If you're used to a gathered end style of hammock then the feeling of a bridge is just different.

    Next item is that full length underquilts for a bridge should be on the narrow side. There is a reason the JRB Mt. Washington quilts are 42" wide and attached to the grosgrain loop a few inches below the spreader bar rings. This is less of an issue with partial length underquilts.

    As for the argument that the bridge hammocks weigh more because of the spreader bars, I find that not really to be the case. There are many ways to make a bridge hammock lighter. If you are of the DIY persuasion you could make your own bridge and use your hiking poles for the spreader bars. The stock BMBH weights 37 ounces with the spreader bars. The stock WBBB DL 1.7 with the adjustable webbing suspension weighs in a 40 oz.

    Hope this helps

    Cheers

    Brian

    Brian,

    Yes, very helpful...What you have said confirms some of what I've been curious about as far as comfort for us bigger dudes. As I stated in my orginal post a larger guy in here told me he loves his WBBB, so it's nice to hear what works for someone else.

    As far as DIY, I liked watching Grizz build his bridge but I know my limitations and fabric and I wouldn't work well together. So I'll be looking to Jacks real soon I have a feeling.

    In the end what works for one doesn't always work for someone else. If I buy a bridge and it's not for me I'll hang the for sale on it and try something else.

    Thanks for all the information, very nice of you to take the time...

  4. #4
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    ( warning: long rambling BB58 style statement on shoulder issues with BMBH)
    Chester, this is kind of a tough question to answer, pretty much ditto what Brian said. The official upper weight limit of the BMBH is 250 lbs, having been lowered from the original rating of 275. So you are kind of pushing that, but I really don't think there would be any problem. I think the bars determine the weight rating, and I think there is some reserve built in.

    But as for your really wide shoulders. 1st, some folks here have simply not been able to be happy with the shoulder room. I was that way at 1st also, but I changed my mind over time and really don't find shoulder room to be a big enough problem to stop me( 6'1", 212) from enjoying the other benefits and getting a good night's sleep, even flat on my back. But I think you will notice the shoulder "difference" regardless of your size. My 120 lb wife noticed it! If you look at the BMBH unoccupied hammock from the ends, you will notice a "U" shape, or maybe approaching a "V". This pic has the MW3 on, and that may alter things slightly, but you still get the idea:
    ( OT, but notice the perfect fit of that quilt to this hammock! )

    At it's widest (unoccupied) point, this hammock is ~ 28"(the bars are ~31"). Down inside the hammock close to the bottom, more like about 22".

    My shoulders measure ~ 20" wide across the front of my chest, at elbows more like 23". If I curve my shoulders forward slightly( think bad posture) it is ~ 19" outside shoulder to shoulder. But regardless of shoulder width, when you sink down into this hammock, it is going to try to force your torso into the shape and size of the hammock. The amount it can come in on you is limited by the bars at the top, but in effect it will hug your torso, and have enough inward pressure to cause your shoulders to "curve".

    But this is not the same to me as traditional "shoulder squeeze" like I get in a gathered end hammock hung to tight. This hammock is more or less forced into the shape of your torso, and the curves upward towards the spreader bars from there. It is this curve which your shoulders will conform to. If your shoulders are wider than mine, they will just continue assuming that gradual curve shape of the hammock further up. The closer to the spreader bar your wide shoulder get, the wider the hammock is, all on a constant "curve".

    This is my theory on why my wife, who weighs 90 lb less than me and is probably "petite", and whose shoulders are 3 or 4" more narrow than mine, felt the same shoulder limitations as I did. I think every body feels it. But if I just fold my arms across my torso, I just don't find it to be an issue. It is not squeeze, it is just that my shoulders, now with a very slight curve to them(exactly as you have if you place your arms as above) are just lightly contacting the hammock sides. And of course, shifting even very very slightly to my side ends that issue.

    But if anyone lays down in this hammock flat on their back arms by side, you will quickly notice the lack of room, and I guess that bothers some too much. In fact it bothers me, but I don't sleep with my arms like that in my bed, so I don't care. If my arms are over my torso, it does not feel much different in my bed.

    You won't know if you can put up with that unless you try it, but I thought you ought to know what to expect. Wider bars would cure this problem, but spreader bars already are a problem (solvable though) hitting tarps, and wider bars will just be more problem. Also, you can only draw your knees up a moderate amount. What is virtually guaranteed in a bridge is no issues with knees or leg pressure, and no side "twisting" issues.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  5. #5
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    Just to throw in my $0.02, I agree with Brian and BB58. I have only tried the BMBH for about 5 minutes so my experience there is very limited, but I had a Chrysalis for about a year and like the shallower bathtub better (the chrysalis has wider spreaders). Going forward, I have been very satisfied with my DIY bridges with narrower fabric and wider spreaders as I don't feel my shoulders to be so constrained. Another mitigating factor not yet mentioned is that if you use a pad inside the bridge or between layers, it effectively lifts you up slightly from the bottom of the bathtub and gives your shoulders a little more room. I use a pad in my DIYs, and when combined with the flatter bathtub, don't get any "squeeze". For reference sake I am ~190#, 6'1" and wear a 42 or 44 sized suit coat.

    All of this is to say, if you are quite broad across the shoulders you might also look at the Chrysalis in addition to the JRB BMBH.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Swingblade's Avatar
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    Crazy Chester, welcome to HF.

    In the end what works for one doesn't always work for someone else. If I buy a bridge and it's not for me I'll hang the for sale on it and try something else.
    Wisdom is strong with this one. You may also wish to talk with Jack at JRB. Like most of the cottage entrepreneurs on HF, they stand behind they're products 100%.

    I currently own a BMBH & WB Traveler 1.7DBL. I am only 5'9" at 225# - down from 255# but 26" shoulder span with a 51" chest. That said, I agree with BB58 when he says weight & girth are not deciding factors on perceived snugness of a bridge. For naps my go to is a GE as I haven't experience shoulder squeeze in GE's, but for overnights hands down the BH.

    Unlike many, I was not immediately comfortable in the BH. I loath constriction & in the BMBH I felt like gravity was trying to force my body to a center line of the hammock. By shifting off center this can be alleviated but changing the way I want to lie is not something I'm interested in. By putting a blow-up pad, I use a BA insulated aircore 25"x77", my paradise was achieved. The pad opens the BMBH head to foot & allows me to sleep unrestricted in just about any position I desire except spread eagle I have gone thru a few hammocks looking for that perfect sleep & my search ended at the BH. As you astutely said YMMV.
    The older I get the better I used to be. Superhero status is near.

  7. #7
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BER View Post
    ... Another mitigating factor not yet mentioned is that if you use a pad inside the bridge or between layers, it effectively lifts you up slightly from the bottom of the bathtub and gives your shoulders a little more room. .
    Major +1 for that! I was just recently hanging in the BMBH, experimenting with just pads. But not my wide N thick Thermarest blow up, but a 20" wide TR Ridgerest, and/or a short piece of 26" wide blue WM and/or a full length version of the same.

    BMBH users help me out here. I have long said, along with others like Swingblade and BER, that a wide blow up pad significantly increases shoulder room in the BMBH, and knee room also for side sleeping(more fetal). But now I'm starting to suspect that even just a 20" wide Ridgerest or blue pad also increases shoulder room. It is a small but noticeable increase. I'll have to play with that some more to see if I am imagining it. Any one else noticed anything like this? Even a small increase is noticeable.

    Plus, using the full length 20" RidgeRest or blue pad with the short (20" long) but wide(26") stacked under my torso seemed to give another noticeable room increase. And this would be one warm combo I suspect, and really felt quite comfortable.

    One implication of this is that using 20" torso or full length pad to boost a summer or 3 season UQ might also give you a bit more shoulder room. Boy, do I LOVE that BMBH pad pocket!

    Quote Originally Posted by Swingblade View Post
    Crazy Chester, welcome to HF.



    Wisdom is strong with this one. You may also wish to talk with Jack at JRB. Like most of the cottage entrepreneurs on HF, they stand behind they're products 100%.
    Absolutely, call and talk with the Jacks!

    I currently own a BMBH & WB Traveler 1.7DBL. I am only 5'9" at 225# - down from 255# but 26" shoulder span with a 51" chest.
    Dang, and I am told I have broad shoulders! But you have about 5" on me(is that measured across your chest edge to edge?). And about the same dif in the chest. It is great that, with shoulders that wide- even if you have to use a pad- you feel you have found your best "fit" with the JRB BMBH!


    That said, I agree with BB58 when he says weight & girth are not deciding factors on perceived snugness of a bridge. For naps my go to is a GE as I haven't experience shoulder squeeze in GE's, but for overnights hands down the BH.

    Unlike many, I was not immediately comfortable in the BH. I loath constriction & in the BMBH I felt like gravity was trying to force my body to a center line of the hammock. By shifting off center this can be alleviated but changing the way I want to lie is not something I'm interested in. By putting a blow-up pad, I use a BA insulated aircore 25"x77", my paradise was achieved. The pad opens the BMBH head to foot & allows me to sleep unrestricted in just about any position I desire except spread eagle I have gone thru a few hammocks looking for that perfect sleep & my search ended at the BH. As you astutely said YMMV.
    Good to know, SB!
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 11-21-2011 at 09:54.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  8. #8
    Senior Member Swingblade's Avatar
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    is that measured across your chest edge to edge?
    My wife measuring me delt to delt from behind back/neck. I overhang my 25" pad quite a bit with arms crossed coffin style. Sometimes it's hard to tell if I'm standing up or not . This has given me a problem in colder temps as my shoulders & upper arms are a cold spot without an UQ. I just solved that issue, I hope, with a recent purchase of a HG Incubator.
    The older I get the better I used to be. Superhero status is near.

  9. #9
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    Bigger hangers opinion

    I'm 6' 400# with a 32" shoulder and 60" chest and I love my WBBB DL and Triple. Not to mention if you decide to sell the WBBB's sell very fast and at or slightly less than new prices so you won't be out anything for a trial run!!!

    Sirthurston

  10. #10
    Spurr's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the information guys. I will take all the information and make a choice what I think will work for me. I know that some hangers have had to try a couple of different styles of hammock before they've found the right fit. If that's the case that's ok as well. Seems like used gear goes pretty fast in here so I'm too worried about being stuck with something that doesn't work for very long.

    I'm looking forward to getting started with this and can't wait to get out on the trail..

    So again thanks a lot....

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