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  1. #1
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    JRB BM Bridge: initial impressions

    As some of you may know, I'm a complete newbie to the pleasures of hammock camping. Until a viable option (read: something which would allow me to sleep perfectly flat) came along, I had no interest at all in using hammocks as a backcountry shelter. Due to the JRB BMB, I have now been converted.

    Setup is quick (despite still having my issues - how high on the tree should the straps be? how tight should the suspension be?); it's definitely quicker than setting up the tent (and my solo tent was never too bad - but I should also note that I have yet to set up the tarp, which may change my opinion of the setup process), and tear down is even easier. I have my hammock off of the tree, rolled and packed in a fraction of the time it takes to tear down the tent (much less trying to roll that unruly thing back up). I imagine that a BB bag would make that process even faster as well.

    The lie is really nice. I definitely understand the concept of shoulder squeeze in the BMB, as have other "non-slender" hammockers (if either of the Jacks are reading this, consider this my suggestion for a wider bridge hammock made for larger people in mind - I would gladly give my money in a heartbeat), but 1) it's not terrible, and 2) I'm generally a side/stomach sleeper, and squeeze only affects me when I'm lying on my back with my arms down to my sides. In short, squeeze shouldn't affect me much at all in real world application. Lying on my side is quite comfortable, but could be improved with a wider hammock because I could bend my arms/legs outwards a bit more.

    I HATE THE OMNI-TAPE ON THE BUG NET! I'm don't know how else I can say it, but it's an absolutely terrible design decision for mass market purposes. I have read here on HF that the Jacks are trying to take their product to a wider audience (and I wish them all of the good fortune in the world), but they would do well for themselves if they either made the bug net with zippers, or at least had a zipper as an option. Perhaps they made the decision because of weight, or perhaps because of personal preference, but either way, it is a terrible decision. If anyone has a way to convert the bug net into a zippered net, I would gladly appreciate any help I can get. In fact, I might be willing to send my hammock and net out to get the alterations done so that I can forget all about this omni tape madness. I have seen someone add a zipper to the net, but even that isn't good enough. I don't want the "functionality" of omni tape at all. It's loud, unruly, and generally a frustrating experience. When getting in and out, far more comes off than I would like, and putting it back on isn't always easy (especially when inside of the hammock, and it comes off at the foot end. I want to replace the omni tape, and pretend that I have never even heard of velcro. If the decision was made due to weight, find a lighter zipper, or find something else to cut from your pack, but the straight-forward and proven functionality of a zipper is a must, at least as an option. It's easy, proven, and you won't have those say "no thanks" just because of the missing familiarity of a good ol' fashioned zipper. f the hammock were even slightly less comfortable than it is, I would return it because of the bug net madness alone.

    I have yet to try it out for more than an hour or so because I haven't yet set up my tarp (I don't yet have the proper line to tie it down), and both times I threw it on the tree, rain was in the near future. However, I will definitely be keeping it, and will be giving it a full test run soon (once I have my lines and am reasonably confident that it won't be too hot).

    Overall, my initial experiences have been very positive (a solid 4 of 5, or thereabouts). The lie is excellent, although a bit wider would help greatly; setup and tear down is a breeze, but the omni tape is about the worst design decision that I have seen on any product in quite some time. When hiking, I don't want to fight with the bug net, I just want to zip/unzip and be done with it. Omni tape doesn't allow me to do that.

  2. #2
    Senior Member FanaticFringer's Avatar
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    In defense of the JRB bug-net, at least it comes off. Cant say that about a Hennessy or a Claytor. Unless you have a no-net version. Some other zipper hammocks dont fully come off either. I find it to be no big deal. Most of my camping will be without it anyway.
    "Every day above ground is a good day"

  3. #3
    Senior Member angrysparrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clwilla View Post
    I HATE THE OMNI-TAPE ON THE BUG NET!
    Wow, way to have a strong opinion there...

    Congrats on finding a hammock you like, despite the features you don't like.
    I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt. - Cormac McCarthy

  4. #4
    Mule's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clwilla View Post
    As some of you may know, I'm a complete newbie to the pleasures of hammock camping. Until a viable option (read: something which would allow me to sleep perfectly flat) came along, I had no interest at all in using hammocks as a backcountry shelter. Due to the JRB BMB, I have now been converted.

    Setup is quick (despite still having my issues - how high on the tree should the straps be? how tight should the suspension be?); it's definitely quicker than setting up the tent (and my solo tent was never too bad - but I should also note that I have yet to set up the tarp, which may change my opinion of the setup process), and tear down is even easier. I have my hammock off of the tree, rolled and packed in a fraction of the time it takes to tear down the tent (much less trying to roll that unruly thing back up). I imagine that a BB bag would make that process even faster as well.

    The lie is really nice. I definitely understand the concept of shoulder squeeze in the BMB, as have other "non-slender" hammockers (if either of the Jacks are reading this, consider this my suggestion for a wider bridge hammock made for larger people in mind - I would gladly give my money in a heartbeat), but 1) it's not terrible, and 2) I'm generally a side/stomach sleeper, and squeeze only affects me when I'm lying on my back with my arms down to my sides. In short, squeeze shouldn't affect me much at all in real world application. Lying on my side is quite comfortable, but could be improved with a wider hammock because I could bend my arms/legs outwards a bit more.

    I HATE THE OMNI-TAPE ON THE BUG NET! I'm don't know how else I can say it, but it's an absolutely terrible design decision for mass market purposes. I have read here on HF that the Jacks are trying to take their product to a wider audience (and I wish them all of the good fortune in the world), but they would do well for themselves if they either made the bug net with zippers, or at least had a zipper as an option. Perhaps they made the decision because of weight, or perhaps because of personal preference, but either way, it is a terrible decision. If anyone has a way to convert the bug net into a zippered net, I would gladly appreciate any help I can get. In fact, I might be willing to send my hammock and net out to get the alterations done so that I can forget all about this omni tape madness. I have seen someone add a zipper to the net, but even that isn't good enough. I don't want the "functionality" of omni tape at all. It's loud, unruly, and generally a frustrating experience. When getting in and out, far more comes off than I would like, and putting it back on isn't always easy (especially when inside of the hammock, and it comes off at the foot end. I want to replace the omni tape, and pretend that I have never even heard of velcro. If the decision was made due to weight, find a lighter zipper, or find something else to cut from your pack, but the straight-forward and proven functionality of a zipper is a must, at least as an option. It's easy, proven, and you won't have those say "no thanks" just because of the missing familiarity of a good ol' fashioned zipper. f the hammock were even slightly less comfortable than it is, I would return it because of the bug net madness alone.

    I have yet to try it out for more than an hour or so because I haven't yet set up my tarp (I don't yet have the proper line to tie it down), and both times I threw it on the tree, rain was in the near future. However, I will definitely be keeping it, and will be giving it a full test run soon (once I have my lines and am reasonably confident that it won't be too hot).

    Overall, my initial experiences have been very positive (a solid 4 of 5, or thereabouts). The lie is excellent, although a bit wider would help greatly; setup and tear down is a breeze, but the omni tape is about the worst design decision that I have seen on any product in quite some time. When hiking, I don't want to fight with the bug net, I just want to zip/unzip and be done with it. Omni tape doesn't allow me to do that.
    Pan told me the stretching of the bugnet and the hammock can happen in different ways. That's why the bugnet is longer than the hammock. Pinch it together in little pleats all around it so that when something does stretch more that something else it will have room to grow where needed.
    Then sew a zipper onto it for an opening and leave the velcro alone. It's like it's not even there. In bug season you have it with a zipper and in winter you have no bugnet or zipper at all. It's easy to install a zipper. Mark where you want it and sew in on while zipped up then cut the bugnet in the center and fold and sew each side again with the zipper unzipped. Mule
    There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion.
    Gen. William Thornson, U.S. Army

  5. #5
    New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanaticFringer View Post
    In defense of the JRB bug-net, at least it comes off. Cant say that about a Hennessy or a Claytor. Unless you have a no-net version. Some other zipper hammocks dont fully come off either. I find it to be no big deal. Most of my camping will be without it anyway.
    I agree. 'Tis better to have a removable omni tape net than to have a non-removable zippered net. That said, there are hammocks which have a removable zippered net (ENO for one), and I can't understand how one might willing choose omni tape over a zipper when all other things are equal.

  6. #6
    i would guess most people here have more than one hammock anyway. a hammock with a permanent net is the lightest and least bulky option in bug season, and having a net free hammock without zipper or velcro on the sides is the lightest option in non bug season.

    a removeable net requires 16-20 feet of velcro/zipper, and you still have to carry around half of it when the netting is left home. it also may be somewhat of a hassle to reinstall. hammocks without bug nets are both relativly cheap and easy to make, so if you're into hammocks, there's no reason not to have one for the bug free months. this way you don't have to carry a net when you don't need it, and you don't have to carry around all that extra velcro/zipper all the time. i can see how a removeable net seems like a wonderful idea, but i think having 2 hammocks is actually better IMO.
    Last edited by warbonnetguy; 07-09-2008 at 00:41.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Hector's Avatar
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    i would guess most people here have more than one hammock anyway. a hammock with a permanent net is the lightest and least bulky option in bug season, and having a net free hammock without zipper or velcro on the sides is the lightest option in non bug season.
    That is exactly the way I look at it as well, warbonnetguy.

  8. #8
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    Never thought about that, Warbonetguy. Makes sense to me!

    Clwilla, I think you will find setup to be more difficult when you add the tarp into the mix. The tough part is usually getting the hammock properly centered under the tarp. When practicing your setup, pitch the tarp first. Then, setup and teardown the hammmock fully to get the experience of centering under the tarp.

    Thanks for the info!

  9. #9
    New Member
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    The omni-tape, although still a second-class citizen IMO, isn't as bad as I thought upon my initial examinations. A zipper would still be a far better solution, but I imagine that, with use, I will soon get more proficient with using it.

    I am thinking, if after installing a ridge line to hold oft used gear, that installing a zipper at the top of the bug net might be a very easy way of getting at said items without having to exit the hammock. Just unzip, grab, re-zip. I will have to see if there is even enough room between the line and the top of the bug net in order to hang stuff (like water, light, etc).

  10. #10
    Senior Member Roadtorque's Avatar
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    Would an ENO bug net fit around the JRB Bear hammock? If it does seems like you could have the best of both worlds.

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