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  1. #1
    Kyle's Avatar
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    Help me decide: BB or RR?

    Howdy, wonderful HF community.

    There have been some fantastic comparisons between the BMBH and the RR already, but I'm, personally, torn between the BB and the RR. I know the comparison is difficult to make, being fundamentally different, but I'm hoping to pick you more experienced peoples' brains to help me make a decision.

    First, a (very) little background info. I bought my first hammock in March, a ENO DN, just figuring it would be fun to bring it on hikes and lounge around in. I had a dividend to spend at REI, so that's what I bought. Then I started searching around for a way to hang it, and of course found HF. Then Shug. And, well, we all know where it went from there. Now, here I am with a two-year plan to be totally geared up and prepared for backpacking with a hammock. I've wanted to since I was a kid, and I've finally decided to pursue that. So I'm keeping weight and bulk in mind, as well as the good ol' "bang for your buck" factor. The nitty gritty is that I'm 5'10" and about 140lbs, and I am mostly a side and stomach sleeper.

    But anyway, back to the topic at hand. Despite needing comfort for side and stomach sleeping, I'm really leaning towards the BB right now. I'm a big fan of being able to use stuff interchangeably, and the RR has its own line of stuff that works well with it but likely not much else. Of course, the Cloudburst could be used with any hammock, but that's way overkill I'd guess, and I am trying to keep my setup relatively light. Quilts are another thing entirely. "Standard" quilts probably aren't ideal with the RR, from what I've seen so far, and while I could get a Lynx, again, it would be less than ideal for any other hammock - and we all know I'll eventually have more than one (forgot to mention I'm determined to get my wife out with me, which I honestly don't think will be too hard aside from the cost - she already loves camping. On our last car camping trip, I brought only my cook kit that I'd be using for backpacking and food that I'd eat on the trail. When I cooked her first dinner, at a site where we were the only ones within sight, she said, "This makes me think I could do backpacking." Sounds, to me, like the battle's halfway over.).

    The point is that I think the BB would be the most versatile, most cost-effective choice, not just in the hammock itself, but in the entire setup for it. For example, being able to use my Superfly with any gathered-end, being able to use "standard" quilts with any gathered-end, etc. Maybe at some point when I have extra money to throw at a very specialized setup like the RR, then I will. But, again, right now I'm really leaning towards a BB. However, if the RR would truly be the perfect hammock for me, I'm happy to sell the Superfly and start over with the specialized route. I know nobody but me could tell me if the RR is the "perfect" hammock for me, but like I said, I'm just looking to pick brains here.

    And that's where y'all come in. For those of you that own a BB and a RR, or at least have laid in both, keeping in mind my specific interests, which would you recommend? For a relatively small guy like me, how comfortably do you think I could lay in a BB on my stomach or side? In the DN, I feel like I can get extremely close to perfect comfort on my side and relatively close to it on my stomach. I suspect the extra length and the footbox, combined, of the BB would make it perfectly comfortable. That's really my quandary here: I want to be able to go the BB route, my only worry being comfort level. I also really like to be able to lay on my stomach with my arms under my head, but I don't imagine the BB would be insufficiently roomy for that.

    So, if some of you fine people could give us all some comparisons between the two, not just in terms of comfort (although that's my focus), but also anything else. Again, I know it's comparing apples to oranges, but if you could do your best to make logical, informed comparisons that you think would help me make my decision, I (and I'm sure many others) would be eternally grateful.

    Many thanks, everyone. Maybe by the time Christmas comes around, I'll know which to ask for. ^.^

  2. #2
    The Spaceweaseal Paradox spaceweaseal's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
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    It sounds like you pretty much have your answer.
    I have been a Warbonnet fan for a long time and have had a lot of Warbonnet products. I have tried to love the BB but I just can't get used to them, ( I have had five BB's). They are great hammocks in every way but just not for me. I do prefer bridge hammocks and the RR is my favorite bridge I have tried.
    The best thing to do, is try to get to a local hang and try the different ones out.
    Happy hanging.

  3. #3
    Kyle's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
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    I still think Brandon should host a Warbonnet Expo, haha. Even publicize it and make some new customers! XD

  4. #4
    Acer's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
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    Spaceweasel pretty much hit the nail on the head..if you can get to a hang and try em all out..if not,,and you buy something and don't like it,,sell it on the forum and get the better part of your money back and buy something else. Only you can determine where your comfort zone lies. Happy hanging.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Denver, CO
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    About the quilts and the RRs; I've been able to fit my JRB quilts to my RR. You're right that it isn't an ideal fit, but it is certainly functional. There is just some extra quilt there that isn't needed/used, but there don't seem to be any gaps or issues with the quilt performing just fine. I've got 14+ nights in mine with JRB quilts so far.

    I still haven't put up my formal review, but I'm really being swayed by the RR. It is a very comfortable hammock and the views are simply second to none. If I have a complaint about the Blackbirds, it's the wall of fabric on my right side. The RR removes anything and everything that restricts your field of vision in a hammock. You like stomach and side sleeping and the RR will provide that much better than the BBs.

    I think that gathered end hammocks are more flexible, but can't really point to any one aspect of them that would validate that thought. I will go on record saying I believe gathered ends to be more idiot-proof simply because the RR (like any bridge) relies on those spreader bars. I don't trust spreader bars because if they fail, the hammock is much less practical. Those bars are an extra piece of gear and they are fairly critical. One sleepy tug on that bar above your head in the wee hours and it will be a long night. Speaking of flexibility on the plus side, I think the RR provides the best hammock chair of any hammock currently on the market; including my Trek Light/ENO style rigs. Seriously! The back support when seated is just spot-on!

    Still, those RRs are very comfy and honestly, existing gear can be used with them given a little creativity. Some minor mods and you wouldn't need to be creative. If I had to make the choice today I'd probably go with a RR and buy a Traveler as a gathered end option.
    Trust nobody!

  6. #6
    Cali's Avatar
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    Buy both and give the one you don't prefer to your wife.
    Happy Hangin!!!


    AKA BajaHanger

    You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it. -Albert Einstein

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mustardman's Avatar
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    I own both, and while I don't have a lot of nights in them, I feel like I can offer some insight. A few points:

    • If you want to sleep on your stomach, the Blackbird is right out. It's just not happening. You say you've been able to get comfortable on your stomach in the ENO - was that spending a full night in that position? Most people find that even a little bit of hyperextension in the spine is a very bad thing by morning. By contrast, stomach sleeping is quite doable in the ridgerunner.
    • If you sleep on your side with your legs straight, the ridgerunner is also a great choice. HOWEVER, if you prefer to go into more of a fetal position, the ridgerunner may or may not work well for you. I personally found fetal to be somewhat awkward in the RR, while it's super comfortable and flexible for a variety of body positions in the Blackbird.
    • You mentioned flexibility of accessories, especially with respect to under insulation - don't discount the option to use a pad in both hammocks. That gains you the additional flexibility to be able to go to ground. Something like an Exped downmat will keep you warm down well below freezing temperatures, and gossamer gear thinlight pads weigh nothing and work awesome in warmer temperatures. I've been a big UQ user the last few years but am thinking about giving pads another go, now that I've got a RR
    • In a similar vein, I wouldn't worry too much about the tarp issue - the Cloudburst is basically a huge rectangular tarp. I'm one of those people who has been carrying a huge tarp with his Blackbird for ages, and I totally love it. Even if you switch to another hammock later, a big rectangular tarp for inclement weather is a very valuable thing to have in your arsenal, even if you don't use it every single time you hike. In addition to that, lots of other tarps will work with the RR - sure, you won't get away with a Maccat Micro, but you can use large hexes and winter style tarps with it just find. Don't feel too compelled to get locked-in to the "system". Your superfly will work fine with the RR, you just might need to modify the way you pitch it a bit.



    For me personally, I still think I prefer my Blackbird to the Ridgerunner. But that's based totally on the hammock itself, not the accessories. Don't let yourself get too caught up in the "system" as a whole, and focus on which hammock you think will suit your needs bet. Comfort wise, it's possible to pitch the ENO in a way such that you get a level of comfort very similar to what you'd get in a Blackbird. You miss out on all the cool features of the blackbird, but if the pitch is right, the actual sleeping position can be pretty similar. So, from that standpoint, you have a pretty good starting point to figure out whether the Blackbird will be comfortable for you.







    EDIT: I just noticed you are in Fort Collins. Some of us are trying to put together a "Ridgerunner release party" very soon, somewhere in the Front Range. I'll personally be bringing my two Blackbirds and my Ridgerunner, and probably some pads and underquilts, and spending the day messing around with gear. Rather than making the decision based on speculation, you should just come join us and figure it out first-hand.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mustardman View Post
    EDIT: I just noticed you are in Fort Collins. Some of us are trying to put together a "Ridgerunner release party" very soon, somewhere in the Front Range. I'll personally be bringing my two Blackbirds and my Ridgerunner, and probably some pads and underquilts, and spending the day messing around with gear. Rather than making the decision based on speculation, you should just come join us and figure it out first-hand.
    I didn't catch the Ft. Collins connection!

    By all means Kyle, make plans to get to that hang. Every hammock, quilt, and tarp mentioned in this thread will/can be there for your perusal. No need to guess about these things when you can experience them first-hand.
    Trust nobody!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mustardman's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
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    I've gone ahead and created a planning thread for the group hang - check it out at http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...ad.php?t=59090

  10. #10
    Senior Member Latitude918's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
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    Sounds like you've made your own argument for buying the BB to me. Either way you go you won't be disappointed.
    I solemnly swear that I am up to no good...

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