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  1. #1
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Prelim Blackbird impressions

    OK, I got my bird several days ago, but I only just got it set up this afternoon. I dutifully slogged out to my mud pit, in the 39*F rain. It has rained, heavy or light, for days on end around here lately. ( We were under an ice storm/freezing rain warning yesterday thru this AM. Thankfully, it didn't amount to much. I love snow but hate ice storms.

    So I get 'er hung up with relative ease, kind of guessing about how tight to pull the RL ( Brandon warns not to pull to tight), and guessing about how tight to tension the R and L guy outs. I first sat there a couple of minutes chair style. That felt pretty good, probably as good as any and better than most. Then I laid back and swung to the diagonal. That felt about perfect, except I felt a bit of the old left calf pressure that I tend to feel in 100% of gathered end hammocks I have tried. But, I can at least sometimes get rid of the center ridge problem just by digging a heal in and kind of forcing the bottom to be flatter at that spot. Kind of hard to explain. But, I found the BB to be far easier than most ( all?) to pull this maneuver in, and the pressure point pretty quickly eased off. Then I went to my L. side ( pretty quickly, couldn't resist). Not bad, not bad at all. Maybe the best side comfort of all, except the BMBH? I was able to stretch my legs out towards the foot pocket ( R. side) and be pretty darn comfortable. With maybe a little less side torque than my Claytor, which is the only end gathered hammock I have been able to do this with. I think this ( first impression, of course) is probably the most comfortable side position of end gathered hammocks, just slightly better than the Claytor No Net for the "on side with legs out straight", and I can't do this position at all with my other hammocks ( except, of course, the BMBH, with which it is not an issue).

    I also suspect it is the most comfortable in the L. side "fetal" position, based on my first impression. A little more comfortable "fetal" than my Claytor, and by a wider margin over my HH Explorer and Speer. I can not do "fetal" in my BMBH, unless I have my stout Thermarest wide and thick inflating pad.

    I could not get comfortable on my right side, but I may just need to switch which side ( L or R) my head is on, which I didn't take the time to do. Because by now, I was starting to freeze. So in I go to drag out a top quilt, pillow, book and WBUQ with 3 layers installed, and leg pad. As I was getting all of this set up, I quicly fell in love with the "shelf". Nice touch. I threw my pillow and book and storage sack for my quilt in there. Plus, with the RL to hang things from, there is even more room.

    I got all of this adjusted, and settled in to finish my book. It wasn't long until I was napping. I had previously found that using my leg pad got rid of all "left calf pressure" problems in my other end gathered hammocks. Strangely, even though I felt this hammock without a pad had less calf pressure problem than the rest ( except BMBH which has zero), or at least was the easiest to fiddle around and get rid of the pressure, it was more difficult with the pad. The pressure point seemed worse with the pad, at least at first. I don't know what was going on with that, I'll have to work on that. ( Maybe my hammock tension is not correct?) Finally, I got it worked out with the pad ( I think I got more diagonal, not sure) where the pressure went away. I read and then drifted off for a light nap, nice and warm and comfortable. I got on my L. side at some point, and that was good to.

    Thinking back to my last nap at a very wet frost covered 27*F, using the BMBH with the MWUQ, comparing to the short UQ and pad- I can see some pros and cons of each approach. For one thing, I need a pad that is just slightly longer. I had to adjust for some very small cold spots, especially when I shifted position. Though really, these are pretty minor considerations, and might not be worth the slight weight penalty for some. Plus, I don't yet know how well the MWUQ will work with end gathered hammocks. Any body using that combo yet? How is that working, especially on the legs and feet? I'll be trying that, hopefully soon.

    So, that's it for first impressions, subject to change with further experience. But overall, very positive. Very comfortable, quite flat ( not as flat as BMBH, but I think flatter than all ohers) probably second place( to BMBH) for side sleeping, zippers work good, net stays out of my face ( always a potential problem with my HH, especially with the SS), works great with WBUQ, naturally. It has a pad pocket if you need it. Easy set up. I'm looking forward to to further use, and testing with a full length UQ, as well as a pad. Oh, and I have not yet figured if it will work well with my PeaPod ( still one of my favs). I think it will work, but I'm not sure if it will work well. I don't know where I will get the time to test all of this any time soon! Life is tough, I'm tellin 'ya!
    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

  2. #2
    Whoooo Buddy)))) Shug's Avatar
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    Nice BillyBob,
    I had the same leg pressure and I do on my DIY as well. Especially on the footbox side. But as I like to lay "head right/feet left" I skipped the footbox (use it as storage) and had a lot less pressure that way. Never have tried a bridge, scared too .... don't wanna like it .....so I cannot say there. Use a foot pad and that does away with it for me.
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    Whoooo Buddy)))) I Love Onions, Grits, Greens, Livermush, NC Style BBQ, Potted Meat, Anchovies, 'Naner Puddin", Peanut Butter Pie, Red Velvet Cake and Cocoa and Straaaaaawwwwberrrry Milk and Coffee Crisps....
    I Hope Heaven has a Bakery!!!!



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  3. #3
    Senior Member FanaticFringer's Avatar
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    Nice report there BillyBob. Long winded as usual (good thing).
    I like hearing your reports cause you seem to experience hammocks very similar to myself. I am thinking of getting a Blackbird myself but kinda doubt it will be more comfortable than either my JRB bridge or DIY bridge. Only one way to find out I guess.
    "Every day above ground is a good day"

  4. #4
    bb,
    i've found that sliding up toward the head end a bit seems to help with the knee ridge pressure, also the leg pad and also i love something stuffed under my knees to elevate them i've found a sleeping bag stuff sac filled with a down jacket feels wonderful under the knees. someone was saying that hanging a little tighter seemed to reduce the knee ridge too, so play with the suspension angle if you want, i was mainly just trying to break people of the habit of pulling their suspensions horizontal or close during setup

  5. #5
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warbonnetguy View Post
    bb,
    i've found that sliding up toward the head end a bit seems to help with the knee ridge pressure, also the leg pad and also i love something stuffed under my knees to elevate them i've found a sleeping bag stuff sac filled with a down jacket feels wonderful under the knees. someone was saying that hanging a little tighter seemed to reduce the knee ridge too, so play with the suspension angle if you want, i was mainly just trying to break people of the habit of pulling their suspensions horizontal or close during setup
    I will experiment with that tension, but I don't like to pull them very tight anyway. I finally got comfortable even without something under my knees, a trick I have used many times. I'm not sure exctly what I did, I'm thinking I just got more diagonal. But maybe I just moved up some. I was too bust nodding off to notice what I did. I have not found a gathered end style without some pressure on my left calf when I am diagonal, but I can always work around it somehow.
    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

  6. #6
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanaticFringer View Post
    Nice report there BillyBob. Long winded as usual (good thing).
    I like hearing your reports cause you seem to experience hammocks very similar to myself. I am thinking of getting a Blackbird myself but kinda doubt it will be more comfortable than either my JRB bridge or DIY bridge. Only one way to find out I guess.
    I know, I have a hard time getting my thoughts down in few words. I can't seem to leave out any detail.

    I don't think it will be "more" comfortable than your BMBH. It might be pretty close while maintaining a more traditional hammock over all feel. I don't know, it's hard to say: they are both very comfortable, but different- way different.

    I know you are a side sleeper, right? Advantage BMBH, even if not a huge dif. OTOH, if "fetal" is your fav way to lay? Then maybe advantage BB.
    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

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    BillyBob, nice write-up. I've tried reading a book in my BB and never make it more than a page or two before lights out. I totally agree with you about the fetal thing. I would from time to time end-up going fetal in my ElDorado. It was comfortable once you got into position, but getting there was half the fun as they say. In the BB it just happens before you even realize it happened; love that.

    Maybe I missed it, but what kind of pad were you using? I haven't run into that problem yet. Thanks for braving the mudpit for the benefit of the rest of us!
    Trust nobody!

  8. #8
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    Man you guys are way better than I am. I had mine for awhile now and still haven't had time to hang it yet. Hoping to this weekend but it's too soon to tell.
    Is that too much to ask? Girls with frikkin' lasers on their heads?
    The hanger formly known as "hammock engineer".

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    I wanna hear how a tall guy like you fits in the BB. It's so dang big I can't imagine they won't work for tall folks, but it will be nice to hear from one of you vertically gifted people.
    Trust nobody!

  10. #10
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    I tightened up the suspension a couple of inches worth. I also moved a bit more towards the head, as well as raising the foot end a bit more to make sure I stay there. All in all, the pressure thing was anywhere from minimal to non-existent. I do have to position just right to make sure, though. Another thing that helped with the WM blue pad was to have it more to my right, so that the left side of the pad was not much more leftward than my leg. That way the pad did not curl up and press against my calf. Final trick is to just barely bend my L leg into the "figure 4", which was pressure free and really comfortable. I don't really need anything under my knees with this hammock, unless just to block that calf pressure.

    Final trick: I took the WM blue pad out, and substituted my TR ultralight, not quite fully inflated. This was longer, softer and really comfortable. I actually got it to overlap the torso UQ a couple of inches and still have plenty of foot coverage. Thia worked great, and made for good napping in the winter fog.

    But at a price. I think that pad weighs about a pound all by itself! But, if my pack is otherwise really light, it is a pad I MIGHT choose to have with me anyway if there was a good risk of having to go to ground. It has a lot more cushion than any of my CCF.
    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

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