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  1. #1
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    BB Design Features - What are they? What Option and Why

    I am trying to decide on a first camping hammock to purchase. For that purpose I am trying to learn more about the WB Blackbird hammock and attempting to not assume I understand certain design features about the BB which may be incorrect assumptions. To that end I have a few , actually several, questions which perhaps someone here could answer. I started out with a long winded list of questions which I was going to break up into seperate threads but on second thought I've tried to simplify the questions and trim down the lenght of my post.

    First fabric - 1.1 , 1.7 - what is it ? Is it 1.1oz or 1.7 oz weight per square yard ? I think it likely is but it doesn't say. So maybe it means something else.

    Why choose one over the other ? What drove your choice ? - ligher , tougher, flatter , stretchy or not , you backpack or never carry far from car or canoe. One just feels nicer to the touch. What are most folks purchasing 1.1 or 1.7 ? Would you make a different choice next time or purchase the different type fabric for a different use? By different use I mean short hike vs long hike,. summer / winter or something carrys the hammock , car,canoe, kayak or you.


    Single or double layer. Am I correct that only the double layer has a pad pocket ? ( I am almost certain that I will prefer a pad pocket design no matter what make hammock I purchase but perhaps my idea of its importance will change after hearing others opinions ) Are most folks buying a double layer hammock to put something in the pocket or simiply to have two layers for extra strength, less stretch, to defeat the skeeters long reach? Some other reason ? If you have a single or double would you choose differently next time or buy the other type for a different use? By use I mean what carries the hammock you or the car,canoe, kayak, pulk whatever.

    Are these fabric breathable or water resistant/proof ?
    Not sure which I would prefer. It seems waterproof may protect against blown rain, or splash up,but be more prone to condensation. Breathable may let you get wet from rain but not condensation. Seems sometimes either way you may get wet from time to time - you only get to choose what type of wet you prefer .

    Suspension systems. I am trying to understand the difference between the two available suspension systems. I have seen pictures of the adjustable , double tri-ring suspension. I think I understand that choice. Seems like a nice system.

    But I am not sure how the other, line/tree strap, system works. Is there a picture of it somewhere in the gallery that I have missed? I do understand that this system is lighter than the other. Just not sure I understand what it is and how it works.

    Also , are to two systems interchangeable after purchase ? iow - is it the case that no matter which suspension is initally ordered that the other system be changed to easily ? No need to rip seams and such to change systems?

    Is the BB designed to easily go to ground if necesary?

    I've not seen any reference or pictures of a BB gone to ground. While I think it could likely be done if necessary. But are there designed in features to make this easy to do when necessary? Are peg out loops etc built in to make this easy to do if necessary?

    Some other designs seem to go out of their way to promote the fact that their model is designed with that possible situation in mind. But I've not seen anything about it in regards to the BB. Now I have come to appreciate that going to ground seems to brand you a heritic among the hanger addicted and may get your forehead branded with GD, ground dweller, as a warning to others to shun you. However- There are places where hanging isn't possible - you thought there'd be good trees but there aren't or its not permitted by local rules or your the late arrival type and the good spots are gone and your on the ground or not part of the group , to hang is to go hermit at the edges if you can hang at all. Therefore being able to so do easily is a consideration for me.

    Looking forward to the feedback.

    David

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Oh boy, OK here we go.

    1. You nailed it, weight per square yard.
    2. Personal weight and comfort or insulation choices are what are going to drive this decision. I err....we have a 1.1 & 1.7 in the double model. I chose the double 1.7 because of the comfort factor. I will be ordering a single 1.7 for hiking. Generally speaking, I think 200 lbs is kind of the mark for the fabric choice you'll make. 1.1 starts getting stretchy over 200 lbs and losses some of that all important comfort factor. Can't have that!
    3. Everything you mentioned is correct. Depends on your needs. Yes, I'll take long hikes with a single layer version, but I'm a weenie.
    4. Yes they are breathable fabric. Hammock doesn't get wet if the tarp is right.
    5. The webbing set-up is just too easy for me so I don't have any advice to give you about the line/tree hugger combo. Somebody will post a pic from the gallery.
    6. Change as often as you'd like.
    7. Yeah, to even suggest such a thing can get you tar and feathered around here. There is no reason it won't function just as well as those other hammocks on the ground, although it may be more susceptible to ground water than the other hammock I think you're talking about.

    I think that covers it. Did it help any?
    Trust nobody!

  3. #3
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Cannibal View Post
    Oh boy, OK here we go.

    Generally speaking, I think 200 lbs is kind of the mark for the fabric choice you'll make. 1.1 starts getting stretchy over 200 lbs and losses some of that all important comfort factor. Can't have that!
    ...
    4. Yes they are breathable fabric.
    7. Yeah, to even suggest such a thing can get you tar and feathered around here. There is no reason it won't function just as well as those other hammocks on the ground, although it may be more susceptible to ground water than the other hammock I think you're talking about.

    I think that covers it. Did it help any?
    Cannibal,
    Thanks for the helpful reply. I've gotten burned a time or two about specs of equipment. So I don't assume anything anymore. I'm no cry baby about something weighting a couple of oz. either way from specs. Purchased a tent one time that was supposed to be 7 feet in one direction. Turns out the 7 feet included about a foot up on each side for the floor pan. Some 10'x 10' tarps are 9.5'x 9.5 while another makers tarp of the same specified size it spot on and another's is 10.5'x10'.

    I'm about 175# , still a bit up from the holidays. So 1.1 would likely work for me if I want to keep hammock weight down and not just purchase the heavier wt fabric to get a more robust product. I'm afraid I have more day dreams about having time and energy to take long multi-day hikes. Maybe some day I'll be able to get past the weekend event which is shorter hikes where weight wont be quit as important.

    Of course the bit about being branded with "GD" and shunned was meant as joke , I should have included the smiley face.

    David

  4. #4
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    I have had a Hennessy and will be using the Blackbird this weekend. What I will appreciate about the Blackbird is the ease of hanging and adjusting the way the hammock hangs, ie the angle and height of the hammock as well as how it is centered between the ropes. I didn't have rings on the Hennessy, just the stock rope/strap setup, and adjusting was more labor than it has to be.

    The BB should be easier to go to ground in than a bottom entry like the Hennessy. If you do not need the bug net simply set up the tarp and sleeping pad. If you do need the bugnet, I'd put the ground cloth/sheet down first, roll out the hammock, rope up the ends on the poles, put the pad in the sleeve, and climb in then zip up. You could stake out the tie-outs, I guess, but you're essentially using it for a bug bivy not a tent.

    As for splash up, there are weather covers you can make or buy to protect the underquilt or hammock bottom. I tend to hang high enough that I haven't had a problem. I don't typically use a cover and have not gotten wet yet, though I've slept through rainy nights.

    Not sure why you would want to swap from one system to the other, but that seems simple to me if you can re-whip the hammock yourself. Both systems will attach to the tree the same way.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Big D's Avatar
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    I have both suspensions, and it takes about 5 min to change btwn them.
    I think WBG said 80-90% chose the strap suspension.
    "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." Gen. George S. Patton

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mustardman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big D View Post
    I have both suspensions, and it takes about 5 min to change btwn them.
    I think WBG said 80-90% chose the strap suspension.
    I got the line suspension on my first warbonnet, and I decided it was worth the extra weight and bulk to have the easy adjustment of the webbing, so I had him add an extra set of the webbing setup to my second blackbird order. He includes instructions on removing the suspension with all of his orders, and it's quick and painless.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big D View Post
    I have both suspensions, and it takes about 5 min to change btwn them.
    I think WBG said 80-90% chose the strap suspension.
    BigD,
    Five minutes to change sounds reasonable. If I understand the BB system the suspension is attached to the hammock end by gathering fabric at the ends. This is then wrapped round with line and finished with a cow hitch, larks head , whatever name you prefer, I think they are all the same hitch by a different name. Then the line runs out to make the connection to the tree.

    Other hammocks I think have a channel sewn into the end of the fabric through which a line or strap it run. It maybe that it is just as fast to wind line around as it would be to fish a different line through a sewn in channel in the fabric. Maybe there are other ways of attachment.

    Boy Scout, farmer, sailor, owner of one of the must have books about knots, The Ashley Book of Knots, and many other knot books and one time member of the Knot Tiers Guild , I'm pretty comfortable with different types of knots. So I think it will not be a problem for me.

    Thanks,
    David

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lori View Post
    I have had a Hennessy and will be using the Blackbird this weekend. What I will appreciate about the Blackbird is the ease of hanging and adjusting the way the hammock hangs, ...

    Not sure why you would want to swap from one system to the other, but that seems simple to me if you can re-whip the hammock yourself. Both systems will attach to the tree the same way.
    Lori,
    Let us know how the BB works out during your weekend outing. If I remember from other post here I think you've only had the BB a short time.

    Why would I want to change the suspension system?
    Well there are a few reasons I thought it might be a good option. Not yet having seen first hand most of the designs available I wasn't sure if all have the ability to change the suspension or only some of them.

    One reason would be to permit me to switch to a lighter system if backpacking rather than getting to the camp site by using a weight bearing vehicle of some type.

    Another would be just to try something new. Folks are always coming up with new ideas about how to do things. Or some after experience just have a favorite way of doing it which differs from what is supplied. So why make it difficult to make a change to a favorite system.

    Seems some hammocks come with good suspension systems. Others with rather poor ones, something just adequate to allow you to go hang it as soon as the box arrives in the mail. Some whine about this. But I take another view that if that is the case then they've purchased a hammock at a lower price leaving them money to spend on the type of suspension they would have wanted to install anyway , yet the hammock body itself maybe as good as any other design.

    One of my other interest is folding kayaks. Some folks like to buy the most expensive ones where everything about it is top quality. All the parts the best the maker could design. Other folks prefer to buy folders which are on the whole a good quality frame and skin and good hull shape with excellent handling and paddling speed but the seat and back brace etc. are rather cheaply made. Which is fine with them since they will tear it out and replace those items with their own favorite setup anyway. And they saved money buying a kayak with less money in these acccessory parts. I've got four of five of these things - so I have some from both schools of thought.

    David

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidWa View Post
    Lori,
    Let us know how the BB works out during your weekend outing. If I remember from other post here I think you've only had the BB a short time.

    Why would I want to change the suspension system?
    Well there are a few reasons I thought it might be a good option. Not yet having seen first hand most of the designs available I wasn't sure if all have the ability to change the suspension or only some of them.

    One reason would be to permit me to switch to a lighter system if backpacking rather than getting to the camp site by using a weight bearing vehicle of some type.
    I got the line/strap suspension of the Blackbird. It's a few ounces lighter. But on that model, the straps would function the same - still got the rings. Those three or four ounces would not break anyone's back.

    The Hennessy relies on rope passed through straps (or biners) then wrapped in figure 8s around itself. The rope was sticky enough to hold without a knot every time I used it. The rope with shorter straps is very likely lighter than the suspension on the Blackbird, but to adjust you have to take the whole thing apart and rewrap the "knot". There are a few reasons I switched, but this one is near the top of the list. I'd rather have the functionality than save five ounces.

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidWa View Post
    Another would be just to try something new.
    That sounds to me like an invitation to a new hammock for the collection.

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidWa View Post
    One of my other interest is folding kayaks. Some folks like to buy the most expensive ones where everything about it is top quality. All the parts the best the maker could design. Other folks prefer to buy folders which are on the whole a good quality frame and skin and good hull shape with excellent handling and paddling speed but the seat and back brace etc. are rather cheaply made. Which is fine with them since they will tear it out and replace those items with their own favorite setup anyway. And they saved money buying a kayak with less money in these acccessory parts. I've got four of five of these things - so I have some from both schools of thought.

    David
    I think you will find that hammocks and kayaks are not a lot alike. Seems to me it's easier just to throw together a DIY hammock to experiment with, like so many have done. You can't build a kayak to experiment with, without a lot of expertise. I can throw together a hammock with a length of nylon from the dollar bin and a straight stitch, whip the ends, add a ridgeline and go crazy on the suspension options, trick that baby out without possibly wrecking the resale value of the Hennessy.

    I will take pictures of the hammock this weekend. Even if I'm rained/snowed out of the original plan, there's always the city park.

  10. #10
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    HH knot is used by some!

    Quote Originally Posted by lori View Post
    The Hennessy relies on rope passed through straps (or biners) then wrapped in figure 8s around itself. The rope was sticky enough to hold without a knot every time I used it. The rope with shorter straps is very likely lighter than the suspension on the Blackbird, but to adjust you have to take the whole thing apart and rewrap the "knot".
    At the risk of being branded a heretic, I seem to be one of the few who still uses the original HH figure-8 knot. No ringbuckles, nuthin.

    You don't actually have to re-wrap the whole knot. What I do is I initially rig my HH with ONLY TWO WRAPS of the figure-8. This is enough to hold the hammock in place and put a little weight on the center point to check my hang height. I then adjust the length of the two ends to get the spacing right - I like to hang with my foot end slightly closer to the tree to make sure my feet are elevated. Adjusting with only 2 hitch wraps is fast and easy. When I have everything the way I like it, I go ahead and finish both ends with 6-8 wraps.

    Why do I persist in this hitch madness? As a lifelong engineer, I love simplicity. "The more bells and whistles a system has, the more noise it makes when it breaks". The HH hitch has never failed me, saves ounces, works in the rain, snow, ice and extreme cold including the -26* of the hike Shug and I did together.

    One thing I insist on is the ability to work the system when my fingers are numb from cold. Once the suspension line is threaded through the tree huggers, I can work an HH knot with heavy gloves on.

    Anyway, just wanted to point out there are a few of us that use the stock approach.

    --Kurt

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