WBB / Clark NX-250 comparison
This comes up quite a bit so I thought I'd see if I can help anyone.
So, an unbiased review / comparison of the two. I own both, have spent more nights in the Clark but have now spent enough nights in the WBB to give a view I think. I'm 6'5, 238 lbs, and a cold sleeper. I am no expert hammocker, I just really enjoy it and these are my thoughts on the two which I've used in varied conditions from cold to storm/rain etc.
Clark - poly rope and drip rings which needs half hitches to secure. Simple but time consuming. I eventually swapped it for whoopie slings so now use the slings and tree straps / marlin spike hitch. It's slightly quicker but easier to adjust when up.
WBB - stock straps and buckles. Very fast to deploy. Can have the hammock up in about 30 seconds. Needs a slippery half hitch to secure the straps.
Ease of setup
As above really in terms of deployment, but in actually "getting it right" the clark is more forgiving. The WBB does need to be dialed in to get a flat lay and the margin for error is small. The margin on the clark is far wider. As long as the head is lower than the foot and the storm shield is saggy but has structure, you're fine.
Interesting one this. In space terms, the clark is enormous, like a palace. It has channel ends as opposed to the WBBs gathered ends. There is significant elbow and shoulder space and end to end space whereas the WBB has less space when I have the underquilt on it. The footbox of the WBB is a fantastic and clever feature and if you get the setup right, once your feet are in the box you're set.
Its easy to turn over and re-position in the clark. Not hugely different to the WBB, but it is a little easier.
The storm shield on the clark is outstanding. It keeps the wind off, makes for higher internal temps and can easily be tucked away when not used in the end pockets. It also has two small storage pockets at the head end and a strap to pull yourself up with. Then it has the pockets underneath. These are VERY useful for keeping clothes off the ground and other things you might need. The end poles are interesting. When they're in they're fantastic. They give a slight issue in terms of packing and storage though.
By contract the WBB shelf is better in terms of internal storage. Clever in the same way as the footbox, very roomy, will support shoes, books, drinks, lots of things. No storm shield, just the big net which helps to reduce wind but forgetting insulation for a moment, the WBB is not as warm as the clark due to the storm shield.
I bought the BBO from Paul at arrowhead for the WBB.
WBB has the internal ridgeline, the clark doesnt so I just added my own which is a length of 1mm cord with a tautline hitch. I use it to hang my headtorch etc.
Clark Z liner - very good considering what it is. I've had mine down to -2f with no problems at all. Also there is no issue in terms of positioning as the pockets of insulation live in the underneath pockets in the hammock. No adjustment is neccessary apart from ensuring they lay flat when you set it up.
WBB - I bought a winter incubator from Stormcrow. Takes some positioning on the WBB and refuses to stay on in the footbox area. This is me needing to do more to make it "right", but in terms of pure ease, the clark is better. Having said that the Incubator is an amazing piece of kit, and I've used it on both hammocks. It stays put on the clark.
So lets have a look at (my) costs. One comment which is made regularly is that the WBB is much cheaper. But have a look below, you might be surprised, but obviously you can make other choices, these are just mine:
Clark NX-250 $429 (in 2009) included tree straps and XL rain fly (which seems to get a bad rap but actually I think is pretty good)
plus whoopies @ $15
plus Z-liner @189
WBB 1.7 dbl $175
Arrowhead BBO cover $75
So which is "better"? Well, there is no "better" here. Each has very different features which make them good. The WBB shelf, footbox tie outs and ease of set up make it pretty **** great. The clark pockets, the extra space, the forgiving set up and the storm shield make it pretty great too.
Other considerations - well, from a personal point of view, I've dealt with WB guy on a few occasions and find him an incredibly nice bloke. The BB design is super cool, and actually, I have to say, the WBB makes me smile. Great build quality too and VERY good value in terms of cost if looked at on its own.
The Clark - a well made product, no question. The storm shield and extra space makes it amazing for bigger people. It doesn't have the "cool" factor of the WBB but the pockets and storm shield are a real benefit.
I'd like to see the WBB have a storm shield and I'd like to see the clark have shorter poles which are connected (like tent poles are) for ease of packing and storage.
So which is my preference? If you were reading this for a verdict, then sorry, but I can't actually split them from an objective point of view and I'll use both for different things
YMMV as always.
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Southeastern Wisconsin
A very interesting comparison, especially the costs. The price tag of the Clark is a little alarming at first until you realize that out of the box it has everything you need to make it a 4-season shelter. I appreciate your detailed post, thank you.
I am in the market for a Clark at this point. I think your comparison reaffirms for me that the features of the clark will suit my needs best. Down the road, I will tinker with the suspension and with other tarps.
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Outer Banks, North Carolina
Hammock: Warbonnet Blackbird 1.7 DL
Tarp: Kelty Noah's Tarp
Insulation: Yeti; Mt. Wash. 4
Suspension: WBBB webbing
A very good write-up. Thanks.
"I go because it irons out the wrinkles in my soul." -- Sigurd Olson
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: St.Albans WV
Hammock: HH, CJH NX-250, WBBB 1.7 dbl
Tarp: Std, Hex, or WBSF
Suspension: Poly web w/AHE buc
I cannot speak to the WB description as I do not
own one, but your evaluation of the CJH was right in line with what I have experienced. Nice write-up!
I have the exact same two hammocks. Basically I plan on using the Clark NX 250 when it's really cold and the WBBB when it's warmer. I too would love to see Brandon come up with a weather shield similar to the Clark...preferably one that is completely detachable so I could bring it only when needed. I have little experience yet with my WBBB since I bought it late in the season last year. I'm leaving next week for an eight day hike and am debating which hammock to bring. The forecast right now is calling for lows in the low 30s (f) but could easily dip lower. I'd like to bring the WBBB mainly for weight reasons but love the security of the Clark weathershield. Also, yesterday I received my three season Incubator from Stormcrow. From what you said I'd better get that dialed in this week with the WBBB, if that's my choice for the hike.
Very nice review.
BTW...is anyone making an aftermarket stormshield for the WBBB...not for the bottom....for the top.
I use the described Clark, a smaller Tropical 2, and a Nano7, similar in size to the Tropical 2.
While waiting for WBBB users to pick themselves off the floor in disbelief , I'll gnaw off two elements of price, add a couple of remarks about comfort, and say something about the weight bugbear.
Whatever one thinks of the Clark XL tarp / fly or the larger Vertex fly, neither are so large as the WB Superfly. Clark charge $150 - $200 for these when sold as replacements, but in fact they are comparable to quality flys their size costing $90- $125, no more.
Second, this time in Clark's favor: The Z-liner system is ridiculously overpriced. Six of the seven pockets are nicely filled (in the US) by Walmart all-dacron $2.50 pillows from which half the batting has been removed. Thats $15 and $15 for a home-seamstresses labor to slim them down. And those Walmart pillows are handily washable, too.
My disappointment in the review is that I thought I had something entirely different to look forward to in a WBBB. I had no idea from anything I'd previously read that I was already in so large a hammock as you describe. OTOH, the reviewer does underestimate, IMHO, what a pain in the a--e the 17 inch long NX-250 rods are for some hikers and this biker.
For those who wish to engage in weight comparisons: The Clark NX-250 suspension weighs almost 8oz with the excellent rings. (I believe the OP overstated the difficulty of making adjustments, but maybe he didn't have the rings. With them, someone challenged to complete the first part of tying shoe laces can be quite secure. )
Changing out to similarly rated Amsteel Blue sheds about 5 oz. To the WBBB weight (and cost) could be added stakes and tieout lines, etc. In truth these few extra ounces count for marginally nothing in deciding among both finely made, mature products.
Of course, I hope this review to buoy up my holdings in Clark hammocks to WBBB fraction-of-new price level.
But, seriously, I most appreciate that the review may open more lurkers' eyes to the reality that there are more hammocks to tote and be comfortable in than one or two.
Last edited by DemostiX; 07-23-2011 at 16:50.. Reason: correction
Dale Gribble: I'm thinking, "new hammock." For me, laying and swaying in a hammock is like a steady morphine drip without the risk of renal failure.
Randy : yea but just remember yer roots and where ya come from....you got Hennessy in yer blood son......
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