Way back in 2016 I spent 12 straight nights sleeping in my DD Hammocks Superlight Jungle Hammock and raved here about how comfy it was.
But a few Google searches threw up rumours of hammocks with even greater levels of comfort and I took it upon myself to find out if the rumours were true…
After much research I opted for a Warbonnet Blackbird XLC (the XLC being a slightly longer version of the Blackbird for those 6ft and over) and I can indeed confirm that the rumours are true – it’s really comfy!
Over the last four years my complete set up has evolved too so will run through each element in turn…
Tarp – DD Superlight
A 3×3 tarp weighing 460 grams. Lighter options exist but it’s a relatively lightweight, durable and packable option giving decent coverage for the price.
Major upgrade here having recently acquired a 15 metre Zingit ridgeline with Dutchware “Hook” and a Dutch Wasp supplied by Henge Hammocks. Certainly a significant reduction in packsize and weight compared with my old arrangement.
The Dutch Hook is used on the fixed end of the line whilst the Wasp allows tensioning and adjustability at the other end. The tarp attaches to the ridgeline using DD lightweight carrabiners and soft shackles on a prusik loop allowing quick and easy positioning/tensioning of the tarp.
Warbonnet Blackbird XLC
If the DD Jungle was comfortable, then the Blackbird is penthouse suite luxury. One of the main reasons for this luxurious level of comfort is the inclusion of a footbox, a simple but effective cut at the foot end of the hammock which allows you to achieve a perfect diagonal and flat lay.
The XLC is longer than the standard Blackbird for hangers 6ft and over and features an integrated bug net which can either be rolled up or removed completely if not required. In addition to the footbox, another handy feature is the integrated “shelf” providing useful storage for any items you might want to keep close at hand.
I do have a couple of minor gripes with the Blackbird though.
Firstly, the zip isn’t a two way arrangement and instead is just a single zip requiring zipping up from the foot to head end. Probably a consequence of the zip being continuous to allow removal of the bug net but does mean I often have a long reach to the zip when entering or exiting the hammock.
The second minor gripe is with the bug net pull out which serves to keep the netting of your face. It does this job well but creates an additional trip hazard. Not the end of the world but is something to be mindful of if heading out for a midnight pee!
Insulation Finally, the setup is completed with a Warbonnet Wooki underquilt. The Wooki affixes easily to the hammock, provides fantastic insulation and packs away compactly, perfect for bikepacking when cargo capacity is limited.
I don’t currently have a top quilt but instead use a variety of sleeping bags depending on season/temperature. Primary bag is a 3 season Alpkit Pipedream 400 down bag and for winter an Alpkit Skyehigh 700 with a -8c limit.
The Pipedream verges on overkill for summer use. I’d certainly like to explore a dedicated down top quilt in the future as sleeping bags can be a pain in the arse in the confines of a hammock but combined with the Wooki, I can open the bags out and essentially use the them like a quilt which has so far worked for me over the years.
Future upgrades On my most recent trip I could’ve done with a couple of things… Firstly some additional guy lines and tie out points for the tarp. High winds saw the sides billowing in as they were caught in the strong winds. I fashioned two extra makeshift guys from some twine I found and these did the job admirably in a pinch but having 6 rather than 4 tie out points would be much better heading into autumn and winter.
I’d also like to look at a tarp with more coverage. The DD Superlight is great for packsize but comes up a little short when hanging in a long hammock like the Blackbird XLC. I stayed dry in the constant rain during my bikepack home but it was touch and go, a bigger downpour and the wrong direction of wind would I think have resulted in a soaking.
For now though I’m pretty comfortable with my existing set up and reckon this should see me through plenty more hangs in the future.