Now that I use a Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock my tarp of choice is a JRB 11x10 Cat Tarp. It only weighs 18 ounces, is large enough to adequately cover the length of the hammock, and has a variety of pitch options.
Description: The Jacks R Better Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock is a true lay flat, sleep straight hammock. It achieves these notable results by departing from the common gather end design to utilize a suspension bridge technique. The hammock takes its name from the suspension bridge over the Hudson River that carries the Appalachian Trail. When the Bear Mountain Bridge was completed in 1924 it was the largest suspension bridge in the world. This is the lowest point of the entire Appalachian Trail at 127 feet above sea level.
|25 Sep 08 - Initial Impressions|
|Topside detail of ridgeline seam tie-out.|
|Underside detail of ridgeline seam tie-out.|
|Topside detail of ridgeline middle tie-out.|
|Underside detail of ridgeline middle tie-out.|
|Topside detail of middle tie-out.|
|Underside detail of middle tie-out.|
|Topside detail of a corner tie-out.|
|Underside detail of a corner tie-out.|
|This is a large tarp so it's a bit bulkier to pack than I'm used to. Still not so bad considering the coverage I get, though. Here it is still folded inside the stuffsack. It's smaller than a 1L AquaFina bottle. It'll probably be a little bulkier than this when I stuff it back inside though.|
|Here's the large JRB Self-Tensioning Line (STL) set. It includes six STLs and two matching lines for the ridgeline tie-outs. These are very convenient for keeping the tarp taut all night, and they absorb the slack as silnylon stretches overnight. I already use these on my other tarps so it's nice to have them for this tarp as well.
They're an easy DIY project as well. Mine are very similar but you can add them to any line you're already using. Instructions here.
|27 Dec 08 Setup Test|
|Here's the JRB Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock with Mount Washington Underquilt, 10' x 11' Cat Tarp pitched in a modified A-Frame, and Self-Tensioning Lines. This was really just a setup test as I was taking pics for the Hammock Suspension page.
This thing is cavernous! Lots of room under here, especially when pitched with the hiking poles to make a porch. Definitely blocks the wind better than smaller tarps since the windward side can go all the way to the ground. I need a big windstorm to see how well it stand up in use, though.
At this point, I'm impressed with the quality and setup of this tarp. I'll continue testing to see how it stands up to the wind and how convenient it is in the field. I like the huge space underneath but larger tarps are a bit more cumbersome to pitch, can limit sites to larger areas, require more lines and stakes, etc...I'll have to see how this fits into my hiking style.
Also debuting at Trail Days was the Ultra Light model of the Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock. Similarly sized but sans the pad pocket, and four inches shallower; this lay flat, lay straight hammock improves scenic views and reduced a full half pound from the BMBH Deluxe.
Installing your under quilt for the first time is best done in the backyard with the help of a friend. Have one person get in the hammock and the other checking for air gaps and proper loft. The goal in attaching the quilt is to have it suspended beneath the hammock with no (or minimal) air gap between the hammock and the quilt AND minimal tension on the quilt. Tension on the quilt reduces the loft resulting in cold spots. Place one hand between the quilt and hammock to check for air gaps. Once the quilt is suspended so that any air gaps have been eliminated, using the other hand on the outside of the quilt check for full loft. If using a gathered end hammock, make adjustments in the suspension lines in small increments (1/2 inch increments) first on one end and then the other until the quilt is properly suspended with no air gaps and maximum loft. Once set, leave the suspension system in place so that the next time all you have to do is connect the corners of the quilt, draw the end cords, and make fine tuning adjustments. If using a Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock the only adjustment necessary is to tighten or loosen the end cords.