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Hands-on Gear Review
Cons: Heavier construction and time consuming to set up, fly is not removable
Manufacturer: Warbonnet Outdoors
Of all 11 hammocks tested, none are as comfortable or as feature heavy as the Warbonnet Blackbird, our Editors' Choice award winner. Whether in campgrounds or out in the backcountry, this model turned heads with its innovative foot box, storage shelf, an integrated bug net, and double layered bottom for holding a sleeping pad in place.
The Blackbird comes with many options, and we tested the 1.7oz/70 denier double fabric, the heaviest option available, which was still under 2 pounds total weight including the whoopie sling suspension. This is comparable to the lightest single person tents available, yet substantially more comfortable, making hammock camping in the Blackbird an absolute dream.
The Warbonnet can be ordered directly from Warbonnet Outdoors.
If the Warbonnet is a little too expensive for you or too hard to find, the Hennessy Expedition Asym, is the only hammock we tested that comes with its own rain fly in addition to an included bug net. The Grand Trunk Double takes our Top Pick Award and is durable, comfortable, and easy to use.
RELATED: Our complete review of hammocks
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
No hammock reviewed slept as well or was as heavily loaded with useful features as our Editors' Choice winner, the Warbonnet Blackbird. From an integrated foot box to shelf storage, this innovative hammock has everything needed to transform a dull tent camping experience into an amazing hang under the stars.
The best and most comfortable way to sleep in a hammock is diagonally, and while a handful of products on the market come with an asymmetrical design to create more space, the Blackbird is the only one reviewed that comes with a foot box. We found the best angle to sleep in it was with the feet slightly raised, and because of the double layer bottom there was no problem staying on the sleeping pad in this spacious hammock.
Another reason the Blackbird has so much available space is that either side of the 'head' end of the hammock has elastic guy lines to pull the netting away from the face. This also provides room for a storage shelf near the head, a great feature that allows a book or jacket to be tucked out of the way but at the ready.
We found that no other hammock slept as comfortably as the Warbonnet Blackbird, and as the most important rating metric we tested for, this boosted this hammock up in our ratings to win our Editors' Choice award as the best camping hammock.
While the Blackbird beats the competition in most categories, it is not the lightest hammock reviewed – not by a long shot. At 31oz for the 1.7 oz/70D fabric with double floor, it is not an ideal ultralight hammock. Add in a rain fly and the weight comes close to that of a backpacking tent. However, reducing pack weight is not the only reason to camp in a hammock, the comfort and convenience of this model can make up for its bulk.
If looking to reduce weight for a backpacking trip, consider picking up a Warbonnet Blackbird with 1.1 oz/30D nylon fabric, an option that can cut 7 ounces alone, or a version with single layer floor instead of the pad-securing double. The 1.1 oz/30D single layer design drops drastically from 31 oz to 18 oz, making a reasonable ultralight hammock with almost all the features of the heavy duty Blackbird tested.
Those looking to get the lightest hammock possible should check out the Grand Trunk Nano 7, our Top Pick ultralight hammock, weighing a scant 7 ounces.
Asymmetrical hammocks do not fit two people very well, nor does the ridge line running the length of the hammock make sitting perpendicular in it very easy. The hammock is too nice to use roughly, and even with the 70 denier nylon fabric we would not recommend it for families or a couple.
However, the Blackbird is VERY versatile in the climates it is designed for. The zippered bug net can be easily removed for desert camping and star gazing, and it can fit a multitude of rain fly options on the market. We would recommend bringing this hammock on any trip where hammocks are appropriate and anchors available.
The Warbonnet Blackbird comes in a variety of fabric options, all with a bug net and high quality construction. The seams are all single and double stitched and showed no signs of wear despite significant use. The hammock easily cut wind even without a tarp, and would be one of our preferred hammocks in poor weather, along with the Hennessy Expedition Asym that comes with a rain fly.
The guy lines are made of very thin material and connected to white shock cord, and while we successfully avoided tripping over these in midnight bathroom runs, we feel that reflective cord could be helpful to see them, as a hard kick could likely snap the small and light materials used in this feature.
Ease of Set-up
Despite being one of the trickier hammocks to achieve a perfect hang, the Warbonnet Blackbird comes with several features to aid in micro adjustments and poor weather set-up. First, the stuff sack has two openings, allowing the hammock to be set up in wet or rainy environments without touching the ground or being exposed for very long. This feature was very useful when we pitched the hammock in a rain storm, after rigging the fly first. While a bit tricky, this system is a great way to keep the hammock clean and mildew-free in extended wet backcountry trips.
Another great feature of the Blackbird is the option to upgrade to Whoopie slings. Those who have been camping in hammocks for a while may have come across this ingenious design, a friction sling that can be easily tightened and adjusted without unhooking carabiners or untying knots in webbing. This is far and away the easiest stock adjustment system we reviewed, and though practice is needed to get small adjustments dialed, all of our reviewers preferred this system over the basic cord or strap style suspension found on other hammocks like the spacious and comfortable Grand Trunk Double.
This is the go-to hammock for any camper or backpacker as it is durable, comfortable, relatively light weight, and loaded with features. It easily won our Editors' Choice award as the best camping hammock.
With the upgrades we chose, this hammock is the most expensive in this review at $185. We feel the price is more than reasonable, as it sleeps better than any tent and is almost half the cost of a backpacking tent of similar weight. That said, an apprehensive camper looking to get started with hammocks may have reservations about the investment, though we feel they will not regret the purchase. For an introductory hammock at a lower price, check out the Grand Trunk Ultralight Hammock, our Best Buy winner.
In our testing, there was no hammock as well designed for camping as the Warbonnet Blackbird. All the hype and excitement that came with it was well founded, and anyone who chooses to start their hammock camping adventures in this model will be rewarded with blissfully comfortable nights.
(The version tested was the Blackbird Double Layer 1.7)
Blackbird Single Layer 1.1
Blackbird Single Layer 1.7
— Greg Davis
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: August 6, 2014
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