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Hands-on Gear Review
Warbonnet Ridgerunner Review
Cons: Heavy, does not come with carabiners, flat design can tip over more easily if you're not careful
Bottom line: The Ridgerunner is a fun and innovative hammock that comes equipped with spreader bars for a super flat lay, an integrated bug net, and large storage pockets along both sides.
The unique and versatile Warbonnet Ridgerunner will change the way you're able to hammock camp. Made from top-of-the-line materials, this is the only model we tested that comes with lightweight spreader bars that allow a user to lay comfortably on their side or even stomach! For this reason, we awarded the Ridgerunner a Top Pick Award for Side Sleeping.
Sleeping in a hammock can be a no-brainer for a back sleeper, but for those who aren't able to sleep in that position, things can get uncomfortable after a couple hours. Most hammocks allow for a user to get into a diagonal position and achieve a decently flat side lay, but this usually only really works on one side. If you want to turn over, you may find your face smashed against fabric, and you can forget about laying on your stomach. But with the Ridgerunner, you are essentially in a floating cot and a plethora of sleeping positions are readily available.
This classy hammock also sports an integrated bug net that can be conveniently stowed out of the way when not needed, as well as nice large gear pockets along both sides. We tested the Double Layer, which also gave us a sleeve to house a sleeping pad. All in all, we found the Ridgerunner to be fun, innovative, and extremely versatile.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Sleep in style and in almost any position you want with the Warbonnet Ridgerunner, our Top Pick for Side Sleeping. Setup is quick and easy, a double layer floor creates a sleeping pad sleeve, and an integrated bug net means you'll be safe from pesky insects. The Ridgerunner's use of spreader bars brilliantly marries the old school patio hammock design with cutting edge lightweight camping material, changing the game for die-hard side sleepers that want to hang under the stars but can't get proper rest on their back. The chart below points out the overall scores from 1-100 and how each contender ranked.
The Ridgerunner easily achieved top scores for comfort and was so special that we also had to award it our Top Pick for Side Sleeping. The only other models we found as comfortable — but for entirely different reasons — were the Warbonnet Blackbird and the ENO Reactor. The Blackbird is extremely roomy and the Reactor is super cozy and insulated, but only the Ridgerunner, thanks to spreader bars, allowed us to lay easily and comfortably on either side and even on our stomachs. It felt more like being in a floating tent or cot than a hammock. While some people will still prefer the asymmetrical design of many expedition camping hammocks, like the Blackbird or the Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip, for those that don't mind having to carry the extra weight of spreader bars, this can be a really fun way to change up hammock camping and allow for some additional versatility.
As with all hammocks, if the suspension isn't tensioned properly, some odd things can happen. With the Ridgerunner, if you aren't using a sleeping pad, it can feel a bit like the sides of the hammock are curling up around you and creating a cradle-like shape. This puts an odd curve in the back when you're trying to lay on your side. Take the time to try out different sleeping pads and play with the tension to find ultimate levels of comfort, like we did.
This is not a light hammock. While not what we would call heavy, and still considerably lighter than a tent, the Ridgerunner weighed 41 ounces, the heaviest of any hammock by itself in our test. Other packages that included accessories like tarps were heavier, and the Riderunner does include a bug net, but by itself it was the heaviest hammock we reviewed. This is due to the 12-ounce spreader bars that are not optional (though certain hiking poles can be used in place of the stock poles) — without them, you'd be curled up in an oddly tensioned taco.
Weight and comfort are almost always inversely proportional with hammocks, and this case is certainly no different. Sure, the Grand Trunk Nano 7 is super light, but there's no bug net and you won't be able to lay on your side nearly as comfortably as you can in the Ridgerunner. You can drop a few ounces by purchasing the single layer model, but if you're already committing to the weight of spreader bars, you might as well have the luxury of some added insulation and a sleeve for your sleeping pad.
If you aren't psyched about the weight or design of the Ridgerunner but you like the look and feature-heaviness it offers, check out the Warbonnet Blackbird. It's roomy asymmetrical design also allows for great side sleeping (though more on one side than the other) and you will still get a bug net, but the whole thing only weighs 20 ounces.
Ease of Setup
The Ridgerunner is easy to set up but requires a few extra steps, and you will need to bring or purchase properly weight-rated carabiners. Like the Blackbird, this hammock has a convenient double sided stuff sack, allowing you to easily get pitched while keeping everything up off the ground. Simple straps and buckles make tensioning a breeze and you can upgrade to whoopie slings if you want an even easier, lighter suspension option.
After the hammock is hanging you have to insert the spreader bars. The bars are comprised of two poles, a longer one for the head end and a shorter one for the foot end. The head pole breaks down into three pieces, and the foot pole into two. These are not marked in any way to give you quick visual cues as to what goes where, which can be a bit irritating at first. But once you know the trick (the sections that go together are the same length, not including the silver insert piece), it's very quick. From there, the pole tips are inserted into buckles on either side of the hammock. While this is all very simple and straightforward, it is more to contend with and adds five separate pieces to your rig that you need to keep track of.
The one other additional step required for setting up the Ridgerunner is securing the shock cord attached to the integrated bug net. If you don't do this, you will have a bunch of netting laying in your face. This is as simple as attaching the cord at the head end to your anchor, slightly above wherever your suspension strap is. The cord on the foot end attaches directly to the base of the suspension or can be left unused. Alternatively, you can put up a separate ridgeline for this, which could also be used to support a tarp. Again, this is a simple procedure, but requires an extra step in regards to the bug net that the Blackbird and the Hennessy models do not.
Durability and Protection
The Ridgerunner is available from Warbonnet with a single or double layer bottom; we tested the double. This definitely provides more protection from the elements without adding very much weight. A double layer also means you have a sleeve for your sleeping pad so that it doesn't slip around and end up on top of you in the middle of the night, a feature we really appreciated.
Additionally, the Ridgerunner comes with an integrated bug net, so right out of the bag you're protected from mosquitoes. The bug net stores away easily in a dedicated pocket if you don't need it, a nice feature if there aren't bugs and you'd rather stargaze. It doesn't come with a tarp like the Hennessy models and the ENO SubLink Shelter System do, but this is always something you could purchase separately if needed.
While the Ridgerunner is constructed from relatively thin 1.1oz/30D nylon and requires proper attention and care the same way a good quality tent does, but we didn't feel like we had to baby it. It is well constructed, sturdy and, with proper care, should have no problem lasting you for years.
The Ridgerunner was our Top Pick for Side Sleeping, so obviously we found it extremely versatile for getting ZZZ's! It's delightful to lay on your back, super comfortable on both sides, and was even comfortable for stomach sleeping! Having this many options in a camping hammock is practically unheard of. While cutting edge expedition models like the Blackbird and the Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip or Hennessy Ultralite Backpacker Asym Zip offer asymmetrical designs to better allow for a nice flat diagonal lay and side sleeping, they generally feel much more comfortable and roomy on one side than the other, and stomach sleeping is really not an option at all. The additional spreader bars on the Ridgerunner widen and flatten your sleeping area, creating more of a cot shape.
This model's bug net also has the unique capability of being stowed away in a special pocket at the foot of the hammock. This is a really nice feature, as it allows you to completely clear your side views from netting. No other hammock with an integrated bug net that we tested allowed for us to completely move the net out of the way. The Hennessy models we tested don't have a way to stow their bug nets other than just pulling them over the ridgeline and off to the side. And the Blackbird has ties on one side to help you collect and store the bug net, but doing this creates a slight obstruction in the view where the net is gathered up. The Ridgerunner was the only model with a bug net that unzipped all the way around down to the feet and could be tied into a dedicated pocket.
Each side of the Ridgerunner also offers large "saddlebag"-like pockets, which hang on the outside of the hammock yet are also accessible from the inside when the bug net is zipped up. They are fully functional whether or not the netting is being used, though if you weight one side too heavily it can flip the hammock over when you get out.
Except for the issue of weight, we found this to be a versatile hammock for camping. The only downside to the design is that it doesn't accommodate sitting sideways or sitting upright the way open models like the ENO DoubleNest or Kammok Roo do.
The Ridgerunner is ideal for people that want to hammock camp but who struggle with sleeping on their backs or only on one side. If you've ever wished that you could just float a little bed in space, then this might be your dream hammock. This model allows you to take all of the benefits of hammocking out into the backcountry while leaving the awkwardness of finding just the right diagonal position behind.
At $205, the Ridgerunner is an investment. But if you're serious about hammock camping and sleeping on your side is important to you, than it's a small price to pay for the potential of countless restful nights out in the backcountry. If you don't think you'll benefit from the double layer of fabric, you can save $15 and go for the single layer, at $190. And if side sleeping is in the "take-it-or-leave-it" category for you, check out the Blackbird instead. You'll get an innovative asymmetrical design for a superior flat diagonal lay, a foot box for extra roominess, an integrated bug net, and even an interior shelf, all for $170 for a single layer or $185 for a double layer.
The Ridgerunner, our Top Pick for Side Sleeping, is a solidly constructed hammock with an integrated bug net, large side gear pockets, and spreader bars to create a flat sleeping area conducive to side and stomach sleeping. It's heavy for camping hammock, but if it means you'll sleep like a baby instead of waking up grouchy and with a stiff neck, we think it's worth it's weight in ZZZ's.
— Penney Garrett
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