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Warbonnet Blackbird Review

The Blackbird is an interesting asymmetrical design that will give you a comfortable hanging experience in all kinds of weather and terrain.
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Price:  $155 List
Pros:  Includes integrated bug net, comfortable, feature rich
Cons:  Carabiners, stakes and suspension not included, bug net is not removable, can take time to find the "sweet spot"
Manufacturer:   Warbonnet Outdoors
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 10, 2018
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 15
  • Comfort - 30% 8
  • Durability and Protection - 20% 9
  • Weight - 20% 7
  • Ease of Set Up - 15% 7
  • Versatility - 15% 6

The Skinny

Recently overthrown from its space as our previous Editor's Choice, the Warbonnet Blackbird has been overthrown by the Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter. However, we still feel that the Blackbird has many merits. If you're ready for a serious backcountry setup that is comfortable and highly innovative, this hammock is a dream come true. The Blackbird becomes quick to set up and adjust after a little practice and offers a number of features that make it a great all-around choice, such as a storage shelf, integrated bug net, and a large foot box area. Whether in a campground or out in the backcountry, this model is a will keep you comfortable and protected while you sleep. Available from Warbonnet Outdoors with two different fabric weights and single or double layer construction, you can choose the perfect combination for your needs.

On the tall side?
Look no further than the Warbonnet Blackbird XLC. With all the same features as the Blackbird, the XLC version of this award-winning hammock is 12" longer than the one we tested and is rated for users up to 7-feet tall! At $195 for the single layer or $210 for the double layer, this upgrade is an excellent choice for those looking to stretch their legs.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Warbonnet Blackbird is a uniquely designed hammock with interesting features and a comfortable asymmetrical design. Though it's no longer our Editor's Choice, we still find this hammock a pretty sweet hang. From an integrated foot box to a side shelf/storage area, this innovative hammock has everything needed to transform a dull tent camping experience into an amazing night under the stars.

Performance Comparison


Just another hard day at the office with the help of the very comfortable Blackbird.
Just another hard day at the office with the help of the very comfortable Blackbird.

Comfort


Generally, 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 for this, the Blackbird is the only one reviewed that also comes with a foot box. This feature allows the user to fully use the extra fabric in the foot area and extend the body without restriction from the bug netting, resulting in maximum leg room. We found the best angle to sleep in it was with the feet slightly raised, which is also what the manufacturer recommends. The design of the suspension system allows for quick and easy adjustments, making it a breeze to achieve this perfect angle.


Another reason the Blackbird has so much available interior space is that on either side of the head-end there are elastic guylines to pull the netting away from the face. Additionally, there is a storage shelf near the head that measures roughly two-feet square, a great feature that allows a book, jacket, and/or shoes to be tucked out of the way but still inside the hammock with you.

However, one issue we have with the asymmetrical design is that it only pairs well with a left zip sleeping bag. If you have a right zip bag, you're going to have a much more challenging time getting in and out of your system easily. Also, unlike the rigid bug nets of the REI Flash Air or Warbonnet Ridgerunner, the Blackbird's net remains a bit floppy during use, when can brush against your face when moving around. While we could find our comfort zone after a bit of finagling, adjusting, readjusting, and adjusting again, it was a lot of work, unlike some of the other hammocks we gave high comfort ratings to, like the Editor's Choice Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter, Best Buy Bear Butt Double or even the Warbonnet Ridgerunner.

The Blackbird offered a really comfortable lay with a lot of great features. Here you can see how the bug net conveniently ties out of the way and also the superior insulation provided with the addition of the Yeti underquilt.
The Blackbird offered a really comfortable lay with a lot of great features. Here you can see how the bug net conveniently ties out of the way and also the superior insulation provided with the addition of the Yeti underquilt.

Weight


While the Blackbird beats the competition in most categories, it is not the lightest hammock reviewed. However, when you consider that it comes with an attached bug net, that changes the perspective a bit. At 20 ounces for the 1.1oz/30D fabric model, it's a competitive weight. Warbonnet also offers thicker fabric (1.7oz/70D) and a double layer floor if you need more protection and a little added weight isn't an issue.


Those looking to get the lightest hammock possible should check out the impressive 5.8 ounce Sea to Summit Ultralight (just 4.8 ounces without its stuff sack), the 7.5 ounce Grand Trunk Nano 7, or the 6.4 ounce ENO Sub7. If you're in the market for a total system (hammock, rain fly, and bug net) you might check out the ENO SubLink system. We tested the Sub7 as part of this system and loved it so much we awarded it our Top Pick for Ultralight Versatility. The complete set up weighs just 44.6 ounces for the hammock, rain fly, bug net, and a stuff sack that converts into a pillow!

The Blackbird includes a ridgeline to hold up the bug netting. Here we illustrate the perfect ridgeline tension.
The Blackbird includes a ridgeline to hold up the bug netting. Here we illustrate the perfect ridgeline tension.

Ease of Set Up


There is no suspension system included with the Blackbird. However, at check out, Warbonnet offers the option of two suspension systems for an additional cost. Since we have tested this hammock so many times, we have tried it with both systems - the webbing/buckle and the whoopie slings. The buckle system is quick to install and easy to adjust to the proper tension or tweak at any point. The whoopie system was less intuitive to use, though still easy once you got the hang of it. The integrated bug net ridgeline is also a much more user-friendly system than the separate pieces of the ENO SubLink Shelter System, and about required about the same level of effort as the double ridgeline of the Editor's Choice Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter.


We were disappointed that the Blackbird does not include carabiners or stakes for the bug net guy lines. We also found out the hard way that if you leave a twist in the webbing system, it will loosen as you lay in it until your bum is resting on the ground. One issue to pay attention to is the fact that the delicate guy lines for the main hammock body have a tendency to get tangled up. The manufacturer recommends zipping the lines on one side into the hammock interior before packing it away to help keep them separated. All in all, we found there to be a steep learning curve to setting up this hammock comfortably, but once we had it figured out it was a breeze.

The buckle system on the Blackbird makes small detailed adjustments very easy at any point.
The buckle system on the Blackbird makes small detailed adjustments very easy at any point.

Durability and Protection


The Blackbird 1.6 Single Layer balances itself pretty ingeniously between lightweight materials and sturdy construction. The suspension system imparts confidence when looking at it and, while there was a moment of wondering if the thin fabric would hold us up, it never failed to impress. It's not nearly as burly as the Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip or as insulated as the ENO Reactor, but it's also considerably more robust than an ultralight model, like the Sea to Summit Ultralight or the Grand Trunk Nano7. We also appreciated the guy lines to help hole the bug net out and away from us a little bit, though the bug net was still floppy and we tripped over the non-reflective guy lines in the dark more than once.


The thin fabric does mean that extra care should be taken to not damage it, and the 1.6oz/40D weight with only a single layer means that you will feel a breeze if you're not insulated enough. However, with the addition of an underquilt or sleeping pad, you are good to go in almost any weather. If you'd rather spend less money, you could consider upping your fabric choice to the 1.7oz/70D weight and adding a double layer instead of purchasing an underquilt.

The Blackbird with accessories provides a superior shelter. The Mambajamba tarp is a roomy 10 feet wide and the Yeti underquilt blocked the breeze  keeping us cozy warm.
The Blackbird with accessories provides a superior shelter. The Mambajamba tarp is a roomy 10 feet wide and the Yeti underquilt blocked the breeze, keeping us cozy warm.

Versatility


Suffice it to say, asymmetrical hammocks do not fit two people very well, nor does a permanent ridgeline running the length of a hammock make sitting perpendicular in it very easy. On top of that, lightweight fabric needs to be handled with a bit of care and attention. However, all of this aside, the Blackbird can be quite versatile in the right situations. The zippered bug net can be easily stowed away on the side when not needed for desert camping or star gazing. You can also easily add a rain fly to this set up to add more protection, though it will obviously add more weight and additional set up time to your experience. We also think the Blackbird by itself can be used as a bug bivy in a pinch if you've run out of trees to suspend the system! Just be sure to bring a ground cloth with you so as not to damage the bottom.


Though we appreciated being able to roll the bug net back and out of the way, it's important to note that Warbonnet recommends never leaning back against the seam at the juncture of the shelf and hammock. Avoiding that leaves you a very narrow space to recline between that seam and the foot box that sticks out and doesn't make a supportive backrest. This, along with its relatively low weight capacity of just 250 pounds makes this hammock best suited for lying down as a single person, and not much else. However, if you're in the market for just that, the Blackbird is a pretty great hammock choice, offering comfort and efficiency for a plethora of outdoor adventures.

The Blackbird has the unique feature of a built in side-shelf to place items with you inside the hammock. No other model we tested had anything like this.
The Blackbird has the unique feature of a built in side-shelf to place items with you inside the hammock. No other model we tested had anything like this.

Best Applications


This is hammock is well-constructed, comfortable, relatively lightweight, and loaded with features. If you like playing with your gear and perfecting it just right so it fits you best, the Warbonnet Blackbird might be exactly the hammock you're looking for.

Value


Though there were many features we enjoyed about the Blackbird 1.6 Single Layer, its price was not one of them. At $155, before a suspension system, carabiners or stakes, this hammock is a pretty serious investment. But if you're a connoisseur of hammocks and you're looking for an innovative, asymmetrical, feature-ridden hammock, the Blackbird is all of those things. But if price is a sticking point for you, you might check out the Editor's Choice Skeeter Beeter for the same great protection, an easier set up, more versatile comfort, and a price tag about half the size of the Blackbird.

Conclusion


With all the influx of great products on the hammock market these days, the Warbonnet Blackbird 1.6 Single Layer has been dethroned from its previous chair as the two-time Editor's Choice award winner. Though the new Editor's Choice, the Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter narrowly outperformed the Blackbird, we still think this hammock is a noteworthy package and definitely worth consideration.

The Blackbird in a sea of other hammocks. It had no problem blowing all these other models out of the water to defend its title as Editors' Choice.
The Blackbird in a sea of other hammocks. It had no problem blowing all these other models out of the water to defend its title as Editors' Choice.


Penney Garrett