I ordered a Warbonnet Blackbird hammock today from Brandon at Warbonnet Outdoors. Brandon is a one man operation well known for producing excellent hammocks, being a long time hammock user himself. He also sells tarps, underquilts and more.
I think the Blackbird will be a step up from the Hennesy Hammock Expedition that I already own, and which I'll give to my brother to be his first hammock.
Main differences as I perceive them:
1) more user friendly suspension using webbing with a buckle and carabiner. No more knots and no more finding trees that are narrow enough for the tree huggers to fit right. Take a look at this video where Brian demonstrates how to set up the Blackbird:
2) more aggressive cut to produce a nice footbox
3) a shelf on one side to put various items needed during the night
4) side entry vs "womb entry" on the Hennesy Hammock. I kind of like the womb entry (somehow that didn't sound right), but I think I will like the side entry better, we'll see. Here's a youtube video where the designer of the Hennessy demonstrates the way the womb entry works:
5) double layer (option I chose) for strength and to make it easier to use a pad. I used my Exped Downmat 7 in the Hennessy last summer, but it wasn't ideal. This will be better for sure.
6) more comfortable to use as lounging chair, at least according to a youtube video I found. Personally I can't remember the HH being that uncomfortable.
Well, I'll report back when I get in a couple of weeks (it'll be moving along slowly via USPS First Class International).
On a quest to learn skills needed to be comfortable and safe in the outdoors, and to figure out how I function when hiking long trips alone.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."