A unique bridge hammock design, but not without problems...
I recently tested the new Onewind "Brickfielder" bridge hammock. As a side sleeper, I prefer the bridge design that doesn't require me to lay perfectly flat on my back. So it was with a positive anticipation that I waited for the chance to compare this new offering to my other bridge hammocks. (In my opinion a "review" is more valuable when it makes a comparison rather than just reciting the brand's statistics.)
Traditional bridge hammocks eliminate shoulder squeeze by employing spreader poles at each end. This is the first and obvious difference with the new Onewind bridge hammock - since it only uses one spreader pole at the head end. It makes sense when you think about it since your feet don't need extra room when you roll onto your side.
Most bridge hammocks use sophisticated engineering to produce the cuts in the fabric and the supporting structure of the bridge - all to mimic the support cables of a suspension bridge. I looked forward to testing this Onewind design when I first noted the introduction of this new model since is simply a triangular hammock with no catenary cuts or complicated structure. In this regard, the Onewind design has more in common with a standard, unstructured gathered end hammock.
To make the test more meaningful, I first set-up my ENO Skylite hammock with its double spreader poles between two trees about 20-feet apart. I also used my favorite suspension, the infinitely adjustable and lightweight ENO Helios. The Skylite hammock links to the Helios suspension with a small aluminum toggle - no carabiner required. (Note: for the record, the ENO Skylite sells for $169.95 and the Helios suspension for $34.95, or $204.90 total.)
The ENO Skylite uses two x 36" lightweight spreader poles. The Onewind bridge uses one x 42" slightly heavier pole. To me, the one longer and heavier pole weighed about the same as the two lighter spreaders - so don't think you are slashing your total weight.
Here's the problems I had with the One wind Bridge Hammock:
Attempting to make an even comparison, I attached the Onewind bridge hammock to the Helios suspension with the carabiners that are supplied in the package - and the Onewind hammock laid flat on the ground. Well that's not going to work! The lines from the Onewind hammock were significantly longer, requiring a minimum of 8' or more between the trees. NO problem as I had numerous trees to substitute as suspension points.
Next, I opened the Onewind suspension straps included with the bridge hammock. There was an obvious resemblance to the Helios suspension, right down to the pattern on the webbing. The exception was that the Onewind tree straps were not connected to the suspension lines - and that's where Onewind intended the use of the included carabiners. But how do you then connect the hammock to the suspension lines? You would need FOUR carabiners or some wooden toggles.
The other immediate problem was that the tree straps, suspension lines, and lines from the hammock were at least a total of 10 feet longer than the ENO setup. Now my favorite tarp is the Onewind 12-foot fly that allows me to enclose the ends in a driving rain. For this tarp and my other hammocks I generally look for support trees about 15 to 20-feet apart. With the standard lines on the Onewind hammock and suspension, you would need to find trees 30-feet apart - and that means a ridiculous amount of sag in the hammock and a unnecessarily long ridgeline. (I always use a continuous ridgeline. See the related articles about my favorite tarp and the advantages of the continuous ridgeline.)
Here is a video that explains all these features and issues of the Onewind Bridge Hammock:
Now most people would pack up the hammock and send it back for a refund. But not me - I am up to the challenge.
I REALLY wanted this lightweight hammock to work! In addition, the complete package sells for only $79.99 (and this includes the suspension, valued at $25.90) so I allowed for some labor. I also had the advantage of simply laying the ENO Skylight and suspension side by side with the Onewind bridge hammock and supplied suspension. )I also have LOTS of experience splicing ropes, having constructed an estimated MILE of ganglines and tug lines during my dog sled racing days... Do NOT attempt this at home if you aren't confident creating a locking splice!)
Here's what I did to "improve" the Onewind Bridge Hammock:
1. I shortened the adjustable section of each suspension line by 4-feet and spliced in new loops.
2. I cut off one end of the tree strap. Then my Wife sewed a new loop around the "uphill" section of the whoopie sling loop in the suspension line. This now allows the whoopie slig lines to run through the webbing loop, with the opposite end connected to the hammock with the supplied carabiners.
3. I shortened the lines at the spreader bar from 60-inches down to 38-inches. These lines simply loop through the gathered ends at the corners.
So I invested an hour or so plus my Wife's sewing skills to make a useful hammock. I really like this design and have purchased the matching bug net for the Onewind bridge hammock. (This adds $24.95 to the package price - which is still a bargain!) This Onewind bridge hammock is made from a single panel of silky smooth 40D 1.7oz silnylon ripstop. The package weighs under 2-pounds and fits easily in the included 18" x 3.5" stuff sack.
The one reservation I have is whether the long 42" spreader bars are going to rub on the inside of my tarp? So far the gathered corners have padded the contact with the tarp.
Conclusion: If you want to mess with fine-tuning the included suspension - or are willing to wrap it around the trees several times - this is a great bargain for a bridge hammock. Better yet, just use another brand of suspension if you aren't a splice-expert!
It's interesting that Onewind also sells an infinitely adjustable suspension with a slide buckle for LESS than the included whoopie sling version. Check it out here: CLICK HERE.
Another option is the "daisy chain" webbing suspension. No ropes, buckles, slings, or knots. Just clip the carabiner into the loop that gives the right height and angle to your hammock. Here's the Wise Owl version that I recommend: CLICK HERE.
I need to spend a few nights in this hammock to decide if I also need a new underquilt. I think a standard rectangular underquilt is going to be just fine. For the warm summer months I always just use my standard sleeping bag.
Despite the issues with the suspension, I still recommend the Onewind Bridge Hammock. You can purchase directly from Onewind - follow this link: CLICK HERE.