Gear Review: Warbonnet Blackbird

warbonnet blackbird review

For all the hammock campers in search of the perfect hang, finding the ideal hammock is the first step. It’s the foundation that our sleep is built on, and in the backcountry, a good night’s sleep is the difference between a beautiful day of happy hiking and long hours of slogging down the trails.

The Warbonnet Blackbird is my perfect hammock. I’ve been using the Blackbird for about one year, and it’s the piece of gear I’ve built my entire system around. So I’m here to share my experience with the hammock—along with some tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way—to help you decide whether the Blackbird is right for you and to help you learn how to make the most of your new hammock.

Specs

  • Single-Layer Original Blackbird with Whoopies
  • Price: $155
  • Fabric: 40D nylon
  • Max Comfort Range: up to 275 lbs / 125kg
  • Max Load: 350 lbs / 159kg
  • Ridgeline length: 101in / 257cm
  • Hammock Dimensions: 120x62in / 305x157cm
  • Manufacturer’s Claimed Weight: 18.1oz / 513g (15.75oz / 447g. hammock + 2.35oz whoopies/straps)
  • Measured Weight: 20.3oz / 576g (hammock with stuff sack, whoopies, and tree straps—no carabiners or hardware)

Features

  • Integrated bug net
  • Multiple suspension options
  • Footbox
  • Storage shelf
  • Elastic guylines for bug net
  • Double-ended stuff sack

Note on Claimed vs. Measured Weight: Warbonnet has updated their whoopie suspension since my purchase. The suspension now includes lighter Dynaweave tree straps, which accounts for the 2.2-ounce discrepancy between the claimed and measured weights.

warbonnet blackbird hammock weight

Criteria & Context

Like many hammock campers, I choose a hammock over a tent primarily for comfort. A good night’s sleep is indispensable in the backcountry, when we need to be alert and performing at our best. When searching for the perfect hammock, here are a few considerations that take top priority for me:

  • A design that makes getting a flat lay easy
  • Integrated components to reduce the number of items in my pack
  • A simple, quick setup
  • Versatility and compatibility with various suspension systems

As one of the most crucial items in every hammock camper’s pack, the hammock has to perform well. So let’s see if the Warbonnet Blackbird meets expectations.

warbonnet blackbird review

Field Testing

I have tested the single-layer Warbonnet Blackbird over a year of backcountry trips in all seasons. A sampling of backcountry trips include:

  • July, Pisgah National Forest, elevation 4,000ft, low in the 60s, wind 6mph
  • February, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Forney Creek BC71, elevation 2,160ft, low 40 degrees, light rain, wind 9mph
  • May, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, West Prong BC18, Big Walnut BC97, Bone Valley BC83, Jonas Creek BC70, and Dripping Spring Mountain BC26, elevation 1,600–4,560, varied weather

I have used the hammock in wet and dry conditions, with various tarp, insulation, and suspension setups, including:

  • Warbonnet whoopies and tree straps*
  • ENO Atlas Straps (daisy chains)
  • 0-degree HammockGear quilts
  • 30-degree HammockGear quilts*
  • 30-40–degree ENO quilts
  • Hennessey Hex rain fly
  • Warbonnet Thunderfly*

* part of my primary, 3-season setup

Performance

Comfort

When it comes to choosing a hammock, comfort is high on everyone’s list. For me, it’s the number-one consideration. Others may sacrifice some comfort to achieve a lighter pack, but I would rather carry a few extra ounces after a good night’s sleep.

That being said, the Blackbird has never disappointed me where comfort is concerned. It’s an asymmetrical hammock, which means it’s designed to support a diagonal lay. A bit of extra fabric on one end forms a “footbox,” which allows you to lie completely flat. I tend to roll throughout the night, and I never have issues finding comfortable positions on my back or sides.

The Blackbird is also a fairly big hammock (10 feet long and 62 inches wide). That does add a bit of weight, but the roominess makes for a much more comfortable experience—especially on long winter nights. When I’m cooped up in my hammock for 10–12 hours at a time, the extra space makes me feel much more at ease.

I only have a couple negatives to offer in this department. First of all, the hammock has to be set up correctly. The foot end should be higher than the head end, and the structural ridgeline shouldn’t be pulled taut (meaning the hammock should have good slack). If the hammock isn’t set up just right, you’ll have a miserable hang. Also, the Blackbird is not comfortable for sitting. If you’re someone who likes to use your hammock as a camp chair, you won’t care for the lack of comfort or the fact that it’s easy to damage the bug net while trying to use the side of the hammock as a backrest.

enjoying warbonnet blackbird hammock

Bug Net

The Blackbird includes an integrated bug net. It’s made of noseeum mesh, so it keeps everything out. The net opens and closes with a double zipper, which makes it easy to operate from inside the hammock. And staking out the attached shock cord guy lines keeps the bug net off your face and creates a nice roomy feel inside the hammock.

The bug net works well and does exactly as it’s supposed to. Bugs stay out, and it’s extremely easy to use. The zipper is smooth and never catches on the hammock material. The construction seems solid, and I’ve never had any trouble with the netting.

In winter, or for a day hang, you can unzip the bug net, roll it up, and secure it to one side of the hammock with the attached ribbon. The bug net does not detach from the hammock. Although a detachable bug net sounds like a nice feature for saving weight in winter, I don’t think I would remove the bug net if that were an option. The bug net actually seems to affect the structure of the hammock. When the net is rolled up and secured to the side, the hammock does not lay as well. So while a detachable bug net sounds nice in theory, personally, I’m happier with the sewn netting, since it doesn’t include the weight of an extra zipper.

Organization

One of the Blackbird’s more unique features is a shelf that is staked out with included shock cord. The shelf is located on to the right of the sleeper’s head, and it’s perfect for storing things you’ll need to access during the night. You could also add a ridgeline organizer for even more storage. Personally, I hang my headlamp off the ridgeline and use the shelf for everything else.

warbonnet blackbird hammock review

Ridgeline Length

The Blackbird has a 101-inch ridgeline. I’m five-seven, and the hammock is perfectly comfortable for me. Warbonnet recommends the original Blackbird for those up to six feet. Taller individuals may opt for the Blackbird XLC, which has a 112-inch ridgeline and is recommended for sleepers up to six-six.

Ease of Setup

As mentioned, there is a learning curve when it comes to setting up asymmetrical hammocks. Once you learn to identify the proper angles, though, setup is a breeze. The Blackbird comes with a double-ended stuff sack, which makes it easy to hook the hammock to your suspension without getting it dirty.

Warbonnet offers several suspension options with the Blackbird: whoopies, straps, and a becket suspension. You can also opt for carabiners or fishhooks. There’s an option for every hammocker’s skill level and preference. Or you can skip the suspension altogether and use one you already have.

Once the hammock and suspension is where you want it, all that’s left is to stake out the two pieces of shock cord to keep the bug net off your face and create the shelf. I take the shock cord to the same stakes I use for my rainfly.

As far as hammock setups go, it doesn’t get much simpler than that. If you’re not used to asymmetrical hammocks, there will be a fair amount of adjusting and readjusting in the beginning. But once you get it right a few times and identify those perfect angles, setup becomes a breeze.

Weight

At 15.75 ounces (without suspension), the Blackbird is heavier than a traditional symmetrical hammock but lighter than most asymmetrical offerings. For someone for whom comfort is their first priority, those ounces are certainly justified.

Choice of suspension also impacts the weight, as Warbonnet’s suspension options range from 2.35 ounces for whoopies to 6.7 ounces for webbing with buckles. Users also choose from 1.75-ounce carabiners and 6-gram fishhooks.

Additionally, the weights listed are for the single-layer Blackbird. Warbonnet also offers double-layer versions of the hammock, which are ideal for those who use sleeping pads. The double-layered fabric creates a pocket for a sleeping pad, to keep the pad from moving around during the night. The Lightweight Double Blackbird weighs in at 21.75 ounces, and the Heavyweight Double Blackbird weighs 27.75 ounces and can support up to 400 pounds.

Fabric

The single-layer hammock is made of 40D nylon. The fabric is extremely comfortable and sturdy. The Lightweight Double Blackbird is also made of 40D nylon, with a 20D inner layer. The Heavyweight Double Blackbird is made of 70D nylon.

Product Comparisons

ENO SingleNestENO DoubleNestGrand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro Hammock
Capacity400lbs / 181kgs400lbs / 181kgs400lbs / 181kgs
Material70D high-tenacity nylon taffeta70D high-tenacity nylon taffeta210T 70D parachute nylon
Dimensions9’4” x 4’7” / 2.8m x 1.4m9′ 4″ x 6′ 2″ / 2.86m x 1.89m10’6″ x 5′
Weight16oz / 454g19oz / 538g26.45oz / 750g

ENO SingleNest

  • Capacity: 400lbs / 181kgs
  • Material: 70D high-tenacity nylon taffeta
  • Dimensions: 9’4” x 4’7” / 2.8m x 1.4m
  • Weight: 16oz / 454g

ENO DoubleNest

  • Capacity: 400lbs / 181kgs
  • Material: 70D high-tenacity nylon taffeta
  • Dimensions: 9′ 4″ x 6′ 2″ / 2.86m x 1.89m
  • Weight: 19oz / 538g

Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro Hammock

  • Capacity: 400lbs / 181kgs
  • Material: 210T 70D parachute nylon
  • Dimensions: 10’6″ x 5′
  • Weight: 26.45oz / 750g

Finding the Perfect Hang

Once you settle on a Blackbird Warbonnet, you’ll want to practice to get the best hang possible. And of course, keep adjusting your setup as necessary to your preferences and camp conditions.

Customization

As with all hammock setups, customization is king when it comes to the Blackbird. The decisions you’ll need to make include:

  • Suspension: We’ll discuss these options more in-depth below.
  • Single-Layer or Double-Layer: The single-layer is ideal for underquilt users, while the double-layer is best for those who use a sleeping pad or who need a higher capacity.
  • Fabric Weight: Applicable only to those who opt for the double-layer version, users who need a higher max load should choose the 70D fabric.
  • Color: Because we all need to be stylin’ in the woods.
  • Ridgeline Length: Users taller than six feet should opt for the Blackbird XLC.
  • Suspension

Choosing the best suspension for your needs is crucial to making setup quick and easy. Let’s run through Warbonnet’s suspension options:

  • Continuous Loops (7g): This option includes no suspension. It consist of small AmSteel loops on the end of the hammock, to which the user can attach their own suspension. This is ideal for someone who already has a suspension they love or who wants to make their own suspension.
  • Webbing with Buckles (6.7oz): This is extremely simple to use and is great for beginners, but it is quite a bit heavier than other options. Along with the webbing and buckles, this suspension comes with a pair of carabiners weighing in at 1.75 ounces.
  • Whoopies with Dynaweave Straps (2.35oz): This is the suspension option I use. It includes six-foot AmSteel whoopie slings attached directly to the hammock, along with six-foot tree straps. This is a light, easy-to-use option. I love it because it allows you to make adjustments without retying knots. It comes with fishhooks, a pair of which weighs 6 grams. You can also use carabiners if you prefer.
  • Becket Suspension (2.5oz): The becket suspension is the longest choice and the lightest per foot. It has six feet of extra reach compared to the whoops and webbing suspensions. However, this suspension option does require the user to tie knots, so it’s not ideal for true beginners.

Lower Insulation

For those who like to use a sleeping pad, the double-layer versions of the Blackbird allow you to slip your pad in the pocket between the layers so it doesn’t move around during the night.

Underquilt users like me won’t have any trouble. Warbonnet does make a line of underquilts, which are designed to fit an asymmetrical hammock. But I, and many others, have successfully used symmetrical underquilts with the Blackbird. The hammock’s problem area is typically the footbox. When you shift during the night, the underquilt can slip off your feet and move beneath your body, allowing the chilly wind access to your toes. The fix for this is simple: Cinch the underquilt tightly on the footbox side and leave it a bit looser on the other side. It helps to replicate this process on the head end, cinching the quilt more tightly on the side your head rests.

If this isn’t enough, you can attach shock cord to your underquilt and connect it to a convenient location, such as the ridgeline of your rainfly or your suspension, to keep the underquilt in place. If you’re really struggling to keep the underquilt from slipping, you can also sew connection points onto your hammock.

Bug Net Pros

As already discussed, the bug net seems to be important to the structure of the hammock. It’s also fantastic for keeping your top quilt in your hammock while you’re in camp. I like to unpack my quilts first thing to make sure they’re fluffed up and ready to keep me warm at bedtime. By putting your top quilt in the hammock and zipping the bug net, you can make sure a strong wind doesn’t drop your quilt in the mud while you’re enjoying dinner. I also like to toss my sleep set and electronics in the hammock once I get to camp to reduce clutter and make sure everything stays dry.

Rainfly Coverage

Because the Blackbird is a wide hammock, it requires a larger rainfly to keep you dry. Minimalist rainflies will likely leave you moist come morning. Because of the asymmetrical shape of the hammock, the sleeper’s feet extend past where they would in a symmetrical hammock. That means diamond tarps will likely expose your feet to the elements. Look for a rainfly with good side coverage. The Warbonnet Thunderfly has never let me down, even in the rainy Smoky Mountains.

warbonnet blackbird hammock review

The Ideal Blackbird User

The Warbonnet Blackbird is perfect for the hammocker who prioritizes sleep comfort, while still endeavoring to keep their pack light. It’s best for an experienced hammock camper who knows what they want and is able to identify angles to set up their hammock correctly. Ideally, the hammocker should have some experience with symmetrical hammocks and be able to apply basic hammock skills–choosing appropriate trees, finding the right amount of slack, etc. The Blackbird is perfect for both long-distance backpackers and weekend warriors.

If this sounds like you, check out the Blackbird. If you have questions about the hammock or if you have personal experience with the Blackbird, leave a comment below.

Happy trails!

Disclosure: I purchased by Warbonnet Blackbird from MassDrop and received no reimbursement, monetary or otherwise, for this review. I am under no obligation to review this product, and the review above is my honest option. I am not affiliated with Warbonnet or any brand mentioned in this review. This review was originally published in 2019.