Jamie, & Team:
I've been waiting a while to get enough field tests in for several items, and so I've got quite a few in the pipeline to send to you.
Here's the first of many. Apologies in advance for all the hammock-related gear, but it's where I spend most of my time and money :)
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DutchWare Gear -- Whoopie Hook
Owner Review by Derek Hansen
Name Derek Hansen
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)
Weight 170 lb (77 kg)
City, State, Country Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
I am a lightweight backpacker with a typical overnight pack weight of 15 lb (7 kg) and a multi-day weight of 20 lb (9 kg), which includes food and water. Because I pack less than 20 lb (9 kg), I prefer lightweight trail-running shoes. I prefer backpacking with a hammock as part of my sleep system.
MANUFACTURER Dutch Clips, LLC, South Carolina, USA
YEAR OF MANUFACTURE 2011, made in USA
MANUFACTURER'S WEBSITE www.dutchwaregear.com
MSRP $16.00 USD
Lightweight and small. Replaces a climbing carabiner to connect a hammock to suspension system.
For use on 7/64" (3 mm) diameter hollow braided Amsteel (Dyneema) line as a quick-release, fast-holding hardware connection for hammock suspension, specifically on Whoopie slings.
Specifications WHAT THEY SAY WHAT I SAY
Weight (packet) 0.12 oz (3.4 g) ea. 0.12 oz (3.4 g) ea.
Dimensions 1 x 0.625 in (2.5 x 1.6 cm) 1 x 0.625 in (2.5 x 1.6 cm)
23 MAR 2013
The DutchWare Gear Whoopie Hook is a minuscule titanium hook used with hammock suspension. The hook is designed to thread onto the adjustable loop of a 7/64" (3 mm) Whoopie Sling, or threaded onto a continuous loop that is hitched onto the end of a hammock. The hook end of the Whoopie Hook also connects to 7/64" (3 mm) Dyneema line (Amsteel).
The Whoopie Hook takes the place of a climbing-rated carabiner, used to make it easy to connect the hammock with the suspension system and tree-saving webbing straps.
One of the primary advantages of the Whoopie Hook is its weight. Made from Titanium, it is engineered to break at more than 1,000 lb (454 kg), yet it is very small and lightweight.
FIELD USE CONDITIONS
I've been using the Whoopie Hook for more than a year now, and it has served as my primary suspension on most of my trips. This includes dozens of backpacking trips through all four seasons. Here are some highlighted trips:
May 15-19, 2012: Damascus, Virginia. I participated in the Appalachian Trail Days and backpacked and camped along the Appalachian Trail every night (I only hiked about 2 miles (3 km) each day to return to town). I enjoyed the refreshing humidity and rain showers. Elevation was 2,400 ft (732 m).
Jul 15-20, 2012: Camp Geronimo, near Pine, Arizona. Summer camp with the Boy Scouts! I used the Axiom to pack my gear for this week-long camping trip. Thanks to the monsoon rain season, overnight temperature was a cool 40*F (4*C) with the high during the day in the high 60s*F (15s*C). Elevation was roughly 5,000 ft (1,500 m).
Sep 14-15, 2012: Kachina Peaks Wilderness, Flagstaff, Arizona. I joined a Venture Crew on a 20-mile (32 km) backpacking trip along the Inner Basin Trail and the Weatherford Trail. The overnight low was in the upper 30s *F (3 *C) and around 70 *F (21 *C) in the day. Elevation ranged from 8,600 to 11,300 ft (2,530 to 3,400 m).
Oct 26-27, 2012: Kachina Trail, Arizona. I went on a 13 mi (21 km) backpacking trip with my troop on the San Francisco Peaks. The high temperature was around 50*F (10*C) and the overnight low was around 30*F (-1*C). Elevation was 9,200 ft (2,800 m).
Feb 27-Mar 1, 2013: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. This was as 22 mi (35 km) backpacking trip into the canyon where we experienced more than 10,000 ft (3,050 m) of grueling elevation change. The coldest overnight temperature was 28*F (-2*C) and the high was around 62*F (17*C).
FIELD USE RESULTS
It's been hard not to be impressed with DutchWare gear: lightweight, strong, and functional. When I first got the Whoopie Hook, I was at first confused on how to use them. I had ordered a set that included the hooks already attached to the Whoopie Slings. The set also included a pair of webbing straps and a pair of continuous loops. I had to contact the manufacturer to get some idea on how to put it all together (this was before they published their how-to guide).
The continuous loop is used directly on the hammock. For hammocks with a sleeve on the ends, the loop is threaded through and hitched to itself. The loop can also be hitched around gathered fabric. The Whoopie Sling is Lark-hitched on to the webbing strap. This is opposite of how I typically use Whoopie Slings, which are typically fixed onto the hammock and the adjustable end goes out to the anchor. In this case, the Whoopie Sling and hook come from the anchor (e.g., tree), and go toward the hammock.
The Whoopie Hook can also be connected directly to the continuous loop, but it functions the same either way.
With the hook connected on the adjustable side of the Whoopie Sling, it also acts as a stopper bead, preventing the loop from collapsing onto itself. The hook also acts as a water break, allowing water to drip off the suspension if it collects enough to run down the suspension line.
Having used this setup for quite some time, I am very pleased with it. I've used the same set of Whoopie Slings and straps and I see no sign of wear due to the hooks.
The only downside of the set-up, which has nothing to do with the hooks, is that the Whoopie Slings have a fixed minimum length. This has been an issue on a few occasions when the distance between my anchor points was so close that I had to wrap the Whoopie Sling around the tree so I could set up my hammock. It made it harder to adjust the length of sling, but the hook still worked like a charm.
Along the Appalachian Trail, the Whoopie Sling/Hook set length was ideal because I was able to set up on a slope where the distance was quite far apart. I had enough adjustment to get the perfect sag in my hammock.
The Whoopie Hooks are very easy to set and release. The hooks are made with just the right diameter holes so the hook end "clips" snugly, where the sliding end is large enough to move without cutting into the line.
I found that the best way to unclip the hook is to provide tension against the line the hook is clipped to and then pull on the open hook and it pops off.
In this example, you can see the Whoopie Sling wrapped around the tree to take up the slack since the anchor points are so close together.
The Whoopie Hook is a great piece of hardware for hammock suspension. It's minimal size, light weight, and superior strength make it ideal for backpacking.
PRO--Lightweight, strong, and functional.