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6205RE: [Hammock Camping] Re: Strapping

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  • Ed Speer
    Jun 28, 2004
      This issue of proper webbing straps can be quite complex and confusing--but
      it's a good topic for our list and thanks to everyone who has posted. I
      though I might be able to help the discussion. As some of you know, In my
      Hammock Camping book I recommend using 1" heavyweight polypropylene webbing
      with breaking strength of at least 600 lbs for making your own hammock--we
      use 700 lb polypro at Speer Hammocks. The issue of safety is of critical
      concern when it comes to hanging straps and I discuss this at length in the
      book. Be aware that not all 1" polypro webbing has the same breaking
      strength--some is as little as 200 lbs! However the strength is not the
      only consideration--type of stretch is also most important; for instance
      nylon is stronger & has less stretch, but has an unsuitable type of stretch.
      I've settled on heavy-weight 1" polypro for static loads up to 250 lbs and
      1.5" polypro for loads up to 350 lbs. My original Speer Hammock has over
      4,500 hours of use--that's 560 nights! And it doen't show any sign of
      failure--the straps are still working just fine!

      It is impossible for me to evaluate the breaking strenght of webbing simply
      by looking at it. In fact, I can't even tell what it's made of simply by
      looking at it--nylon, polypro or polyster; they all look the same. While
      there are certainly lots of suitable webbings out there, I'm always looking
      for the greatest strength, lightest weight, lest bulk and proper type of
      stretch. In the book, I caution about accepting the breaking strength of
      webbing as given by salespersons--they often don't know and make up numbers
      just to get you to buy--if you don't belive this, just ask the same sales
      clerk a few months later; you're likely to get a different number. If I
      can't find the breaking or tensil strength on the original manufacturer's
      packaging, I don't buy it!

      One other point, some polyester webbing is even better than polypro or nylon
      since it is stronger and has no stretch, but it's not readily available in
      anything less than special orders of 5,000' or more. While polyester also
      comes in varying breaking strengths, I've seen some 1" w/ 960 lb strength
      that's very good--however, I no longer can get it.

      Of course, many ropes have acceptable stretch and breaking strengths, but we
      don’t use them at Speer Hammocks because round ropes can easily bruse the
      bark of young trees since they can roll or creep down the tree under load of
      the occupied hammock.

      Another caution, all webbing can be damaged by exposure to
      sunlight--polypro, nylon or polyester! Polypro is probably the best in this
      regard, but even it too should be protected as much as possible from direct

      Hope this helps....Ed
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