>I need something quick, easy, adjustable, and
>*strong*! By adjustable, I mean more so than just
> wrapping an extra time around the tree - if
>this is the only way to adjust tree straps, then
>the hammock may be either too loose or too tight, with no
> way to adjust in-between.
Yeah, Linda. I've got just the thing for you.
I worked this out for Bob with his new Hennessy, since his knot skills weren't very good, and it works great. Personally, I am lazy, and Tom's knot is fairly difficult to understand from the illustration on the bag, so I wanted something different. I have, though since developed my own knot, which is easier, and I don't use this method anymore because my knot is even easier, IMO. Still, it does work, and is what you are looking for.
You will need:
1 Webbing strap, 6-8 feet long.
1 tie down strap available from any auto parts store.
(We discarded the straps that came with the Hennessy because they were too short (about 36"). We have BIG trees down here in the south, and we needed something more substantial.)
Tie the carabineers to the hammock ropes as close to the hammock on the ridge line as you can. If you have a Hennessy, this means that the carabineers can be no closer to the hammock than the maximum extension of the canopy on the ridge line. (I think that's about 12 feet, depending on your model...)
Ok, now you have the carabineers tied to the hammock. Now get your webbing strap. Tie loops in both ends using a double figure of eight knot in the ends of the webbing strap. In other words, fold 10 inches or so of the strap together and tie an overhand knot.
Now you have the Carabineers tied to the hammock, and loops in your webbing.
Next we need a tie down strap, such as this:
There are actually two types of tie down straps. Ratcheting and non-ratcheting. I used the non-ratcheting type, because they are lighter. The first thing you notice about tie down straps is that they are extremely heavy. This is because of the steel S hooks on each end. Cut the S hooks off and discard. The webbing and tensioning device are very light, as you will notice. (3-4 ounces?) You will be left with the tensioning device and a length of webbing. Cut 18 inches or so off the webbing, and tie it to the back of the tensioning device, then tie a loop on the other end so that you have some place to clip the carabineer. Feed the long piece of webbing you have left into the tensioner, then tie a loop in the other end just like the loops you tied above.
Now you have the carabineers tied to the hammock, a long piece of webbing with loops, a tensioning device with a loop on the back side, and a long piece of webbing fed into the tensioner with a loop on the far end.
Now you can set up that hammock in less than 60 seconds and tie no knots. Find 2 trees of an appropriate diameter about 15 feet or so apart.
Unroll hammock between trees. Wrap webbing with two loops around tree #1 as many times as you can and still clip the carabineer between the two loops. Clip carabineer #1 to loops. Move to tree #2. Pass long webbing strap w/loop end around tree. pass tensioning device through loop. Pull until the large lasso loop you have just made pulls tight to the tree. Clip carabineer #2 to webbing loop on back of tensioning device. Grasp loose end of webbing in tensioning device and pull tight.
Voila! Done with no knots tied. If the hammock stretches a little, and there is some slack in your ridgeline, simply grasp the loose end of the webbing in the tensioner and pull it tight. If you have used the ratcheting type of tensioner, which is heavier, just crank it tight. No need to untie knots and retie. To break it down, depress the lever on the tensioning device and then unclip the carabineers. If you wind up between two trees that are too far apart, and have no other options, you can untie and retie one or both of the carabineers, but with enough webbing in the tensioner
(10' or so) you won't have any problems.
>Also, I'd like some straps (and this can be a
>different brand or set-up) that will support the weight
>of 3 people in the hammock. I know that when I go
> backpacking, it'll just be me in the hammock, but
>lots of times I go car camping with bunches of
>friends, and we pile two-three people in the hammock on a regular basis.So I need something that'll support, say,
> 500 lbs or more.
This is a real no-no. I'm not aware of any commercial camping hammock that is rated to 500 pounds. This is a bad accident waiting to happen. Tell folks to get their own hammocks, and hang them individually.