I had a fabulous Labor Day weekend in own my back yard, experimenting with dozens of ideas that have come to me while lazing about in sunny, forest hammocks. I'll post two messages, this one to describe my new favorite hanging system, and another to describe a new ring-adjustment technique.
As background, remember that I use tropical hammocks almost exclusively. By "tropical hammock" I mean a one- or two-layer hammock with a casing in each end. The hammock is hung by rope or webbing that runs through the casing. In my mind, "tropical hammock" includes my favorite commercial brand, the Mosquito Hammock, which also has an attached mosquito netting system.
Anyway, here's my latest evolution of a hanging system.
The hammock cord is replaced with a a two-foot length of cord tied into a closed loop. The loop extends one foot beyond the end of the hammock. A 2-inch ring is attached to this cord by a lark's head hitch. (This ring is optional. It serves as a drip ring and minimizes wear on the hammock and tree ropes.)
The tree ropes are two twenty-foot lengths of 3/8-inch polypropylene rope with braided sheath. Each has a loop tied in one end. A 2-inch ring is attached to this loop by a lark's head hitch. (Again, the ring is optional. This one not only saves rope wear, but makes it easier to build the rope " cradle.")
To hang the hammock, start by attaching the tree ropes.
Position the tree rope loop so it's pointing to the other tree. The tree rope goes around the tree as you'd expect, but each time you get to the loop (or ring), you pass the rope through the ring and reverse your winding direction. This produces a " cradle" of rope that bears the entire load more evenly than winding in one direction would.
When there are about three feet of rope left, stop winding, pass the bitter end through the tree rope ring one last time, then loop the bitter end through the hammock rope loop or ring. Tie the bitter end back onto the tree rope with a taut-line hitch. This hitch won't bear any load. It's temporary -- for initial adjustments only. Do the same for the other end.
Adjust the hammock by sliding the taut-line hitches. When you get the right position, replace the taut-line hitches with Hennessey hitches around the hammock ring.
That's it. The benefits of this method are ones I've sought for a long time.
1. My hammock/drip rings are always in the same place -- under my tarp, so no rain can fall directly on them or on the hammock ropes. (I use an 8-foot square tarp on the diagonal, so the length from corner to corner is about 11 feet.)
2. All the adjustment for tree diameter and spacing is handled by the tree ropes.
3. I can fiddle with centering and tension without having to undo and redo too many knots.
4. It can all be done with just cord and knots (but the rings make it better).
I tried the same system with 1-inch polypro webbing, and it works just as well that way.
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