RE: Hammock Camping Methods of securing hammocks to trees
MessageTim, the method of attaching hammocks to trees raises several concerns. Obviously tying/untying knots with cold fingers is best avoided if possible. Another major concern of mine is possible damage to the trees themselves. Now days, everyone is an environmentalist and many people's first question is "What about damage to the trees?" It's critical that we NOT damage the trees, or else hammock use will be prohibited on public lands (many State and Federal Parks already prohibit tying anything to trees, especially at campgrounds). I've spent considerable time discussing this with the Leave No Trace organization, who actually endorse my hammocks. Most, but not all modern camping hammocks today avoid the small-diameter ropes that can greatly damage trees by stretching excessively and even rolling down the tree when loaded.I solve the cold finger and tree damage concerns by using 1" wide low-stretch webbing straps and wrapping them several times around the tree in such a way that a typical knot is unnecessary. The webbing is wraped around the tree so that each wrap goes in the opposite direction of the previous wrap; the webbing tightens against itself and the tree w/ enough friction to hold the hammock without a knot! To un-attach the webbing, simply undo the wraps. It's simple and solves both problems completely. There is a picture sequence in my book. I'm working on a simple diagram sketch that will be easier to post online....Ed-----Original Message-----
From: tcoug7 <tcoug7@...> [mailto:tcoug7@...]
Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 2:23 PM
Subject: Hammock Camping Methods of securing hammocks to trees
I know there are several methods out there being employed to secure
your hammocks to trees. I use a Hennessey, and with it comes 'tree
huggers', which are nylon straps that are wrapped around the tree to
protect the trees bark. The hammock is attached to the tree huggers
by passing the line from the hammock through the loops on the ends of
the huggers. It is finished off with a kind of loose figure 8 and
two half-hitches. I know a lot of people include quick releases and
so forth, but I'll tell you my problem: Two weekends ago, I was
trying to set up my hammock w/ temp in single digits (that's as close
as I trust my little thermometer). My hands were freezing, since I
had been fairly stationary for several hours. Well, to tie the
knots, I HAVE to take my gloves off, which of course led to really
cold and stiff hands, which of course led to decrease in dexterity,
and in the end, a hell of a time getting my knots tied.
So, I am looking into alternatives. I have some ideas regarding
caribiners. I am also entertaining the use of a truckers hitch as a
way of providing a quick solution to not only securing but also
tightening the hammock line. It would also be very quick to undo for
readjustments. I have read here that Ed came up with a different
approach w/ his hammocks - Ed, a pic would really help here if
Any thoughts, ideas, etc welcome.
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> The hammock is attached to the tree huggersWhy do you HAVE to take the gloves off? I have no trouble tying up the
> by passing the line from the hammock through the
> loops on the ends of the huggers. It is finished
> off with a kind of loose figure 8 and two half-
> hitches. ...
> Well, to tie the knots, I HAVE to take my gloves
> off, which of course led to really cold and stiff
> hands, which of course led to decrease in dexterity,
> and in the end, a hell of a time getting my knots
Hennessy with heavy gloves and liners on, and I have even tied it in
For reference, check:
> So, I am looking into alternatives. I have someI have various setups using webbing and 'biners. Here's an old message that
> ideas regarding carabineers. I am also entertaining
> the use of a truckers hitch as a way of providing a
> quick solution to not only securing but also
> tightening the hammock line. It would also be very
> quick to undo for readjustments.
describes one such system:
Well, what you see in the picture, and what I just invented are two
different things, but both work well.
The picture is this, for those of you just tuning in:
What you see in the picture are three pieces of webbing, two carabineers,
and the hammock. On the right is the long piece of webbing - about 5' long
after the knots are tied. (Knots are tied like this double figure of eight,
pictured on this page:
This is to go around larger trees. For smaller trees, wrap twice. Clip
carabineer through loops. On the left side are actually two pieces of
webbing, 3' long after the knots are tied (as above). One short piece can
be used around a small tree, or the two pieces can be looped together (as
they are here) to make a longer piece to go around a larger tree or to give
extra length (as they do here). Clip carabineer through loops. Unroll
hammock, clip hammock to carabineers, and you're done.
This system uses no knots, but has no adjustment. You have to find trees
more or less the right distance apart - which isn't hard to do down here in
the south. You could retie the loops and have all the adjustment you like,
I am just too damn lazy... At the end of the day, I want to make camp NOW.
I want to make camp and be cooking my dinner in less than five minutes.
With this rig, setup is less than a minute. The ridgeline can be strung and
the tarp and/or bug net put up or not depending on conditions. I can stop
and be ready with a hot dinner in ten minutes - which is a tremendous plus
in the cold. Camp chores are just that - chores - and I'd prefer to get on
doing other things, like dancing naked in the rain...
What I've come up with recently, is this: You can adjust the tension
instantly with no fear of slippage. I just worked this out for Bob with his
new Hennessy, since his knot skills aren'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. The method
below is a little different from what I posted a few weeks ago.
You will need:
Hennessy Hammock w/ropes. (Any hammock will do. Some hammocks don't have
ropes, they have loops, which will work just as well - just clip the
'carabineers in the loops.) 2 Carabineers (you can find 35 gram careeners)
1" Webbing strap, 15 feet long. 1 tie down strap available from any auto
(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 your hammock has loops instead of a rope, just
clip the carabineers to the loops.) 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, for the
Safari...) You will have a lot of excess rope. If you are REALLY brave,
you can cut the excess off - but DON'T do this until AFTER you have set the
hammock up and tensioned the tarp for the first time to make sure you have
enough distance between the carabineers.
Ok, now you have the carabineers tied to the hammock, or the carabineers
clipped to the loops. Now get your webbing strap. Cut it in half, then cut
14 inches off one piece. You'll now have three pieces. Singe all cut ends
with a cigarette lighter or other fire source so that the ends don't fray.
On the middle piece, 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.
<http://www.realknots.com/knots/sloops.htm> On the long piece, tie only one
end with the double figure of eight loop, and leave the other end untied.
The loops, when you are done, should be 3-4 inches. If you have, or know
someone with, a saddle stitcher, you could stitch the loops instead of tying
the knots - but remember that your whole weight will be depending on those
stitches not to drop you on your butt at night...
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, available at any auto-parts
store. 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. Discard EVERYTHING except the tensioning device. We used the
webbing that came with the tie down strap at first, but then it broke. It
was very thin and flimsy... The tensioning device are very light, as you
will notice. (3-4 ounces?) Take the 14" piece of webbing and pass it
around the back bar (non-adjusting side) of the tensioning device, then tie
a water knot to make a loop.
<http://brmrg.med.virginia.edu/knots/water.html> This loop is where you will
clip one of the carabineers. Feed the untied end of the long piece of
webbing into the tensioner.
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. Just remember not to pull it TOO tight. You can break the
ridgeline in a Hennessy like this. Most hammocks sleep better with a little
To break it down, depress the lever on the tensioning device, release some
slack, and then unclip the carabineers. If you wind up between two trees
too far apart, tie a figure of eight loop on the end of the Hammock rope,
pass that through the webbing loops, then clip the carabineer to the rope
loop. If you wind up between two trees that are WAY 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. Of course, if you have cut the excess rope off, you won't have
either of those two options. You can use shorter pieces of webbing if the
trees where you hike are small, or if you are willing to find smaller trees
the right distance apart.
I promise to have pictures of all of this soon... I took them all last
> Why do you HAVE to take the gloves off? I have no trouble tying up
> Hennessy with heavy gloves and liners on, and I have even tied it inhttp://www.theplacewithnoname.com/hiking/sections/gear/shelter/hknot.h
> For reference, check:
>Yeah, this is the classic HH knot. I had wool liners and overmittens
on and couln't do the over-around-through-tighten routine well.
Maybe it's just me. Anyone else out there have problems? I do a lot
of work outside, and usually end up ripping off my gloves -
especially mittens. Normally, this isn't a problem because I'm nice
and toasty. But, I had been not doing much except to take in the
views for quite some time. (Actually, was actively engaging in a
discussion on religion. I think you would have enjoyed it too!)
> I have various setups using webbing and 'biners. Here's an oldmessage that
> describes one such system:I remember this when you posted it.
<really did some snipping>
> Tie the carabineers to the hammock ropes as close to the hammock onthe
> ridge line as you can. (If your hammock has loops instead of arope, just
> clip the carabineers to the loops.)This I like...
>tree #1 as
> Unroll hammock between trees. Wrap webbing with two loops around
> many times as you can and still clip the carabineer between the twoloops.
This I like too....
> Clip carabineer #1 to loops.I have a suggestion here. Check this out:
What I propose is wrap strap #2 around tree. Clip 'beener #2 to
loops. Now, Take ridge line rope, put loop in it, either by pic or
just a quick twist, and feed through beener. Feed working end
through loop and pull tight (not too tight, because you've just
created a 2:1 mechanical advantage.) Wrap around both lines with two
half hitches, finishing the second with quick release.
If you have the type of hammock with loops, caribeener will be
attached. So, run a line through straps and through beener. OR,
Just another twist on your idea...
>Pretty dam good, I'd say! My suggestion may eliminate the tie down
> How's that?
is all. Since I haven't actually tried it yet, it might not work
anyways. Plus, I've got to get my hands pretty cold if we want to be
scientific about it!
How much exta weight would you say?
I think the Crazy Creek system deserves consideration too.
The salient feature is that they use a metal buckle to
control the length of a 1-inch wide strap. If you could find
similar buckles, you could clip onto the webbing, then use
the webbing to adjust the tension.
You wouldn't have the 2:1 mechanical advantage of the
trucker's hitch, though.
I'm must thinking you may experience as much difficulty with
the trucker's hitch as with the HH knot.
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "David Chinell"
> Tim:Got a pic??
> I think the Crazy Creek system deserves consideration too.
> The salient feature is that they use a metal buckle toDo you mean like Shanes?
> control the length of a 1-inch wide strap. If you could find
> similar buckles, you could clip onto the webbing, then use
> the webbing to adjust the tension.
>I don't really need it. Just an idea I'm throwing out there. What
> You wouldn't have the 2:1 mechanical advantage of the
> trucker's hitch, though.
it does is it gets me away from the intersection of the webbing and
the rope and the tree. Although the recommended knot is simple, I do
find it annoying if I have to undo it to readjust tension.
>You may be right. I think its time for a little experimentation.
> I'm must thinking you may experience as much difficulty with
> the trucker's hitch as with the HH knot.
- It's dead simple. It's just like an adjustable, sliding belt
buckle, only stamped out of maybe 1/16-inch metal. Think of
a military-style BDU belt and its buckle.
The CC hammock I'm talking about is a simple hammock with a
casement at either end. The strap passes through the
casement, gets looped around the tree, then fastened and
adjusted with the buckle.
You wouldn't do that for an HH. The webbing would go around
the tree, but you'd leave a large, loose loop at the end
where the buckle is. The HH ridgeline would be clipped
(caribiner) or tied to the loop. The webbing would be
Don't hurt your head if this isn't clear.
I think Ed's straps and wrapping method would work well,
too. Except you sew a steel D-ring into one end of the
strap. Then the HH ridgeline would attach to that D-ring.
- --- In email@example.com, "tcoug7 <tcoug7@a...>"
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "David Chinell"I have a good pic of the buckle in my recent BGT report. It is the
> <dchinell@m...> wrote:
> > Tim:
> > I think the Crazy Creek system deserves consideration too.
> Got a pic??
second pic down. Like David said, It is very simple. You may need
to copy and paste the link to the address bar.
- Coy Boy:
That IS a good picture. Do you mind if I copy it for
personal use? And if anybody ever finds a source of those
buckles, PLEASE let me know. I've tried OWF and various
Internet searches, but came up empty.
From: starnescr <starnescr@...>
Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 09:34 PM
Subject: Hammock Camping Re: Methods of securing hammocks to
--- In email@example.com, "tcoug7
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "David Chinell"too.
> <dchinell@m...> wrote:
> > Tim:
> > I think the Crazy Creek system deserves consideration
>I have a good pic of the buckle in my recent BGT report. It
> Got a pic??
second pic down. Like David said, It is very simple. You
to copy and paste the link to the address bar.
That pic is compresses. I'll send you the original 640 x 480
after school. I dont have that image on this (my home desk)
computer. My wife has the laptop where I stored the pic. My home
computer will not transfer a pic from an email to desktop (for
upload purposes). I had several reports with pics on the old BGT
site which I could not include in my reports when the move was made
to the new site for this reason.
--- In email@example.com, "David Chinell"
> Coy Boy:
> That IS a good picture. Do you mind if I copy it for
> personal use? And if anybody ever finds a source of those
> buckles, PLEASE let me know. I've tried OWF and various
> Internet searches, but came up empty.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: starnescr <starnescr@y...>
> Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 09:34 PM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: Hammock Camping Re: Methods of securing hammocks to
> --- In email@example.com, "tcoug7
> <tcoug7@a...> wrote:
> > --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "David Chinell"
> > <dchinell@m...> wrote:
> > > Tim:
> > >
> > > I think the Crazy Creek system deserves consideration
> > Got a pic??
> I have a good pic of the buckle in my recent BGT report. It
> is the
> second pic down. Like David said, It is very simple. You
> may need
> to copy and paste the link to the address bar.
> Coy Boy