Quote Originally Posted by bear bag hanger View Post
Maybe slightly off topic here. But only a little. I think the damage tents do to the ground is, maybe, about equal to the damage we do to the trees. Below is my opinion, I haven't spent a lot of time formally studying this.

I've been using hammocks for about five or six years now. During my 2004 AT thru hike, I talked to several rangers, of interest is one in the Smokies and another one in the New Hampshire Whites. Both mentioned they do not ticket people using hammocks in the wrong places, but not to tell anyone where I heard it.

On the other hand, I've observed my own hammock does damage to the trees I hang on, even it it's just a little. I use one inch stapping to minimize this damage, but it's still there. I have tried using two inch wide tree savers, but still noticed as much damage as the narrower straps. Early on, I noticed rope does a whole lot more damage and shouldn't be used.

Usually, when I come into a campsite, I can tell which trees have been used for hanging. I also can see when a tree gets used a lot. It will eventually kill the tree. I think a single tree can be used several times a year without harm, but when it gets used several times a week, all the time, it will die. I don't think anyone has ever done a study to see how many times a tree can be used before permanent damage is done. Even the hard bark trees will die if used too much. I've also observed that when a tent tamps down the grass, etc. it comes back pretty fast if not used over and over again.

I've been reading other threads about hammock stands, but still haven't seen anything remotely useable for backpacking. If we start getting a large percentage of campers using hammocks, this may be our only salvation.

I still, of course, use my hammock. Tents aren't exactly great for the environment either. But, let's not kid ourselves into thinking we don't hurt anything when we go out there.

OK, let the flames begin ...
not flaming, but i can't say that i agree w/ your acessment my friend<G>.
i don't have trees in the best places to use regularly in my back yard, but i've herd of others talk about using the same trees in their yard on a fairly regular basis w/ no sign of stress on the trees.

this is an area that could use a lot more research (collecting precise & useful data), but my basic thoughts at this time are that just like staying warm, there are a number of variables...
type of tree
size of tree
age of tree
condition of tree
type of hammock support
method of attaching hammock support to tree
amount of sag
weight of the loaded hammock
how much swinging the hammocker does

there are more no doubt but that's a start<G>.