I had to break this into more than one post due to length considerations - Sorry to make it so long :rolleyes:
Note: I've written this not to persuade anybody to use a certain suspension method or to change the method they are currently using. I am writing this simply because I have not seen any real comparison of the various methods used for hanging a hammock in terms of the carry weight involved.
Since I was curious about this myself, I decided to compile what I knew and do such a comparison. If it helps somebody to understand the options available, then it will have served the same purpose it served for me.
I've tried almost all of the hammock suspension methods. All except the CC buckles. However, I have used the ring buckles extensively and consider the two to be very similar in use.
I finally decided to do an analysis of the various methods which I know about and see how the methods compared.
I originally posted this analysis on Sgt Rock's Hiking Hq site. Now that I am back from a long sojourn and before I undertake my next shortly, I have updated the analysis with leasons learned since the original posting and decided to post on the Hammock Forums.
The most basic lesson learned is simply that for the carabiner hitch described below, I do not need the carabiner hitch on both suspension ropes, only one. For the other suspension rope I use an SMC ring girth hitched to the tree hugger. This reduces the weight and complexity. The K.I.S.S. principle in action.
Also, I have modified the Carabiner Hitch in that I originally girth hitched the carabiner to the suspension rope. I have found through experience that the girth hitch is more than is needed and that it can be difficult to untie after it has been loaded for several hours.
I have replaced the girth hitch with simple wraps. I wrap the small end of the carabiner 4 times with the last wrap laid on top of the previous wraps. The last wrap secures the previous wraps from slipping. The rope is then run through the carabiner to the tree.
The wrapping technique has some great advantages:
The Carabiner hitch requires the use of tree huggers, either webbing or rope tree huggers depending on your philosophical relationship with trees.
As regards tree huggers, I know that many people hate tree huggers. However, I simply have two words regarding tree huggers:
Anybody that is familiar with pine trees and hammocks will immediately recognize the wisdom of keeping anything that touches the tree far away from the hammock. If you know nothing of pine sap, consider yourself lucky. Enough said.
For this analysis I have compared the following methods:
7. zig zag cleat. This method was first introduced by ALHikerGal on the hammock forums. It uses a marine zig zag cleat made of nylon. The rating on the cleat is fairly low, but the forces are largely canceled by the method in which the cleat is used. The largest forces left are shear forces and experience indicates that the cleat is able to handle the forces okay. The lowest price I could find for the cleats is at Cabela's.
The zig zag cleat is used in a manner similar to the Carabiner Hitch and can proved the same 3:1 mechanical advantage when done properly.
The cleat is secured to the suspension rope in the same position as the carabiner of the Carabiner Hitch by weaving the rope in a zig zag manner through the cleats. The rope is then run to the tree hugger and back and secured by running the rope through the cleats again, but on the opposite sides of the cleats.
As with the Carabiner Hitch, only one cleat is really necessary. The technique for utilizing the cleat is entirely analogous to the Carabiner Hitch.
As with the Carabiner Hitch method, I have assumed the use of 1 SMC descending ring with each tree hugger.
8. CC buckle. This method uses a buckle used in the Crazy Creek hammocks, hence the name. Just Jeff is the first that I know to use the CC buckle on a hammock other than the Crazy Creek hammock. The buckle was first obtained directly from Crazy Creek by Just Jeff, but another source is now the most popular.
I have assumed that the CC buckle is attached to the end of the hammock using a 24" length of 2.8 mm Spyderline.
The CC buckle is used in a manner exactly like that of the ring buckle.
The webbing used has a loop on one end through which a carabiner is clipped. The looped end is passed around the tree, the carabiner is clipped back onto the webbing. The free end is then run to the CC buckle and secured.
The carabiner serves exactly the same pruposes as for the ring buckle. Also, as for the ring buckle, the webbing need not be undone from the CC buckle once threaded when the carabiner is used.
Note that a CC buckle is normally used on both ends of the hammock. I imagine that one one CC buckle could be used on one end and the suspension webbing on the other end of the hammock could be secured by tying a knot, but I have not read of anybody doing this.
Note: in order to compare apples to apples, I have also included the option of using an SMC descending ring on the loop end of the webbing instead of the heavier carabiner.
9. Hitchcraft Rope Tie. This method uses a device invented recently and marketed on the Hitch Craft web site. I have used this method, but it requires a suspension rope with a larger diameter than the 2.8 mm Spyderline assumed for the other rope suspension analysed. The Hitchcraft Rope Tie comes in 2 sizes, Mini and Monster. Some people have reported using the Mini rope tie with success. I tried one using 1/8" diameter Spyderline and can attest to the fact that it will not work for me on that diameter suspension rope. The 1/8" diameter suspension rope ripped through the Mini and burned out a channel at the bottom of the cleat rendering it useless for further use. In my correspondence with the inventor he warned about concentrated forces using small diameter rope. He was right.
The ground rules for my analysis:
Weight Comparison:[*]Knot - no carabiner or ring
Summary Weight Ranking (low to high -- Total suspension weight listed): Again note that I have omitted the use of 2 Carabiner Hitches, 2 zig-zag cleats or 2 rope ties from the summary since the use of 2 is simply not necessary and only serves to provide un-necessary data in the summary. Also, I have included in the summary only those configurations which I have used or which I believe I have read of people using. Thus, the use of the SMC rings with either the ring or CC buckles has not been included below.
HF == Harbor Freight Webbing
SW == Strapworks webbing
The simple knot method with or without SMC descending rings on the tree hugger is by far the lightest option available and the CC Buckle method is the heaviest suspension method examined. There are other variations not listed here, e.g., ring version of carabiner hitch with no ring or carabiner on the tree hugger or the Carabiner Htch with carabiner and carabiners on the tree huggers.
For convenience of use and light weight the SMC descending ring version of the Carabiner hitch wins at 4.20 oz total suspension weight.
The Carabiner Hitch using the carabiner for the hitch and SMC rings on the tree huggers wins the ease of use with least weight.
Since I am pretty sure the CC buckle is almost exactly the same as the Ring buckle for ease of use, and I have extensively used the Ring buckle, I can say with considerable authority that the Carabiner Hitch method is as easy to use as either the Ring buckle or CC buckle.
Of course, I am sure that the CC buckle adherents will say that not having to tie a slipped half hitch after the buckle makes the CC buckle easier to use than the ring buckle. I am unconvinced, but each to her or his own.
The heaviest suspension using rope suspension is the single HtchCraft Rope Tie due to the need for the 3.8 mm Spyderline.
As soon as a buckle and webbing are used the weight jumps due to the high weight of the webbing. The jump in weight is most dramatic for the Strapworks webbing. The webbing that is used for either buckle is the heaviest component of any suspension.
The ring buckle and CC buckle weight are so close as to probably not really matter except to those fanatic about tenths of an ounce. Hencde for those trying to decide between either the ring or CC buckle, my advice would be to try both and decide which appeals to you if you are inclined to the use of webbing.
Note: I have noticed that Strapworks has recently added 1" seatbelt webbing to their offerings. I have had a chance to try it and it is excellent webbing. I especially like the black as opposed to the Harbor Freight bright yellow and I have switched to the Strapworks 1" seatbelt webbing.
However, the above analysis still holds substituting the 1" seatbelt webbing for the Harbor Freight webbing since they are almost the same weight with the Strapworks 1" seatbelt webbing being a few hundredths of an oz heavier per foot.
In essence the webbing offers a lot of convenience, but the weight penalty is high also. The Carabiner Hitch using modern line is as convenient and as easy to use and a lot lighter. Those who detest tree huggers and like the webbing suspension because the suspension and tree hugger are integrated into a single unit will probably still prefer the webbing fore the reason alone. Until they have to hang in a pine forest.
Also, as stated above, I have found that the carabiner hitch is just as easy and convenient to use as the double ring buckle (and hence the CC buckle) and the carabiner hitch doesn't carry, pun intended, the weight penalty of the webbing.
I have pretty much come full circle on rings and webbing. I started with the Hennessy lashing and got frustrated with the lashing pretty quickly. It was and is frustrating to wrap the lashing and then have to undo all of the wraps to center the hammock between the trees and then re-do again to re-tighten the suspension after things have stretched out a bit.
I went from the simple knot to webbing and cam locking buckles for the sake of convenience and then to the ring buckles to save weight over the cam buckles and because I couldn't find a reliable rating for the cam buckles. At the time I thought nothing of the weight, i.e., I just didn't take the time to figure how much that system weighed. After carrying it too many times, I decided to figure out just how much the weight penalty really is. I was really surprised by just how much webbing really weighs. Especially in relationship to rope of equal rating.
2.88 mm Spyderline: 0.072 oz/ft, 1,200 lbsf breaking strength
1" polyester webbing: 0.223 oz/ft, 1,500 lbsf breaking strength
1" polyester webbing: 0.390 oz/ft, 3,500 lbsf breaking strength
1" polyester seatbelt webbing: 0.26 oz/ft, rating not clearly stated on web site
The webbing is 3.5 times heavier than the Spyderline for almost equivalent breaking strengths. Of course we are using very different materials, polyester webbing versus Dyneema. Dyneema is noted for it's light weight and high strength.
So what have I learned from this?
I am dropping the use of all suspension devices except carabiners for the Carabiner Hitch and SMC descending rings with the tree huggers. The only webbing I will be using is the tree huggers. At 0.78 oz each, 1.56 oz total, I can manage and spare the trees when needed.
I have switched totally to my Bridge Hammock. My suspension is now configured as follows:
A 3/4" ID stainless steel ring is equal in weight to an SMC descending ring.
The Bridge Hammock is then suspended from the 3/4" ID Stainless Steel rings, giving me a 10' ridge line.
I use the Carabiner hitch described above. I like pulling my suspension moderately tight to tight and like the 3:1 mechanical advantage afforded by this method which makes the process easier. I can hang the combined suspension and ridge line. When I have that positioned, I then hang the hammock from the Stainless Steel rings. Simple, convenient, easy and and efficient.
I have reduced the weight carried in the hammock suspension from 8.376 oz to 4.80 oz, or 4.20 oz if I decide to use the ring version of the Carabiner Hitch. I have cut the weight of my suspension from the ring buckles almost in half and have done so with no sacrifice in ease or convenience of use.
Volume comparison ranked low to high: (volumes expressed cubic inches)
The Harbor Freight webbing suspension wins the volume comparison. The Strapworks webbing suspension occupies the most volume in the pack.
My dream tree huggers: Spyderline!!! If I could only use Spyderline or any modern small diameter, say 3 mm, dyneema rope as a tree hugger. Low weight and low volume.
Or if I could find 1" wide dyneema webbing with a thickness low enough to bring the weight down comparable to the 2.8 mm Spyderline. By my calculations, the thickness would be approximately 1.1 mm. Comparable to the Harbor Freight webbing in thickness. Seems like that should be acheivable with modern fibers. Then I would have low weight and strength in a tree hugger. Those who prefer the webbing suspension should appreciate that also.
Thus, using suspension lengths of 10' for both the webbing and rope suspensions, approximately equal tree separations could be handled.
Finis -- :D
Hope this is useful to the members.
Wow! What a great study and report. My Gram Weenie friends will be thrilled to know these weights.
Last trip my Gram Weenie friend decided he didn't need anything but tree huggers and rope. Well, he forgot his tree huggers and borrowed mine, then he was about twenty minutes getting his hammock to hang correctly enough to be low enough for him to get into it and high enough to keep him off the ground once he did get into it.
Honestly, I think he did it on purpose to entertain the rest of us. He is such a ham, he will do anything for a laugh, and we laughed. Mule
I'm glad you posted this article on hammock forums. I just finished (tonight as a matter of fact) a trucker's hitch system using 1 SMC descending ring (per side), a tree hugger, and 1/8" Amsteel Blue for the line. I took a lot of lessons from your write-up on Hiking HQ.
I have yet to step the system up and use it but I will take some pics when I do.
Thank you so much, it is nice to have a list/ comparison in one post/thread
Nice article.... lot of work .... You are to be commended.
You missed the latest alternative for the all webbing approach.... The JRB Tri-Glide.
Using your 10 foot lengths and the stated weights the JRB Tri-Glide, at 11 grams each, would be at
6a JRB Tri-Glide and 10' webbing HF 5.25 SW 8.57
Decisively lighter than all other webbing only alternatives.
Thanks for the article.
Glad you mentioned tree sap. I'm also stuck using tree huggers because of it.
I thought I was set on the cc buckle and webbing approach, but the carabiner hitch sure looks good (cheaper too).
Tried the method with some paracord I had lying around. I found I let the rope slip a bit when securing the rope back to carabiner while trying to do the clove hitch with the threading method. Not much, but a little bit.
I heard most people were using the 3.8mm spyder line. Is the 2.8mm good enough (1900 vs 1200 tensile strength, lbsf I think) for our application, and easy to retie the Hennessy knot (replacing my stock HH Expedition rope)?
One draw with the cinch buckle was the ease and centering of the hammock. Easy to tighten each end by a little and then give it a final tighten on each end. This one might need more fiddling, but seems easy enough to do. I guess an extra slip hitch on each side instead of just pulling on straps.
Last thing. If using just 1 carabiner hitch, how much more rope do you recommend on that side compared to the side with just a ring?
Sorry for all the questions. I kinda have to get this right on the first try as I can't find Canadian supplies and have to ship things from the States.
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