Re: the buckles, just don't hang it so tightly and you'll have no problem loosening it. You should try to have the webbing (or whoopies) be somewhere around 30* anyway...then the buckles won't lock down tight.
But if you already switched to whoopies then it's not an issue.
I have small zipper pulls on mine...but the gripe is still valid. Even with the pulls, they're still pretty small to find in the middle of the night. I have some cord pulls I've been meaning to put on there. Might do that as I unpack from this latest trip.
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