I got my Hitchcraft minis the other day. They are impressive little devices. I'm still hanging with webbing/cinch buckle on the head end and have been using the nylon cleat on the foot end with no problems. But the last few days I have substituted the HC on the foot end for comparison testing.
1st impressions: Disadvantage: moving the HC on the rope is similar to moving the fig 9s. Not a big deal, but a little extra time is consumed changing it to the correct position on the rope when you move to a new hang spot. I found the nylon cleat both faster and easier to move on the rope. With both, I probably make this harder than it needs to be because after things are tightened up adequately, I want the cleat or Hitchcraft right next to the tree hugger/biner. So that I can add a backup hitch with very little slack, in case something breaks. So, I need it positioned fairly precisely on the rope. And the cinch buckle is fastest of all at this task, as I just wrap the webbing, clip the biner around webbing and tighten buckle.
1: stronger rating than the cleat at about the same weight or less as the cleat or buckle. At 250 lb "safe working load", with breaking load unspecified but much higher. Is it strong enough? Don't know, probably. Is it as strong as the buckle? Probably not, but again, I don't know. I don't have a safe "working" rating for the buckle.
2: This is the champ of the 3 at easy tightening ability. With the 3-1 leverage, you can swiftly and easily apply great tension to the line. Once you have it where you need it on the rope, It is actually faster and easier to tighten than the cinch buckle, IMO, which can occasionally twist ( for me anyway ) either at the webbing/buckle or rope/buckle. ( some of this twisting may be my fault due to poor rope prussick, but it's not an issue with the HC).
3: Easier to loosen than the others. It's pretty darn fast and easy to loosen the cleats, but the HC may be even a little easier. I know a lot of people here have no trouble loosening the buckles after laying in it, but for some reason I always have trouble after I tighten the ridge line. Most especially of any twisting has occurred. So for me, since I have been using the cleat on the foot end, it's always just easier to first loosen at the cleat if I have to make an adjustment. But the HC is the champ at loosening.
So, this device is a definite contender in the suspension wars as far as I'm concerned. Per manufacturer, .7 or .8 ozs. Time will tell if it is strong enough, but it sure seems to be.
Now for the real purpose of this thread. It is very easy to tighten with this HC, even to over tighten. Now I realize that almost every one here is in the "really tighten the HH" school of thought, as I have been also. I think most of these opinions were formed before we started using suspensions that make tightening easier. And I think at least one of the reasons for this tendency among us is to control that darn bug net, to keep it out of our faces. However, a question has arisen lately if the rash of broken stock HH ridge-lines could be related to this new ability to really tighten things up. As far as I know, that question is unresolved.
Anyway, yesterday I am hiking deep in the woods at Trace State Park and I step off the trail to set up stealth style (HH with Undercover which mostly stays on it) and play with the HCs. I tighten things up pretty good. I didn't realize it was all that much more than normal, but again, it's really easy to apply the tension with these HC's, much like a trucker's hitch. I sit down in the HH, and the first thing I notice is the sensation of an uncomfortable center ridge that I am sitting on. I remember I have noticed that in the past, and I may have blamed it on the UC, but I have not noticed it in a long time. So forget that for now. I lay down, and for the first time ever in an HH, I notice a bit of shoulder squeeze, like when I hang the Speer without enough sag! This is definitely not the normal HH situation. This ( shoulder squeeze) has never happened before. Could it be that I actually managed to stretch the ridge line, hopefully only temporarily? So I get out and loosen the HC up about 1". That made a big difference. I experiment for a few minutes with some different (less) tensions, all of which are better than the first by a good bit.
Then I make a major discovery, or at least something to put some major thought on. I keep thinking of a comment Warbonnetguy said about hanging higher on the tree rather than tightening so much. So I move the webbing/huggers up from about head height to a good foot or more( maybe closer to 2 ft.) above my head. Then I tighten up what I judge to be a reasonable amount, but definitely less than I have been doing in the past, to about the same height as the top of my head, almost. Just enough to get the ridge-line pretty straight, about fully extended, but no torque beyond that. I sit in the hammock. The first thing I notice is that I'm sitting there with my feet above the ground. Apparently the higher tree attachment point did more to prevent sag than did a lower attachment point and tightening the devil out of it. The 2nd thing noticed is no uncomfortable ridge under me and, for maybe the first time, I am able to sit in the bottom entrance of the HH without it trying to amputate my legs. It is fairly comfortable now sitting there taking off or putting on my shoes. This is usually very uncomfortable, especially with shorts like I had on yesterday, with the Velcro digging in my legs. I believe this aspect was a major deal breaker or Frolicking Dino.
Now for the biggie. I lay down. Eureka! A definite increase in comfort compared to my normal HH comfort, which is normally more comfy than my Speer unless I have a very large amount of sag in the Speer. I shift slightly to the diagonal, and I am almost completely flat with no hyper-extension of my knees. I routinely slept with something under my knees during my week in the Olympics, but the way things were going yesterday, I don't think I would need that. And for the first time ever, I am able to actually lay on my side, even with my legs fairly extended, with reasonable comfort. I haven't had much success with side position in the past, there was always just the slightest bend in my spine which could not be tolerated for very long. But this was definitely more comfy on the side, though I can't say for sure if I could stay that way a long time. Maybe. Before, NO. And finally, I noticed there were more little fabric folds that served as pillows, which I sometimes had in my Speer hung loosely, but not in my HH.
So I hope you guys won't stone me for heresy, but I'm wondering if I could have been hanging my HH TOO tightly all along, and if it's a definite possibility with all of these new suspension gimmicks. Of course, all of this is simply a matter whatever works for each individual. That's the attitude I have seen from the vast majority at this board. But I just throw that out there as something to think about. I am definitely going to be experimenting with a somewhat looser hang compensated with a higher tree placement. And I remember now the original instructions with the HH were something like "tighten moderately".
Of course, that leaves the problem with the net, especially with the SS in place. It was in my face more than usual, even with the side guy-outs tight to the ground. And isn't that a major reason for the tight adjustments? One more reason to cut that sucker off. Or until I do that, I'm just going to figure out something light and inflatable to put over the ridge-line that will keep the net off of me. I did this by accident once. I had an inflatable pillow that I wasn't sure if I needed it, so I hung it over the ridge-line. All of a sudden I had a lot of room above me with the net held well out from my face. I'll figure something out. Maybe an empty platypus used for water in the day, but at night inflated with air? But while I'm trying to figure out how I want to solve the net problem, I'm going to continue to experiment with looser/higher hangs than I have been using for the last year.
At least until I see the test reports on Cannibal's double Treklight(SP?)! I'm on the verge of ordering one of those!
Somebody help me, I can't stop ordering hammock related items!