Improved Knot For Hammocks Using Webbing
An improvement in the Classic Ed Speer 4 Wrap Knot
Ed Speer, in his classic "Hammock Camping" shows instructions for tying a "four wrap knot"
. The knot begins by taking 1 inch webbing around a tree.(A live 4 inch diameter tree is considered the best hammock hanging tree). Once the strap is around the tree, it is folded back around the tree several times. The knot is strongest when the wrappings of the tree are one top of one another, so the strap's friction is acting on the strap and not on the tree itself.
In this picture, the first wrap has been completed and I am about to take the strap on the far side of the tree for the second wrap.<br>
To the right, I have just finished my third wrap of this tree. I look at the remaining webbing and decide to stop at three wrap. I make a little gap between the last wrap and the rest of the knot so I can bring the free end up through the hole you see in the picture.
Here, the free end has been brought through the hole and has made a single half hitch. This is where the difference between the classic four wrap knot begins. In the Speer knot, the half hitch would not have been made. Instead, the free end would have been taken back around the tree again, tucking the strap under several of the previous wraps. I find the classic method takes a little longer and is just a bit less secure. It is a lot less secure if the tree is not at least 3 inches in diameter. The knot I show here is secure even if the tree is smaller.
Next, the free end is brought back up to the hammock strap, and a second half hitch is made just to the left of the first half hitch. Instead of pulling the strap all the way through, an easy release loop is made. This will allow very easy untying of the knot in the morning, even if the strap is wet and your fingers are cold.
One real advantage of the modified knot is keeping the hammock dry in rain. I use hammock tubes to keep my hammock dry, But with webbing, the end of the tube can leak a little through the strap. If the free end of the webbing is brought back up to the webbing near the hammock (and under a tarp) it can be attached with a single overhand knot. Any water running down the webbing from a rain storm wets the free end of the webbing and runs down the drip loop without getting the hammock wet. This is easier than hanging socks or strings from the cord as a drip loop and keeps those spare socks dry instead of soaked with the night's rain!
I hope you enjoy this new trick in hanging the hammock. Please remember that hammock knots have been known to slip. Safety should always come first. Never hang your hammock over any sharp object or over any ground you would not be safe to land on if the knot releases. I have never had this knot release (not true of the four wrap knot) but there is a first time for everything. Test the knots gently every time you tie them, before climbing in the hammock.