Originally Posted by squash
I guess the name "tree hugger" sounds like it is better for the trees, but after a night not using them I didn't see any damage on the trees at all. Not even a mark.
I get that the weight is distributed over a larger surface with tree huggers, but we aren't talking about a lot of weight here.
You're right about that, a properly tied rope suspension won't damage the bark of most trees (some soft-bark trees might be the exception.) But short-term, definitely nothing significant.
However (and there are several threads on this in the archives) the general school of thought is that using tree huggers helps demonstrate that Hammockers on the whole are Leave No Trace compliant, and will gain us all a better reputation with park rangers and other environmental officials. The problem is not with us diligent, thoughtful folks: it's with the idiots who will bring screw-in eyebolts to public parks, stick them into trees, and get ALL hammocks banned.
That said, I love the simplicity of tree straps over rope. I've got good knot skills, but I find that the straps are just dead simple. I keep ring buckles on my loaner hammocks, and have whoopies on my personal rig. Love 'em both, but the whoopies are lighter and frankly... WAY cooler!