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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Aug 2016
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    Monroe, MI
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    Cool PCT Suspension help.

    Hey everyone,
    New to the forum. Nice to meet you all. As the title states, I am going to be thru-hiking the PCT next year (4 1/2 months from now). On this thru-hike, I will have my wife accompanying me. She has a 2 person tent (Big Angus Fly Creek HV UL2) that she will be using for at least the first 600 miles. This will make my life easy when no trees in the desert. She may switch to her hammock at Kennedy Meadows, but she is not sure at this time. As far as my suspension goes, I am currently using the Dutchware Cinch Buckle System, but considering an update for the trip. Purpose will be to lighten my load or simply to reach trees, rocks, or difficult hangs that I am encounter.

    Options I am currently looking at are the...
    (1) The Dutch Beetle Buckle System ; This seems to be absolutely silly easy to set up at most likely will reach the farthest, but may be the same weight as my current system.
    (2) The Dutch Whoopie Hook System ; Seems to be simple, but I hear at times people have a hard time hanging between trees that are close together. Also, not totally sure if this system or the marlin hitch is better. They seem similar.
    (3) The Dutch Marlin Spike Hitch System; Looks simple enough, but how long of straps and does the Whoopie hook system have advantages over this?

    In addition to your advice, I would appreciate how long of tree-huggers or strapping I need for this trail. I am also open to any additional options. Thanks in advance for advice.

    Some information about my current gear:
    Hammock: Warbonnet Blackbird XLC
    Under Quilt: H.G.Incubus 20 *New*
    Top Quilt: H.G. Burrow 20 *New*
    Tarp: Warbonnet Superfly Tarp + Bling
    Suspension: DutchWare Cinch Buckle System

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    732
    Suspension type is mostly a matter of preference, not necessity.

    For the Southern California sections, a tent is a good idea.

    Once you make it to Oregon, hammocking should be easy.

    When you get to the central Oregon Cascade Mountains area, you will need larger tree straps. 12ft minimum, 15ft if want all options. If you are using a non-whoopie suspension, then perhaps even longer. I generally take 12' straps in addition to my extra-length whoopies and even then get shut out when i hit old-growth areas.

    If you want the benefit of whoopie slings without the extra ~2ft required to fit into a tight spot, then put continuous loops on the hammock as well. Then you can hang off the whoopies (when you have the space) or the loop (when you don't).

    * There was extensive fire damage in Oregon in 2017. Check for route closures and reroutes around the Columbia River Gorge and central Oregon mountains. Be very careful about hanging off dead trees in burn zones. Because the root systems are dead, they easily fall over and can kill you.

  3. #3
    pgibson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    SW Idaho
    Hammock
    AHE 1.1 dbl
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    AHE Shangi La
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    KAQ Prototype
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    AHE Whoopie Slings
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    6,916
    Get in touch with "Two Speed", he is a member here that just did that PCT in a hammock this past season. He has a full series of videos here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYr...BdkKp8A/videos

    and documented the full trail on Youtube and Instagram.
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  4. #4
    cougarmeat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Bend, OR
    Hammock
    WBBB, WBRR, WL LiteOwl
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    They might have changed the route of the Oregon PCT since I did it decades ago - but it has some sections that are near alpine or tree line elevation. For practice, stake out your tarp using hiking poles and put your hammock under it. I'm guessing you will be carrying a plastic ground sheet (light weight, replaceable) and your hammock will have an integrated bug net. You can attach the net ends to the hiking poles to get it off your face and use the hammock as a bivi bag. That also assumes you will be using a pad, rather than an under quilt, and you'll sleep on the pad.

    In other words, have a "go to ground" option. I suppose the questions are, "For how long?" and "At what comfort level?" For example, if you use a UQ, it will be pretty useless on the ground. But if it is just one night, you could probably use your pack or some extra clothing as insulation. I'm an not an ultralite person. If I were going to do this in the summer, a 40 degree UQ weighs almost nothing to me. I'd carry a pad AND the UQ so I'd have a go-to-ground option.

    I haven't see the video posted above, but I will watch it for fun. When I did the trail, there were clearly places along the Oregon route that were not so conducive to hammocks. But I suppose you could always keep walking and eventually you'll hike into an area that works for you.

  5. #5
    Senior Member <-Pointer's Avatar
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    Jan 2017
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    The absolute lightest set up I have found is Dutch's Kevlar straps with a marlin spike hitch (MSH). You don't need a whoopie sling with that: just put the MSH in the strap and loop the hammock over the hitch. Very easy set-up. What I don't like about that system is that the kevlar straps seem pretty fragile. I have had two sets now and they fray where they rub against my tarp lines. Over the PCT I would plan on having to replace them multiple times and they ain't cheap.

    Another big consideration for me is that a MSH set-up is hard to adjust after you have everything set up and hanging. Often I get it my hammock and it stretches a bit or find that I didn't get the height right or I want to raise an end, etc. This is a PITA with the MSH set-up because you have to take the hammock off of the suspension and tie a new knot. Often times it's muddy or raining so I'm trying to hold the hammock off the ground with one hand while wrestling the suspension and trying to tie a new MSH with the other. Not fun and often unsuccessful.

    So, I'm back to using a whoopie sling now. I use Dutch's spider/composite straps with an Adutchable clip for the tree straps. It's a little heavier but way easier to adjust after everything is hung (and I haven't had any issues with wear.) Just get up and slide the whoopie sling. YMMV.
    Last edited by <-Pointer; 11-30-2018 at 12:42.

  6. #6
    all secure in sector 7 Shug's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
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    I have many so....
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    I answered your PM.
    You will get a lot of opinions but in the end it will be your choice. based on the trees and such on PCT.
    Shug
    Whooooo Buddy)))) All Secure in Sector Seven

  7. #7
    Senior Member Chop's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
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    some trail, somewhere...
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    Hammocking is easily do-able north of Kennedy Meadows. South of KM, you may have to go to ground a few times, though I know some people have found a hang every night of their PCT hike.

    My experience is this:

    In 2012, I took a tent and used it up through Belden, then used my hammock for the rest of the way to Canada. I used 8' tree straps with Whoopies, this worked fine.

    In 2016, I took my hammock (as did my wife) for the entire thru hike. We both took Z Rests for going to ground (see an article on this here - https://www.longdistancehiker.com/ha...terrain-setup/). We slept on the ground a handful of times. I would use this system if I were to hike the PCT a third time.

    Suspension - I agree that this is largely a matter of preference. Keep in mind that another 5-10 minutes of hiking would land you in trees that you can use if the ones around your preferred hanging space are too big. While we usually make friends on this kind of a hike and want to camp with them, don't be afraid to have some tree-imposed alone time . Besides, it won't happen too often - usually it is more effort for our ground dwelling friends to find a flat spot they like.

    I have switched to the UHWMPE with a marlin spike hitch for my total suspension. This allows me to hang around really large trees - I use 12' and 15' suspension lines. Came in handy in the Canadian Rockies this past summer while hiking the Great Divide Trail. This system is lighter. I went to it because it eliminated the whoopies and is lighter.

    Good luck on the PCT - I love that trail, and am envious!
    AT 2011, PCT 2012, LT 2013, WT 2013, JMT 2014, TRT 2014, WT 2014, AZT 2015, PCT 2016, CT 2017, MSR 2017, GET 2018, GDT 2018, TRT 2018, JMT 2018
    My trail journals, tips, interviews - http://longdistancehiker.com

  8. #8
    cougarmeat's Avatar
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    Canadian Trees:

    IMG_1068.jpg

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Am I correct in assuming you are experienced in through hikes and you know your equipment well?

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