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  1. #1
    Member AduroNox's Avatar
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    Question Straps: are they really that important?

    Ever since I got into the hammock, I've been using rope without the addition of straps and have never seen any evidence of scarring. Then again, I haven't been at it very long.

    I am inclined to think that an adult tree (which are known to 'eat' fences and such) wouldn't be greatly affected by a rope, but I have been known to be wrong on occasion.

    I don't really want to go out and buy more hardware than I have to, but I don't want to be responsible for the death of trees either.

    My question to you is do I go out and spend more money on straps, or will doing so simply be a waste of money?

    -Aduro
    Set fire to the night, for light is only made bright by darkness.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    General consensus here is that straps are necessary. Trees can overcome and "eat" fences and such, but a hammock hung on too thin of a rope may be able to girdle it. A fence may interfere with the delivery of nutrients to one part of the tree, but since the hammock support goes all the way around it, it may be able to stop that delivery to a large portion of the tree.

    There's no real evidence either way. But there is certainly evidence that park managers are restricting use of hammocks based on the perception, true or not, that hammocks can damage trees. For this reason, until we get firm evidence it's probably best to use something that protects the trees. Webbing is a simple solution to do that.

    Otherwise, land managers may continue restricting hammocks until they're not allowed in parks anymore.
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    An often debated topic.

    There isn't really a simple answer. To the best of my knowledge, there is no definitive evidence of rope rigs causing damage to the trees. But, there are some variables at play.

    First one being the issue of perception. If people 'think' you are damaging trees with rope, you'll never convince them otherwise. This is likely to have a negative effect on rules and regulations being put in place, or left in place, banning hammock use. Obviously, that's not a good thing.

    The other big one is one that could be argued with webbing too. A single hanger moving every day, or few days, isn't likely to cause damage. But, put another hanger behind the first and another behind that one and so on. A few seasons of that activity on a heavily used trail may cause significant damage. You know everybody is going to pick the 'best' hang sites over and over again. Question there is, which option (rope or webbing) is likely to do the least amount of damage over the greatest amount of time? Dunno.

    I always chose to err on the side of caution when it comes to my suspensions. Part of the reason I use webbing is that I want people to 'think' I'm being as careful as I can when hanging my hammocks. I find it makes the hammock conversation easier to start off on a friendly note.

    As always, YMMV.
    Trust nobody!

  4. #4
    Senior Member PuckerFactor's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    Jeff and Cannibal have put it well. A lot of it is about public perception.

    *I am an arborist, so I do know what I'm talking about*
    It all depends on the tree. Some of the Oaks and Pines would be fine with just cord.
    That said, the great majority of tree species will be damaged by running cord around them. Any damage that may be happening won't always be visible right away. It may take months or even years. If you hit a tree with a hammer, you WILL cause damage to the cambium, even if there's no mark on the bark. Same deal with ropes, it may not leave a big notch in the bark, but you can't be sure it's not compressing the cambium. It's much better to play it safe and use tree straps.
    A fringe benefit is that it makes us (the hammocking community) appear more environmentally friendly to the public, who may have (hopefully unfounded) preconceptions that we damage trees.

    Cambium: the part of the tree that transmits water up and down the tree

    Simple solution: Go to Walmart, and in the camping section, near the tarps and such, they have 14' ratchet straps for $10. That's plenty for 1 or 2 setups, or $5 per hammock. That's cheap insurance, in my opinion.

    Hang well,
    Acer
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  5. #5
    Member AduroNox's Avatar
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    Blessed be the those who know their facts!
    Actually, come to think of it, the tree in my own backyard has been known to develop large scars from little more than a scratch, let alone a tensioned ~10mm rope. Guess that answers my question...

    -Aduro
    Set fire to the night, for light is only made bright by darkness.

  6. #6
    Dutch's Avatar
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    I will gladly make you webbing straps of any size you like for free.
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  7. #7
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    There are a lot of variables in play with in all this but the perception in the on-line hammock community for hanging hammocks to trees is that 1 inch or wider webbing is 'okay' and any rope, regardless of its characteristics, is 'bad' for the trees. Many people are very verbal about this, unwilling to discuss any of the variables that come into play, and condemn those that don't comply. But all in all, it isn't all that unreasonable when the 'greater good' is considered because it isn't that difficult to comply and it will do more good than bad in the overall scheme of things.

    Now the tarp is another matter, apparently for the tarp we can use the lightest, thinnest, most 'unfriendly to tree' cord we can find and just ignore what it does to trees.
    Youngblood AT2000

  8. #8
    HappyCamper's Avatar
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    on-line hammock community -- why does this strike me as funny? when i'm off-line that usually means i've had a on-line hammock malfunction.
    Exercise, eat right, die anyway -- Country Roads bumper sticker
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  9. #9
    Senior Member DuctTape's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Youngblood View Post

    Now the tarp is another matter, apparently for the tarp we can use the lightest, thinnest, most 'unfriendly to tree' cord we can find and just ignore what it does to trees.

    What about the tent stakes? Driving them into the ground no doubt will cut into at least some of the trees roots. This cannot be good for the tree. I guess since we do not see the damage, it is ok.

  10. #10
    in it for the naps oldgringo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Youngblood View Post

    Now the tarp is another matter, apparently for the tarp we can use the lightest, thinnest, most 'unfriendly to tree' cord we can find and just ignore what it does to trees.
    Dave

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