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  1. #1
    Senior Member Trooper's Avatar
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    Padded Webbing/Tree-Huggers?

    After reading the currently active thread on webbing and tree damage I started thinking and hydrating myself to come up with a better solution. I'm not a DIY when it comes to sewing, but I wanted to get some opinions before I got out the Gorilla Glue. Here is what I pondered:

    We must attach something to a tree to suspend a hammock, so we us webbing to distribute the load over a wider area than a thin cord. If I'm correct, the wider strap causes less local pressure than a thin cord, but the same total force. The suspension applies this force on at least 75% of the circumference of the tree, which may cause girdling of the tree. The early airlines faced a similar problem with heavy men and flat shoes versus lighter women in high-heels. The high-heel caused higher forces on the floor and alarmed the engineers who were starting to pressurize aircraft.

    There are some threads and photos of trail sticks being inserted between the webbing and the trunk to cause the force of a weighted suspension to be more localized and distributed vertically rather than around the tree. Consensus seems to be that vertical stress is less of a concern than horizontal damage to a trunk. I think is is a good solution, but the local damage could be severe.

    What if some CCF padding were glued to tubular webbing that went around the suspension webbing? This would allow three sections of 2 inch CCF to be in contact with the tree versus 75% of the circumference. Obviously, the local pressure could increase, but it would be dampened by the CCF foam which should prevent damage to the softer tissues of the tree? By putting the CCF on tubular webbing, it would allow infinite adjustment and one could use as many pads as desired.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
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    I could be completely wrong but I think its more a matter of surface area than materials used. Because the webbing is only better than cord because it distributes the load over a greater surface area right?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trooper View Post
    The early airlines faced a similar problem with heavy men and flat shoes versus lighter women in high-heels. The high-heel caused higher forces on the floor and alarmed the engineers who were starting to pressurize aircraft.
    Techni-quibble: Seriously doubtful, since the passenger area has it's own floor and is above the cargo hold. Nobody is walking directly on the skin of the aircraft.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trooper
    There are some threads and photos of trail sticks being inserted between the webbing and the trunk to cause the force of a weighted suspension to be more localized and distributed vertically rather than around the tree. Consensus seems to be that vertical stress is less of a concern than horizontal damage to a trunk. I think is is a good solution, but the local damage could be severe.
    I think the twigs might cause similar pressure points to a cord, but being vertical they would do less damage to the capability of the inner bark to carry nutrients.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trooper
    What if some CCF padding were glued to tubular webbing that went around the suspension webbing? This would allow three sections of 2 inch CCF to be in contact with the tree versus 75% of the circumference. Obviously, the local pressure could increase, but it would be dampened by the CCF foam which should prevent damage to the softer tissues of the tree? By putting the CCF on tubular webbing, it would allow infinite adjustment and one could use as many pads as desired.

    What do you think?
    I think you're not going to get the gram weenies to go along with it!

    There might be *some* small amount of spread due to the CCF, but I don't think that it would be any real improvement. The only real way to decrease the pressure from a webbing strap would be to increase the area the webbing covers - going to a 2" strap vs. 1" strap.
    Last edited by MikeN; 07-10-2010 at 18:55.
    Mike

  4. #4
    Senior Member TiredFeet's Avatar
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    Speaking personally and only for myself, when I use webbing huggers anymore it is the strapworks 1.5" wide seatbelt webbing. The wider webbing increases the area over which the force is applied which decreases the force per unit area, i.e., the pressure is reduced using wider webbing. That is one of the 2 reasons we switched to 1.5" wide webbing versus the 1" wide webbing.

    What if some CCF padding were glued to tubular webbing that went around the suspension webbing? This would allow three sections of 2 inch CCF to be in contact with the tree versus 75% of the circumference. Obviously, the local pressure could increase, but it would be dampened by the CCF foam which should prevent damage to the softer tissues of the tree? By putting the CCF on tubular webbing, it would allow infinite adjustment and one could use as many pads as desired.
    I seriously doubt that the CCF would accomplish what you desire. The force would still be mainly concentrated under the hugger webbing and not evenly spread out over the CCF. The edges of the CCF would probably not even be touching the tree. You would dramatically increase the weight with the tubular webbing AND the CCF and the bulk increase due to both the added tubular webbing and the CCF would be 1 or 2 orders of magnitude. All that for very little benefit.

    If you really want to drastically reduce the force per unit area on the tree, then simply going to 1.5" webbing or 2" wide webbing or even 3" or 4" wide webbing would be far better with much less weight and bulk.

  5. #5
    Member hang um high's Avatar
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    Had a little "thinking outside the box" moment reading this thread.

    Problem: hang a hammock with the least impact to the health of the trees used.

    Solutions:

    rope/cord - some damage

    webbing straps - less damage due to greater surface area distributing load

    wider webbing straps - see above

    OK, looks like once you get to say 2 inch webbing you start reaching a point of diminishing returns of benefit vs weight.

    Sooooo

    Hows about instead of webbing straps a net is used to distribute the weight around the tree. (think a mini-woven bridge hammock)?

    Perhaps a two foot wide net might do less damage than webbing in distributing the load? weight could be minimal compared to 2 inch webbing. Stretching could be addressed with the right choice of material.

    Thoughts?

  6. #6
    Knotty's Avatar
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    The net would probably be hard to adjust around the tree, grabbing and catching on the bark. Also the total surface area of the net (individual strings) is probably no greater than that of web straps.

    IMHO web straps are a proven method to safely hang a hammock and protect trees.
    Knotty
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  7. #7
    Member hang um high's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knotty View Post
    The net would probably be hard to adjust around the tree, grabbing and catching on the bark. Also the total surface area of the net (individual strings) is probably no greater than that of web straps.

    IMHO web straps are a proven method to safely hang a hammock and protect trees.
    Yes but if each individual string is carrying a load below the amount that could cause damage, the net result would be zero damage.

    Think of sitting on a nail vs lying on a bed of nails. It's all in how you distribute the load.

  8. #8
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    Wouldn't wrapping a longer strap around the tree a few times equate to using a wider, shorter strap? A longer strap would also have the benefits of increased adjustability when picking a site, no?

  9. #9
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    really?

    these laws of diminishing returns are going to crop up pretty quickly, here. using wider strap (or wrapping narrower stuff more times around the tree) is going to spread out the forces applied by the hammock over a wider area. this is true.

    putting padding between the strap and the tree isn't going to do anything, because you're not changing the surface area of the contact zone between the strap and the tree.

    a net of some sort is more trouble than it's worth. yes, it will spread out the forces, too, but at what cost? as already mentioned, it's going to create a huge PITA to deal with in the field.

    anything we use to hang a hammock is going to have some sort of impact on the trees we choose to hang from. But gear is not the only way to minimize that impact. Technique is a major factor. We need to be choosy about the trees we use. Use the largest trees you can. Their bark will be thickest, and the increased circumference will spread the forces more effectively than exotic tree protective gear. Don't use trees that already look unhealthy, or trees that already have visible hammock wear. If available, hang from sufficiently sturdy artificial hang points.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Perkolady's Avatar
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    Back when I first recieved my used HH netless Scout, it came with wider tree hugger straps (2" maybe?). I pictured them working really nicely, but I found that they were more prone to slipping while I was trying to set up, and I deemed them a pita (for me anyway).

    I'll just throw out there.....I once made a strap "sleeve" (picture a padded guitar strap or seatbelt cover) to try, but it didn't work out too well. Inside the sleeve, my webbing just started kinda curling over, and so did the sleeve.

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