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  1. #1
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Cleat/Hitchcraft question for the engineers

    For the last couple of days I have been playing around with the nylon rope cleats ( Panther Marine brand). So far, neat as a boot jack. But I haven't had time to do an all night hang yet. But so far, my 206 lbs ( down 3.5 lbs so far, got to hump it up those Olympic(or Cascade) Mts. in one month!) has had no noticeable effect on the one I am hanging from. And it has not slipped even a fraction of an inch so far, even with me bouncing around a good bit chair/lounger style. Time will tell. Sure is quick and easy!

    I have been following Hitchcrafts advice for the testing period of a new device. When I am laying down in the hammock, I am using the cleat only on the foot end. Hoping that if something gives, maybe my feet will hit first and the descent speed of my head will be decreased since the head end will still be holding. Might help, don't know.

    But also, when I finish wrapping around the cleat, I am wrapping a couple of half hitches ( or some other knot) around the rope, and then back to the other side of the cleat and around that end of the rope. I hope you can tell what I am talking about by the somewhat rushed and demented looking sketch I will try and provide.

    What does the brain power here think? Would such rigging do any good at all if a device broke or bent severely? Perhaps at least slowing the rate of acceleration as the knots tightened up? Or would such a precaution be useless, not worth the minute or so required to tie the knots/lashing?

    BTW, I have good news on the buckle orders. My extra webbing with loop arrived today. This forced me to finally deal with ordering either the buckles or rings. All of this shipping lately has been a real pain, costing more than what I have been ordering. Plus you would have to order 5 to get the $10 minimum, then $8.61 UPS ground. Someone here(Angrysparrow?) advised that if you called, they would send by mail. Well, not only that, but when he asked "how many?", I asked "what's the minimum?". And he answered: "There is none"! So I ordered 2. I don't know if he made an error, or if the $10 min is only for web orders. Either way, it's probably worth a phone call to at least save on shipping. I don't know what the postage will be, but I highly expect that for a few ounces ship weight from TN to MS, it will be less than $8.61. I'll soon know!
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    Last edited by BillyBob58; 08-02-2007 at 18:08.

  2. #2
    Senior Member angrysparrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    Someone here(Angrysparrow?) advised that if you called, they would send by mail.
    Yeah, that was me. I've ordered a few things from them, with good result.
    I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt. - Cormac McCarthy

  3. #3
    Senior Member TeeDee's Avatar
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    As I wrote in the other thread, I have been using the cleats since ALHikerGal first wrote about them.

    I have had the Bridge Hammock hung continuously using the cleats for about 8 weeks now and the Safari hammock for a few weeks prior to that. I have taken numerous 1 to 2 hour afternoon naps in the hammock, slept soundly overnight many, many times and have been in and out of the hammock hundreds of times fitting and testing accessories. I have sat sideways in the hammock and bounced or just lounged, bounced while laying down and rolled about and twisted and turned looking from one side of the hammock to the other to see how things fit or just laid quietly and slept comfortably.

    The first 2 weeks I took the Bridge Hammock down and re-hung about a dozen times using the cleats. For the past 4 weeks or so the Bridge Hammock has not been taken down. I just get in and nap or sleep or test. During the time I used the cleats on the Safari hammock, it was hung continuously and used daily.

    The suspension ropes haven't budged a fraction of an inch since I last hung it 4 weeks back. Nor did the suspension ropes budge before that. I run the rope through the cleat in one direction and then come back on the other side of the cleats. I then tie a slipped half hitch. The slipped half hitch is there to simply keep the end of the rope tidy and prevent it from falling out of the cleat. Over the time that I have used the cleats, I have never had the half hitch tighten up even slightly. It is still as loose today as the day I tied it 4 weeks back. The cleats hold the rope securely. The half hitch in my use now has been reduced to the role of keeping the end of the rope tidy and keeping the rope in the cleats.

    I have found the cleats to be the simplest means of hanging the hammock yet. They require NO modification to the Hennessy hammock (or any hammock using rope for the suspension). You may want to substitute polyester webbing for the Hennessy nylon tree huggers to eliminate the stretch of the nylon.

    Other than that you simply zig zag the rope through cleat, to the tree hugger, back to the cleat and zag zig through the cleat - done. I have taken the CAMP Nano Wire carabiner from the ring buckle setup and clipped it through one end loop on the webbing tree hugger, wrap the tree hugger and clip the other end loop into the carabiner also. I then just clip the rope from the cleat into the carabiner and back to the cleat. The carabiner is 1 oz and saves me the trouble of threading the rope through the tree hugger loops. Not necessary, but convenient.

    They are extremely simple and quick to use and very secure in my experience.

    There are no knots to tie to use the cleats and zero slippage. Absolutely no slippage whatsoever in my daily use of more than 8 weeks.

    I have observed the forces on the cleats firsthand and know they are more than strong enough for my hammock suspension. Of course, everybody will have to make that analysis and decision for themselves.

  4. #4
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    That's a lot of testing!

    Now that is a complete analysis! Though at 206 I might weigh a bit more than you, I have not yet seen any deformity or slip. It appears that once I am in the hammock, the ropes are at about 30*. But, I suppose 300+ pounders might want to look elsewhere. For me, so far, they seem to be really handy devices.

  5. #5
    Senior Member TeeDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    Now that is a complete analysis! Though at 206 I might weigh a bit more than you, I have not yet seen any deformity or slip. It appears that once I am in the hammock, the ropes are at about 30*. But, I suppose 300+ pounders might want to look elsewhere. For me, so far, they seem to be really handy devices.
    Only about 30 lbs. From the use you have already described, it would seem that the weight difference isn't making any difference in the use of the cleats.

    After a lot of experience and head scratching and examining the forces on the cleat firsthand and visualizing the forces and many, many inspections of the half-hitch for tightening (none ever observed), I decided that the only reason I continue to use a single slipped half-hitch is to keep the free end from swinging and then dropping free of the cleat. Also, to keep it off the ground. There can be rotational forces on the cleat depending on the manner of running the rope to the tree and back. The rotational forces can rotate the cleat when you get in the hammock and if the free end is, well, free, it can be swung out of the cleat if the cleat happens to rotate in the right direction. Thus, I tie a loose slipped half-hitch to prevent the free end from being swung free.

    Also, the half-hitch and drooping rope act as drip strings. Just more insurance in that direction since the cleat itself will act to interrupt and redirect the flow of water away from the hammock.

  6. #6
    New Member Strategic's Avatar
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    Question I just don't get it.

    I must be missing something, but I just don't get the idea of why you would use these cleats. It seems like you're doing exactly the same thing as the regular hammock lashing but with the extra element of the cleat thrown in. That's rather gilding the lily as far as I'm concerned. The lashing is so simple (at least to me) and slip-proof in the first place I just don't see why you'd mess with it if that's how your hammock was built (as my HH was.)

    It's not that there's not room for improvement. I made some poly tree-huggers first thing, a bit longer than my originals, for instance, but in general I've just never had a problem setting up or tearing down quickly and lashings done properly don't slip. Of course, I did spend twelve years as a theatre tech and spent some time around racing boats, so I guess rigging and lashing is pretty much second nature to me.

    Now if you're doing a DIY, then of course you'll build it how you like (straps and ring buckles appears to be the favorite there, and I must admit I can see why.) But if you're using rope it just seems to be complicating the process to add hardware beyond what's necessary to get a lashing point.

    What am I not seeing about these things?
    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

  7. #7
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Strategic:
    I must be missing something, but I just don't get the idea of why you would use these cleats. It seems like you're doing exactly the same thing as the regular hammock lashing but with the extra element of the cleat thrown in. That's rather gilding the lily as far as I'm concerned. The lashing is so simple (at least to me) and slip-proof in the first place I just don't see why you'd mess with it if that's how your hammock was built (as my HH was.)
    Yep, I know where you are coming from. I've gotten pretty good, quick and efficient with it over the last 11 months. I've often wondered if this or ring buckles would be worth the expense, weight and effort. But curiosity and word of mouth and lack of total satisfaction with the HH lashing made me decide to see what other options might ( or might not ) work better. This search started after I first got my HH, spent a week in the Rockies last Sept immediately after buying it, and learning as I went. Then I soon got a Speer and immediately realized that the webbing and 4 wrap Speer knot seemed much easier and faster than HH rope thru the huggers.

    It's not that there's not room for improvement.
    Well, that's really the whole idea, right there. There is really nothing at all wrong with the basic HH huggers and lashing. And the Speer knot is at least as good and maybe better. They are more than sufficient, but there might be something quicker and simpler. Also, speed seems to be a factor for me if you consider re-adjustments. Whether you need to tighten more, or raise/lower one end ( or maybe both) of the hammock, or make the hammock more centered between the trees, undoing the HH knot and redoing it can become a bit of a pain.

    There is another situation I have found in the field ( varies greatly with where you hang and types of trees): often the trees I have had to tie to have limbs of some type at about chest level or lower, sticking out 1 or 2 or 3+ feet from the tree. If the tree is thick enough that the hugger loops are going to be close to the tree, so that you are having to lean in past limbs and leaves, trying to tie the lashing, while trying to keep the hugger from falling while you thread the rope thru the loops and apply enough tension to keep it from falling, all while trying not to get poked in the eye by one of the limbs- well, it can sometimes become quite a pain in the behind ( or in the eye! )

    So, something ( anything ) that can be tightened up AND taken down ( for re-adjustment) faster, and while allowing you to stand back from the tree if needed, seems attractive to me. Especially if it doesn't weigh too much, cost much or add complexity.

    And I can testify that these cleats are quite speedy and easy for applying tension compared to lashing at the tree hugger loops, and very convenient to undo just enough to make an adjustment, whether right next to the tree or standing back a bit. I'll know in a few days if a piece of webbing around the tree, thru a loop or biner, and back to a buckle near the hammock, will be as fast or maybe even faster/easier. And I suspect the hitchcraft devices will prove very handy, also, if I ever get a chance to try them. Now, is all of this speedier approach worth an extra ounce or so, an extra device and a small bit of money? I'm not sure yet. Certainly the majority using the ring/buckles don't seem to be planning on going back to HH lashing. And TeeDee and a couple of others seem quite pleased with the convenience factor the cleat offers. I'm still deciding!
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 08-03-2007 at 15:55.

  8. #8
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    I need to make a correction, sort of. I said "Certainly the majority using the ring/buckles don't seem to be planning on going back to HH lashing.".

    While tecnically correct ( "majority" being the key word), I believe Hacktorious did exactly that: he went back from ring/webbing to tree huggers/HH lashing. I think he could not get it to work for him without slippage.

  9. #9
    Senior Member TeeDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strategic View Post
    I must be missing something, but I just don't get the idea of why you would use these cleats. It seems like you're doing exactly the same thing as the regular hammock lashing but with the extra element of the cleat thrown in. That's rather gilding the lily as far as I'm concerned. The lashing is so simple (at least to me) and slip-proof in the first place I just don't see why you'd mess with it if that's how your hammock was built (as my HH was.)

    It's not that there's not room for improvement. I made some poly tree-huggers first thing, a bit longer than my originals, for instance, but in general I've just never had a problem setting up or tearing down quickly and lashings done properly don't slip. Of course, I did spend twelve years as a theatre tech and spent some time around racing boats, so I guess rigging and lashing is pretty much second nature to me.

    Now if you're doing a DIY, then of course you'll build it how you like (straps and ring buckles appears to be the favorite there, and I must admit I can see why.) But if you're using rope it just seems to be complicating the process to add hardware beyond what's necessary to get a lashing point.

    What am I not seeing about these things?
    No you're not missing a thing really.

    And yes the cleats are theoretically the same as the Hennessy lashing. BUT, try explaining the Hennessy lashing to somebody that doesn't have your background in working with rope and knots. Hennessy has a video on how to do the lashing and still quite a few people end up asking how to do it and switching to something else in frustration.

    As far as the cleats being easier - IMO yes. Show somebody a cleat and they will immediately recognize how to work it. It is just so obvious. Have them do it a few times and then show them the Hennessy lashing and the light bulb might go on, but don't count on it.

    As far as choosing between the cleat and the Hennessy lashing - for me that is easy, the cleat wins every time - I have struggled with the lashing, threading the rope through and around while trying to hold the tension on the rope. Found I needed at least one more pair of hands to do both. Never could pull the lashing as tight as I like to pull the ridge line - just couldn't pull the tension that tight and hold it that tight while fumbling with wrapping and tucking, especially the first wrap. Just couldn't do it most of the time. Maybe 1 tries in 20 I could get it somewhat tight.

    Now if I have to repeat the exercise again to re-tension the suspension then I am very quickly looking for another method, be that cleat, ring buckle, CC buckle or HitchCraft Rope tie or whatever.

    Also, I have struggled with too many knots/lashings when the rope is wet. It just doesn't slide back through the knot/lashing anywhere near as easily as when dry. Now throw in cold on top of wet and you have a rope that is just a pain to work with and if the knot/lashing has gotten frozen during the night, then you are in for a real struggle undoing even the simple Hennessy lashing. Been there, done that as they say. I will avoid it if possible.

    With the cleat, I pull tight and wrap one cleat and the cleat holds the rope while I wrap the next cleat. Once the second cleat is wrapped, the rope isn't going anywhere until I unwrap.

    As far as wet or frozen or covered in ice, that makes no difference with the cleat or the ring buckle or the HitchCraft Rope Tie. I haven't used the CC buckle, so will let others comment on their use when wet and/or frozen.

    As far as weight, the simple Hennessy lashing or something similar is going to be the lightest option no argument.

    The cleats add 1.25 oz each or 2.5 oz for the suspension over the simple Hennessy lashing. Simple to figure.

    The ring buckles are 0.4 oz each or 1.6 oz for the suspension (4 needed), then subtract the weight of the rope you cut off and then add in even more for the webbing you have to add and the ring buckles are about equivalent to the cleats in weight. If you don't cut the rope off, then the ring buckles are going to be heavier than the cleats. Also, even if you cut off excess rope, the ring buckles can be even heavier than the cleats depending on how much webbing you need or want.

    The CC buckles are 1.6 oz each or 3.2 oz for the suspension and so are 1.6 oz heavier than either the cleats or the ring buckles. The heavy duty CC buckles weigh 2.4 oz each and will add 3.2 oz over the cleats or ring buckles. All comments regarding the ring buckles regarding webbing weight and cutting off excess rope apply to the CC buckles.

    Th HitchCraft Rope Ties are the heaviest of the lot being slightly heavier than the heavy duty CC buckles, weighing in at 2.9 oz each or 5.8 oz for the pair needed. Assuming you are going to be using the Monster size.

    So rating the options based on weight, it comes out prettty much as: (lightest to heaviest)

    1. simple Hennessy lashing
    2. cleat and ring buckle with excess rope cut off and depending on amount of webbing
    3. Ring buckle w/o excess rope cut off or with more webbing
    4. CC buckle
    5. Heavy duty CC buckle
    6. HitchCraft Monster Rope Tie.

    The advantage of both the cleats and the HitchCraft Rope is that you don't have to modify the Hennesy suspension in any way or add in any webbing.

    But a lot of people think the weight gain is more than offset by the convenience.

    People are just looking for something that doesn't require a brand new skill that takes a few years to really master.

    If all of the devices disappeared tomorrow, then everybody would use knots until they re-invented something easier and faster to learn and master. You had already master the skill, so the devices were superfluous for you.

  10. #10
    Senior Member angrysparrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeeDee View Post
    1. simple Hennessy lashing
    2. cleat and ring buckle with excess rope cut off and depending on amount of webbing
    3. Ring buckle w/o excess rope cut off or with more webbing
    4. CC buckle
    5. Heavy duty CC buckle
    6. HitchCraft Monster Rope Tie.
    Does anyone on this forum actually use the heavy duty buckles?
    I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt. - Cormac McCarthy

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