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  1. #1
    Poppabear's Avatar
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    Warning knot failure! Check your knots!

    I failed to check and properly test the knots on my hammock suspension system. One of them failed and dropped me on my backside. More on that in a minute. I acquired a Grand Trunk Ultralight hammock a few weeks ago. My thought was I would add it to my day pack. When ever I go into the woods even for a short jaunt. I always carry a small pack with a few snacks, water, light weight poncho and few other what knots. I figured with the Grand Trunk along. I could throw it up in mere seconds and relax on the trail in comfort. I did a quick test hang in the yard when I first got it. I liked the hammock but did not like the suspension that it came with so I change it out. For the gathered ends I used two 30" lengths of Amsteel 7/64 folded over in half and knotted with a double overhand knots. To maintain a neat appearance I tied the knot as close to the ends as I could. So that fraying would be kept to a minimum. These were threaded through the sewn channels on each end of the hammock and larks headed to themselves. To these I connected 7/64 Amsteel whoopie slings using dutch biners (absolutely great by the way). This was a substantial weight savings over the stock suspension. After finishing the suspension change I threw it up in the yard and sat it in just briefly. All seemed ok and I was satisfied with my work. The hammock was stowed and put in my day pack. Last night after dinner I decided that I should spend a night in the Grand Trunk. A recent thread by Medicine-Man detailing a hammock failure on the trail. Got me to thinking that it would be a good idea to test the hammock and my suspension mod and evaluate the comfort. I lugged my metal hammock stand (purchased from Wal-Mart last year) into the house from the stowage shed. The stand sets up easy in a matter of a minute or two. I hung the Grand Trunk Ultralight from the hooks on either end of the stand and adjust the whoopie slings. I positioned the stand so that I could watch television. Then sat down in the hammock gingerly to make sure that it was not going to bottom out on the rail. At any rate after tightening the whoopies a bit more I was satisfied with the ground clearance. I sat down once more then swung my feet in and laid back with my hands behind my head. Feeling smug with myself I grabbed the TV remote and turned it on. As I was surfing for a good program. I suddenly and abruptly found myself on the floor. My backside smacked the center of the stand. Just about in the middle of the sit bone. It hurt but not to terribly bad at the time. The wife came running from the back of the house after hearing the commotion. I was just getting myself to my feet. She was wanting to look me over. But I shooed her away feeling pretty embarrassed and humbled. She walked away muttering something to the effect I knew all that hammock foolishness was going to hurt or kill you sooner or latter. Upon investigating what happened. I found that the double overhand knot on the head end of the hammock had slipped out and dropped me to the ground. There was no damage to the hammock or the Amsteel. Being a stubborn sort I was determined to spend the night in the hammock. So I folded the Amsteel in half again and re-threaded it through the sewn channel. Then I tied another double overhand knot. This time leaving about an inch of rope above the knot. As added insurance I tied a single overhand knot below the double overhand. Even though it did not fail I did the same to the other end of the hammock. I again rigged the hammock in the stand and adjusted the whoopies. Then I grabbed the cushions off the couch and laid them on the rail of the stand. Just in case! I gingerly sat and bounced just a wee bit. Everything looked and felt good. I checked the knots on both ends and they both looked good. I again laid in the hammock and there was no further mishaps. I can now tell you that a 6'3" 240ish man can sleep comfortable in a Grand Trunk Ultralight hammock. The rest of the story is this. After about an hour of laying in the hammock watching TV. I got up to use the rest room. In doing so noticed that my backside was extremely sore and I was getting stiff. I ask the wife to check it out for me. She looked and gasped and start saying oh my god! By touching the area with my hand I could feel that a large knot had formed. The wife said the whole area had turned black. I could not see the area very well in the mirror. So I had her take a picture of it. Lets just say that it brings a whole new definition to the term butt ugly. I spent the night in the hammock and actually slept pretty well. Today I am bruised black from the middle of my backside up three or four inches up my back. A good 4 inches wide by 6/8 inches high. I need to be some what careful when I sit. My lower back is stiff and the bruised area is sore. But I am able to walk and function normally albeit a little gingerly. I am glad that this happened at home. And not on the trail some where in more precarious situation. The moral of this story is to be sure that you check and double check your knots. Then load test them before trusting your weight to them. Test everything then test it again just to be on the safe side.
    Terry

  2. #2
    Whoooo Buddy)))) Shug's Avatar
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    Wow-saaaaa~~~~~!
    Glad it was not worse but a sore tail-bone lingers......
    I remember my first line snap and fall ....... on the earth though.
    Thankee for the reminder through your pain.
    Shug
    Whoooo Buddy)))) I Love Onions, Grits, Greens, Livermush, NC Style BBQ, Potted Meat, Anchovies, 'Naner Puddin", Peanut Butter Pie, Red Velvet Cake and Cocoa and Straaaaaawwwwberrrry Milk and Coffee Crisps....
    I Hope Heaven has a Bakery!!!!



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  3. #3
    gargoyle's Avatar
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    Take it easy P-bear. That does not sound good.
    Ambulo tua ambulo.

  4. #4
    slowhike's Avatar
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    Good reminder. Most of the time when a hammock drops someone to the ground/floor, it's not to big a deal. We usually laugh about it... if not immediately, after the pain has subsided, or we've gotten our breath backBut sometimes it turns out not to be so funny.

    I chipped a bone in my elbow when my hammock dropped me on the hardwood floor once. I think that elbow bothered me for about 3 months
    And there are others that have gotten an injury of one kind or another from a hammock or it's suspension dropping them.
    don`t leave the CREATOR out of the creation!

  5. #5
    Frawg's Avatar
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    Scary!! Glad you're able to walk away from it...
    - Frawg

    {generic tagline}

  6. #6
    BrianWillan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poppabear View Post
    The moral of this story is to be sure that you check and double check your knots. Then load test them before trusting your weight to them. Test everything then test it again just to be on the safe side.
    Glad you are ok Poppabear.

    The moral of the story here is that Amsteel should be spliced, not knotted. Knots derate the strength of the rope and as you saw unless properly dressed with sufficient tails they will undo at the most inopportune times.

  7. #7
    krugd's Avatar
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    I am glad you weren't hurt too badly. This is why I keep a foam mat under my hammock stand - it takes out a bit of the sting.
    --Don---

    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. - Ed Abbey

  8. #8
    beep's Avatar
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    Sobering story...with a good moral. I hope you're feeling better soon! In this case, I think we can forego the "pics or it didn't happen" part!
    "The more I carry the happier I am in camp; the less I carry the happier I am getting there" - Sgt. Rock

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianWillan View Post
    Glad you are ok Poppabear.

    The moral of the story here is that Amsteel should be spliced, not knotted. Knots derate the strength of the rope and as you saw unless properly dressed with sufficient tails they will undo at the most inopportune times.
    AmSteel is a lot different where knots are concerned. Knots derate the strength of all ropes and the recommended load rating takes that in to account and is typically 1/5 or less of what it is static tested to. AmSteel is considerably slipperier than your average rope and knots that work well with other ropes often do not with AmSteel. I suspect that what works well with one material may not with another material no matter if you are talking about rope or webbing or whatever.

    I've taken the approach to use compound knots or two-stages of knots with AmSteel but I don't have testing facilities to know exactly how well they work other than they have held up so far. It is just a trial and error approach. It is one thing to have a knot that will hold and not slip or cause breakage at too low of a loading and it is another thing to have the knot release after it has been subjected to certain loadings. Sometimes we want knots that are permenant and sometimes we want knots that can easily be undone.
    Youngblood AT2000

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poppabear View Post
    ... For the gathered ends I used two 30" lengths of Amsteel 7/64 folded over in half and knotted with a double overhand knots. To maintain a neat appearance I tied the knot as close to the ends as I could. So that fraying would be kept to a minimum. ...
    I'm trying to picture this. Did you essentially make a continuous loop with a double fisherman's knot? Or did you join the lines together with a single double overhand knot, sort of like a square knot with an extra turn? Brian is right that a splice would be better, but otherwise, the double fisherman's knot would be the way to go and will not let go.

    ~Dan

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