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  1. #1
    Senior Member Yakfoot's Avatar
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    Ridge line question, function and comparison

    As per a previous post I am working on a Speer DIY gathered end hammock. I realize that a ridge line is used to adjust the sag of a hammock. I have a Hennessy which has a built in fixed ridge line that I find confusing. It appears that it operates only within a certain limit of adjustment on how tight or flat you can get the hammock. This seems to me this makes the hammock even less sag adjustable than a simple gathered end hammock without a ridge line where sag would be determined by how tight the hammock suspension ropes or straps would be pulled.

    The instructions for the DIY Speer have a ridge line attached to the support straps and adjusted with a truckers hitch. My initial impression was that it was simply for supporting the bug net. Then I saw a video where it was used incorrectly. The first thing the demonstrator did was tighten the ridge line way up introducing a lot of sag. This of course increased the distance from the ridge line and the side of the hammock and once he got into the hammock it ripped the bug net right off. He didn't seem to have a clue that ripping sounds mean something is wrong so he kept it that way and did a good job of making the hammock design look bad. That got me to thinking that maybe the Speer design actually was for sag adjustment within the limits of the bug net width. Ed recommends Spectra (no stretch??) for the ridge line, I didn't find any so got ordinary tarp guy line.

    So, in summary what I am asking for is comparisons between the fixed ridge line, adjustable ridge line and no ridge line designs.
    "To turn from this increasingly artificial and strangely alien world is to escape from unreality. To return to the timeless world of the mountains, the sea, the forest and the stars is to return to sanity and truth." --Robert Burnham Jr.

  2. #2
    Knotty's Avatar
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    The idea of the structural ridgeline is to provide a fixed amount of sag in the hammock but it's important to understand that once the suspension ropes are set at too high of an angle the ridgeline will go slack and sag will increase. So as long as you keep the suspension within certain limits, you'll always get the same sag.

    Adjustable ridgelines are sort of a temporary thing. You use one to figure out what length works best for you then you can change out the adjustable for a fixed line.

    Of course you don't need to use a ridgeline but then you have to be more precise with how you hang the hammock so you always get the same sag (if that's important to you).

    Low stretch line, like Amsteel Blue, Zing-it, Fling-It or Dynaglide, are best but I think it's less critical in a ridgeline than with suspension.

    My two cents.
    Knotty
    "Don't speak unless it improves the silence." -proverb
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  3. #3
    Senior Member angrysparrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knotty View Post
    My two cents.
    Knotty's two cents are worth more than face value. Seconded.
    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

  4. #4
    Knotty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by angrysparrow View Post
    Knotty's two cents are worth more than face value. Seconded.
    Inflation.
    Knotty
    "Don't speak unless it improves the silence." -proverb
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  5. #5
    WV's Avatar
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    The ridgeline doesn't need to be as strong as the main suspension, but it is load-bearing, and the load on it increases if the overall suspension is tightened, as would be the case when hanging between trees that are very far apart. A rough rule of thumb (or bum ) is that the ridgeline needs to be at least half the strength of your main suspension line, so Knotty is right that lines such as Dynaglide would work well as ridgelines. For my money, Zing-it and Fling-it are about as low as I'd go in strength, since I sometimes tighten my main suspension line sag to 15, at which point the ridgeline and the connection to the hammock are bearing a load equal to my body weight (and the main line has twice that - Amsteel suggested).

  6. #6
    Senior Member Yakfoot's Avatar
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    Ok then, an adjustable ridge line setup might be the best for all around experimentation to get the full range of hangs. I would get that with my DIY Speer. But are they very common on commercially made hammocks...just curious?
    "To turn from this increasingly artificial and strangely alien world is to escape from unreality. To return to the timeless world of the mountains, the sea, the forest and the stars is to return to sanity and truth." --Robert Burnham Jr.

  7. #7
    Knotty's Avatar
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    I don't know of any commercially available hammocks with adjustable ridgelines. For me, I find the RL=83% of hammock length rule of thumb to be good enough.
    Knotty
    "Don't speak unless it improves the silence." -proverb
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  8. #8
    The ridgeline allows you to maintain a set amount of sag in the hammock body even if you wind up having to pull the suspension tighter than ideal (like for a long distance hang).

    Without the ridgeline you'd have to have your straps very high on the tree to keep the correct amount of sag in the hammock body, with the ridgeline you can achieve that same sag while attached lower on the tree. (useful for long hangs).

    it also tell you if you've hung the hammock too loosely (you know this if the RL sags while you're laying down)

    a slipped knot is a great way to have an adjustable ridgeline, probably the simplest way to do it.

  9. #9
    Member MadRacDad's Avatar
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    Very much a noob, so take that into consideration. 3 months ago I didn't know what amsteel was and I had never slept in a hammock. I now have several backyard hangs behind me. I've made a fid, sort of made my own Single Line Suspension (check my SLS with dumbell toggles thread) and made 3 gathered end hammocks. Watch the vids! If you are a DIY sort of person just go for it, try stuff, and post. The folks on this site are very insightful and knowledgable. Trust them especially the previous posts. Good Luck!
    I think that I shall never see
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  10. #10
    Senior Member perdidochas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warbonnetguy View Post
    The ridgeline allows you to maintain a set amount of sag in the hammock body even if you wind up having to pull the suspension tighter than ideal (like for a long distance hang).

    Without the ridgeline you'd have to have your straps very high on the tree to keep the correct amount of sag in the hammock body, with the ridgeline you can achieve that same sag while attached lower on the tree. (useful for long hangs).

    it also tell you if you've hung the hammock too loosely (you know this if the RL sags while you're laying down)

    a slipped knot is a great way to have an adjustable ridgeline, probably the simplest way to do it.
    Is a slipped knot the same as a slipped half hitch?

    I'm in process of making a DIY Speer hammock with structural ridgeline. I plan to splice a loop into one end of 1/8 amsteel for the fixed side of the structural ridgeline. I want an adjustable ridgeline to begin with, and have been trying to figure out the best knot for it.

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