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  1. #1
    Senior Member TeeDee's Avatar
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    Hammock Suspension

    I had to break this into more than one post due to length considerations - Sorry to make it so long

    Note: I've written this not to persuade anybody to use a certain suspension method or to change the method they are currently using. I am writing this simply because I have not seen any real comparison of the various methods used for hanging a hammock in terms of the carry weight involved.

    Since I was curious about this myself, I decided to compile what I knew and do such a comparison. If it helps somebody to understand the options available, then it will have served the same purpose it served for me.

    I've tried almost all of the hammock suspension methods. All except the CC buckles. However, I have used the ring buckles extensively and consider the two to be very similar in use.

    I finally decided to do an analysis of the various methods which I know about and see how the methods compared.

    I originally posted this analysis on Sgt Rock's Hiking Hq site. Now that I am back from a long sojourn and before I undertake my next shortly, I have updated the analysis with leasons learned since the original posting and decided to post on the Hammock Forums.

    The most basic lesson learned is simply that for the carabiner hitch described below, I do not need the carabiner hitch on both suspension ropes, only one. For the other suspension rope I use an SMC ring girth hitched to the tree hugger. This reduces the weight and complexity. The K.I.S.S. principle in action.

    Also, I have modified the Carabiner Hitch in that I originally girth hitched the carabiner to the suspension rope. I have found through experience that the girth hitch is more than is needed and that it can be difficult to untie after it has been loaded for several hours.

    I have replaced the girth hitch with simple wraps. I wrap the small end of the carabiner 4 times with the last wrap laid on top of the previous wraps. The last wrap secures the previous wraps from slipping. The rope is then run through the carabiner to the tree.

    The wrapping technique has some great advantages:
    • Simplicity - wrapping the rope around the carabiner is simplicity in action. No technique required.
    • Never jams - the wraps can never jam - physically impossible.
    • fast - wrapping the rope around the carabiner can be accomplished faster than tying any knot.
    • no threading - no threading of the suspension rope is required to wrap the carabiner. Simply clip through the carabiner gate. If an SMC ring is used in lieu of the carabiner, the suspension rope will have to be threaded through the ring.


    The Carabiner hitch requires the use of tree huggers, either webbing or rope tree huggers depending on your philosophical relationship with trees.

    As regards tree huggers, I know that many people hate tree huggers. However, I simply have two words regarding tree huggers:

    PINE SAP

    Anybody that is familiar with pine trees and hammocks will immediately recognize the wisdom of keeping anything that touches the tree far away from the hammock. If you know nothing of pine sap, consider yourself lucky. Enough said.

    For this analysis I have compared the following methods:
    1. plain knot. The knot could be the Hennessy style lashing, simple half hitches, a truckers hitch or whatever your favorite knot is that gets the job done. As I have noted below, the simple knot is used with tree huggers and a carabiner or SMC descending ring is optional.
      1. pros: nothing extra needed
      2. cons: can be difficult to learn and remember (especially for those of us getting on in years :biggrin: ) and tying knots is not always the easiest or more convenient option.

    2. Ring on tree hugger. - this method uses an SMC descending ring on the ends of the tree huggers. This increases the weight by 0.4 oz per tree hugger and assumes that the tree hugger loops are big enough for the ring to pass through the loop (or at least the loop on one end). To use the ring on the tree hugger proceed as follows: girth hitch the ring to one end of the tree hugger ( the easy way to do this is to push the loop through the ring, open the loop and pass it around the outside of the ring - girth hitch done), wrap the tree hugger around the tree one or more times, then girth hitch the second end to the ring again (same way as before).

      The pros and cons for this method are pretty much the same as for the plain knot.
    3. Carabiner on Tree hugger. - this method uses a carabiner on the ends of the tree huggers. This increases the weight by 1.0 oz per tree hugger over the tree huggers alone and 0.4 oz per tree hugger over the SMC descending rings. I have assumed the use of the CAMP Nano Wire Carabiner or equivalent.

      The carabiner adds a modicum of convenience at not having to thread the suspension line through the tree hugger end loops or SMC descending ring, rather just clip into the carabiner.

      The pros and cons for this method are pretty much the same as for the plain knot.
    4. carabiner hitch. This method uses a carabiner as a replacement for the loop in the trucker's hitch. This eliminates the rope-on-rope friction and abrasion that plagues the trucker's hitch when used repeatedly. A climbing carabiner is designed to reduce such friction to a minimum. Pulling on the rope when looped back through the carabiner still gives the 3:1 mechanical advantage and reduces the friction and hence abrasion to a minimum. I would like to say "eliminates", but that is not possible. Also, any carabiner used in climbing is designed to have the maximum bending radius possible to reduce fatigue failure in the rope.

      With the Carabiner Hitch as I use it, I use 1 SMC descending ring per tree hugger. I use the SMC descending rings to eliminate the abrasion of the suspension rope on the tree hugger loops.

      How to use the carabiner hitch:
      1. Secure Carabiner - first secure the small end of the carabiner to the suspension rope at a convenient place. If you have used a trucker's hitch, then place the carabiner where you would normally tie the loop of the trucker's hitch - think of the carabiner as replacing the loop of the trucker's hitch.

        The carabiner may be secured to the rope in many ways, several of which are:
        • wraps - wrap the suspension rope around the small end of the carabiner 4 times with the last wrap laid on top of the first 3. Under load the last wrap secures the wraps in place. Simple, easy, efficient, quick and secure.

          The wrap technique is now my preferred method for securing the carabiner and the method I recommend. It is much easier and simpler to move the carabiner when necessary using the wrap technique.
        • girth hitch - form a bight, double the bight back on the rope and pull the rope through the bight, clip the carabiner into the loop thus formed - instant girth hitch ( AKA Larks head ). Arrange the carabiner with the girth hitch on the small end. Simple, easy, efficient, quick and secure.
        • clove hitch - form a clove hitch on the small end of the carabiner.


        Note: orient the carabiner so that it is secured on the small end of the carabiner, i.e., the opening for the wire gate is away from where it is secured to the suspension rope. This will make clipping into the carabiner in subsequent steps much easier.
      2. Loop through tree hugger/carabiner/SMC ring - from the first carabiner, run to the tree hugger and through the end loops, through the SMC ring or clip into the carabiner which is on the tree hugger loops if you are using either there.
      3. back to 1st carabiner - from the tree hugger run back to the first carabiner, clip into the carabiner and wrap around the large end of the carabiner and clip in the carabiner again. The rope is now wrapped completely around the carabiner once. Pull tight, as tight as you want. Always remember that you are working with a 3:1 mechanical advantage now. The force you pull with becomes 3 times that force on the hammock or the hammock ridge line. I doubt that even with the 3:1 advantage that you will be able to break the ridge line.

        Once you have the rope pulled as tight as you desire, the rope needs to be secured from slipping back. There are many ways to do this. I have listed 2 here:
        1. wraps - hold the rope and wrap and clip through the carabiner multiple times again, I find that I can pinch the rope wrapped around the carabiner with my fingers to hold it in place. The 3:1 mechanical advantage works to your advantage here in that you are only holding 1/3 of the total force on the suspension rope. Clip and wrap the loose end of the suspension rope through the carabiner 3 or 4 times so that the rope is now wrapped around the end of the carabiner 4 or 5 times.

          Tie a slipped half hitch, pulling a large bight through the half hitch. Using the bight of the first half hitch, tie a second slipped half hitch. The hammock suspension is now tied and secured.

          I have used this method exclusively now for several months. I have never found the slipped half hitches pulled tight. The wraps on the carabiner alone are holding. I have used suspension rope with a polyester sheath, 2,8 mm Spyderline, and coated dyneema. All with the same results. The two slipped half hitches have become a simple means for me of insuring the wraps remain tight and storing the free end of the suspension rope and keeping it from flopping about.
        2. girth hitch - there are two methods for tying this girth hitch:
          1. threading - (thanks to oldguy52 on Hiking HQ for this):
            1. back to the carabiner and go down through it and pull tight, pinch and hold the rope,
            2. come out the bottom then back up and over the standing part, i.e., the part from the tree hugger,
            3. then back under the carabiner and up through again,
            4. Now back out to the standing part. This should end as a larks head knot.

          2. looping -
            1. clip into carabiner and pull tight, pinch and hold the rope,
            2. pull down and under end of carabiner and then up and over the standing part, i.e., the rope from the tree hugger,
            3. form a bight in the loose end, twist the bight 1/2 turn so that the loose end is under the working part, thus forming a loop of the bight,
            4. clip loop formed in bight above into carabiner and pull tight. Girth hitch formed and holding.


          Tie a slipped half hitch, pulling a large bight through the half hitch. Using the bight of the first half hitch, tie a second half hitch. The hammock suspension is now tied and secured.



      With the Carabiner Hitch, only one carabiner is necessary for the total system. One on one suspension rope. For the other suspension rope use a simple tree hugger or a tree hugger with an SMC descending ring or carabiner.

      To use the system, install one tree hugger on one tree with an SMC descending ring or carabiner. Wrap the suspension rope through the ring/carabiner once completely and tie loosely with a single slipped half hitch. Install the other tree hugger on the other tree with the other SMC descending ring or carabiner. Secure a carabiner on the suspension rope a short distance from the tree. Tie the Carabiner hitch and secure with one complete turn through the carabiner and secure with a single slipped half hitch.

      Adjust both ends to center as necessary. When positioned, secure the single ring/carabiner end by wrapping the ring/carabiner 4 or 5 times and secure with 2 slipped half hitches. At the Carabiner Hitch, pull the suspension rope as tight as desired and secure with an additional 4 wraps and 2 slipped half hitches. Done.

      1. pros: quick and simple to use.

        Provides a 3:1 mechanical advantage for those of us that like to really tighten our suspension and ridge line.

        Very secure, the SMC descending is rated at 144 KN.

        Also, the Carabiner hitch, using either a carabiner or SMC descending, has the advantage of not reqiring any modification to the suspension of a Hennessy hammock. Thus, this method may be tried simply and quickly.
      2. cons: like a trucker's hitch uses more suspension rope. The amount used depends on the placement of the carabiner. lacing the carabiner closer to the tree uses the least rope.

    5. Carabiner Hitch using SMC descending Ring - this method is almost identical to the Carabiner Hitch above except that an SMC descending ring is used in lieu of the carabiner. This method saves 0.6 oz over the Carabiner Hitch method at the expense of having to thread the suspension rope through the SMC ring as opposed to simply clipping into the carabiner.
      1. pros: Very light.

        Provides a 3:1 mechanical advantage for those of us that like to really tighten our suspension and ridge line.

        Very secure, the carabiner is rated at 22 KN along the long axis used.

        Also, the Carabiner hitch, using either a carabiner or SMC descending, has the advantage of not reqiring any modification to the suspension of a Hennessy hammock. Thus, this method may be tried simply and quickly.
      2. cons: like a trucker's hitch uses more suspension rope. The amount used depends on the placement of the ring. Placing the ring closer to the tree uses the least rope.

    6. ring buckle. This method was "discovered" at the same time and independently by myself and a guy posting on the Yahoo hammock groups (don't know his name). The buckle utilizes two SMC descending rings. Any ring with a high enough rating and proper inner diameter could be used, but the SMC rings at 0.4 oz each are the lightest rated rings with a suffiecient inner diameter to accomodate suspension webbing of which I know. They are pretty inexpensive also.

      I have assumed that the ring buckle is attached to the end of the hammock using a 24" length of 2.8 mm Spyderline. The webbing used has a loop on one end through which a carabiner is clipped. The looped end is passed around the tree, the carabiner is clipped back onto the webbing. The free end is then run to the ring buckle and secured. Note that it is not necessary to actually remove the free ed of the webbing from the ring buckle. A convenience for many.

      Note that a ring buckle is normally used on both ends of the hammock. I imagine that one one ring buckle could be used on one end and the suspension webbing on the other end of the hammock could be secured by tying a knot, but I have not read of anybody doing this.

      Also, the carabiner on the loop of the webbing is not really necessary either. It serves two purposes:
      • prevent the abrasion of webbing rubbing against webbing, and
      • convenience. The carabiner makes it possible to leave the weebing threaded through the ring buckle at all times.


      Note: in order to compare apples to apples, I have also included the option of using an SMC descending ring on the loop end of the webbing instead of the heavier carabiner. The SMC ring preserves the first purpose of the carabiner, but eliminates the second.

      1. pros: quick and simple to use
      2. cons: slipping of the webbing through the rings can be a problem. usually alleviated by tying a slipped half hitch after threading the buckle and pulling tight.

    Last edited by angrysparrow; 07-20-2008 at 17:08. Reason: added text at TeeDee's request

  2. #2
    Senior Member TeeDee's Avatar
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    Part 2

    7. zig zag cleat. This method was first introduced by ALHikerGal on the hammock forums. It uses a marine zig zag cleat made of nylon. The rating on the cleat is fairly low, but the forces are largely canceled by the method in which the cleat is used. The largest forces left are shear forces and experience indicates that the cleat is able to handle the forces okay. The lowest price I could find for the cleats is at Cabela's.

    The zig zag cleat is used in a manner similar to the Carabiner Hitch and can proved the same 3:1 mechanical advantage when done properly.

    The cleat is secured to the suspension rope in the same position as the carabiner of the Carabiner Hitch by weaving the rope in a zig zag manner through the cleats. The rope is then run to the tree hugger and back and secured by running the rope through the cleats again, but on the opposite sides of the cleats.

    As with the Carabiner Hitch, only one cleat is really necessary. The technique for utilizing the cleat is entirely analogous to the Carabiner Hitch.

    As with the Carabiner Hitch method, I have assumed the use of 1 SMC descending ring with each tree hugger.
    1. pros: quick and simple to use.

      Provides a 3:1 mechanical advantage for those of us that like to really tighten our suspension and ridge line.

      Also, the zig-zag cleat has the advantage of not reqiring any modification to the suspension of a Hennessy hammock. Thus, this method may be tried simply and quickly.
    2. cons: the cleat is heavier than the 2 SMC descending rings of the ring buckle or a single CC buckle, but lighter than 2 ring buckles or 2 CC buckles. The cleat system is much lighter than either.

      The zig-zag cleat has a low rating of 200 lbsf and thus some may not feel comfortable using it.


    8. CC buckle. This method uses a buckle used in the Crazy Creek hammocks, hence the name. Just Jeff is the first that I know to use the CC buckle on a hammock other than the Crazy Creek hammock. The buckle was first obtained directly from Crazy Creek by Just Jeff, but another source is now the most popular.

    I have assumed that the CC buckle is attached to the end of the hammock using a 24" length of 2.8 mm Spyderline.

    The CC buckle is used in a manner exactly like that of the ring buckle.

    The webbing used has a loop on one end through which a carabiner is clipped. The looped end is passed around the tree, the carabiner is clipped back onto the webbing. The free end is then run to the CC buckle and secured.

    The carabiner serves exactly the same pruposes as for the ring buckle. Also, as for the ring buckle, the webbing need not be undone from the CC buckle once threaded when the carabiner is used.

    Note that a CC buckle is normally used on both ends of the hammock. I imagine that one one CC buckle could be used on one end and the suspension webbing on the other end of the hammock could be secured by tying a knot, but I have not read of anybody doing this.

    Note: in order to compare apples to apples, I have also included the option of using an SMC descending ring on the loop end of the webbing instead of the heavier carabiner.
    1. pros: quick and simple to use
    2. cons: the CC buckle is slightly heavier than the ring buckle but lighter than the zig zag cleat. At least one person reported having to cut the webbing to loosen the buckle. This may be a problem for hammocks using a structural ridge line, but most that use it are to be doing okay.


    9. Hitchcraft Rope Tie. This method uses a device invented recently and marketed on the Hitch Craft web site. I have used this method, but it requires a suspension rope with a larger diameter than the 2.8 mm Spyderline assumed for the other rope suspension analysed. The Hitchcraft Rope Tie comes in 2 sizes, Mini and Monster. Some people have reported using the Mini rope tie with success. I tried one using 1/8" diameter Spyderline and can attest to the fact that it will not work for me on that diameter suspension rope. The 1/8" diameter suspension rope ripped through the Mini and burned out a channel at the bottom of the cleat rendering it useless for further use. In my correspondence with the inventor he warned about concentrated forces using small diameter rope. He was right.
    1. pros: quick and simple to use.

      Has other uses in camp where a device for tightening rope is needed and like the Figure 9 device it gives a 3 to 1 advantage when rigged properly.

      Also, the rope tie has the advantage of not reqiring any modification to the suspension of a Hennessy hammock. Thus, this method may be tried simply and quickly.
    2. cons: The mid-range weight device of the methods analyzed. The mini weighs 0.9 oz which is 0.1 oz heavier than a single ring buckle and the Monster weighs 2.9 oz which is far heavier than any other device examined here.

      Requires a larger diameter rope to meet the designs recommended safety requirements.

    Note that for the systems utilizing suspension rope and hardware (carabiner, SMC descending ring, zig-zag cleat or HitchCraft Mini Rope Tie)) only one is used and only on one suspension rope. For the webbing suspension systems, the hardware (ring or CC buckle) is used on both suspension webbings, thus doubling the weight of the hardware. For comparison purposes I have included figures for using the hardware for suspension ropes on both ends, but omitted from the summary.

    The ground rules for my analysis:
    1. Hammock Size. I assumed a hammock the same size as the HH ULBA with a length from end to end of 100" (8' 4"). If you use another hammock the weight comparison is still valid, but you would have to substitute your hammock length for the tree separation analysis. I used the HH ULBA because Hennessy makes a standard size in that model and it appears to be a popular hammock. The length of the hammock is only apropos for the tree separation analysis.
    2. Suspension Line. I assumed the use of the New England Spyderline, 2.8 mm diameter for the suspension rope. Any of the modern ropes of equal or greater diameter and rating could be used and the weights will be almost equal for almost equal diameters.

      I have assumed that 10' of suspension line is utilized. Weight: 0.72 oz per end. 10' of the 2.8 mm Spyderline occupies a volume of 75,072.5 cubic mm or 4.6 cubic in.

      For the HitchCraft Mini Rope Tie, I have assumed the use of 10' of 3.8 mm Spyderline due to the problem I experienced with the Mini using the 2.8 mm Spyderline. The 3.8 mm Spyderline weighs 0.8 oz/100' or 0.128 oz/ft or 1.28 oz per end. 10' of the 3.8 mm Spyderline occupies a volume of 138,271.3 cubic mm or 8.44 cubic inches.
    3. Whipping. Since the amount of rope used for the whipping is assumed to be the same for all hammocks, the weight of the whipping was not considered.
    4. Rings. SMC descending rings. 0.4 oz each.
    5. Buckle weights:
      1. Ring Buckle: 2 ring buckles, 4 SMC descending rings, 0.4 oz each, 1.6 oz total
      2. CC Buckle: 2 buckles, 1.0 oz each, 2.0 oz total

    6. Zig Zag cleat: 1 required, 1.25 oz
    7. Buckle attachment. For the Ring buckle and the CC buckle I have assumed that the buckle is attached to the hammock at a distance of 1' from the hammock end and that 1' of line is used to attach the buckle and attach to the hammock. Thus, 2' of line in total is used for attaching the buckle. Weight: 0.143 oz each end a buckle is used.
    8. Carabiner. I have assumed the use of the CAMP Nano wire carabiner as the lightest available with a sufficient rating to be used in the hammock suspension. Weight: 1 oz.
    9. Tree huggers. For the methods that use tree huggers I have assumed 42" of 1" wide polyester webbing. I have assumed 42" for the simple reason that 42" is the length of the standard tree hugger sold by Hennessy. That is a sufficient length for a tree with a 15" diameter if using the Hennessy lashing or something similar. It is sufficient for a 13" diameter if using a carabiner and slightly less than 13" using an SMC descending ring girth hitched to the loops.

      I have included 2 different webbings for this analysis. Both have been popular on the forums before I left on my extended trip.
      • 1" wide polyester webbing sold by Harbor Freight in their ratchet straps and rated at 1,500 lbsf.
        Weight: 0.224 oz/foot, 0.78 oz per tree hugger.
        1 mm thick. 1 tree hugger: 27,096.7 cubic mm or 1.65 cubic inches
      • 1" wide polyester webbing sold by Strapworks. Rated at 3,500 lbsf.
        Weight 0.39 oz/foot. 1.37 oz per tree hugger.
        2 mm thick. 1 tree hugger: 51,193.4 cubic mm or 3.31 cubic inches.

    10. Suspension Webbing. I have assumed that 10' of 1" wide polyester webbing is used with both the Ring buckle and the CC buckle.

      The webbing is the same as that I have assumed for the tree huggers.
      • Harbor Freight webbing - Weight: 0.224 oz/foot, 2.24 oz per hammock end. 1 suspension webbing: 77,419.2 cubic mm or 4.72 cubic inches
      • Strapworks webbing - Weight: 0.39 oz/foot, 3.9 oz per hammock end. 1 suspension webbing: 154,838.4 cubic mm or 9.44 cubic inches.


      The webbing is by far the heaviest single component of any of the suspension methods analyzed. The polypropylene webbing sold by Ed Speers is slightly lighter at 0.208 oz/ft, but the rating of the polypropylene webbing is given by Ed as 700 lbs. The polyester webbing I obtained from the Harbor Freight ratchet straps and is rated at 1500 lbs. I used the polyester webbing and so used it in this comparison.
    11. HitchCraft Rope Tie. I have examined the Mini rope tie only and I have assumed using the 3.8 mm New England Spyderline at 0.128 oz/ft. I would not recommend using the 2.8 mm Spyderline and the Mini Rope Tie. In my experiments using both, I found the Mini Rope tie could not hold beyond the 150 lb rating. My experiments were performed prior to the rating on the Mini being reduced to 150 lbs for 1/8" rope.

      Hitchman had informed me that he thought the Mini might fail with small diameter rope due to the concentrated forces exerted in the cleat by the small diameter rope. He was right. The 2.8 mm Spyderline rope zipped through the Mini when I got in the hammock (180 lbs) and gouged a channel in the bottom of the cleat of the Mini on one end. I informed him of my experiment, he replaced the rope ties and shortly thereafter, he reduced the rating of the Mini for small diameter rope.

    [/list]
    Last edited by angrysparrow; 07-21-2008 at 10:32.

  3. #3
    Senior Member TeeDee's Avatar
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    Part 3

    Weight Comparison:[*]Knot - no carabiner or ring
    • 10' line: 0.72 oz
    • Tree Hugger: 0.78 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Tree Hugger: 1.37 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total per end: 1.50 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total per end: 2.09 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total: 3.00 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total: 4.18 oz - Strapworks webbing
    [*]knot w/SMC ring
    • 10' line: 0.72 oz
    • ring: 0.4 oz
    • Tree Hugger: 0.78 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Tree Hugger: 1.37 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total per end: 1.90 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total per end: 2.49 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total: 3.80 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total: 4.98 oz - Strapworks webbing
    [*]Knot w/carabiner
    • 10' line: 0.72 oz
    • Carabiner: 1 oz
    • Tree Hugger: 0.78 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Tree Hugger: 1.37 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total per end: 2.50 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total per end: 3.09 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total: 5.00 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total: 6.18 oz - Strapworks webbing
    [*]Ring version of the Carabiner hitch w/ring on tree hugger - one Carabiner Hitch - other end ring only
    • 10' line: 0.72 oz
    • SMC descending ring, 2: 0.8 oz
    • Tree Hugger: 0.78 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Tree Hugger: 1.37 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total per end: 2.30 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total per end: 2.89 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total: 4.20 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total: 5.38 oz - Strapworks webbing
    [*]Ring version of the Carabiner hitch w/ring on tree hugger - two Carabiner Hitchs
    • 10' line: 0.72 oz
    • SMC descending ring, 2: 0.8 oz
    • tree hugger: 0.78 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Tree Hugger: 1.37 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total per end: 2.30 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total per end: 2.89 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total: 4.60 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total: 5.78 oz - Strapworks webbing
    [*]Carabiner hitch - one Carabiner Hitch - other end ring only
    • 10' line: 0.72 oz
    • SMC descending ring, 1: 0.4 oz
    • carabiner, 1: 1.0 oz
    • tree hugger: 0.78 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Tree Hugger: 1.37 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total per end: 2.90 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total per end: 3.49 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total: 4.80 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total: 5.98 oz - Strapworks webbing
    [*]Carabiner hitch - two Carabiner Hitchs
    • 10' line: 0.72 oz
    • SMC descending ring, 1: 0.4 oz
    • carabiner, 1: 1.0 oz
    • tree hugger: 0.78 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Tree Hugger: 1.37 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total per end: 2.90 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total per end: 3.49 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total: 5.80 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total: 6.98 oz - Strapworks webbing
    [*]zig zag cleat - one cleat Hitch - other end ring only
    • 10' line: 0.72 oz
    • cleat: 1.25 oz
    • SMC Descending Ring: 0.4 oz
    • tree hugger: 0.78 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Tree Hugger: 1.37 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total per end: 3.15 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total per end: 3.74 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total: 5.05 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total: 6.23 oz - Strapworks webbing
    [*]zig zag cleat - two cleats
    • 10' line: 0.72 oz
    • cleat: 1.25 oz
    • SMC Descending Ring: 0.4 oz
    • tree hugger: 0.78 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Tree Hugger: 1.37 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total per end: 3.15 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total per end: 3.74 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total: 6.30 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total: 7.48 oz - Strapworks webbing
    [*]Ring Buckle - SMC descending ring on webbing loop
    • 2' suspension line: 0.144 oz
    • 2 rings @ 0.4 oz each: 0.8 oz
    • 10' of 1" Harbor Freight polyester webbing: 2.24 oz
    • 10' of 1" Strapworks polyester webbing: 3.90 oz
    • 1 SMC descending ring: 0.4 oz
    • Total per end: 3.58 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total per end: 5.24 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total: 7.17 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total: 10.49 oz - Strapworks webbing
    [*]Ring Buckle - carabiner on webbing loop
    • 2' suspension line: 0.144 oz
    • 2 rings @ 0.4 oz each: 0.8 oz
    • 10' of 1" Harbor Freight polyester webbing: 2.24 oz
    • 10' of 1" Strapworks polyester webbing: 3.90 oz
    • 1 carabiner: 1.0 oz
    • Total per end: 4.18 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total per end: 5.84 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total: 8.37 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total: 11.69 oz - Strapworks webbing
    [*]CC Buckle - SMC descending ring on webbing loop
    • 2' suspension line: 0.144 oz
    • 1 CC buckle: 1.0 oz
    • 10' of 1" Harbor Freight polyester webbing: 2.24 oz
    • 10' of 1" Strapworks polyester webbing: 3.90 oz
    • 1 SMC descending ring: 0.4 oz
    • Total per end: 3.78 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total per end: 5.44 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total: 7.57 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total: 10.89 oz - Strapworks webbing
    [*]CC Buckle - carabiner on webbing loop
    • 2' suspension line: 0.144 oz
    • 1 CC buckle: 1.0 oz
    • 10' of 1" Harbor Freight polyester webbing: 2.24 oz
    • 10' of 1" Strapworks polyester webbing: 3.90 oz
    • 1 carabiner: 1.0 oz
    • Total per end: 4.38 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total per end: 6.04 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total: 8.77 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total: 12.09 oz - Strapworks webbing
    [*]HitchCraft Rope Tie - mini - one rope tie - other end ring only
    • 10' line: 1.28 oz
    • Rope Tie: 0.9 oz
    • SMC descending ring: 0.4 oz
    • tree hugger: 0.78 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Tree Hugger: 1.37 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total per end: 3.36 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total per end: 3.95 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total: 5.82 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total: 7.00 oz - Strapworks webbing
    [*]HitchCraft Rope Tie - mini - 2 rope ties
    • 10' line: 1.28 oz
    • Rope Ties: 0.9 oz
    • SMC descending ring: 0.4 oz
    • tree hugger: 0.78 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Tree Hugger: 1.37 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total per end: 3.36 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total per end: 3.95 oz - Strapworks webbing
    • Total: 6.72 oz - Harbor Freight webbing
    • Total: 7.90 oz - Strapworks webbing
    Last edited by angrysparrow; 07-21-2008 at 10:26.

  4. #4
    Senior Member TeeDee's Avatar
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    Part 4

    Summary Weight Ranking (low to high -- Total suspension weight listed): Again note that I have omitted the use of 2 Carabiner Hitches, 2 zig-zag cleats or 2 rope ties from the summary since the use of 2 is simply not necessary and only serves to provide un-necessary data in the summary. Also, I have included in the summary only those configurations which I have used or which I believe I have read of people using. Thus, the use of the SMC rings with either the ring or CC buckles has not been included below.

    HF == Harbor Freight Webbing
    SW == Strapworks webbing

    1. Knot - no carabiner or ring -----------------------HF: 3.00 oz --- SW: 4.18 oz
    2. knot w/SMC ring -----------------------------------HF: 3.80 oz --- SW: 4.98 oz
    3. Ring version Carabiner hitch - 1 Hitch-------------HF: 4.20 oz --- SW: 5.38 oz
    4. Carabiner hitch - 1 Hitch -------------------------HF: 4.80 oz --- SW: 5.98 oz
    5. Knot w/carabiner ----------------------------------HF: 5.00 oz --- SW: 6.18 oz
    6. zig zag cleat - 1 cleat ---------------------------HF: 5.05 oz --- SW: 6.23 oz
    7. HitchCraft Rope Tie -1 rope tie -------------------HF: 5.82 oz --- SW: 7.00 oz
    8. Ring Buckle - carabiner on webbing loop -----------HF: 8.37 oz --- SW: 11.69 oz
    9. CC Buckle - carabiner on webbing loop -------------HF: 8.77 oz --- SW: 12.09 oz



    The simple knot method with or without SMC descending rings on the tree hugger is by far the lightest option available and the CC Buckle method is the heaviest suspension method examined. There are other variations not listed here, e.g., ring version of carabiner hitch with no ring or carabiner on the tree hugger or the Carabiner Htch with carabiner and carabiners on the tree huggers.

    For convenience of use and light weight the SMC descending ring version of the Carabiner hitch wins at 4.20 oz total suspension weight.

    The Carabiner Hitch using the carabiner for the hitch and SMC rings on the tree huggers wins the ease of use with least weight.

    Since I am pretty sure the CC buckle is almost exactly the same as the Ring buckle for ease of use, and I have extensively used the Ring buckle, I can say with considerable authority that the Carabiner Hitch method is as easy to use as either the Ring buckle or CC buckle.

    Of course, I am sure that the CC buckle adherents will say that not having to tie a slipped half hitch after the buckle makes the CC buckle easier to use than the ring buckle. I am unconvinced, but each to her or his own.

    The heaviest suspension using rope suspension is the single HtchCraft Rope Tie due to the need for the 3.8 mm Spyderline.

    As soon as a buckle and webbing are used the weight jumps due to the high weight of the webbing. The jump in weight is most dramatic for the Strapworks webbing. The webbing that is used for either buckle is the heaviest component of any suspension.

    The ring buckle and CC buckle weight are so close as to probably not really matter except to those fanatic about tenths of an ounce. Hencde for those trying to decide between either the ring or CC buckle, my advice would be to try both and decide which appeals to you if you are inclined to the use of webbing.

    Note: I have noticed that Strapworks has recently added 1" seatbelt webbing to their offerings. I have had a chance to try it and it is excellent webbing. I especially like the black as opposed to the Harbor Freight bright yellow and I have switched to the Strapworks 1" seatbelt webbing.

    However, the above analysis still holds substituting the 1" seatbelt webbing for the Harbor Freight webbing since they are almost the same weight with the Strapworks 1" seatbelt webbing being a few hundredths of an oz heavier per foot.

    In essence the webbing offers a lot of convenience, but the weight penalty is high also. The Carabiner Hitch using modern line is as convenient and as easy to use and a lot lighter. Those who detest tree huggers and like the webbing suspension because the suspension and tree hugger are integrated into a single unit will probably still prefer the webbing fore the reason alone. Until they have to hang in a pine forest.

    Also, as stated above, I have found that the carabiner hitch is just as easy and convenient to use as the double ring buckle (and hence the CC buckle) and the carabiner hitch doesn't carry, pun intended, the weight penalty of the webbing.

    I have pretty much come full circle on rings and webbing. I started with the Hennessy lashing and got frustrated with the lashing pretty quickly. It was and is frustrating to wrap the lashing and then have to undo all of the wraps to center the hammock between the trees and then re-do again to re-tighten the suspension after things have stretched out a bit.

    I went from the simple knot to webbing and cam locking buckles for the sake of convenience and then to the ring buckles to save weight over the cam buckles and because I couldn't find a reliable rating for the cam buckles. At the time I thought nothing of the weight, i.e., I just didn't take the time to figure how much that system weighed. After carrying it too many times, I decided to figure out just how much the weight penalty really is. I was really surprised by just how much webbing really weighs. Especially in relationship to rope of equal rating.

    2.88 mm Spyderline: 0.072 oz/ft, 1,200 lbsf breaking strength
    1" polyester webbing: 0.223 oz/ft, 1,500 lbsf breaking strength
    1" polyester webbing: 0.390 oz/ft, 3,500 lbsf breaking strength
    1" polyester seatbelt webbing: 0.26 oz/ft, rating not clearly stated on web site

    The webbing is 3.5 times heavier than the Spyderline for almost equivalent breaking strengths. Of course we are using very different materials, polyester webbing versus Dyneema. Dyneema is noted for it's light weight and high strength.

    So what have I learned from this?

    I am dropping the use of all suspension devices except carabiners for the Carabiner Hitch and SMC descending rings with the tree huggers. The only webbing I will be using is the tree huggers. At 0.78 oz each, 1.56 oz total, I can manage and spare the trees when needed.

  5. #5
    Senior Member TeeDee's Avatar
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    Part 5

    I have switched totally to my Bridge Hammock. My suspension is now configured as follows:

    • Tree hugger, with SMC descending rings girth hitched to loops.
    • Combined suspension lines and ridge line: 10' of 2.8 mm Spyderline, 3/4" ID Stainless Steel ring, 10' of 3/32" Yale Crystalyne vectran core line, 3/4" ID Stainless Steel ring, 10' 2.8 mm Spyderline.

      On some of my combined suspension/ridge lines I have substituted the 3 mm AS-78 by Samson rated at 2,900 lbsf. Really nice stuff even if it is a brilliant white. Slightly heavier than the Spyderline at 0.0816 oz/foot. It is coated instead of sheathed and is easier to work with than the polyester sheathed Spyderline.


    A 3/4" ID stainless steel ring is equal in weight to an SMC descending ring.

    The Bridge Hammock is then suspended from the 3/4" ID Stainless Steel rings, giving me a 10' ridge line.

    I use the Carabiner hitch described above. I like pulling my suspension moderately tight to tight and like the 3:1 mechanical advantage afforded by this method which makes the process easier. I can hang the combined suspension and ridge line. When I have that positioned, I then hang the hammock from the Stainless Steel rings. Simple, convenient, easy and and efficient.

    I have reduced the weight carried in the hammock suspension from 8.376 oz to 4.80 oz, or 4.20 oz if I decide to use the ring version of the Carabiner Hitch. I have cut the weight of my suspension from the ring buckles almost in half and have done so with no sacrifice in ease or convenience of use.

    Volume comparison ranked low to high: (volumes expressed cubic inches)
    • 10' Harbor Freight suspension webbing: 4.72
    • 10' Spyderline + 42" Harbor Freight tree hugger: 4.6 + 1.65 == 6.25
    • 10' Spyderline + 42" Strapworks tree hugger: 4.6 + 3.31 == 7.9
    • 10' Strapworks suspension webbing: 9.44


    The Harbor Freight webbing suspension wins the volume comparison. The Strapworks webbing suspension occupies the most volume in the pack.

    My dream tree huggers: Spyderline!!! If I could only use Spyderline or any modern small diameter, say 3 mm, dyneema rope as a tree hugger. Low weight and low volume.

    Or if I could find 1" wide dyneema webbing with a thickness low enough to bring the weight down comparable to the 2.8 mm Spyderline. By my calculations, the thickness would be approximately 1.1 mm. Comparable to the Harbor Freight webbing in thickness. Seems like that should be acheivable with modern fibers. Then I would have low weight and strength in a tree hugger. Those who prefer the webbing suspension should appreciate that also.

    Tree Separation.
    1. Spyderline suspension. With 10' of Spyderline and 100" end to end for the hammock and allowing 3' of line for a Carabiner Hitch on one end and wrapping the SMC ring and finishing with 2 slipped half hitches on the other end. That leaves 7' on both ends for spanning the distance from hammock to trees. That allows a maximum tree separation of a little over 22'. The minimum separation would be approximately 10' 6" deleting the Carabiner Hitch on one end. This assumes that the tree huggers are sufficient to handle the tree diameter. For an additional 1.56 oz., tree diameters up to 26" could be accommodated. Note that the tree diameter that can be accommodated is dependent only on the length of the available tree huggers and is independent of the length of the suspension rope.
    2. Webbing suspension. With 10' of webbing, a tree diameter of 1' will use slightly over 3', 3' 1.7" more exactly, of the suspension webbing to circumnavigate the tree. That leaves 7' for threading the buckle and whatever is needed to grasp and pull the suspension tight. Assuming 1' is needed to thread the buckle and provide enough to grasp, that leaves 6' of webbing on each end for spanning the distance to the trees. With distance from buckle to buckle of 10' 4", a maximum tree separation of a little over 22' could be accommodated. If the diameter of both trees was increased to the 26" that could be accommodated by doubled tree huggers, then 6.8' of the webbing would be used to circumnavigate the trees, leaving 3.2'. Again assuming the 1' for threading and grasping, we have 2.2' of available webbing. That means that the maximum tree separation in this case would be about 14.5'.


    Thus, using suspension lengths of 10' for both the webbing and rope suspensions, approximately equal tree separations could be handled.

    Finis --

    Hope this is useful to the members.

  6. #6
    Mule's Avatar
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    Wow! What a great study and report. My Gram Weenie friends will be thrilled to know these weights.
    Last trip my Gram Weenie friend decided he didn't need anything but tree huggers and rope. Well, he forgot his tree huggers and borrowed mine, then he was about twenty minutes getting his hammock to hang correctly enough to be low enough for him to get into it and high enough to keep him off the ground once he did get into it.
    Honestly, I think he did it on purpose to entertain the rest of us. He is such a ham, he will do anything for a laugh, and we laughed. Mule
    There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member headchange4u's Avatar
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    I'm glad you posted this article on hammock forums. I just finished (tonight as a matter of fact) a trucker's hitch system using 1 SMC descending ring (per side), a tree hugger, and 1/8" Amsteel Blue for the line. I took a lot of lessons from your write-up on Hiking HQ.

    I have yet to step the system up and use it but I will take some pics when I do.
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it." -Terry Pratchett



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  8. #8
    Senior Member cgul1's Avatar
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    Excellent data

    TeeDee,
    Thank you so much, it is nice to have a list/ comparison in one post/thread

  9. #9
    Peter_pan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeeDee View Post
    Part 4

    Summary Weight Ranking (low to high -- Total suspension weight listed): Again note that I have omitted the use of 2 Carabiner Hitches, 2 zig-zag cleats or 2 rope ties from the summary since the use of 2 is simply not necessary and only serves to provide un-necessary data in the summary. Also, I have included in the summary only those configurations which I have used or which I believe I have read of people using. Thus, the use of the SMC rings with either the ring or CC buckles has not been included below.

    HF == Harbor Freight Webbing
    SW == Strapworks webbing

    1. Knot - no carabiner or ring -----------------------HF: 3.00 oz --- SW: 4.18 oz
    2. knot w/SMC ring -----------------------------------HF: 3.80 oz --- SW: 4.98 oz
    3. Ring version Carabiner hitch - 1 Hitch-------------HF: 4.20 oz --- SW: 5.38 oz
    4. Carabiner hitch - 1 Hitch -------------------------HF: 4.80 oz --- SW: 5.98 oz
    5. Knot w/carabiner ----------------------------------HF: 5.00 oz --- SW: 6.18 oz
    6. zig zag cleat - 1 cleat ---------------------------HF: 5.05 oz --- SW: 6.23 oz
    7. HitchCraft Rope Tie -1 rope tie -------------------HF: 5.82 oz --- SW: 7.00 oz
    8. Ring Buckle - carabiner on webbing loop -----------HF: 8.37 oz --- SW: 11.69 oz
    9. CC Buckle - carabiner on webbing loop -------------HF: 8.77 oz --- SW: 12.09 oz



    The simple knot method with or without SMC descending rings on the tree hugger is by far the lightest option available and the CC Buckle method is the heaviest suspension method examined. There are other variations not listed here, e.g., ring version of carabiner hitch with no ring or carabiner on the tree hugger or the Carabiner Htch with carabiner and carabiners on the tree huggers.

    For convenience of use and light weight the SMC descending ring version of the Carabiner hitch wins at 4.20 oz total suspension weight.

    The Carabiner Hitch using the carabiner for the hitch and SMC rings on the tree huggers wins the ease of use with least weight.

    Since I am pretty sure the CC buckle is almost exactly the same as the Ring buckle for ease of use, and I have extensively used the Ring buckle, I can say with considerable authority that the Carabiner Hitch method is as easy to use as either the Ring buckle or CC buckle.

    Of course, I am sure that the CC buckle adherents will say that not having to tie a slipped half hitch after the buckle makes the CC buckle easier to use than the ring buckle. I am unconvinced, but each to her or his own.

    The heaviest suspension using rope suspension is the single HtchCraft Rope Tie due to the need for the 3.8 mm Spyderline.

    As soon as a buckle and webbing are used the weight jumps due to the high weight of the webbing. The jump in weight is most dramatic for the Strapworks webbing. The webbing that is used for either buckle is the heaviest component of any suspension.

    The ring buckle and CC buckle weight are so close as to probably not really matter except to those fanatic about tenths of an ounce. Hencde for those trying to decide between either the ring or CC buckle, my advice would be to try both and decide which appeals to you if you are inclined to the use of webbing.

    Note: I have noticed that Strapworks has recently added 1" seatbelt webbing to their offerings. I have had a chance to try it and it is excellent webbing. I especially like the black as opposed to the Harbor Freight bright yellow and I have switched to the Strapworks 1" seatbelt webbing.

    However, the above analysis still holds substituting the 1" seatbelt webbing for the Harbor Freight webbing since they are almost the same weight with the Strapworks 1" seatbelt webbing being a few hundredths of an oz heavier per foot.

    In essence the webbing offers a lot of convenience, but the weight penalty is high also. The Carabiner Hitch using modern line is as convenient and as easy to use and a lot lighter. Those who detest tree huggers and like the webbing suspension because the suspension and tree hugger are integrated into a single unit will probably still prefer the webbing fore the reason alone. Until they have to hang in a pine forest.

    Also, as stated above, I have found that the carabiner hitch is just as easy and convenient to use as the double ring buckle (and hence the CC buckle) and the carabiner hitch doesn't carry, pun intended, the weight penalty of the webbing.

    I have pretty much come full circle on rings and webbing. I started with the Hennessy lashing and got frustrated with the lashing pretty quickly. It was and is frustrating to wrap the lashing and then have to undo all of the wraps to center the hammock between the trees and then re-do again to re-tighten the suspension after things have stretched out a bit.

    I went from the simple knot to webbing and cam locking buckles for the sake of convenience and then to the ring buckles to save weight over the cam buckles and because I couldn't find a reliable rating for the cam buckles. At the time I thought nothing of the weight, i.e., I just didn't take the time to figure how much that system weighed. After carrying it too many times, I decided to figure out just how much the weight penalty really is. I was really surprised by just how much webbing really weighs. Especially in relationship to rope of equal rating.

    2.88 mm Spyderline: 0.072 oz/ft, 1,200 lbsf breaking strength
    1" polyester webbing: 0.223 oz/ft, 1,500 lbsf breaking strength
    1" polyester webbing: 0.390 oz/ft, 3,500 lbsf breaking strength
    1" polyester seatbelt webbing: 0.26 oz/ft, rating not clearly stated on web site

    The webbing is 3.5 times heavier than the Spyderline for almost equivalent breaking strengths. Of course we are using very different materials, polyester webbing versus Dyneema. Dyneema is noted for it's light weight and high strength.

    So what have I learned from this?

    I am dropping the use of all suspension devices except carabiners for the Carabiner Hitch and SMC descending rings with the tree huggers. The only webbing I will be using is the tree huggers. At 0.78 oz each, 1.56 oz total, I can manage and spare the trees when needed.
    TeeDee,

    Nice article.... lot of work .... You are to be commended.

    You missed the latest alternative for the all webbing approach.... The JRB Tri-Glide.

    Using your 10 foot lengths and the stated weights the JRB Tri-Glide, at 11 grams each, would be at

    6a JRB Tri-Glide and 10' webbing HF 5.25 SW 8.57

    Decisively lighter than all other webbing only alternatives.

    Pan
    Last edited by Peter_pan; 03-07-2008 at 08:41. Reason: spelling
    Ounces to Grams.

    www.jacksrbetter.com ... Largest supplier of camping quilts and under quilts...Home of the Original Nest Under Quilt, and Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock. 800 595 0413

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the article.
    Glad you mentioned tree sap. I'm also stuck using tree huggers because of it.
    I thought I was set on the cc buckle and webbing approach, but the carabiner hitch sure looks good (cheaper too).
    Tried the method with some paracord I had lying around. I found I let the rope slip a bit when securing the rope back to carabiner while trying to do the clove hitch with the threading method. Not much, but a little bit.


    Couple questions.
    I heard most people were using the 3.8mm spyder line. Is the 2.8mm good enough (1900 vs 1200 tensile strength, lbsf I think) for our application, and easy to retie the Hennessy knot (replacing my stock HH Expedition rope)?

    One draw with the cinch buckle was the ease and centering of the hammock. Easy to tighten each end by a little and then give it a final tighten on each end. This one might need more fiddling, but seems easy enough to do. I guess an extra slip hitch on each side instead of just pulling on straps.

    Last thing. If using just 1 carabiner hitch, how much more rope do you recommend on that side compared to the side with just a ring?


    Sorry for all the questions. I kinda have to get this right on the first try as I can't find Canadian supplies and have to ship things from the States.

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