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  1. #1
    Senior Member headchange4u's Avatar
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    Trucker's Hitch Support System.

    I finally got around to testing the Trucker's Hitch (TH) suspension system. It consists of 2 tree huggers, 2 descending rings, and 2 lengths of rope. For testing this system I used The 1/8" Amsteel Blue rope, rated at 2500 lbs breaking strength and weighs .08oz per foot.

    I know a few people use systems very similar to what I am playing around with. TeeDee has an excellent write-up on the different types of suspension systems as well as details on some variations of the TH system. The main reason that I wanted to try the TH is because I am trying to reduce the weight of my hammock setup. I can't really do much to the hammock to reduce weight unless I build a new hammock out of a lighter material. I started look at my suspension and decided that this area would be a good place to start trimming grams and ounces.

    The suspension system that I currently use is either the ring buckles, or more recently going back to cinch buckles. I also use the Camp Nano Biners, 10' of OWF polyester camo webbing on each end, and a short length of Spectra line that goes from the hammock to the ring/cinch buckles. You can see a comparison of the weights of the different systems below:

    Cinch Buckle System:


    Cinch buckle w/ ~18" of 7/64 Spectra = 1.2 oz x 2 sides = 2.4 oz
    10' OWF camo webbing = 2.3 oz x 2 sides = 4.6 oz
    Camp Nano biner = 1.1 oz x 2 sides = 2.2 oz
    Total weight = 9.2 oz

    Ring Buckle System

    2 descending rings w/ ~18" 7/64 Spectra = 1.1 oz x 2 sides = 2.2 oz
    10' OWF camo webbing = 2.3 oz x 2 sides = 4.6 oz
    Camp Nano biner = 1.1 oz x 2 sides = 2.2 oz
    Total weight = 9.0 oz


    Truckers Hitch System:

    20' 1/8 Amsteel Blue w/ 1 descending ring = 2.1 oz x 2 sides = 4.2 oz
    5' tree hugger = 1.4 oz x 2 sides = 2.8 oz
    Total = 7 oz


    You can see that the TH system about 20-25% lighter than the ring/cinch buckle system, but if you remove the convenience of a biner in the ring buckle/cinch buckle system(RB/CB), it puts the weight really close to the TH system. In my experiments the 20' length of rope that I used is a bit much. I think that I would be fine using 15' ropes and that would help to further reduce the weight of the TH suspension. I could also get by without using a descending ring by simply tying a knot in the rope like a standard trucker's hitch, but once the knot was tied it would be permanent. By incorporating the descending ring I now gain the ability to move the ring and change the length of the suspension. I could also use a ring on the tree hugger to help reduce friction, but for now I'm sticking with the single descending ring per side.


    Here's how the system works. The SMC descending ring is attached to the rope by a girth hitch. Step 1 is to place the tree hugger around the tree. I made 2 different tree huggers; one is 6' long and weighs 1.6oz and the other one is 5' long and weighs 1.4oz . The huggers have a 2" loop on one end and a 6" loop on the other. I made one end with a large, 6" loop so that I would be able to use that end at attach a descending ring(s) to the tree hugger with a girth hitch so that I can test the Amsteel Blue rope with the Garda Hitch at some point in the future.


    I also incorporated an "abrasion sleeve" on one of the tree huggers that I made from a piece of Vectran I got from an air bag. I thought this may help with th friction of pulling the rope through the loops. Only time will tell.


    After attaching the tree huggers to the tree you then pass the rope through the small, 2" loop and back down through a descending ring attached to the rope. To reduce the weight of the system I am not using biners or am I using a descending ring attached to the tree hugger itself. I did opt to use the descending ring on the rope to give me the ability to move the ring up and down the rope (more on this later).



    I also found that if you have some an extra length on the suspension rope, you can pass it through the loop and then back down through the ring a second time.


    After tightening everything up you can secure the suspension lines by tying a slippery half hitch and then tying another slippery half hitch on top of that. I lounged in the hammock for about an hour and have it a couple of good bounces and the knots showed no signs of slipping. It was also pretty easy to undo the knots. Just a quick jerk and they come loose.



    Here's some pics of the hammock set up with the TH system including one shot of me sitting in the hammock. The rope has very little stretch and once I set up the system I had to only re-tighten everything once to take up the slack from the initial stretch.




    One huge advantage of the TH suspension is that it is adjustable and allows me to hang between trees that are farther apart, giving me a wider range of places to set up. With the RB/CB system some of the length of the webbing has to be used to encircle the tree. This means if you hang from a couple of really big trees, they will have to be closer together. By using tree huggers, it leaves the entire length of the rope to span the gap between the hammock and the tree.

    You can also change the placement of the ring on the rope and change the length of the suspension. I could easily use longer webbing in the RB/CB system but the weight or webbing is much heavier than the rope I am using (.2 oz per foot for webbing and .08 oz per foot for Amsteel Blue).

    You can see in the figure below that on most cases the ring can be located right next to the hammock, giving you the shortest length of suspension rope and the most amount of adjustment. If I find a nice spot with trees a little further apart, I can slide the ring down the rope, away from the hammock, and it lengthens my suspension rope, allowing me to hang in a spot that might not have been possible using the RB/CB system. One thing I noticed is that when you move the ring away from the hammock it reduces the amount of cordage going from the ring, to the tree hugger, and back to the ring, reducing the amount of adjustment you have. I don't think this would be a problem in the long run but it's something to keep in mind.



    Trucker's Hitch Suspension Pros:

    - Lighter system as compared to my standard RB/CB system

    - The tree huggers and rope can be kept separate from the hammock in case of a wet suspension or things like tree sap.

    - Longer suspension lines gives the ability to setup in more of a variety of locations.

    - Amsteel Blue rope stronger and lighter than webbing

    - Provides a 3:1 mechanical advantage when the rope is tightened.

    - Rope/tree huggers pack down to a smaller size, reducing bulk in pack.

    Trucker's Hitch Suspension Cons:

    - Longer setup time RB/CB

    - Cinch buckles are quicker to adjust.

    - System uses tree huggers. I'm not a huge fan of tree huggers.
    “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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  2. #2
    cool, i have been messing with the truckers hitch for my guylines. now i want to try it with a suspension. lately i have been tying it off by simply wrapping the lines 3 times or so and then tying a single slippery half hitch, wrapping the bundle like that seems to work well because it seems to hold even after i pop the bight.

    what advantage do you think this system has over just tying off a single strand to either a ring or directly to the loop of your tree strap? i did notice you had it pulled pretty tight on that long hang though, but it looked like you could still do it without the 3:1.

    how did the ring attach to the line? looked like maybe a clove h. couldn't tell.

  3. #3
    HC,tried it. the wrap thing doesn't work as well as it does for the guylines, i guess because i've been tying it off right at the corner of the tarp so it can't twist back like it can in the middle of a suspension line.

    i mainly wanted to see if a super simple knot like a slippery half hitch with a bight through the bight would hold with that much weight and very low friction (like a ring)when tied to a single strand of line (trucker's puts less load on the knot) so i knew if it would work tied straight to the ring it would work with the trucker's as well.

    the only rings i had were ones i have been using on the corners of my tarp, and they are pretty small. the first one i tried broke, they were what were supposed to be the small 1/2" welded steel rings from strapworks, i suspected they were cast b/c i couldn't see the weld, it held me and some bouncing, but after 20 bounces or so broke. i could see the inside and it is indeed cast which is weaker. i tried a slightly smaller 1/2" ring that was welded for sure, i gave it the same test, it only bent into a slight oval. the first one, the cast steel from strapworks weighed 1.6g. the other ring is 1/2" welded steel ring, either 14 or 15 guage wire, weighs right at ONE GRAM. that's a record, i'll have to double post this on the fig nine thread. i would go a little beefier than this , but i think you could go way lighter than descending rings. the big advantage you have with this is, you don't have to get webbing into the ring, you could use 1/2" diameter and lose a ton of weight before you even use smaller/weaker stock, you should be able to find a 1/2" welded steel ring in a heftier guage that weighs 4-5 grams that would be plenty strong. i have actually been having problems finding the thiner ones.(1g and less), the heavier stock ones are more common i think.

    anyways, this is good, either way you do it, trucker's or straight, you can tie off with the fastest simplest of knots, and since since it's a slippery knot, adjustment is pretty quick, you should be able to tie it off in a couple seconds. so i guess it is a couple seconds faster to use cinch buckles, but not many.

    thanks for the motivation, i knew some of those guy's were tying off their bridge hammocks off with a trucker's, but i guess it took seeing it on a regular hammock suspension for me to think of trying it.

  4. #4
    GrizzlyAdams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warbonnetguy View Post
    ...
    what advantage do you think this system has over just tying off a single strand to either a ring or directly to the loop of your tree strap? i did notice you had it pulled pretty tight on that long hang though, but it looked like you could still do it without the 3:1.
    I've been using variations of this approach for a while. Explained it in words a couple of times, nice to see HC4U document it so well.

    What I like about this (same answer for both of your questions above) is that with the 3:1 advantage, by the time you tie the rope off the pull on its end is significantly diminished (by a factor of 3, and by friction at the connect points of the back-and-forth), so much so that I always get away with a simple slippery half-hitch. Without the 3:1 (or just tying to the strap) the knot is a lot tighter, and harder to undo. Use the right knot and it is doable, sure. But it just doesn't get any easier than that single slippery half-hitch.

    how did the ring attach to the line? looked like maybe a clove h. couldn't tell.
    Last time TeeDee blew through here he suggested just looping the cord a couple of times around the ring. I'd been using a lark's head up to that point, but found as he said that under tension that ring doesn't move with simple loops....and it cannot jam.

    Grizz

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by GrizzlyAdams View Post
    But it just doesn't get any easier than that single slippery half-hitch.




    Last time TeeDee blew through here he suggested just looping the cord a couple of times around the ring. I'd been using a lark's head up to that point, but found as he said that under tension that ring doesn't move with simple loops....and it cannot jam.


    Grizz
    i so agree, i love it. when tying a real truckers (just the slip knot) i just use the single slippery half hitch, i have found the single slippery half hitch doesn't hold as well when tied against a ring, so i have been wrapping the lines 3 times or so and then tying the single slippery half hitch (this is with my guylines)but what i've been doing is just girth hitch the rings on the pull tabs of my tarp with the guyline, i have just been leaving short guylines on there all the time, they are the uncovered spectra zing it, since they are short and the line is stiff they don't tangle. so i just loop the stake and pass back through the pull tab ring and tie off .simply inserting a second bight through the first without the wraps works too, but not as well for guylines, because you must pull on the working end to set it, which loosens your line a tiny bit. in a suspension, this would not matter as much, so i went that route. i didn't hang long, but the bight popped easily.


    as far as just wraping the ring, i wondered that myself, but thought it would slip too, i guess it is the fact that there is pull in both directions that keeps it still. i recently figured out you can just do a single wrap/twist around a ring to keep it from sliding off the end of a line while it's not in use.
    Last edited by warbonnetguy; 03-28-2008 at 19:43.

  6. #6
    Senior Member headchange4u's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warbonnetguy View Post
    how did the ring attach to the line? looked like maybe a clove h. couldn't tell.
    I said I used a girth hitch, but like Grizz said, it's just a larks head. I will try wrapping the line around the ring and see how that works.

    Quote Originally Posted by warbonnetguy View Post
    what advantage do you think this system has over just tying off a single strand to either a ring or directly to the loop of your tree strap? i did notice you had it pulled pretty tight on that long hang though, but it looked like you could still do it without the 3:1.
    I always hated tying the up my HH with the stock suspension system because once I had tension on the hammock it was hard to tie the figure 8 knot on the tree huggers without the line slipping a little bit and me losing some tension. You could pinch the line at the tree huggers but it was still hard to hold the line without slippage. PLus the fact that the small diameter line really cut into my hands. With the TH it's really easy to pinch the line at the ring to hold the line in place while tying the knot. It also a lot easier on my hands.

    Come to think of it, the TH would be a great mod for a HH that would require no cutting of the lines on the stock suspension system and you could still use the tree huggers that came with the hammock.
    Last edited by headchange4u; 03-29-2008 at 07:41.
    “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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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by headchange4u View Post
    I said I used a girth hitch, but like Grizz said, it's just a larks head. I will try wrapping the line around the ring and see how that works.
    sorry, i skimmed it and must have missed, i often just go straight for the pics.

    i know what you mean about pinching the line, it is easier to tie it off under tension with the th. this is something that could easily be done either way with the same system really, just carry a longer length of line with the same tree straps.

    i was looking about the amsteel blue the other day, didn't know about the color though, it doesn't look too bad. how does it compare to the 2.75mm samson sk-60 dyneema, does it seem about the same?

  8. #8
    Senior Member headchange4u's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warbonnetguy View Post
    sorry, i skimmed it and must have missed, i often just go straight for the pics.

    i know what you mean about pinching the line, it is easier to tie it off under tension with the th. this is something that could easily be done either way with the same system really, just carry a longer length of line with the same tree straps.

    i was looking about the amsteel blue the other day, didn't know about the color though, it doesn't look too bad. how does it compare to the 2.75mm samson sk-60 dyneema, does it seem about the same?
    I really like the Amsteel Blue line. It feels really nice and is only marginally larger in diameter than the 7/64 Spectra I normally use. It's also a little stiffer which is nice. I had a hard time finding the 1/8" size that I wanted but a couple of the companies that I contact said they were going to start selling it online. I can't remeber if I have used the 2.75mm Spectra that you talk about.

    The color is not bad at all, and I kinda like it. I like my hammocks to be an earthy tone, but I have found from experience that suspension lines that stand out against the background a little can be a good thing. If you have ever cloth-lined yourself on your suspension line you know what I mean.

    Here's a closeup of some line (left to right: paracord, 7/64 Spectra,1400lb test, Amsteel Blue, 2500lb test):



    I also have been thinking about the best length for tree huggers. I started thinking last night that maybe I would be better off carrying tree huggers of different lengths instead of both of them being the same size. I thought a 6' tree hugger was pretty long but when I was out testing I saw a couple of trees that would come close to taking up the whole 6' length to go around the tree. I thought that I could carry a 4.5'-5' tree hugger and a 7' tree hugger for larger trees. In my experience it's really rare to find a spot that would require 2 tree hugger that were 6+' in length. In most situations you may have a really large tree at one end of the hammock, but normally the trees surrounding are of small to average size.
    “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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  9. #9
    the advantage i see to different length tree straps is you don't have to wrap around a small tree a bunch of times to take up a bunch of slack. i like to have as little webbing extending from the tree as possible since it stretches more than the line will.

    i have thought about sewing an intermediate loop maybe half way on the strap, this way, it would work as a short or long strap depending on what you needed.

    that 7/64 is what i was talking about, they are both made from samson if i'm remembering correctly. i thought they were both 2.75mm i can't remember. the amsteel blue is just a stronger dyneema i think.

  10. #10
    Dutch's Avatar
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    If the Nano biner is that same weight as the desending ring (1.1 oz) then if you use a biner it could serve a dual purpose, such as attach you camp shoes to your pack. Just thinking aloud.
    Peace Dutch
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