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  1. #1

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    Adjustable Bamboo Hiking Poles/ Spreader Bars for Bridge Hammock

    Hey, everyone. I'm vey excited about this project I've been working on and wanted to share it with you all. I also could use some help with a portion of it.

    I wanted my hiking poles to double as spreader bars on a bridge hammock, but wasn't coming up with a satisfactory set up.

    I really liked TeeDee's use of bamboo poles and had seen other hikers use bamboo for hiking poles. So, I set out to make hiking poles out of bamboo that could also serve as spreader bars on a bridge. My hiking poles have to be about 50 inches long. However, if I left the bamboo poles as ~50 inches long, they would interfere with my tarp when used as spreader bars.

    I solved this problem by cutting the poles to the necessary size (they act as 36" spreaders) and then attaching PVC irrigation pipes as the handles. I placed irrigation pipe "risers" on the pole for the attachment. The PVC handles are removable, which makes them shorter to serve as spreader bars. The handles also act as toggles for my marlin spike hitch set up.

    The poles are very light, very strong, and hold me just fine in my new DIY bridge hammock (a Grizz Bridge). I've tested them for hiking and they work great.

    I hope some hangers find this useful and I'm more than willing to share more details if anyone wants any.

    PICS: (1) Poles assembled with handles on (2) Handles used as toggles on marlin spike hitch (3) bamboo poles inserted as spreader bars (4) suspension triangle with whoopie sling attached to dynaglide.

    OK, here is my question about my bridge set up... (The pictures hopefully help, but I can add some for clarification)

    Each of my suspension triangles consists of a single line of dynaglide about 6 feet long that connects the two corners at each end of the bridge. I girth hitch a whoopie sling to the dynaglide. Actually, I have a piece of 3/8 plastic tubing around the dynaglide to protect the dynaglide from the whoopie sling at this point of attachment. The whoopie then gets hung on the marlin spike hitch. HOWEVER, I run the risk of the whoopie moving from side to side along the dynaglide, which then makes the triangle unstable. The reason I used this approach was to keep everything simple. Perhaps I made it too simple.

    Possible solutions I can think of:

    1. Find the sweet spot of the suspension triangle, i.e. the center of the dynaglide, and tie a knot on either side of the plastic tubing with another piece of cord so the whoopie cannot drift to one side or the other. In other words, the knots will act as a stopper for the plastic tubing/whoopie connection to keep the triangle sides equal at all times. I prefer to keep the plastic on there just to protect the dynaglide from wear and tear. But if it has to come off for safety reasons...I have #2 below.

    2. Cut the plastic tube from the dynaglide so the whoopie attaches directly to the dynaglide. I think the tubing is nice to protect the dynaglide from wear and tear but I believe it contributes to the side-to-side motion. Then I could experiment to see if the whoopie sling still slides when directly in contact with the dynaglide. If it does, then I'll try to figure something else out.

    Any help is greatly appreciated!!

    SoCal Mike

    P.S. I wanted to say a big thanks to some of the HF members who helped me with my many nagging questions. A special thanks to Grizz for his advice on bridge hammocks, spreader bars, and for listening to my progress along the way. Shug was a big help with my questions about hiking poles as spreader bars. I learned from some of his mistakes without having to make them myself. And krugd (Don) has been very helpful with his feedback as I experimented with my bamboo pole project. Thank you, gentlemen; and thanks to anyone I may have overlooked--it's not intentional.
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  2. #2
    krugd's Avatar
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    Mike,
    Glad to see you making progress. The hiking pole is a neat idea. I may be in touch for details some time.

    I don't think attaching directly will work. If it holds most of the time, you may find it slip in the middle of the night and have to readjust in the dark. The knots might work, but they would be difficult to adjust if needed. I would suggest a bury of some type - easy to do and easily corrected when needed.

    Hopefully others will have other ideas. good luck.
    --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

  3. #3

    Join Date
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    It looks like you used duck tape and something else as a jam for where you attach your suspension triangle to the hammock body. Is that right? If so, are you worried about the tape failing?

  4. #4
    Senior Member ExPXGUY's Avatar
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    I think Grizz addressed the issue in one of his projects from a couple of years ago but I don't have the link, I think it was a zepplin bend or alpine knot

    I have used two methods, one a sailmaker's thimble spliced into the apex http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...3#.UMhzYbawyUI

    Other way was a diamond/lanyard knot at the apex

    Both worked well
    Last edited by ExPXGUY; 12-12-2012 at 07:21. Reason: added knot name
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  5. #5
    WV's Avatar
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    Grizz also showed some nice connecting options in his hardware-free bridge suspension. You could cut the end triangle at the attachment point and make a lanyard knot as a stopper, then larkshead your main suspension onto the triangle so the stopper keeps it in place. (This last step is a little vague in my mind. You'd need to do it so the spread of the triangle legs doesn't push the larkshead over the lanyard knot stopper. Grizz?)

  6. #6

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    Triangle

    Thanks, guys! I had a chance to review one of Grizz's videos where he attached a descender ring at the apex of the triangle. This should do the trick and perhaps act in the same way as ExPXGUY's suggestion for a sailmaker's thimble (which is a really great suggestion, in my opinion). I will experiment with it and see if it solves the problem.

    Michael
    Last edited by SoCal Mike; 12-12-2012 at 08:23. Reason: Edited for grammar mistakes and clarification

  7. #7

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    Duct tape

    Quote Originally Posted by Paprika bohlmann View Post
    It looks like you used duck tape and something else as a jam for where you attach your suspension triangle to the hammock body. Is that right? If so, are you worried about the tape failing?
    You are correct. This is just a prototype solution for the time being--I have tried this method with earlier bamboo poles just to see if they'd hold my weight. (For the record, I'm about 165 lbs. I'm not saying these poles would work for anyone, but bamboo comes in many sizes and strengths.)

    Here's how it is set up currently for testing:
    I wrap a clove hitch with aline will long "tail" and then finish off the tail with an overhand knot and a surgeon's knot. This then was wrapped in duct tape so the knot forms a stopper "bump" for the lines.

    Here's where I'm headed:
    I will use some paracord wrapped the same way as described above, but the knot will be glued with "Goop" or fastened with epoxy. I've tested this a bit with sample bamboo and both work really well. The Goop looks nicer because it dries clear. The expoxy holds better but looks pretty ugly.

    Michael

  8. #8

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    Update: Bridge and bamboo spreader bars/hiking poles

    Well, I added an SMC Descending ring to my bridge hammock(s) on the triangle suspension and they work great. No more slipping around between the triangle and whoopie sling connection.

    I am posting a photo of the triangle/descending ring set up and the finished version of the adjustable bamboo hiking pole/spreader bar. I tied paracord on the ends and secured with "Goop" super glue to keep the suspension lines in place. It looks pretty good and worked well in my brief test hang.

    Thanks again for everyone's help.

    Michael (SoCal Mike)
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  9. #9
    krugd's Avatar
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    That's looking good!
    --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

  10. #10
    Tijereyes's Avatar
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    Nice idea with the spreaders! How did you get them attached to the base of the suspension triangle? It looks like you have some sort of ledge at the ends of your poles to catch a clove hitch or something on the suspension ropes?

    Great thinking

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