Hammock Hanging Method - 1
Hammock Hanging Method
A few months back I decided I could improve on the combined suspension and ridge line method I had been using for hanging my hammocks.
Long ago, I had tried the setup technique of hanging my hammock from a single rope, tree-to-tree, using Prusik loops. The problem was that in order to get Prusiks which could hold the forces exerted by a hammock, the Prusik cords had to be a minimum of 3 mm diameter, which then demanded a hang rope of at least 6 mm diameter. 6 mm diameter rope is very heavy. Thus, the method just didn't work for a backpacking hammock.
I decided to revisit the Prusik loop method for hanging my hammocks, but I needed to replace the Prusik loops so that the method would work for hammocks using 3 mm dyneema Prusik cord and a 3 mm dyneema hang rope, i.e., a line from which everything is hung.
I developed several methods for accomplishing this. One has survived many months of use and another is still gestating and may survive also. The latter method weighs 0.15 oz more than the method detailed below and, in some respects, is even easier to use. Not enough experience with it yet to determine all the glitches and work out solutions. If the newer method survives, as I currently think it will, I can easily combine both into a single method and get the best of both. That will be a "hang rope between 2 trees, done" method.
My New hanging Method
For a Speer or Hennessey type hammock you will need to tie a loop in the suspension rope, as close to the fabric as possible. A bowline works very well for this. That is the ONLY "modification" needed. No modifications are needed for a Bridge Hammock unless you are using webbing for the Bridge Hammock suspension.
A full three wrap Prusik is no longer needed, a simple Larks Head will suffice. I use a 10" length of the 3 mm dyneema, tie an overhand knot on each end and then tie into a loop with a double sheet bend. Simply attach to the hang rope with a Larks head. I call these the "hang knots". 2 are needed.
The hammock is secured to the hang knots using a Toggled Bight as illustrated by Ashley, #1919 (Note that #1920 shown is more secure, but the extra security isn't really needed here).
The toggled Bight and Eye, #1921, shown could also be used. The Toggled Bight knot places less force on the toggle and thus wood is suitable for this toggle.
For the hang knot toggle I use 1.5" length of 1/4" OD steel tubing. It weighs 0.1 oz.
Slide the hang knots on the hang rope to the desired positions. Tie stopper knots next to the hang knots on the side away from the tree "locking" the hang knots in their positions.
I needed a "stopper knot" to keep the hang knots from sliding when the hammock is occupied.
For the stopper knot, I use a Marlin Spike Hitch using a toggle as the Marlin Spike.
Since the stopper knot will be moved to different positions on the hang rope, it is essential that it be quickly and easily tied and untied.
I tried various knots for the stopper knot before I settled on the Marlin Spike Hitch as the easiest and quickest to tie and untie.
Tying the Marlin Spike Hitch (Note: the standing part is the part towards the tree):
Always remember that the loop should be pointing towards the tree when it is laid on the standing part.
For the Marlin Spike Hitch toggle, I again use a 1.5" length of 1/4" OD steel tubing.
The forces "lock" the toggle in place when tied. The toggle surface is polished so I can undo the Marlin Spike Hitch by sliding the toggle out of the hitch when the hang rope is loosened. This is true no matter how tight the Marlin Spike Hitch has been pulled - and it will be pulled very, very tight. I investigated quite a few knots and there may be an even better toggled knot than the Marlin Spike Hitch for this use. I doubt it. From experience, I strongly advise to NOT use a crossing knot such as the Clove Hitch. They can be very difficult and almost impossible to untie after being pulled tight in this application.
To Untie the Marlin Spike Hitch as used here, simply twist the toggle while pulling it out of the knot. As soon as the toggle is free, the knot falls out completely.
I have used this method for over 4 months now, long enough to know that it is far easier and more convenient to hang a rope between two trees and then find the right position on the rope for the hammock.
I have greatly modified my method of using a tree hugger. Using a tree hugger is now the easiest method of securing to a tree for me. When I used to tie the suspension to the tree hugger end loops, trying to keep the tree hugger on the tree was a real hassle. This technique eliminates that hassle.
A loop is needed on only one end of the tree hugger. Wrap the tree hugger around the tree one or more times. Once is really sufficient. Pull the free end through the end loop, pull the tree hugger tight and tie a Marlin Spike Hitch close to the loop and tree. Again the loop of the hitch should be pointing towards the tree.
For the Marlin Spike toggle here, I simply pick up a stick from the ground, preferably about 1/2" in diameter and 2" to 4" long.
Once the Marlin Spike Hitch has been tied, simply secure the hang rope to the tree hugger by looping around the Marlin Spike Hitch. I use the bowline loop on one end of the hang rope to loop around the Marlin Spike Hitch. On the the end of the hang rope, I use a dyneema tree hugger loop made from 1' of the 3 mm dyneema. Fit the dyneema tree hugger loop around the Marlin Spike Hitch on the tree hugger proper, then pull a bight of the hang rope through the dyneema tree hugger loop to the sag desired in the hang rope. Tie a Marlin Spike Hitch in the hang rope using another toggle of 1.5" length of 1/4" OD steel tubing. This Marlin Spike Hitch is an exception to the others in that the hitch loop should be pointing away from the tree. Insert the just tied Marlin Spike Hitch in the dyneema tree hugger loop.
Note: in these pictures, I have an SMC descending ring girth hitched to the tree hugger end loops to make the parts easier to see.
Bowline loop secured to tree hugger Marlin Spike Hitch:
Adjustable end of hang rope with Marlin Spike HItch on tree hugger and Marlin Spike Hitch on hang rope and both in rope loop:
The use of the Marlin Spike Hitch on the tree huggers makes using tree huggers the easiest method of securing to trees that I have used. Even easier than the full webbing suspension with buckle, either cinch or ring. The tree hugger "hardware" needed is picked up from the ground which keeps the hardware weight at low.
The suspension system consists of the following:
A more detailed description for this method of hanging the hammock is:
Note that the step of setting the positions of the hang knots doesn't have to be accomplished every time the hammock is hung. I have found that if I set the hang knots for trees set x feet apart, then I can use the same positions for trees set anywhere from x-1 feet to x+1 feet apart. The hammock will be slightly off-center, but no more so than when I used the traditional hanging method. So, if I set the toggles and knots for trees 15' apart, I'm good for trees from 14' to 16' apart. I have even pushed it further without any discomfort. Actually for Speer or Hennessey hammocks, hanging the hammock slightly off-center with the foot end closer to a tree works better for some people since this makes the head lower and eliminates the sliding to the foot end that some people experience.
Note: The hammock may be left tied to the hang knots at all times or removed when the hang rope is taken down. Using the Toggled bight knot makes attaching and detaching from the hang rope trivial. Either option has it's advantages and disadvanatges. Just use whichever you prefer.
Thus, if I can use trees so that I don't have to reset the hang knots and the stopper knots, the hanging sequence is as follows:
Even when positioning needs to be done, it is accomplished by simply sliding the hang knots to the desired positions and securing with the Marlin Spike Hitch stopper knots.
I have been using this method for hanging my hammocks for several months now and have worked out the glitches I found as I used it.
Currently I use a length of guy line with a bowline knot on one end and overhand knots at set distances and intervals. One of the knots is tied at a distance equal to 1/2 of my ridge line length. A second knot is tied at a distance equal to my ridge line length. The guy line cord itself is a little over 1/2 of the maximum tree separation. So for my 20' maximum separation, my cord is 11'.
If you hang the hang rope with sag and without the hammock, then simply find the lowest point of the hang rope. That is the center between the trees or very close to it. Tie the guy line cord to the hang rope at this point using the bowline knot - wrap 3 times just as for a Prusic, then insert a toggle in the end of the loop to keep it from coming undone. Pull tight to keep from slipping inadvertantly. Position the hang knots using the overhand knot on the guy line at 1/2 the ridge line length.
If you do not want the hammock centered, but are hanging off-center to clear rocks, bushes, whatever, then simply position one hang knot as desired, tie the bowline on the guy line cord to the hang knot and then position the second hang knot using the appropriate knot on the guy line cord.
For those who like to pull the hang rope tight, the following procedure for centering the hammock works well.
Note that describing the procedure takes longer than actually doing it and makes it seem harder than it actually is. In practice it is very simple and quick.
This is the easiest method I have been able to devise for hanging a hammock. It is also the lightest and least bulky.
For those interested in the weight, the above hang system as I use it weighs as follows.
If you use the 1" Harbor Freight polyester webbing at 0.224 oz.ft, 2 equivalent tree huggers will weight 1.8 oz, so subtract 0.2 oz from the total above.
If you use the regular 1" polyester Strapworks webbing at 0.39 oz/ft, 2 equivalent tree huggers will weigh 3.1 oz, so add 1.1 oz to the total above.
If you use 2.8 mm Spyderline, 25' weighs 1.8 oz, so add 0.4 oz to the total above.
If you use Amsteel 12 or Amsteel Blue, 25' weighs 2 oz, so add 0.6 oz to the total above.
Increase or decrease the total according to the rope you use and the weight of your tree huggers.
Also, this method uses a bare minimum of hardware. The only hardware being the toggles used for the Marlin Spike Hitches on the hang rope and the Toggled Bight Hitches to the hang knots. If absolutely necessary, wood picked up from the ground could be substituted for those toggles. This is especially true for the toggles used for the Toggled Bight Hitches.
That is very light for a fully functional hammock hanging system including the ridge line.
For comparison, for the cinch and ring buckle and webbing suspension systems that I analyzed previously, the Harbor Freight webbing is the lightest and it alone weighs 4.5 oz. Both buckle methods weigh more than twice my new system and are a LOT more bulk.
Speaking from experience with the ring buckles, my new system is lighter, less bulk and easier to use in hanging a hammock, any hammock.
My method does have pros and cons in it's use. More pros than cons (but then I may be biased):
I tried using friction knots. A friction knot would have the advantage in that the Marlin Spike Hitch wouldn't be needed so you wouldn't need to tie the Marlin Spike Hitches. This really isn't much of an advanatge since the Marlin Spike Hitch is so extremely easy to tie.
I have tried the following friction knots:
There probably is no weight/load limit for the Marlin Spike Hitch beyond the load limit of the hang rope and the knot combination. I haven't done any testing, but my feeling is that the rope would probably break before the Marlin Spike Hitch would slip.
I forgot to include how I set the sag for my hang rope in the above.
To set the sag, I have found the easiest way for me is to simply pull the slack out of the hang rope, then let out 1" to 3" of hang rope. If I'm at or close to the minimum tree separation (12' for me), I let out 1". If I'm at or close to the maximum tree separation (20' for me), I let out 2.5" to 3". In the middle somewhere (approximately 14' to 18'), I let out 1.5" to 2" of rope. When I got home, I computed the drop of a catenary for a 16' tree separation and that 1.5" slack - it gives me that 10" drop I want.
For all practical purposes, the above method gives me the same sag every time.
Also, in my experience, I have found that 95% or greater of the time, I don't do anything with the hang knots. Just leave them alone. I have them set for 16' tree separation. At the minimum or maximum tree separation, I am off center, but I find that with my Bridge Hammocks, it isn't very noticeable in the lay of the hammock.
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Last edited by attroll; 06-29-2008 at 13:05..