Hammocks... take two!

After bouncing on the hammock bandwagon with an almost concerning amount of enthusiasm, I must now make my set up not only light but functional. I took inspiration for this set up from various online sources, but Shug’s YouTube videos must be the main driver. In the world of hammock camping this is all nothing special, but to me, the ease of set up was like a quick, cold, jump away from everything I had ever known. Literally, as I fell down several times during the construction of the following set up. Thankfully, I had heeded the advice of those wiser than I, and pitched my hammock no higher than I had wanted to fall, and never let it leave the ground.

After finding out exactly how difficult this all was to make up on the spot with knots, I turned to the internet for answers. All of the previous set up is still applicable, though I’ve changed a few things around.

The Hammock

Prior to this, I had tied two double figure 8 knots in lieu of a continuous loop (which was far too difficult for me), but I realized that it was completely superfluous. I replaced the whole continuous loop thing with the fixed end of a whoopie sling passed through the other (this knot should definitely have a really easy name… slip knot? through knot?). This serves to reduce the amount of material needed, and increase the strenght of the whole set up, as my other rope had a pull strength which may or may not have been negative.

The Suspension

Previously I had used 400 meters of flashy neon rope that I thought would make me coolest kid in town, provided the town was a forest. Unfortuantely, this lead to a lot of unnessary and time consuming Hennessy hitches, which I sought to replace with something which was both sturdier and easier on my poor aging arms.

I bought two four foot lenghts of massive nylon webbing from my local MEC and quickly realized that it was nowhere near enough to do the job. After some unsuccesful heckling trying to return it while I was obviously the clueless one, I returned with two ten foot lengths of slightly more respectable sized webbing. The poor guy accidentilly cut 10 meters instead of 10 feet too. Anyway, these function to grab on to the tree and keep my butt away from the spiders. Oh so many spiders.

For each of the lengths,

  • On one end, I tied a simple one ended loop. I thought I might need a bowline, which would have been quite difficult when dealing with what is basically a seat belt, but ended up settling for a simple double half hitch (which emphatically does not make a full hitch).
  • On the other, I tied a marline spike. Which is actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. I actually think it’s basically the same knot as the alpine butterfly but we would need someone a little knottier than I to determine that for sure.
    • Note to the wise: DO NOT USE A STICK AS THE SPIKE. IT WILL BREAK AND YOU WILL LAND ON YOUR BUTT
    • Note to the brave: I know you don’t believe me. Try it.
  • Throw the end with loop around the tree, and then bear hug it.
  • Feel better? Me too.
  • Pass the end with the spike through the loop and yank like your life depends on it. Not so hard that the tree’s life depends on it.
  • Bear hug the tree again for good measure.

Repeat this for as many trees as you would like to hang from. I prefer six, though your milage may vary.

Take your whoopie sling (again, not a name for creatively falling out of your hammock) and lay one end over the knot not the spike of the tree hugger (the nylong one, not you).

Since the other end is already attached to the hammock, just repeat this on the other side and cinch it up to 30 degrees. I have had requests to bring a protractor to the back country to ensure the presicion here, but I will continue in my method of waving my hands shaped like a pizza while hunched over with one eye closed and muttering about the sun. I’ve found it works the best.

The Ridgeline

Unless you can’t tell the tone of this article, this bit is also going to be a bit iffy.

I really wanted an adjustable length ridgeline to control the spread of the hammock. I will definitely need to do something smarter in the future, but at the moment I have hooked up two whoopie slings end to end (which is redundant, I know) and looped them around either end of the hammock while I’m putting it up. It’s certainly fast, though I may be paying in both dollars and weight for this hack. However, it works well for my purposes right now. I may replace the second whoopie with a loop later if I care more.

The Tarp

I followed this guide, but only the first two steps. Everything else was basiaclly superfluous.

Tie one end of the rope to the tree with a bowtie knot, and bring the other end around to the second tree. Loop it around, and hold one end with your foot because you forgot you don’t have three hands. Tie an alpine butterfly, and thread the rest of the rope through the loop. Pull tight but don’t break your rope!

Throw the tarp over, spike it down, and do a little dance.

The End

This concludes my current set up, follow up to include accurate weight.