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need education on guylines, linelocs/tensioners, etc.
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d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
need education on guylines, linelocs/tensioners, etc. on 05/18/2011 15:15:26 MDT Print View

I've been searching in the MYOG forum but haven't found what I'm looking for: a comparative discussion of various guyline materials (spectra, spectra w/nylon coating, polyester with nylon coating, etc.), sizes, etc. as well as the hardware that might be used to cinch them down (not being a knot person myself) - lineloc 3 adjusters, the triangular mini line locs, etc.

Would anyone like to chime in with their knowledge? For me, I'm most interested in line that's not slippery or too small to work with, that has a good hardware option, preferably also something visible I won't trip over, but that's less of a requirement. The lineloc 3s look like more of an all-purpose solution than the triangular line locs (i.e. could use on pack lids too) so I might prefer a line that works well with those.

Thanks -

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: need education on guylines, linelocs/tensioners, etc. on 05/18/2011 15:48:54 MDT Print View

Seen this?

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
re: seen this? on 05/18/2011 16:05:09 MDT Print View

No, I hadn't. Looks like they are all < 3 mm lines, which I presume means the lineloc 3's won't work perfectly on them? I saw a caveat on Lawson's website that said the 2.38 mm line needed a half hitch to be secure in lineloc 3s.

Very helpful in terms of a listing and sources - thanks.

Edited by dkramalc on 05/18/2011 16:05:45 MDT.

Brad Walker

Locale: SoCal
Re: Lineloc3 on 05/18/2011 17:11:04 MDT Print View

Just a datapoint: Recently bought the "Mountainfitter Reflective Glowire" from Lawson. Fed it through a Lineloc3 and yanked a few times--no slippage. No idea how this correlates to actual outdoor use (cyclical loading, prolonged load, etc.).

Justin Reigle
(jreigle) - F

Locale: SF Bay area
Re: re: seen this? on 05/18/2011 17:22:59 MDT Print View

I am using LineLoc 3s with the 2.2mm cord from Zpacks and this seems to hold up well to the force of me pulling and overnight 20mph winds on my tarp. I've not had this setup very long at all but it seems to function on-par with Triptease for example.

Hobbes W
(Hobbesatronic) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: re: seen this? on 05/18/2011 17:23:52 MDT Print View

Here's a great piece of advice: learn how to tie a taut-line hitch:

Once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to tie off guy lines in 15 seconds. At that point, you'll never have to depend on any contraption or be constrained by their limitations.

Let's assume you learn how to tie a taut-line, and are therefore free to pick any line you want. Here's another great piece of advice: get two sizes.

First & foremost, get yourself some paracord 550. This stuff is universal, and you should be carrying 10' or so regardless as part of your emergency kit. (As the number indicates, it's rated up to 550 lbs, which is sufficient to either hoist someone out of a jam, or tie down a splint.)

As an added bonus, you can use the 550 for primary stays to either one or two trekking poles, branches, etc.

As yet another added bonus, since the 550 is woven with multiple internal threads, you can unravel those & use them as thread & needle (which should also be in your kit) to perform field repairs as necessary. (Including stitching either yourself or someone else.)

Second, get some 2mm (typically para 200) for all your other tie down requirements (A-frame side stays, etc). While the 550 is usually black (macho thing), the 2mm can be all sorts of fancy, shiny colors, especially if you don't want to trip over smaller side stays.

If you're interested in 550, you can buy spools of it from Amazon for peanuts. Here's a link:

Edited by Hobbesatronic on 05/18/2011 17:35:29 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: need education on guylines, linelocs/tensioners, etc. on 05/18/2011 18:02:52 MDT Print View

I don't care for paracord. Too much stretch. Too heavy. Absorbs water. Do not use for supporting a person.

The taughtline hitch is great though.

Edited by kthompson on 05/18/2011 18:04:13 MDT.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: need education on guylines, linelocs/tensioners, etc. on 05/18/2011 19:42:36 MDT Print View

I agree that Paracord is overkill. What is missing here is the usual discussion of Braided Mason's Line and relevant tensioner's vs. knots. It's all at BPL but searching can be a pain. Alas no stickies like other sites. It is sort of like Waiting for Godot on many topics . We usual suspects chime in but it is pretty boring. You can look at my prior posts as a partial shortcut.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
re: guylines on 05/18/2011 19:52:19 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the info, everyone. John, not sure I'm up to looking through 55 pages of your posts :-/ but maybe I'll tackle it a little at a time.

Do some types of cording not work with knots as well as others?

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: need education on guylines, linelocs/tensioners, etc. on 05/18/2011 20:02:56 MDT Print View


I am currently using this configuration on my silnylon tarp guylines.

Doubled shockcord and Triptease guyline

When I set up my tarp I stake out my guylines until the Triptease is completely taut and the shockcord is tensioned / stretched along side it. During the night if things go slack and become not as taut the shockcord automatically takes up the slack.

The Triptease has worked well but I intend to replace it with some of the Mountainfitter Guywire from Lawson Equipment. I like the reflective quality of the Triptease but I believe the Guywire will absorb less water if it rains.

I don't use tensioners or linelocs. I let the shockcord do its work and stake out the guyline.

Party On,


John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: need education on guylines, linelocs/tensioners, etc. on 05/19/2011 10:03:56 MDT Print View

Debbie: Here is a link which will get you to one of many threads about this subject. While Braided Mason's line will take a knot well in cold freezing conditions a lineloc has the advantage of adjusting quickly.

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Re: re: seen this? on 05/19/2011 10:32:16 MDT Print View

+1 for the taut-line hitch, that and a bowline are my two most used knots. Pratice in the dark and rain until its right. You will never forget or spill it wrong.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Newton's shockcord/triptease guy on 05/19/2011 11:08:53 MDT Print View

oops, never mind, found the answer to my question about your shockcord on the site where the technique is described:

For all: is a tautline knot intended to be slideable (when you want to) to adjust the tension? I tried it on some cotton string, and it seems to do that while holding fast against pulling to simulate wind tension.

Edited by dkramalc on 05/19/2011 12:50:30 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Newton's shockcord/triptease guy on 05/19/2011 11:31:17 MDT Print View

I use taut line hitch on Mason's line

This allows you to tighten it as the tent stretches

Also, where I camp, it's often difficult to find a spot that you can get a stake into, so you really need an adjustable length guyline

The only problem with thin line, like Mason's line, which is maybe 1.5 mm, is it's difficult to get it tight enough to not slip. You really have to pull on both ends, and push together the three loops of the knot. Then it doesn't slip, in my experience.

I think it's almost more trouble than it's worth, better to just get Lineloc 3s or whatever, but I'm too lazy to get them.

Justin Reigle
(jreigle) - F

Locale: SF Bay area
Re: Newton's shockcord/triptease guy on 05/19/2011 11:32:34 MDT Print View

The tautline should not slip unless you're manipulating the knot in either direction on the line. If it's slipping with just tension applied, you might need to tighten up the knot a bit. Some cord performs better than others for this, I've had good luck with most of the synthetic lightweight 2mm-3mm cords you find at various sources.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
re: tautline on 05/19/2011 11:42:37 MDT Print View

That's what I thought, just wanted to make sure: that you can slide it manually, don't need to retie to adjust it.

Ultra Magnus
(Ultra_Magnus) - F
Knots- on 05/19/2011 11:47:49 MDT Print View

First off- I'm also a fan of paracord. I love the stuff, and have hundreds of feet around the house...My kids even have several 10' - 20' lengths of the stuff and practice tying knots and rigging up makeshift hammocks and what not. It makes them happy... So, I'm keeping a good 30' of it or so to use as a ridge-line or whatever need that may arise. It's just good stuff to have around. It's kind of like a first aid kit- you may never need it but when you do, you'll be glad you had it.

But as far as knots go- there's a whole family of friction hitches and some work better than others depending on the type of line it's tied in. Practice and find what works for you. Knots I find myself tying over and over and over again when practicing pitching my tarp are the adjustable grip hitch (a friction hitch I like better than the taught line hitch), clove hitch, bowline (any fixed loop knot will do, that's just easy to tie), trucker's hitch (tensioning hitch), alpine butterfly, and I think that's it going off the top of my head.

Wikipedia has is a great source for learning good knots to tie-


Brad Walker

Locale: SoCal
re: tautline on 05/19/2011 11:48:57 MDT Print View

If it's slipping under load try adding another loop or two to the hitch, as you would with a prussik that's slipping.

To adjust pull down on the cord between the hitch and stake with one hand (to take tension off the hitch), and slide the hitch up the line with the other hand.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Clove Hitch for tents Stakes on 05/19/2011 11:58:33 MDT Print View

Line Locs are convenient, but add weight of course so I tend not to use them.

With my silnylon poncho/tarp I could generally use a taut line hitch for the ridgeline (nice re-tensioning feature) and clove hitches for the guy outs.

This allowed me to tie temporary and variable length guy lines around tent stakes or sticks I used to anchor the tarp:

- I can tie them at any point in the line depending on situations where I need a longer or shorter placement for the tent stake.

- It is absolutely the easiest and fastest way to undue things when breaking camp. You just slip the knot over one end of the tent stake and it's gone! (untangled, straight piece of guy line again)

The down side to the clove hitch is that if your pitch goes slack at night, it takes a little more effort to tighten things up a bit, but you still have the taut line hitch for your ridgeline that can be re-tensioned so I was fine 99% of the time if I pitched things well from the get-go.

And now that I've switch to a Cueben Fiber shelter/tarp that does not stretch, I think it will be even less important to easily re-tension at night.


David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Line Locks require heavy cord. on 05/19/2011 12:27:09 MDT Print View

I like (and sell, full disclosure) 1mm dacron cord. It weighs very little, has low stretch
and low water absorbtion, tight weave so it doesn't snag like mason's twine, comes in
white so you can see it in the dark. Still stronger than most tie points on tarps. I do
carry with me on longer trips a small amount of heavier dacron cord for tying around sharp edged rock anchors.

I don't use linelocks since you are limited to heavier cord. I prefer a release-able version of the tautline for adjustable knots, and clove hitch for attaching poles etc.