Forum Index » SuperUltraLight (SUL) Backpacking Discussion » SUL in a hammock... Lil' help?


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Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
SUL in a hammock... Lil' help? on 07/31/2012 08:58:24 MDT Print View

Hello Everyone,

Gram weenie here looking to keep it SUL (<=5lbs base weight) for 3 season backpacking, but this time with a hammock. I have a Grand Trunk Nano and a 9 x 7 CF tarp (http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=54666).

I was wondering if I coud get advise on a few questions...but first some details...

My hang calculator:

http://www.imageno.com/kxhdn66why97pic.html

What is the max distance between trees do you guys plan for in the NE?

I am going for 18 feet.

So I figure total Amsteel-blue w/ no ridgeline (will convert to Dynaglide over time, but pressed for time w/ a trip this Friday) will be:

18ft - 7.83 ft (length of hammock w/ sag) = 10.1667 / 2 (either side of hammock) = 5.08335 lengths of Amsteel on each end of hammock to attach to trees.

Then I need to account for the Amstee-blue I am going to wrap around the tree w/ sticks in between. I figure 3 foot circumference for trees in the NE so add 4 feet to be safe? Then we are up to 9 feet for the lengths of Amsteel connected to both ends of my hammock.

I want to use sticks in between the amsteel and the trees to keep them protected, but I'm unsure what knots to use.

When ground camping w/ a tarp I almost exclusively use a taut-line or adjustable grip hitch to keep tension on the tarp, but I have not tested if those knots will hold tension with my weight in the hammock. Any advice or experience with that?

(I'm not interested in Marlin hitchs, or whoopie slings, or UCRs, etc., I'd like to do this with knots if possible. I' m also pressed for time so knots are most familair to me.)

I'm also not sure how using sticks in between the Amsteel and the tree would not fall down. Unless my weight is in the hammock, there is no tension on the Amsteel around the tree. Wouldn't the stick fall to the ground?
If the sticks fail to protect the trees I'll look into the next heaviest option.

Thanks,

Bryce

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: SUL in a hammock... Lil' help? on 07/31/2012 09:09:29 MDT Print View

If you nail the sticks to the tree they'll stay in place....

Kidding! I'm such a kidder.

I haven't done what you're trying to do, but it seems to me if you just use sticks that aren't nice and smooth, but instead have knots/smaller 'branches' coming off from them, you'd be able to 'hook' them onto the amsteel so they'd stay in place between the amsteel and the tree without the your weight against the amsteel.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
very good idea on 07/31/2012 09:12:19 MDT Print View

That's a very good idea Doug, I'll try to find some sticks with knots or little twigs hanging off them.

I gotta see if the adjustable grip hitch or slipped buntline hitch will ~not~ slip under tension with my butt in the hammock using the slippery amsteel-blue 7/64ths line. :o

Here There
(cowexnihilo) - MLife
Re: SUL in a hammock... Lil' help? on 07/31/2012 09:54:38 MDT Print View

The lengths you're using look similar to what I've been using for the past couple of months, though I'm using whoopie slings, tree straps, marlin hitches and other things you're not interested in, haha. I rarely have problems finding a site that will work, so you should be good to go with those lengths.

-David

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
NE? on 07/31/2012 10:46:52 MDT Print View

Thanks David, I assume you're in the NE?

spelt !
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
slippery amsteel on 07/31/2012 10:58:55 MDT Print View

I've not gotten any amsteel-on-amsteel friction knot to hold. I'd be really interested in how you make it work, if you do, but honestly I wouldn't count on it. If you're really against using any hardware, a lashing would probably be most secure with the least amount of fuss. You might consider making your tree straps separate pieces of amsteel instead of having the whole length attached to your hammock.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: slippery amsteel on 07/31/2012 11:39:34 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info spelt.

I'm having trouble visualizing your ideas here.

So if a friction knot may not hold, I can follow you with using lashing made out of Amsteel. It would just replace the wide, black webbing in this video, right?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_wrRb03yjQ

But then how do you have any adjustability in the suspension to give your hammock more or less sag? (If you have to use a non-adjustable knot to attach to the lashing)

Thanks.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: SUL in a hammock... Lil' help? on 07/31/2012 11:56:25 MDT Print View

> When ground camping w/ a tarp I almost exclusively use a taut-line or adjustable grip
> hitch to keep tension on the tarp, but I have not tested if those knots will hold
> tension with my weight in the hammock. Any advice or experience with that?

Have you considered a trucker's hitch instead of a friction knot? I find the trucker's hitch works a lot better for me.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
SUL in a Hammock on 07/31/2012 12:11:15 MDT Print View

Bryce,

I hammock throughout PA and have a couple of thoughts and suggestions:

- Any knots you put in your Amsteel lines will likely be so tight after you've spent a night in the hammock that you won't be able to undo them in the morning. That's why whoopie slings are so popular - you can adjust them with each setup

- I'm pretty sure a taut-line hitch isn't going to hold your weight

- I think your estimate of a 3-foot circumference is too small. A 1-foot diameter tree will have a 3.14-foot circumference. Remember that you have to take the bark and the diameter of your sticks into account as well. I carry a 6-foot and an 8-foot strap and use the Marlin Spike hitch. I've found, at least in PA, that I need the extra two feet occasionally because I want to use a big tree for one of my supports. Most of PA was clearcut at the turn of the 19th century so the majority of the trees where I hike are about 100 years old - I'd guess that most are 18-24" in diameter about 6' from the ground where I put my strap.

I'm not sure why you're not interested in whoopie slings and the like, but here's what I'd suggest:
- Definitely have one piece of Amsteel (say 8' long) for each tree. Put a fixed loop in one end that you can pass the other end through as you put it around the tree. I'd still suggest a Marlin Spike Hitch for the free end of the tree strap (you can use a solid stick as the "spike" to save weight). This gives you a knot-free way to adjust your hang. Also - since you're planning to use a series of sticks between the Amsteel and the tree to protect the tree you might want to consider bringing a 1/2" binder clip that you could put on the Amsteel where the line comes through the loop to hold it in place when you're setting up. Also - check the tree carefully when you're packing up in the morning to see if the Amsteel cut into it at all - I went to straps because I found that I needed 20+ sticks to keep the rope off the tree bark. It just became too much of a pain!

- For your hammock I'd do a fixed-length piece of Amsteel (say 3' long) with a loop at the end to go over the Marlin Spike Hitch.

This should give you a setup that allows for trees from 14-18 feet apart that are anywhere from 8" to 24" in diameter.

When hiking by yourself you can keep going to find the "perfect" trees. When with others, especially if they're ground-dwellers, you might not find the perfect setup within a reasonable distance from them so you need some more flexibility than what you originally described.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: SUL in a Hammock on 07/31/2012 13:22:55 MDT Print View

Great stuff Kevin, I appreciate an experienced hammocker in the NE's perspective.

- Any knots you put in your Amsteel lines will likely be so tight after you've spent a night in the hammock that you won't be able to undo them in the morning. That's why whoopie slings are so popular - you can adjust them with each setup


^^^ Hrmm, would tying an adjustable knot with a loop at the end of the hitch make it easier to undo in the morning?

- I'm pretty sure a taut-line hitch isn't going to hold your weight

^^^ Doh, well I heard an adjustable grip hitch is grippier, and someone just told me about a "5/3 Blake's hitch" to try out, we'll see.

- I think your estimate of a 3-foot circumference is too small. A 1-foot diameter tree will have a 3.14-foot circumference. Remember that you have to take the bark and the diameter of your sticks into account as well. I carry a 6-foot and an 8-foot strap and use the Marlin Spike hitch. I've found, at least in PA, that I need the extra two feet occasionally because I want to use a big tree for one of my supports. Most of PA was clearcut at the turn of the 19th century so the majority of the trees where I hike are about 100 years old - I'd guess that most are 18-24" in diameter about 6' from the ground where I put my strap.

^^^ Ok, I'll step up my suspension length *grumble, grumble* :p

I'm not sure why you're not interested in whoopie slings and the like, but here's what I'd suggest:
- Definitely have one piece of Amsteel (say 8' long) for each tree. Put a fixed loop in one end that you can pass the other end through as you put it around the tree. I'd still suggest a Marlin Spike Hitch for the free end of the tree strap (you can use a solid stick as the "spike" to save weight). This gives you a knot-free way to adjust your hang. Also - since you're planning to use a series of sticks between the Amsteel and the tree to protect the tree you might want to consider bringing a 1/2" binder clip that you could put on the Amsteel where the line comes through the loop to hold it in place when you're setting up. Also - check the tree carefully when you're packing up in the morning to see if the Amsteel cut into it at all - I went to straps because I found that I needed 20+ sticks to keep the rope off the tree bark. It just became too much of a pain!

^^^ Knots are easier for me to learn / obtain than UCRs or Whoopies as I'm leaving this Friday. Maybe eventually.
I am liking the Marlin Spike hitch more and more. It's not fully adjustable like a whoopie, but very easy to redo, that might be the right balance for me. Might end up with webbing after this weekend given your experience with the # of sticks, might be too much fiddle factor, we'll see.

- For your hammock I'd do a fixed-length piece of Amsteel (say 3' long) with a loop at the end to go over the Marlin Spike Hitch.

^^^ Agreed, after I try the hitches, this might be 2nd best thing weight wise.

This should give you a setup that allows for trees from 14-18 feet apart that are anywhere from 8" to 24" in diameter.

When hiking by yourself you can keep going to find the "perfect" trees. When with others, especially if they're ground-dwellers, you might not find the perfect setup within a reasonable distance from them so you need some more flexibility than what you originally described.

^^^Good point, though in the Whites there'll only ~be~ one spot for us as we end at night because the area is regulated well.

W/ the Marlin....in this setup, I'd try to maximize the length of the lashing to accommodate really large circumference trees. If the tree was a smaller size, but the distance between trees was rather far, I'd just tie the marlin spike hitch farther down on the leftover bit of the lashing, right? And keep the fixed end attached to my hammock extremely short to save weight?

francis siracusa
(fsiracusa) - MLife

Locale: Northeast
Hammock on 07/31/2012 13:25:50 MDT Print View

So we don't have to count Bryce as a "tent" for the campsite!!

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: Hammock on 07/31/2012 13:27:32 MDT Print View

Yes Frank,

I'm trying hard to learn this "hammock stuff" quickly before we leave for our trip Friday as the tent platforms are limited and we have a decent sized group, plus anyone else that joins us at night. You can squeeze two guys in your shelter, right? :p

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Marlin Spike Hitch Question on 07/31/2012 14:24:23 MDT Print View

If I go with a marlin spike hitch out of amsteel and hang a fixed length of amsteel from my hammock to the knot on the back of the marlin spike hitch, would I be in danger of the fixed end loop hopping off or sliding off a knot that small made out of 7/64in amsteel?

Maybe I can take a climbing spec caribiner and cut it down to just a toggle and hang the fixed end loop off that for added security rather than just the tiny knot at minimal weight add?

Edited by bster13 on 07/31/2012 14:25:08 MDT.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
@Bob on 07/31/2012 14:28:08 MDT Print View

Hey Bob, the Trucker's hitch does not look to be adjustable which is what I was after, plus it looks too complicated for my dumb self to master in a few days haha. Thanks.

spelt !
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: slippery amsteel on 07/31/2012 14:35:11 MDT Print View

Hi Bryce,
I use a similar lashing to that, yes. Sag is not as critical for me b/c I have a ridgeline, but to set the right initial position, I use a biner at the end of my straps and a prussik of twine on my suspension lines. I set the straps, then clip into the prussiks and adjust until it's where I want. Then I do the lashing right to the biner and the prussick holds the position while I tie. After a little practice, I almost never have to untie to readjust. I could do without the biner if I tied directly to my straps and used a safety pin or something very light on the prussik adjuster. Maybe thread it right onto the line before making the loop. I can put up some pictures tonight if you'd like.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Pics on 07/31/2012 14:37:36 MDT Print View

Pics would ~really~ help, all this new terminology has my head spinning. :p Many thx!

spelt !
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Hammock on 07/31/2012 14:38:45 MDT Print View

>>Hrmm, would tying an adjustable knot with a loop at the end of the hitch make it easier to undo in the morning?

I tried this, thinking it was a clever idea, and yes, it can work--if you're willing to hang your whole weight on the standing end to pull the loop out! :P

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: @Bob on 07/31/2012 15:25:01 MDT Print View

> the Trucker's hitch does not look to be adjustable which is what I was after

I guess I should have labelled it a "slipped trucker's hitch". The hitch is easy to pull to whatever tightness you want, and then does not slip. If you need to re-tension, such as after things stretch, you just release the end (that's why it was tied "slipped") and tighten again. There are two key things to watch out for:

1) Be sure that you get the correct side slipping in the initial slip knot -- the side towards the end. Otherwise, when you put tension on the knot the slipknot will just jam up. All of the on-line tutorials I have seen get this right, but newbies tying the knot do not always get it right.

2) How you finish the knot:

2a) Most tutorials show finishing by using one or more half-hitches. I do not like that, because it makes it hard to readjust the knot, and because the first one is liable to jam.

2b) A few tutorials show using a slippery half-hitch to finish the knot. That's better, but I'm not wild about that way, either, because I do not trust it to be secure.

2c) The way I like, but I cannot find any tutorial showing it, is to finish it off like a slipped sheetbend. That is both secure and easy to untie.

Since you say you are not handy with knots, I doubt my description is enough. If you are lucky enough to find someone who can show you in person, though, you'll find it really is simple to tie, easy to re-tension, and very effective. It is easier to get tight than a tautline (leverage is 2x - friction), does not slip, and is very easy to re-tension if needed.

I've got to say -- since I realized this way to tie the trucker's hitch, I have NEVER used another tautline -- there are just too many advantages to this trucker's hitch. One of the chief advantages is that this knot does not slip and (in my experience) tautlines all to often do slip.

Edited by blean on 07/31/2012 15:27:26 MDT.

Steven Adeff
(TinCanFury) - F

Locale: Boston
bringing a larger tent... on 07/31/2012 15:57:03 MDT Print View

perhaps I'll bring my three person tent just in case Bryce finds himself in a half broken hammock with a tree on top of him...

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Won't need one... on 07/31/2012 15:57:59 MDT Print View

....if a tree is on top of me. ;)