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?