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Educate me on guylines and line locks
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Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
Educate me on guylines and line locks on 09/19/2013 12:43:16 MDT Print View

Just got a Lightheart Solo. It has 8 guyline tie-out points.

I'd like to replace the guylines it came with with something lighter. (And, preferably, neon yellow or orange and reflective.)

Found this helpful chart that others at BPL have referred to:

...Then found some discussion on here about how most guylines on the market (including those listed at link above) are stronger/wider/heavier than many of you think necessary.

...Then found discussion about the fact that, on the other hand, if you want to buy "Line Locks" you do have to get the fatter (~0.3 mm) guylines. I am not familiar with why Line Locks might be superior to other solutions that allow guyline length adjustments.

What is your favorite combo of guyline and adjustment doohicky?

I camp in a lot of rocky soil and granite (the High Sierra). So being able to EASILY adjust the length of the guyline to make it stake-able in a given site is a high priority.

- Elizabeth

Trace Richardson
(tracedef) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
line locs on 09/19/2013 13:02:12 MDT Print View

You shouldn't need 3 mm line for line locs ... the 1.25 mm z-line you will see on zpacks site: ( ) is their standard line on their tents and it works well with the micro line locs that are also on that page. I just replaced mine with their 2.3 mm glow line and some micro line locs that are glow in the dark ... even though the bigger line is overkill ... it's reflective ..... :)

Some people will mention you need larger line if you are using various hitch knots or similar in place of a line loc .... in my experience line locs are a no brainer for the minimal weight gain .... especially in cold or wet weather for ease of use as opposed to messing with a knot ...

Hope this helps.

Corbin Camp

Locale: Southeast
Locks on 09/19/2013 13:05:47 MDT Print View

If you really want to go ultralight, old-school knots work just fine. A taut line isn't hard to tie and will hold in most conditions. Just make sure your line isn't something too slick (like pure Spectra). The triangle shaped Micro linelocs you can get from ZPacks work really well too if you want something knot free.

Richard May
(richardmay) - M

Locale: Swamplands.
pre-cut lines on 09/19/2013 13:23:43 MDT Print View

All my lines are cut to 1m (3 feet) with bowline knots at each end (an overhand with a loop will work too). At setup time (I use a poncho-tarp) tie the line to the attachment points and stake it down at the end. When the tarps sags (it does after a while, especially if wet) I just re-stake a little tighter.

I don't use any knots. With a dedicated tarp you can even leave the lines attached.

I can pitch at three heights: down to the ground (no lines), low (lines folded in half, stake through both bow-line loops), and high (using the full length of the line).

A nifty trick I just learned is to stake out the corners with the half length lines and the mid-points with full lengths.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: pre-cut lines on 09/19/2013 13:33:22 MDT Print View

The only problem with moving the tent stake out is, where I go it's often difficult to get a stake pounded in because of rocks. Sometime I have to try different spots until I finally find a spot a stake will go in all the way. Not practical to pound in exactly where needed, and if I get it in, I don't want to have to move it if the tent goes slack.

Dyneema line is stiffer so taut line hitch works good.

William Chilton
(WilliamC3) - MLife

Locale: Antakya
Micro line locs and lineloc 3s on 09/19/2013 13:43:39 MDT Print View

I think there might be some confusion here between micro line locs and lineloc 3s. Micro line locs will take guy line between 1 and 3 mm in diameter, but you can only use them to decrease the line to half its maximum length, so they're best for long lines. Lineloc 3s need a guy line between 2 and 3 mm (subject to debate and depending on how grippy the cord is), but you can take the length og the guy line right down to zero, so they're bet for short lines.
Or there are knots you can use in place of either, but they are a bit less convenient.

Richard May
(richardmay) - M

Locale: Swamplands.
Re: pre-cut lines on 09/19/2013 13:46:17 MDT Print View

> where I go it's often difficult to get a stake pounded in because of rocks

Yep, a few good knots are good to know.

I also like this system on Andrew Skurka's site:

My guyline system for tarps

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: pre-cut lines on 09/19/2013 14:23:45 MDT Print View

good idea to do "slippery" knot

for a tautline hitch, do two regular turns, then for the final turn, just put a loop through so you can yank on the line to undo it.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Educate me on guylines and line locks on 09/19/2013 14:25:05 MDT Print View

I leave loops at the end of my line.
It's easier to hitch up some large rocks than use stakes.

When the shelter sags, move the rock away until it's taut again.

Very light line provides very light performance when being abraded against rocks.

I like the line locs that attach to the shelter, they give full use of the line length, and are easy to use.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Educate me on guylines and line locks on 09/19/2013 14:43:03 MDT Print View

When I asked a similar question a couple of years back, I got similar advice and so ordered a roll of braided mason line (neon green) from Amazon, which I have used quite a bit. It's a good, cheap, lightweight way to practice with knots (I use a tautline hitch but may have to experiment with the Skurka method linked to up above). And I think it would be strong enough for a Lightheart Solo in the Sierra, at least under the conditions I've experienced.

Erik G
(fox212) - F

Locale: THE Bay Area :)
LineLoc 3 FTW on 09/19/2013 14:45:06 MDT Print View

I use HMG's 2.8mm spectra core for my guylines, mostly because they came with the tarp along with LineLoc 3's. I really like using LineLoc's instead of knots. I find it much easier to set up quickly and get a good tight pitch (and keep it that way). I have bowline loops at the end of each guy line, and keep my guy lines attached to my tarp.

Those who mentioned the difference between micro line locks and LineLoc 3's are correct. The LineLoc 3 will work with most cord down to ~2.5mm. IMO the LineLoc 3's are a little less finicky to use, and offer greater adjustability than adjustable knots or micro line locks. Micro line locks and adjustable knots (tautline, adj. grip hitch) can only shorten guy lines by about half the original line length. LineLoc 3's can adjust lines from full length to zero length (just the loop at the end of the line).

Edit: Cool tent! :)

Edited by fox212 on 09/19/2013 14:46:02 MDT.

Mole J
(MoleJ) - F

Locale: UK
confusion on 09/19/2013 14:53:52 MDT Print View

yeah. like William says. There is confusion .

Lineloc 3 ( made by nexus) need 2.5mm + line otherwise they will slip when wrt at at tension. OLD only supply 3mm line for use with these as they understand the issues with thinner line.

Lineloks (note the K)are sold (made I believe) here in the UK by Clamcleats who make various gizmos for line fixing for many applications. The micro version work with small diameter line. With thin line, the grooves do wear bigger over time IME (UK winds) and need using with larger line.

ZPacks and others incorrectly name them as Line Locs not Lineloks ...

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: Educate me on guylines on 09/19/2013 14:54:29 MDT Print View

I generally use the Skurka method, especially with a cuben tarp (no stretch with those!). I've been very happy with it, it's strong, very light weight and very versatile.

I have some MLD silnylon tarps as well, and I use their standard line lock system, with the thicker (3 mm?) cords. This system, with what seem to be a slightly oversized cord, works well, and is easily adjustable without even getting out from under the tarp. An extra ounce or two, but after all, if I'm carrying those, it's for a reason other than super light weight!

Mole J
(MoleJ) - F

Locale: UK
good info on 09/19/2013 14:56:17 MDT Print View

Good info by Eric

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Educate me on guylines and line locks on 09/19/2013 16:13:38 MDT Print View

Here is my less-than-technical answer:

My hexamid came with the uber thin dyneema lime green cord and I added the micro line locs. It was better than the knots, because I have some sort of genetic disease that does not allow me to tie any knot at all. Except my shoes, I can tie those. But still fussy, and I had a very difficult time tensioning or loosening the locs once the line was under tension. I would have to remove it from the stake to change the length.

My duomid came with the line loc 3s, and I used the orange glowire from Lawson. Wow is that much easier! It's still pretty thin, I can't imagine it costs me THAT much in weight...because in terms of ease of use it blows the other one out of the water.

My un technical 2 cents.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Educate me on guylines and line locks on 09/19/2013 16:29:16 MDT Print View

"I have some sort of genetic disease that does not allow me to tie any knot at all."

Hmmm. Some sort of dyslexia for the digits.

There is a DNA screening test for that now.

One dependable cure is a U.S. Army mountaineering school.


Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Educate me on guylines and line locks on 09/19/2013 16:39:24 MDT Print View

I also have a ZPacks Hexamid When I got it, the first thing I did was to change the guylines to the reflective type. That's partly because I couldn't get the ZPacks cord to hold a knot (taut line hitch or any other) and mostly because I've had several instances in which the reflective guylines were the only way I could find my camp in the dark. Since I didn't weigh the tent until after the change, I don't know how much weight, if any, the reflective guylines added. I'm sure it's no more than if I'd bought ZPacks' line locks, which would have been necessary otherwise.

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Lawson's GloWire on 09/19/2013 16:48:59 MDT Print View

I gotta plug Lawson Kline's GloWire here. It's crazy bright even without the tracers reflecting light. You can see comparisons between triptease and GloWire on sticks blog, etc.

Plus, it's made in the US, and cheap. Sure it's probably more line than one needs (225 lbs max load) but it's really nice.

LineLocs definitely make life a lot easier. Aside from gram counting, you won't notice the weight gain from having a few of them.

Edited by LunchANDYnner on 09/19/2013 16:50:18 MDT.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Educate me on guylines and line locks on 09/19/2013 19:40:52 MDT Print View

"I have some sort of genetic disease that does not allow me to tie any knot at all."
One dependable cure is a U.S. Army mountaineering school.

I usually reject dichotomies out of hand but ... In my experience there are two kinds of people, Knot People and those who are not.

Perhaps the Army knows magic I haven't yet found but I've never had success teaching knots to the second group.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Educate me on guylines and line locks on 09/19/2013 19:56:45 MDT Print View

Jim, I'm a frayed knot. I've just been stringing you along.

Rope trainees were well motivated to learn a few simple knots. If they didn't learn, they became the third kind of people, training casualties.