American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Hammock and the Structural Ridgeline

This thread on Hammock Forums got me thinking about trying to build a structural ridgeline for my hammock.

I took the kids over to Erehwon yesterday and picked up 15' (4.6m) of 7mm line and two 4' (1.2m) hanks of 4mm cord.

The idea is to tie a bowline in each end of the 7mm rope and use the 4mm cord to tie prussiks, klemheists, or bachmanns--all three being constrictor knots. These are used to tension the hammock and offer the user the ability to "set the sag" so that the hammock lays (more or less) the same every time.

I found a new pair of trees in the back yard for testing as the two large sugar maples I often use are a bit too close together for my new structural ridgeline. The tied length of the 7mm rope is approximately 13' (4m) and the hammock is just over 12' long. I threw out the ENO slap straps and attached the 7mm rope with carabiners tensioning by hand. This is not the ideal method for me as the ridgeline is only marginally tight. I would normally use a trucker's hitch on one end and really crank down on the rope providing me a strong, taut line.

I clipped the hammock to the two constrictor knots (I went with the klemheist,) tensioned it up, and gingerly crawled in. It didn't fall. It did stretch nearly to the ground but it didn't fall. The knots held, the rope and cordage held, and the idea seemed sound.

I got up, retensioned the hammock tighter to the ridgeline, and got back in. Ah, success. The hammock hangs nicely, the ridgeline and slap straps are nice and tight at the ends, and the ridgeline over the hammock has some sag to it as the hammock pulls the ends toward the middle when loaded down. It gives me a place to hang my UCO candle lantern, my tarp, a hanger for airing out the shirt I've worn all day, and whatever else I decide to load up. I can also use the ridgeline over the hammock as a pull strap to get myself up and out should I need it.

Still, I'm not married to this concept. It's going to take some more tweaking. Is this better than just tying a ridgeline between two trees and hanging the hammock from that line? It's certainly a bit lighter as I'm only using about half the 7mm rope I would otherwise be using.

I'm going to continue to play around with it until I'm satisfied that I've exhausted all the possibilities or until I find some better method.

Thanks for reading,



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