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

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hangin' Out

With the warmer weather we got out the hammocks and accessories yesterday and I had a go again at trying a structural ridgeline. I've been reading my knot books and found the Butterfly Loop which is also known as the Lineman's Loop and can be used to tie climbers together as they're traversing crevasses. If it'll take a carabiner then it should work just fine for the snap rings used on the Eagle's Nest Outfitters (ENO) hammock.

I took some measurements of the hammock and the cordage I am using (8mm rope) and made my loops at approximately 9.5 feet with extra cordage on both ends. This fixes the length and sag of the hammock so it'll hang the same way every time. That's important from the standpoint of familiarity and comfort for me as it always takes me a day or two to acclimate to my new sleeping arrangements.

Once I had the butterfly loops tied I could clip on the hammock and bundle everything up to head outside. Other than one snap ring needing to be lubed this whole process was as easy as could be.

Then I took my bundle outside, tied a simple half hitch on one end, and then tied a quick release knot on the other end. I re-worked the first knot to take out the slack and secure that end and then nervously gave the hammock a test sit. One end slipped a bit and I had to reconfigure that knot. Once it was retied though it held secure for the rest of the afternoon and the quick release knots were a breeze to untie at the end of the day.

Now you're asking yourself why someone would want a structural ridgeline on their hammock when ENO's Slap Straps are so simple and effective. I like the ridgeline because it gives me a hand hold should I need to jump up out of the hammock quickly, I can hang a light, knife, and water bottle from the ridgeline at night within easy reach, and it gives me a place to hang laundry that needs to be aired out. I can also throw a bug net over the ridgeline and secure it at both ends for a (relatively) peaceful hang later in the summer.

I'm toying around with an idea on how to pitch a tarp over the ridgeline and may have something today. The method I used to use would work just fine but it'd lay right on top of the ridgeline and take away some of the flexibility. I'm thinking about attaching one end of the tarp's ridgeline to the tree and the other to the hammock ridgeline using a taut line hitch so I can adjust it as needed.

This concept still has some kinks to work out though so I may have to go another direction before I'm through.

The 8mm rope is much too thick and heavy for this job and I'm moving down to 25 feet of 4mm rope today. Cutting the ridgeline diameter in half may put me on my backside but I suspect the thinner line is still capable of holding my weight. Some knots can reduce the working load on a line by as much as 40% but all of this climbing accessory cord seems to be ridiculously strong.

I'm an empirical guy so the best way for me to find out is simply to try it. I'll let you know tomorrow. :)

Thanks for reading,



At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey B,

I also prefer a ridgeline with my hammock setup. I have a Hennessy, and it is capable of hooking the fly right on the hammock lines. However, I still like the seperate ridgeline, for reasons you mentioned, plus RAIN.

If it is raining during setup, the hammock has to be setup before the fly gets attached. That gets the whole hammock wet.
Doing a seperate ridgeline, I can have my fly all up and in place, and then set the hammock up in a nice dry place.

I simply put two prussik hitches on my ridgeline, tie my tarp to it, then tension them.

Only issue there is that the tarp works best under the ridgeline, and you lose some of the versatility you talked about. My Hennesy has its own little ridgeline, so it is no biggie for me. You could always do another cord on your hammock lines, but it is "another cord" :) If you come up with something else, please let us know!


At 9:13 AM, Blogger American Bushman said...


My ridgeline is separate. I can clip the hammock into the butterfly loops at home or in the field.

I was actually thinking of trying a second set of loops on the ridgeline for the tarp once I've measured everything. Then I can connect the tarp, tie up the ridgeline, and hang the hammock underneath.

The only problem with that setup is the lack of adjustability after overnight moisture causes the lines to sag a bit.

I'm currently using the klemheist (similar constrictor to the prussik) on my tarp but the ridgeline has always been under and connected to my tarp rather than the hammock.

This does give me some food for thought though...




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