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

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Make Your Own Slap Straps

While playing around with the hammock yesterday I tried something a bit different. Instead of working so much on the tarp configuration (I think I've got a workable solution there though) I played with the idea of replacing the ENO Slap Straps with some of the 4mm accessory cord I picked up for working the tarp line.

The tensile strength on this cord is somewhere north of 1000 pounds so the working load on it should be around 200 pounds on a single strand. I tied a figure 8 near the top forming a loop through which I passed the two free ends. Then I tied a half hitch every 18 inches or so giving me "loops" like the Slap Strap.

My pieces of cordage were about 15 feet long so cut that in half and then reduce a hair for the knots to come up with a strap around 6.5 feet long. These cords could be made as long or as short as you like and the weight for two of them is just ounces. Plus you can adjust the "loops" by adding or removing knots as needed.

The 4mm cordage I brought home has quite a bit of stretch in it so I've had to make a few modifications to my hanging technique and haven't gotten all the bugs worked out yet. I'm sure part of it is just that I'm a big guy but the degree of stretch in the cordage versus the webbing of the Slap Straps is significant.

If I hang my hammock at waist height with the Slap Straps I'll hang about two feet off the ground. With the cordage I hang about six inches off the ground. I haven't even done an "all-in" test yet because I'm not fully convinced that the 4mm won't stretch to failure. I've had one of those before and even an 18-inch fall onto your back/butt can be fairly shocking.

For Laura though it's perfect. There's no stretch in the cordage, she reduces the weight of her sleep system even further, and she can make the necessary adjustments by herself.

I'll continue to toy around with this setup. I think the reason I've never gone with a single solution to hanging is that there are so many viable options. I like the ridgeline but two shorter pieces of cordage are easier to pack and untangle. The shorter "straps" are more convenient for setup and takedown but I lose the consistency of a structural ridgeline.

There are trade-offs to be made...

Thanks for reading,



At 10:01 AM, Blogger bigpund said...

If weight is part of what you are worrying about, but still want a consistent set up using ENO Slap Straps, check out the micro straps they offer. The pair is only 4.5 oz vs the 12 oz of the original. And they are even longer than the original.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger American Bushman said...

I hadn't seen those before.

Weight isn't really my concern as I can shed more weight from my waistline than I can from any single piece of gear. Playing with the cordage yesterday gave me this idea and it just happens to shed some ounces from the Slap Straps while giving us a higher degree of flexibility due to the ease of tying a knot in cordage versus the sewn loops on the Slap Strap.

Thanks for your comment,


At 9:07 PM, Anonymous James in Indiana said...

I weigh 180 or so and 550 (aka para cord) works for me with no problem. My buddy is about 200 and he uses it too. You just need to set it up and use it for an hour or so ahead of time so it's prestretched....after that, no worries. I've never had a failure....just make sure you're buying the real thing, not the cheapo imitation sold at many department stores.


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