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How to hang your Hammock.

There are of course many ways to suspend a hammock between two trees but this is the method I currently use.

It’s not the lightest or even the neatest way of doing things but it is straight forward and easy on the trees.

First I start with a couple of wide webbing straps, these have a loop tied in each end and their purpose is to spread the load across the tree bark without causing damage.

A wide webbing strap prevents the damage to the tree that a thin cord supporting the hammock would do.
A doubled cord, knotted at regular intervals gives your hammock simple adjustibility.

Thread one end though the loop in the other end and attach  climbing karabiners to the loose loops on each strap.

Next I have two lengths of “static” cord*, doubled from the middle and tied with simple overhand knots at regular intervals.

I attach one to each karabiner with a simple Cow Hitch.

(The krab. between the strap and the suspension cord could of course be left out for lightness by hitching the cord directly to the strap.)

I have karabiners at both ends of my hammock which can now be attached between the two  suspension cords at  the required height by selecting any of the loops between the knots.

For added security, I slip the krab. through the loops above and below the knot and leave the remaining length to hang down.

This surplus cord will now act as a drip trap, channelling any water that runs down the cord away from the hammock.

Slip the karabina through the loops  on both sides of the knot. If one loop should fail your hammock is still supported by the other.
A fixed ridge line between the hammock ends gives a consistant hanging position.

I also have a fixed length of cord between the two krabs. This serves two purposes.

Firstly it fixes the distance between the hammock ends so that the droop is consistent.

Secondly, it acts as a ridge line for my insect net, which you can see furled up around the line in these pictures.

Now we need some insulation for the bottom of the hammock.

Because a hammock wraps around your body as you lie in it, it will compress the insulation material of sleeping bag which renders it ineffective. In the tropical conditions for which they were first designed, this may not be a problem.

In temperate zones many approaches have been tried to address this issue but most of them fall into one of two methods.

Perhaps the easiest method is to use insulation that fill not compress. Many people use a camping mat of foam or filled with air, placed in the hammock or between two layers specially constructed for the purpose, and then use a normal sleeping bag on top.

That method works well for many people but I much prefer the other approach, which is to insulate the outside of the hammock.

I have a specially made under blanket which attaches to the ends of the quilt with elastic.

The elastic ensures that it stays close to the underside of the hammock but because it is not compressed it insulates just like a sleeping bag.

I have added small clips to the elastic on mine so that it can be quickly attached.

An underblanket suspended under you hammock will provide insulation for your back.
I use a double ended stuff sack to pack the hammock into along with the insect net that you can see here wrapped around  the ridge line.

When in the hammock the sides wrap right around my body and another clip in the centre keeps the top together.

With the addition of a blanket or some spare clothing on top of me I have used this set up in sub zero temperatures on several occasions.

With the addition of a simple tarp rigged over the top, this is my most usual sleeping set up these days.

I am currently experimenting with an extra layer of insulation in the form of a cocoon that wraps right around the hammock and zips up at the top.

While I do not find this ideal for normal use as it adds a lot of weight and bulk, it does allow me to continue using the hammock into deep winter conditions.

For more information on such specialist insulation and many other hammock related articles, www.hammockforums.net  is a  resource well worth visiting.

The hammock set up for deep winter conditions with an extra layer of insulation.

* Ensure that your static cord and karabiners are strong enough to support your weight. Although it is doubled, an overhand knot reduces the cord’s rating by about 60% and the force placed on an angled rope is much greater than a straight pull. I use 6mm Static or you could use 4mm Dyneema with care.  

Figure Eight knots de-rate the cord less but are bulkier and use more cord.

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