When I hung my first hammock it felt great just to have succeeded in getting it suspended between two trees. I didn’t know anything about the benefits of using Amsteel Cord For Hammock Camping. In fact, I had one of the worst night’s sleep of my life and nearly gave up the hammock for good.
Thankfully I didn’t. My friend was actually a great source of inspiration, explaining the power of the ridgeline and how the materials you use really do make a difference. I tried his hammock the following night and was hooked.
That was a few years ago and led to me testing out as many different hammock related products as possible.
Now I understand why Amsteel Cord is so great for hammock camping and I’m going to share what I’ve discovered with you.
What is Amsteel cord?
Amsteel is actually synthetic steel which means it’s incredibly strong. But I’m not that heavy so I’m more interested in the fact that it is as flexible as standard rope, doesn’t suffer from flex-fatigue and is abrasion resistant.
You can also splice it if needed. In effect Amsteel is as strong as a piece of steel but flexible and weighs just one seventh of an equivalent piece of steel!
Amsteel cord consists of 12 single braid strands woven together and coated with Samthane.
Amsteel cord Advantages
I’m a big fan of Amsteel cord; it’s the only thing I use when hammock camping. The reason for this is that there are several benefits to Amsteel over standard cord:
Because this cord is made from steel it won’t stretch. Combine this with your ridgeline and you’ll be able to wake up as comfortable as when you went to sleep.
Even the best of cords can stretch when they get wet; leaving you a little closer to the ground and a little less comfortable. Amsteel cord simply doesn’t stretch.
One strand of Amsteel is exceptionally strong but your cord will contain 12 strands braided together. Twisting these flexible steel together creates a super strong rope that won’t let you down.
This means you can use it for a variety of other purposes as well as hanging your hammock; I’ll go into more detail regarding this shortly. You can take a look at this video to give you an idea of how strong Amsteel is versus a traditional steel rope.
When you hear the word ‘steel’ you probably think “heavy”. In fact your Amsteel cord is not. To give you an idea of how light it is a 600ft spool would weigh just 2 pounds.
I’ve already mentioned that Amsteel is abrasion resistant. This is a great benefit when you’re hanging from a tree. Despite what you may think there are times when your ropes will be rubbing against something. They can snap; I’ve seen it happen to a friend.
That won’t be the case when using Amsteel.
Amsteel Sizing Guide
This is not a case of one size fits all although technically you could take any size of Amsteel with you on your hike.
But, you need to balance strength with weight to ensure you have the best combination when hiking day after day.
It can be easy to take too much of this stuff, I know!
Fortunately you only need to take one size of Amsteel with you to cover the suspension, whoopie slings and even the hammock ridgeline. You should use amsteel 7/64 inch (2.5mm). The length of Amsteel you take will depend on the size of your hammock and the distance you intend to hang from trees.
But, it is important to note that Amsteel is very strong; if you wrap it round the tree to support your hammock you will damage the tree. You need to take a good pair of tree slings with you and attach your Amsteel cord to these.
Practical uses for Amsteel blue and hammock camping
Once you start using Amsteel cord you’ll join me in realizing it can be used for almost everything while you’re hammock camping.
- Amsteel whoopie slings – The hoop in the end of these allow you to hook easily to your tree slings. You can then adjust the other end to create the right amount of sag.
- Amsteel ridgeline – Because this cord is almost unbreakable and doesn’t stretch it’s the perfect solution for your ridgeline. All you need to do is figure out the right amount of sag once; you can then leave your ridgeline connected.
- Amsteel continuous loop (aka the loop) – The continuous loop is perfect for gathering in the end of your hammock; helping you to stay comfortable at night.
- Amsteel eye splice – Having an eye in your line will make it easy to attach the cord to any object you wish. Fortunately Amsteel is flexible enough to make this easy.
- Amsteel soft shackle – This is surprisingly easy to tie and can be very useful when creating your own suspension system. I’ve watched the video and learned the technique. More importantly I’ve used on several occasions. Check it out here.
There will be times when you need to splice your Amsteel cord. This is actually quite challenging unless you have the right Amsteel splicing tool.
Of course you also need to know the right technique; fortunately you can learn these from friends or via the web.
Where to purchase Amsteel cord?
There are plenty of places which sell Amsteel cord or a similar product from a different manufacturer. But, I always use this one from amazon.com.
The reason is simple; the cord is a fantastic price and the delivery service is excellent. I can’t ask for anything more!
Comparing Amsteel vs. Other Ropes
Amsteel cord appears to have all the answers; it is light, incredibly strong and flexible. Yet there are still plenty of people that swear by other products.
That made me wonder so I took a look at how it really compares to some of the other leading solutions for hammock camping:
dyneema vs amsteel
If you’ve just watched the above video you’re probably wondering how a Dyneema rope strength test relates to Amsteel cord.
The fact is they are the same thing.
To understand this you need to be aware that Amsteel is actually made from very long thin fibers. These fibers are known as UHMWPE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene).
When bound together they create the Amsteel cord that I’m talking about.
However Amsteel is only a brand name. Dyneema is an alternative producer and supplier of the same type of cord. These are not the only two; Samson is another well known brand.
All of them make Amsteel cord although they may coat the outside of the metal strands with slightly different materials.
Amsteel VS paracord
You already know that Amsteel doesn’t stretch and has a very high tensile strength. It also floats and is flexible enough to be used for any type of knot. Of course it is also very light.
However, paracord is much cheaper than Amsteel cord. Paracord will be rated; this will show what weight / load it can handle. The most common type is Paracord 550. In effect it will handle 550 pounds. This is a fraction of what Amsteel can handle but still enough to hold you comfortably in your hammock.
That’s the real crunch. Paracord is effective but it will break, stretch and it’s not abrasion resistant. But, it is much cheaper than Amsteel.
For me, any time my weight is hanging I want to use Amsteel. For non-essential items I could be tempted by Paracord.
dyna glide vs amsteel
Dynaglide is made from the same UHMWPE material as Amsteel. They both have 12 strands but Dynaglide is only available in 2mm while the Amsteel can be purchased in a variety of sizes.
The real difference is then in the tensile strength. While a 12 strand piece of Amsteel should comfortably hold 1,600 pounds the 2mm Dynaglide is only good for 1,000 pounds.
Again I prefer to go with the stronger Amsteel; my safety is paramount. But, you could opt for the Dynaglide if you feel it is strong enough for your needs.
The bottom line for me is simple; Amsteel is the best choice for keeping me secure in my hammock no matter where I am or what the weather is doing. That’s good enough for me!