Don’t know much about different types of hammock suspensions?
Worry not; you have company.
Even some of the most seasoned campers – who have years of experience – might know little about this topic. They think that since they can keep the hammock off the ground on their own, why worry learning about new methods.
Is their approach right? Nope.
For, just like everything else in life, hammock suspensions do not fall in the one-size-fits-all category. A suspension system which is ideal in one scenario could be useless in the other. So, you need to have the know-how to decide which system would work best in your circumstances.
What Is a Hammock Suspension System?
In plain English, any system with which you can keep your hammock’s bottom off the ground constitutes its suspension system. They have the tendency to range from the amazingly simple to the absurdly complex.
For instance, while some of them are lightweight, others – which allow for greater distance between trees, tend to be heavier. Then there are others which join everything on the same system. That means there’s no suspension system that is the best for all of us. So we need to know about their various types to decide which one will suit us.
Types of Suspension System
Since people have been chilling out for ages, they have invented innumerable ways to hang a hammock. Fortunately for our brain, only 3 are in vogue these days; so we’ll limit our discussion to them.
Rope Suspension System
Ask camping nerds, and they’d testify that rope suspension system is the best. That is because this suspension system was the first man devised to hang a hammock. That means long before we had any camping companies into the hammock game, we had rope.
You must only use thick rope to not damage the tree. In some states they have banned hanging a hammock with a rope because the damage it afflicts on the bark.
How to Use Rope Suspension System?
Here are the steps you can follow to hang your hammock using a rope:
- Fold the Rope
Lay down the rope on the ground and make sure its body isn’t sheathed. Otherwise, if you see cracks, you might want to purchase a new rope for your safety. Next, once you are sure the rope is safe to use, create a loop at one of its ends by folding the rope exactly in half.
- Face the Tree
Assuming that you have already chosen the two trees on which to tie the rope, stand face-first to one of them. Make a loop of the rope around the tree and take the rope at least 5 feet up the tree. Hold it there unless you execute the next step.
- Hug the Tree
Nope; I’m not asking you to be a Dendrophile and neither am I one. What I’m saying is that you should hug the tree to grab both the loose ends of your rope.
Afterward, insert both the ends through the loop we created in the first step. Remember, while you have to pull snugly – lest the loose ends fall down – you don’t have to pull the ends too tightly at this stage.
- Wrap the Rope
Wrap your rope around the tree by tying it closely to the tree’s bark. You should also tuck any loose ends of the rope into the rope in this step. For, this would rule out any chances of the rope slipping off the tree.
Remember the loop we created in step one? It’s time you bring the loose ends back through it. Do that by pulling the rope straight out, as it will constrict it around the tree.
Next, to tie the rope, bring one of its ends through the carabiner and the other from the opposing direction. Now, tie the two knots as if you are tying your shoes; albeit more tightly.
- Attach and Repeat
To finish with the first tree, the carabiners’ clips should be clipped onto the hammock’s rings. Next, repeat all these steps with the second tree and you’d have a hanging hammock.
Webbing Suspension System
Webbing suspension systems are more popular than rope because they harm the trees much less. That is, because, they have smooth and flat straps which don’t strip the bark of the tree on hugging it.
Webbing suspension systems are available in three materials: Polypropylene, Nylon, and Polyester. Polypropylene is the cheapest, though it won’t hold to wear and tear, stretches easily, and would be damaged after continued exposure to the elements of nature.
Nylon is more expensive than polypropylene though it lasts much longer and can withstand some beating from the elements. Still, with the passage of time, nylon might give way.
That leads us to polyester; a webbing material we recommend. Undoubtedly, it is the most expensive material but it also lasts the longest. So the chances of you rubbing your back on dirt on your 3rd night are pretty slim with polyester.
How to Use Webbing Suspension System?
Before using the webbing suspension system, a few points about the straps length and width. It goes without saying that the longer your strap, the more options it will provide, though the heavier and unwieldy it will be.
Therefore, since we are looking for a compromise, we’d say that you should get 2 strap lengths, with each measuring 10 feet long. As for the width, anything above or equal to 1-inch thickness is fine.
Now, let’s discuss the steps.
- Making a Loop
Measure the strap, and fold it over at least one foot from its end. Now, you should have a doubled strap. Tie it in an “overhand loop knot” before tightening it. This will give you a loop at the strap’s end. Remember, the diameter of the loop shouldn’t exceed a few inches.
- Attaching the Carabiner
By now, you should have two ends of your strap: one looped and the other unlopped. Tie the latter to the carabiner with a knot; we recommend using a clove hitch knot for its simplicity and effectiveness.
- Facing the Tree
Assume your hammock is already set up. Next, while you are assuming, stand in front of the tree. Just like the step 2 of the rope suspension method, make a loop of the rope around the tree and take the rope at least 5 feet up the tree. Hold it there unless you execute the next step.
- Hug the Tree
In this step, you have to use your free arm to wrap the strap’s carabiner end around the tree. You should make sure that the strap is flat against the bark. Not only will this protect the tree, but it will also help the strap to grip.
- Loop and Wrap
Through the loop, bring the carabiner and pull straight out until the strap is so tight that you see that the loop is snug tightly against the tree.
To wrap, all you have to do is to move around the tree in circles – with the wrap in your hand – and until all the strap is totally flat against the tree. Only leave as many feet of the strap as you’ll need to cover the distance between the two trees.
- Tuck and Repeat
The strap’s carabiner end should now be tucked under the wraps you made in the previous step. Pull it tight. Repeat the same procedure for the second tree.
Finally, to hang your hammock, all you have to do is to attack the carabiners to the loops or rings of your hammock.
Whoopie Suspension System
Also known as DD suspension system, it is a far lighter and quicker method to not only set up your hammock but also to adjust its hang. What’s more, it’s completely knot free as well!
The main drawbacks to the whoopie suspension system are related to its price. For, it needs extra carabiners which means you need to spend more money.
How to Use Whoopie Suspension System?
To use a whoopie suspension system, you need the following items: a set of whoopie slings, a pair of carabiners (soft shackle or aluminum) and a pair of tree huggers. Once you have all these items, follow the steps to hang your hammock:
The first step involves the clipping of your carabiner to the whoopie sling. Make sure the clip is snug as the weight of your hammock will fall on it.
After facing the tree, wrap your tree hugger around it. Make sure that at the end of the wrapping, both the loops of the hugger face you.
- Clip (again)
Unlike the first step – where you clipped the carabiner to the whoopie sling, here you’re required to clip it to the two loops of the tree hugger.
Repeat the first three steps with the second tree. Congrats! You now have your very own whoopie suspension system.
There you have them; all the types of hammock suspension systems you’ll ever need. Whether you’re a beginner who is about to embark on their first ever camping trip – or an expert willing to get that extra piece of information – we hope this article helps you out.