Paracord Hammock Strap Trick?

Discussion in 'Hammocks' started by Harper, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. Harper

    Harper Bushmaster

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    I don't know about this:



    It makes sense, but I wonder if it misses something.

    @Vanitas, I'm escpecially interested in any thoughts that you may have.
     
  2. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    On thick barked trees it wouldnt hurt it unless you leave it up for a very long time or are a very heavy person. The sticks do keep the rope from rubbing into the bark and damaging the bark but if you're worried high density foam would cushion better... or just use straps to spread the weight out better. I dont set up hammocks on thin barked trees because those are the ones you can severely damage.
     
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  3. Monkeynono

    Monkeynono Supporter Supporter

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    Wait, so is he hanging his hammock with paracord? That stuff stretches way to much.
     
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  4. DuctTape

    DuctTape Scout

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    Even tbin bark trees can handle any damage made by using line instead of a strap. As you mention, unless left for a long enough time where the trees growth will girdle it. 8 hours with maximum force applied while sleeping is not going to hurt the tree. Trees are much more resilient than some give them credit.
     
  5. Harper

    Harper Bushmaster

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    I was thinking for a survival type set-up or where you don't have a proper hammock for whatever reason.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
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  6. Harper

    Harper Bushmaster

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    Here is another trick that he posted:

     
  7. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    Yeah, 8 hours generally isnt a problem. However, that nice spot you find, others tend to find also especially if it's somewhat close to a heavily used area. I've had to go look at trees with rope damage before. I would assume it's from kids basically swinging in the hammocks or from adults, um, adulting in them. In the ADK we found a yellow birch that was pretty damaged from years of heavy hammock use. It's not far from a popular trail you can camp along. Most of us here don't camp close enough to the trails for it to be an issue though I suspect.

    @Harper in a survival situation I wouldn't worry too much about it. Rope damage is always one of 3 things, really heavy objects being tied to the tree (like coolers), Heavy repeated use areas (your popular parks and trails) or someone leaves rope or wire tied to the tree for a couple years. Biggest danger to a tree imo is when you dont tie right and your rope runs down the tree.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
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  8. DuctTape

    DuctTape Scout

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    Heavy use areas usually have more significant damage from other human factors. Folks trying to cut down large trees, stripping bark from birches the entire circumference, trees shot up for target practice, just to name the most common. Bark damage from rope while aesetically displeasing doesn't hurt the tree in any serious fashion. even if folks hung from same tree every night. The tree will still not girdle, the entire (or close) circumference needs to have the xylem compressed. A hammock rope won't do it.
     
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  9. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    Damage and girdle are not the same thing. You can actually wear through some species bark if you dont set the hammock up right. Young trees especially. I've seen people from you know where hanging from 5-6" maple trees whose bark is barley skin thin. I doubt people here would cause the issue but you can find it in areas popular with hammockers. Rope damage from abrasion is almost always people setting up their rope around the trunk at a branch and leaving their setup too loose. Not something people here who hammock camp would do but if you get around you'll notice a lot of people set up like that. The absolute worst I've seen is a regular garden type hammock setup with chains in a DEC park.

    The reason you see that much other damage in heavy use areas is you live in Western NY ;p If its not the northern rednecks its the inexperienced/non-caring city folk... or teenagers.
     
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  10. Doc.

    Doc. Scout

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    There are a whole lot of less complex ways of hanging your hammock while protecting the tree. KISS. Doc.
     
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  11. DuctTape

    DuctTape Scout

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    The heavy use damage I describe is in the Adirondacks. The State forests, I see more trash. :(
    I agree that damage and girdling are different, but my point is that bark damage does not significantly harm the tree, even thin bark species. I have yet to see someone with the chain suspension, but I am rarely in those areas when others are there.
     
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  12. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    That would depend on species. Some species deal with wounding better than others... some basically not at all. The problem is it takes a long time for a wound to become a problem so people just think it's fine. If the tree is lucky or a good compartmentalizer or has other defensive measures then it isn't an issue... other trees the damage can significantly shorten the life span of the tree.
     
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  13. PMSteve

    PMSteve Old Timey Outdoorsman Supporter

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    In theory, this is a good idea, however hanging a hammock using paracord isn't the best idea going except in an emergency.

    Most hammocks come with, or recommend using flat nylon straps that are around 1" wide. These go around the tree trunk and spread the load on the trunk, preventing what he calls the 'tourniquet effect'.

    The hammock slings attach to the straps, usually through a welded ring or a quality carabiner.

    Using paracord for anything but an emergency hang or a child's hammock is asking for a problem to develop because the paracord will stretch. Using slings of Dynema or similar cord will prevent stretching and give you much better load bearing strength. 1/4" Dynema cord breaks at around 2,400 pounds.

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
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  14. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    With the exception of really thin bark or young trees you cant compress the bark enough to cut off sap flow. That is what DuckTape was getting at. It's an olds wives tale kinda situation. You dont weigh enough to crush the fibers and disrupt sap flow.
     
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  15. Broke

    Broke I found my hat! Supporter Bushclass I

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    Paracord is no bueno. Added to what was mentioned above about the elasticity of 550 cord I will add the following. 550 pound weight rating is not nearly high enough for a 250 pound person, then you tie a knot in it which decreases the strength by around 50%, now it's not strong enough for a person 125 pounds. So now we have this stretchy cordage of questionable weight rating being used to suspend a hammock. The way a hammock loads you are putting that weight on both ends, and at 250# generating around 175# of shear force. Which means your margin of safety (with a knot tied reducing the theoretical load bearing to 125#) is at around -50# on shear and -100# on line load. This is a quick way to end up on the ground.
    No thanks.
     
  16. Cracker

    Cracker Supporter Supporter

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    Why
    If you have a hammock you more than likely already have tree straps. On top of the the fact that 550 cord can not take the shockload of a hammock we, for long.

    And without being the tree how much damage are you actually doing and just don’t know?

    Just my two Lincoln’s worth
     
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  17. MississipVol

    MississipVol Supporter Supporter

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    I am a subscriber to his channel but he is more of a bushcrafter/survivalist, not a hammock camper. Paracord is not at all an ideal way to hang a hammock and any type of cordage can damage trees or at least draw the ire of park officials.

    My advice is straps of at least 1 inch in width and wrap twice if possible. I use a Warbonnet Blackbird with a simple KISS suspension and hanging system.
     
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  18. WILL

    WILL Guide

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    1" Polyester webbing for me. No stretch, no hurt tree and a 1,500 pound break strength.
     
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  19. Harper

    Harper Bushmaster

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    Yeah, I have straps, too.

    I was envisioning a sceneario when you might not have your stuff. The coadage doesn't have to be paracord--it could be something that doesn't stretch.

    I was curious about the effect of cordage under stress to the trees.
     
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  20. marbleman

    marbleman Supporter Supporter

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    I got my first hammock before I got my first slap straps. I was anxious to try it, so I tried paracord. I knew about the angle of the dangle, so I quadrupled the paracord. Still wound up on the ground. No breaking, just stretching.
     
  21. Chorazin

    Chorazin Tracker

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    I cannot see a situation in which I'm gonna have my hammock, but not my straps, and a bunch of para instead.
     
  22. Carbonmated

    Carbonmated Guide

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    Damage to the cambium layer is what hammock folk try to avoid. Anything other than straps is just not responsible stewardship. This may help with the layer and what it actually does for the tree. Letter "C" in the picture shows the cambium layer if you scroll down it tells you what it does for the tree.
    https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/anatomy.cfm
     
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  23. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    I have 2 degrees in forestry and am a certified arborist... I think I remember the parts of a tree. Trees are not delicate little flowers. Animals claw their way up them all the time. We climb them for a living and we setup ropes in them for rigging. Trust me you're not going to hurt most trees hanging a hammock. Look into dynamic cabling if you want to read about rope systems meant to be left in a tree for years wrapped around the trunk under load. We don't just use through-bolts anymore.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  24. Carbonmated

    Carbonmated Guide

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    Trees may not be delicate little flowers, but people are. And sadly their perception of what us "Hammockers" do to trees makes or breaks our ability to hang a hammock in state, city or federal lands. Hanging straps keep the visible damage to the tree either minimal or non existent, this keeps the tree huggers happy. Depending on your locale, 1" or 2" straps may be required in order to hang a hammock, some places do not allow it at all. There is a 25,000 acre wildlife reserve near my home, no hammocks were allowed in the camp sites or any where on the property in the primitive sites. Why? Because people using paracord and similar cordage left it tied to many trees and as the trees grew around the cordage it damaged the trees.
    Five years ago I met with the woman who managed the property and brought my hammock rig. I set up my hammock using 1" and then again using 2" straps to show that hammocks can be used with no damage the trees. She took photos, submitted them at a board meeting and ever since they allow hammocks as long as straps are used to protect the trees. I'm sure if I did a power point presentation on dynamic cabling it would have set their minds at ease, but tree straps were all I had.
    Bottom line, I don't care if you are an arborist with 2 degrees, a vacuum salesman, a doctor or unemployed. If hammocks are your thing, we need to be smart to preserve our ability to use them on public lands. Using straps makes us all look good. Just my 2 cents. Carry on, and be well.
     
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  25. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    Pretty sure we covered most of that over the course of the conversation. You quoted me, I have no idea what point you were trying to make that wasn't already said.
     
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  26. Harper

    Harper Bushmaster

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    As the OPer, my original intent of this post was to get a better understanding of trees--their structural properties and biology. The kind of stuff you don't find in textbooks.

    I was specifically interested in getting @Vanitas ' to share his expertise in the matter.

    While a valid concern, I wasn't really interested in Public Relations--I already knew about that. I was ineterested in the science.

    FWIW, I do have straps and do agree that it is better for hammockers to use them.
     
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  27. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    Definitely preferable to use straps. Not only because it's easier on the tree bark but because you get less slippage as opposed to using rope and chains are just a no no.
     
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  28. perdidochas

    perdidochas Guide

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    Paracord is way too stretchy for hammock use. Use polyester straps instead.
     
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  29. perdidochas

    perdidochas Guide

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    A human on a hammock isn't a really heavy object? I weigh more than any cooler that I've ever used.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
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  30. perdidochas

    perdidochas Guide

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    Usually it's some kind of polyester strap, not nylon. Nylon is too stretchy. Paracord is simply too stretchy (and it's not strong enough without multiple lines) to use for hammocks.
     
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  31. perdidochas

    perdidochas Guide

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    The reason not to use paracord has nothing to do with damage to the tree. It's just too stretchy, and not strong enough (unless you use multiple lengths of it).
     
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  32. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    I agree, it wasn’t OP’s question though. He was more curious about the claim of the sticks helping to not damage the tree.
     
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  33. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    I said heavy objects tied to a tree, you see this with coolers. People take full size coolers and hang them up from a limb and it swings around all night beating the tree up or abraiding the bark. If you set up a hammock correctly there should be no damage to a tree and with 2 points of attachment splitting your weight you just don’t weigh enough to cause any harm.


    Oh and I should have mentioned pets... I’ve seen trees mangled bark down low where someone ties up an energetic dog to something like a birch and it results in the bark being shredded by the rope
     
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  34. Paul Ashton

    Paul Ashton Tinder Gatherer

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    Anybody using single sgrans paracord to hang a hammock must have a death wish. The BS of milspec paracord is 550, knotted about half of that. If the hammock is hung at the recommended angle of 30 degrees, then the tension of EACH cord equals the weight in the hammock.so for a 200 lb person, 200 lbs on eACHJ cord. and that is static weight, and wriggle or jerk will senfd that soaring to maybe 5 times the weight in the ham,mock. Thats why any responsible hammock teacher says to use polyester straps 1" wide minimum, with a BS 12-1500 lbs. Oh, and nylon strreches like crazy, so with the single cors paracord you may be lucvky and stretch until you reach the ground before it breaks. The attached diagram shows the simple middle school math/physics that describes the forces on a hammock strap. hammockphysics_original_original.jpg
     
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  35. Doc.

    Doc. Scout

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    Paracord for hammocks is nonsense. But so is all the complex rigging, hardware, physics tables, angular geometry equations, and luxury add-ons. Supposed to be simple, quick, and easy... right? Just my humble opinion but dang, some folks overdo, overthink, and overgear “camping”. Doc.
     
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