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How To Use Hammock Straps For Backpacking And Camping

Sleeping on a hammock can offer lots of rest and relaxation. However, before you can enjoy all of these great benefits you first need to figure out how to use the straps that came with your hammock purchase.

This can be a bit tricky, as there are many different types of straps and each of these types operates slightly to vastly different. Fortunately, all of these types are fairly easy and straightforward to use with the right know-how.

In the following article we will provide that know-how by explaining how to use each type of hammock strap through our step-by-step directions.

The Different Types of Hammock Straps

person hammock camping

There are several different types of hammock straps that may come with your camping hammock. These include, long straps with loops, short straps with loops, eco-friendly straps and the types of straps that are easily adjustable. Here we will look at all four types:

  • Long Straps with Two Loops. Straps that are longer than a foot or two would be considered “long straps.” The majority of these straps have two loops in the ends. The fortunate thing about the length of these straps is that they can typically be used independently for your suspension.
  • Short Straps with Two Loops. If your hammock came with very short straps they are technically designed to be just an anchor point. Thus, you will need to use something else for your suspension. There are a variety of manners in which you could attach your suspension base depending on what kind it is. Hammocks like Hennessy Hammocks, for example, are meant to be tied on with a cord using knots.
  • Eco-Friendly Straps. There’s a pretty easy way to determine whether or not your straps are of the eco-friendly variety. These straps are typically two inches in thickness, come with metal rings, and have two “S” hooks. While these straps are marketed “green” and good for the environment, they tend to be heavier than most other types of straps.
  • Easily Adjustable Straps. Easily adjustable straps usually have many loops on one end, and, as their name suggests, they are very easy to use. If you are looking to purchase new straps for a hammock, these are a very good choice.

Sometimes when you purchase a hammock that purchase will include the straps you need to hang it. Other times these will need to be bought separately. If your straps were included, these descriptions will show you how to use the type of strap that came with your hammock. Otherwise, these descriptions should you give you a better idea of what type you may want to buy to help suspend your new hammock.

How to Use Long Straps with Two Loops

Like most hammock straps, the long straps with two loops are relatively easy to use. There are actually two ways to use these straps, the first of which requires that you purchase a carabineer.

Method One for Long Straps with Two Loops

  • The first step in this method is to hold the strap by one of the stitched loops facing inward to where you will suspend your hammock.
  • Continue to hold this loop while wrapping the strap around the tree. Wrap it taught until you have the length required for your hammock suspension.
  • Through the same loop you were grasping, feed the suspension side and pull it tightly.
  • Attach your carabineer to the loop on the suspension to the loop at the end of your hammock.
  • Repeat this same process on the other side.

Method Two for Long Straps with Two Loops

This method is technically used when you are utilizing a whoopie sling.

  • Grasp one of the stitched loops, again facing inwards to where you will setup your hammock.
  • Wrap the strap around the tree once and feed it through the loop. Pull it taught. Keep in mind that most of the strap will be fed through the loop and will be hanging around the tree. Additionally, you will need to hold the loop up in order to stop it from falling down at this point.
  • Tie a marlin-spike hitch (see directions below) in the strap and insert a toggle.
  • Repeat this process on the other side using the other anchor, and then hook the end loops on the hammock around the knot of the hitch on each side.
  • Relax in your newly suspended hammock.

Tying a Marlin-Spike Hitch

Easy to tie and take out, the marlin-spike hitch is the perfect knot when hanging a hammock. Here are some simple directions for tying this hitch:

  1. Make a loop in the strap
  2. Reach up through that loop and pull the strap all the way through
  3. Insert your toggle and pull everything taught.

Remember that you will suspend the strap from the knot itself and not the inserted toggle, which is not designed to hold that kind of weight.

woman hammock camping

How to Use Short Straps with Two Loops

Typically measuring about one foot in length, these straps are designed to wrap around the tree just once. They are incredibly simple to use, and creating an anchor point for them is also not very difficult. However, you may have to exert a bit of extra effort when using these types of straps. Here is the technique on how to use these short straps with two loops, or rather how to create a strong anchor point for them:

  1. Wrap the first strap around the tree
  2. Once wrapped, feed one of the loops through the other
  3. Pull the strap tight and make certain it is facing inward toward the hammock
  4. Repeat that process on the other side

Once the anchors are established, you can use either the carabineer or marlin-spike hitch method to complete the suspension. If the trees are in an ideal location, using a carabineer is super easy, as all you will need to do is clip it onto one of the strap loops and then onto the loop at the end of the hammock.

If the trees are not in an ideal locale you may have to ditch the carabineer plan. Instead you will need to create a suspension system using either more straps, cord or a rope.

How to Use Eco-Friendly Straps

The heaviest of all the hammock straps, eco-friendly straps are fairly easy to use. The only downside, according to a number of reviewers, is that they tend to make noise because they utilize a metal on metal fastening system. The good news is that these straps are plenty long—long enough to act as both the anchor point and the suspension line in most cases. Here is how you use eco-friendly hammock straps.

  • Begin by grasping one of the stitched loops, again with it facing inward toward the proposed hammock locale.
  • Wrap the strap—the side with the metal loop on it—around the tree and then feed it through the stitched loop.
  • Now wrap the strap over itself around the tree in the opposite direction to hold everything in place.
  • Hold the strap at the desired length for your hammock suspension and then feed it under one or two of the wraps around the tree, finishing by feeding it back through the stitched loop.
  • After attaching the “S” hook to the metal loop, you can then attach a carabineer, a soft shackle or a continuous loop to the hook.
  • Repeat this entire process on the other side and get ready for the relaxation.

This may sound like a lot of work, but it is actually really easy once you get the hang of it. If you don’t mind a little metal clanking this strap setup will give you years of great suspension.

How to Use Easily Adjustable Straps

As the name suggests, these straps are the go-to suspension system for people who dislike complicated and time-consuming setups. They also offer a very strong suspension. Here is just a brief tutorial on how to use the easily adjustable straps.

  • Wrap one of the straps around one of the trees that will anchor your suspension system.
  • Next, feed the end that has all the loops attached to it through the other end (with no loops at all) and pull it tight.
  • Clip your carabineer or other fastening device to the end loops of your hammock.
  • Also, clip the carabineer to the loop on the strap that is in the best position for your particular setup.
  • Repeat this process on the other side.

All of these straps represent great solutions for easily hanging your hammock. However, before you start any session be sure you know the type of hammock straps you have and the method you are going to employ in order to use them. You may need to buy a little extra hardware—carabineers, etc—but in the end you will have a nice relaxing hammock with a very strong suspension system.

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