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Knots vs Hardware – Which One and Why

Knots vs Hardware – Which One and Why

posted Gear Guides Hammocks

One debate that often comes up for a lot of people that love the relatively simple comfort of a hammock is whether to rely on sturdy knots with just rope or use more advanced hardware solutions to properly hang the hammock from your chosen supports.

While we’ll talk about choosing the type of supports to pick from elsewhere, here we’ll just take a little time to talk about the difference between knots and hardware and what is really the better way to hang up a hammock.

Knot Always Right

First let’s talk about knots. Very tried and true for versatility and stability (as long as you choose the right one for your situation), knots have been a go-to solution for generations of campers, hikers, and general hammock-hangers.

Many people swear by their elegance and wouldn’t be caught using something that doesn’t come out of a manual about working with rope.

One of the first advantages of using knots is that it only requires a length of rope. While you have to make sure you have the right rope for bearing the required weight and that won’t slip or be too hard on your hands, it’s the sort of thing you can find anywhere.

And once you have it, it’s fairly lightweight to carry in a pack of gear if you’re camping or otherwise traveling. Rope also isn’t a single-purpose item the way some hardware winds up being. If you really have to, you can leverage that same piece you were using to hang your hammock for other tasks and needs.

Knots also don’t add the same extra weight that hardware can when you’re figuring out if your supports will hold you and the hammock safely.

There are a few downsides to knots though. One is, of course, that there’s a learning curve. If you’ve never tied a knot in your life and want to get right out there with your hammock, it can take a little time to get it right, even if knots are actually fairly easy to learn.

Also, as many of us have found, some of the sturdiest knots are a lot easier to tighten than they are to untie once you’re done. Again, this is a skill that can be learned over time, but the first few attempts can be rough and can cause some frustration and even other problems such as the rope binding or losing strength over time.

Where To Wear Hardware

Now let’s move to the hardware side of things. For a lot of people, it’s all about taking advantage of the latest methods available to take the time and guesswork out of setup so that you can get right to relaxing or enjoying other activities. There are plenty of pieces of hardware out there designed specifically to quickly replace the need to tie just the right knots in just the right way.

One of the chief advantages of the right hardware are that it is clear and easy to work with.

It should have no guesswork or true difficulty, and there are plenty of pieces of hardware on the market that fit the bill.

Many pieces of hardware are also not just quicker to hang, but quicker to adjust if you find the need to, whereas in some situations knots may have to be untied, then re-tied to get the same adjustment.

With most hardware there is also much less chance of slippage, and the wear and tear on the right piece of hardware will definitely take longer than with a regular length of rope being knotted and unknotted multiple times.

Of course, hardware also has its drawbacks. One of the biggest can be the extra weight to carry if you’re using a hammock as a mobile bed for whatever purpose. A lot of hardware is also a single-purpose item that doesn’t quite have the same potential as rope and knots and some can be difficult to adapt if your anchor points aren’t ideal.

You’ll also have to frontload some time really shopping around as there are also some pieces of hardware to avoid because their use is so needlessly complex that you may as well spend the time learning knots!

The Results Are In

So after looking at those advantages and disadvantages between knots and hardware, which is the best one? What is the key to perfect hammock hanging? The answer is…

It’s Personal! 

Seriously, neither method is really inherently better or worse, and the right method is going to depend on what you find works best for you. Take a look again at the advantages and disadvantages we’ve mentioned for both.

Which set makes you feel the most comfortable? Which disadvantages are you more willing to deal with? Answer that for yourself and you’ll know which one is right for you and why you should use that method.

Once you know that, just grab what you need to hang up your hammock and enjoy!


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