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Hammock Tree Straps 101

Hammock Tree Straps 101

posted Gear Guides Hammocks

At first glance, almost anyone could become overwhelmed by the parts list for installing a hammock. In fact, it takes very few parts to install a hammock. It’s relatively easy to do, even for a novice. Gather together the parts for the hammock tree straps and pick a prime location.

Give yourself some stress-free time to install your hammock. In short order, you’ll have a comfortable hammock that is perfect for snoozing on a lazy afternoon or packing into your backpack for a long hiking trip.

Choosing A Location For Installing Hammock Tree Straps

Look for prime location to attach your hammock tree straps. Most any sturdy tree, large or small, will work well. If you can’t find two trees with a suitable distance between them, look for a place where tree straps can be attached to posts, poles, or any other solid, vertical structure.Hammock tree straps will work with square posts, such as deck posts, as easily as trees or round posts. Just make sure to pull the straps tightly.

Hammock tree straps work well with any kind of tree. Drilling into palm trees will kill them, so hammock tree straps work particularly well with palm trees.

One of the benefits of hanging your hammock with hammock tree straps is that the straps evenly distribute weight over a wider area. When hammock tree straps are tied around the tree, there is less stress to the tree, protecting the bark and tree from damage.

Find a location where two trees (posts or poles) have a distance of about 10-15 feet between them. Your hammock is likely between 7-10 feet long and you’ll want to leave room on each end to tie on the hammock tree straps. Consider whether seeds, leaves, or sap will fall from the tree during the season when you expect to be using your new hammock. It won’t be very relaxing to be jolted awake by falling acorns or walnuts. You won’t want to awaken from a restful sleep to find that you are covered in sticky sap, either.

How To Make Hammock Tree Straps

You can purchase a set of hammock tree straps from a retailer if you choose, but you’ll still need some basic instruction on how to install them. It’s also easy and inexpensive enough to purchase the components for hammock tree straps individually and assemble them yourself. In order to rest easy in a safe and secure hammock, you’ll want to purchase quality materials that are capable of supporting the weight of one or two people.

You can get all the items that you need at your local hardware or home improvement store to make sturdy hammock tree straps. Purchase the following items:

  • A roll of webbed polypropylene strapping
  • Heavy D-rings or O-rings
  • S-hooks, carabiner hooks, or chain quick links

Choose a length of strapping that is long enough to encircle each tree several times and still has a bit of length to attach to the hammock. Wider straps are gentler on trees, so straps with a 2” width work nicely, but narrower widths also work. Pick strapping that doesn’t stretch, is weather resistant, and isn’t very slippery. Check the weight threshold for the strapping to make sure it will hold the weight that you think you need—at least 400 lbs.

You’ll also need rings to attach the strapping to the hammock. You will be looping the strapping through the D-rings or O-rings when you are ready to tie on the hammock tree straps. You will be using either S-hooks, carabiners, or chain quick links to attach the hammock tree strap to the hammock.

Carabiners and chain quick links work more securely than S-hooks. When you take your weight off of the hammock, the fabric is less taut and the S-hooks may unhook from the rings, disconnecting the hammock from the straps. Carabiners have a self-closing clip and chain quick links have a nut that opens and closes the chain link, making these types of hooks much more secure.

Beyond some basic strapping and hardware, you may also need a candle lighter, a step-ladder, and a few, basic knot-tying skills.

How To Hang And Tie Hammock Tree Straps

If you are using a roll of strapping, fold it in half to find the middle. Cut it in half, using a sharp scissor or knife. Using the candle lighter, burn the raw ends to seal the fibers to prevent them from fraying. Make a loop in one end of each strap, securing it with a tight knot, like awater knot. You should now have a flat strap with a loop on one end.

There are two ways to prepare the remaining end. You can either make another loop like the first one. Alternatively, you can make the loop and insert a D-ring or O-ring into the loop before tying the water knot. You should now have two lengths of strapping with a loop on one end and either a loop or ring on the other end.

If you are using D-rings, O-rings, or chain quick links, be sure to use rings that have a strong weight capacity. Also, make sure they are large enough for the width of the strapping.

It may take some adjusting to get the right height for tying both hammock tree straps. Don’t worry, if you get it too high or too low the first time, it’s easy enough to re-do one or both sides to get just the right height. Using one of the straps, wrap it around the tree at shoulder height or higher. Take a looped-end of the hammock tree strap and place it horizontally against the tree at the height that you want, with the loop facing to the right.

Wrap the strap clockwise around the tree and insert the opposite end through the loop, pulling the length of strap through completely. Pull the strap as tightly as you can. Then, moving in the opposite direction, wrap the hammock tree strap around the tree one or more times, depending upon how much strapping you have and how much you’ll need leftover to attach to the hammock. When you have the right length of strapping left, thread the end through the initial loop to tighten the hammock tree strap. Repeat the same process with the remaining strap, strapping it to the opposite tree.

Take into consideration that several things will affect the height of the hammock once you slumber into it. These factors are:

  • The distance between the trees
  • The height of the attachment points
  • The length of the actual hammock
  • The height from the ground

You won’t want your hammock to be so high that you can’t comfortably get into it. Remember that it will sink down some once you put your full weight on it. Initially, it may appear to be higher than it needs to be, but the real test is how low it drops once you are laying in it. Think about the ease of getting into and out of a regular chair. Do your best to adjust the height and length of the straps so that the hammock lowers to a comfortable chair height. Then, you’ll have the perfect level for delightful dozing.

Helpful Tips For Hanging Hammock Tree Straps

Once you’ve hung hammock tree straps successfully the first time, making adjustments is easy. When determining the appropriate height, don’t forget to factor the height of the person that will use the hammock most often. A person who is over six-feet tall will want a higher height than a person that is less than five-feet tall. If children will be using it, you may want it low, unless you want to keep them off the hammock—then higher is better.

Unless you are using the hammock out in the wilderness, your hammock will be as attractive to friends and guests visiting your home as it is to you. Let safety rule and do your best to make sure that your hammock is strong enough to hold anyone who uses it. A large person can be the weight of two people and you won’t want your hammock straining under the pressure.

If more than one person happens to jump into it, they won’t appreciate tumbling down to the hard ground because of broken straps or rings. Your hammock is out in the open, so neighbor children may wander over to your yard to jump and play in it, so you’ll want it to be strong enough to keep them safe.

When choosing straps and rings, check the weight threshold. When it comes to hammock tree straps, it’s better to err on the safe side and over-estimate.

Do plenty of weight-bearing tests before allowing others to use your hammock. Hammocks are versatile enough to be used in the back yard for lazing and gazing as well as for hikers, fisherman, and hunters. When choosing your hammock tree straps, or making your own, think about the location where the hammock will sit and the person who is going to use it. If you are taking your hammock on a long hike through the wilderness, it’s going to add bulk and weight to your other supplies. This may be a good reason to choose lighter weight straps or rings.

Just be sure that your hammock will bear your weight. You won’t want the wilderness to be your testing ground. Some pre-packaged hammock tree strap kits come supplied with S-hooks. For safety’s sake, you may want to replace them with carabiners or chain quick links for a more secure connection. Add a drop of oil to carabiners and chain quick links so they’ll open in all kinds of weather.

In temperate climates, you might leave your hammock outside all year long. Harsh elements over long periods of time can deteriorate the hammock tree straps. Hot, sunny weather can make straps brittle and subject to cracking. Freezing northern temperatures can also break down fibers causing them to split and crack. If you live in an area that is susceptible to extreme temperatures, bring your hammock indoors during the most severe temperatures.

Inspect the straps periodically for wear and tear and replace them as needed. If you notice that hammock tree straps are sticky from tree sap, clean them up using rubbing alcohol before storing them away. They’ll be clean and ready to use when you need them.

 

Before you choose the trees that you want to use for your hammock, lay down on the ground on your back, just below where the hammock will stand. Look up. This is the view that you’ll see when you are laying in your hammock after you hang it. Make a mental note of anything that may fall from the tree during any season, including nuts, seeds, acorns, and leaves. If you have a choice between sticky, sappy trees or dry trees, opt for the dry trees.

Do Hammock Tree Straps Work?

Hammock tree straps are as effective as the materials that you use and how they are installed, which is why it’s so important to do the job right. There is one universal method for hanging hammock tree straps and it has some minor variations relative to loops and links. The only right method is the one for you that supports your weight and suspends your hammock safely between two solid supports. The simple answer is—when they are done right, yes, they work great!

The word hammock comes from a term meaning fishnet. Hammocks have come a long way since they were used on sailing ships where they were space-saving beds for sailors that could be rolled up and stored out of the way. Today’s stronger fabrics and tougher hardware provide a safe sleeping space to guard outdoorsmen from snakes and critters.

Hammocks are equally popular for almost everyone who wants to lounge the day away under a beautiful, breezy sky. Regardless of the reason, you are getting a hammock, take the time to purchase materials and learn how to suspend your hammock securely between trees. A well-made hammock that is expertly attached enhances your environment and provides you with hours of enjoyment.


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