Did you know that hammocks are the ideal camping companions during summer?
First of all, they hang above the ground, so you won’t feel those pesky rocks, twigs, and branches that make sleeping in a tent a nightmare. Second, the hammock provides ideal ventilation and support during the night and is the perfect resting place during the day (especially if you get a protective cover).
But, despite all these reasons, there is one thing that makes inexperienced campers choose the tent over the hammock. We’re talking about straps!
Straps are the best way to hang a hammock outdoors because they don’t inflict damage on the bark and provide a safe and reliable suspension system. However, if you’re new to the whole hammock mounting thing, it can be a bit confusing to choose the best hammock straps and to use them correctly.
So, to help beginner camping fellows out there, we put together an easy to follow guide on how to use hammock straps (after choosing the right ones for your situation).
Different Types of Hammock Straps
Straps can be purchased with the hammock (as a package) or separately (to improve the mounting system of the hammock you have). Still, regardless of the purchasing methods, you should know how to differentiate between the four main types:
- Eco-friendly straps
- Long and short straps
- Straps that are easy to adjust
Eco-friendly designs are about 2-inch thick and are usually accompanied by metal rings and two S hooks (the hanging system). They’re called eco-friendly because they get along well with trees. Since the straps are thick, you can safely tie them around a tree trunk without worrying about inflicting any damage on it (even with maximum load in the hammock).
But there’s a downside to this kind of straps: they are significantly heavier than any other models (this can be a hindrance for hikers and backpackers). Also, the metal-on-metal hanging system can get noisy and can break the beauty and silence of a natural landscape.
Long & Short Straps are simple designs, in different lengths. The long ones are over two feet and end with a cloth loop at each end. Because of their length, these straps don’t need other systems to provide the hammock suspension. Long straps are quite versatile and can prove extremely handy while camping or hiking.
Short straps, on the other hand, are only useful in creating an anchor point and can’t provide suspension on their own. Still, with a bit of creativity, they’re just as versatile as long straps.
Finally, the straps you can adjust easily are a type of long designs, with several loops at one end. Each loop allows users to perform adjustments as needed, which is why they’re great for beginners in hammocking.
How to Use Hammock Straps?
Even if it may look easy (after all, you just tie the strap around the tree, right?), there are several methods to hang a hammock in nature. Even more, depending on the type of the strap, there are different methods to create the suspension.
In most cases, eco-friendly straps can be used as both the anchor point and suspension because of their length.
Quick note: each strap (you usually have two) has a metal ring at one end and a cloth loop at the other.
So, to tie one around a tree trunk, follow these steps (the most popular method):
- On the tree trunk, make sure the cloth loop is facing inwards (towards the hammock)
- Take the metal ring end and wrap it around the tree
- Next, feed it all the way through the cloth loop and tie everything snug around the tree
- Continue by wrapping the strap around the trunk in the opposite direction until you get to the length you want for suspension
- Slide the ring end under one of the layers of the strap and then feed it through the cloth loop one more time
- Attach the S hook to the ring and the hammock to the S hook
- Repeat on the opposite tree
- Enjoy your hammock
Long Straps with Two Loops
These are about 10 feet and come with a cloth loop at each end, which is why they can be used in a wide range of combinations.
We’ll describe the easiest method, but you are free to get creative if you want.
Here are the steps:
- Place one of the cloth loops facing inwards toward the hammock (as it will be when hung)
- Wrap the other end around the tree until you reach the length you need for suspension
- Once you get to the length you want, feed the end through the first cloth loop (which remained in place this whole time)
- Attach a carabiner or hook to the clothed loop and next attach the hammock to the it
- Feed the suspension side through the loop that you were holding and pull it tight
- Repeat for the other side
- Enjoy your hammock
Short designs are about one or two feet and can only be wrapped around a tree once or twice (depending on the thickness of the tree).
They’re easy to use and ideal in creating an anchor point, but you’ll need some extra cord or rope for the suspension system.
To create an anchor point, here are the steps:
- Place one of the loops, inwards, towards where the hammock will be
- Wrap the other end around the tree (once or twice)
- Feed the loops through each other
- Pull one of them tight and feed a rope or a cord through it
- Continue with the suspension system
- Repeat on the other side
Easily Adjustable Straps
These are amazingly easy to use because they have several loops at one end (the other end has just the one loop). The end with multiple loops is designed to be used as a suspension, with a carabiner, which you can move up and down to adjust the height of the hammock.
So, to tie an easy-to-adjust strap, follow these steps:
- Place the end with one loop facing inwards, towards where the hammock will be
- Wrap the other end around the tree (one)
- Feed the end with all the loops through the one-loop end
- Pull everything tight and make sure it stays in place
- Clip the carabiner (with the hammock already attached) in the loop that’s most convenient for your settings
- Repeat for the other end of the hammock
- Test the height and make adjustments
- Enjoy the hammock
Hammock straps are the ideal way to go when it comes to hammocking outdoor but you also need to consider your safety.
As such, before you set the hammock on the camping site, run a few tests at home. Find some trees that work close to home and practice tying the straps until you’re sure you’ve got the hang of it. Remember, the strap needs to be wrapped tightly around the tree trunk (if it’s thick, it won’t hurt the bark), so it will support your weight for as long as you want.