Home > Gear, s24o, ultralight bicycle touring, Videos > Pre-Hanging a Hammock ~ Danger is my Middle Name

Pre-Hanging a Hammock ~ Danger is my Middle Name

One feature of my Hennessy that I really like is that it’s pre-hung.  What I mean by that is that each end is fixed to a specific length of line.  This automatically creates a ridgeline for the fly without all the fuss and muss of hanging an additional line and makes setting up the hammock a lot quicker and simpler. I recently purchased a Grand Trunk Ultralight hammock.  Not that there is anything wrong with the Hennessy.  After ten plus years of use it’s still in great shape and my favorite piece of camping equipment. But in my ever present obsession to trim weight from my kit, I’ve decided to put together an even lighter hammock system than my pound and a half Hennessy.

My new setup has three ingredients.  The Grand Trunk (10.5 oz.), 550 paracord (approx. 2 oz.), Kelty Trip Tease line (well under 1 oz.) and my Equinox UL poncho (6 oz.). I trimmed some weight off the hammock by removing the steel S-hooks from each end.  I’d say this off-sets the weight of the paracord, so my estimate is that this system comes in at a pound or just under.  I’m saving half a pound, but sacrificing bug netting and the ultra-cool bottom entry of the Hennessy.

I’ve pre-hung the hammock on a single strand of paracord using Prusik knots at either end.  The hanging straps are 550 parcord with a series of knots every few inches for adjusting the tension.  Additional Prusiks for the rainfly/poncho finish off the assembly. At a complete disregard for safety, I’m using sticks I pick up off the ground to keep the hammock line from slipping out of the hanging straps instead of using the steel hooks. Danger is my middle name.

I already owned the poncho, so I’ve spent about 30 dollars putting the system together. I may buy a rain fly from Hennessy later; we’ll see how the poncho works out.  I believe I paid about forty buck for the poncho years ago and used it hiking as a shelter/poncho many times. If you like to build small fires in your hammock the poncho’s hood acts like a chimney to vent the smoke.  Kelty Trip Tease is used to guy out the poncho’s corners.

I still intend to use my Hennessy; I think I can get another decade of service out of this well-built hammock.  I’ll use my new setup when I’m camping at higher altitudes and spending the day climbing and when I’m touring with my wife or a friend who wants to borrow a hammock.

A note about hanging straps: I understand the hammock industry need to over build hammock equipment for liability reasons.  But if you’re making your own stuff, ask yourself if you really need to use one inch webbing strong enough to do a cargo drop out of the back of a moving airplane.  I weigh less than 170 pounds so I think the 550 paracord is over-kill, but then again, Danger is my middle name.

Here’s a video tour of the hammock: (sorry for the wonky “smart” phone video. The next one will be much better, ’cause it can’t get much worse.)

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  1. September 23, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    just recently i bought a digital luggage scale to start weighting out my kit…
    that is everything from stove to my Hennessy 4 season super shelter…
    now ol man Hennessy said in his advertisement that this little hammock weights in at 2.5 lbs…this was written by him about 4 or 5 yrs ago when i bought mine…
    any way i weighted my hammock with the web straps, snake skins, insulator pad, etc….
    5.5 lbs…it shocked me…that is a far cry from 2.5 lbs….
    but it is a shelter that i can find a dry warm place to be in…
    also my down bag from Campmor was advertised to weight in at 2.5 lbs…
    i weighted it with this digital scale….3.5 lbs….Hmmmm???
    was the 2.5 lbs the down feathers???…
    who knows…
    but a digital scale can make you nuts…
    thought of catching the fat cat and seeing how much her arse weights in at….

    • The Velo Hobo
      September 24, 2012 at 12:15 am

      Hi Conifir,

      I have a hanging scale, so I can measure my loaded bike, but I do need to get a small kitchen scale for small items…I alsoneed to learn to shoot video with this so called “Smart”phone. If it’s so smart,why did it let me hold it sideways like that.

      I promiss the next one will be better, Jack

  2. Danny
    October 4, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Replace the paracord with whoopie slings (amsteel blue) for a UL, adjustable suspension system. with 6-9 ft 1-inch poly tree straps. Dyneema is a good ridge line replacement

    • The Velo Hobo
      October 4, 2012 at 11:07 am

      Thanks Danny, I’ve been looking at Whoopie slings. Paracord has too much slack and tends to soak up water in the rain. But is is cheap. I found some hollow core line that’s cheaper than amsteel. Whoopiesling.com (I hope I got that right) has slings pre-made w/ toggles. I may go that way. Thanks, jack

  3. October 21, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I’m a little baffled about giving up the bug net. Where I camp I might give up everything but the bug net to save weight. How to you deal with the mosquitoes, chiggers, and ticks without a bug net?

    I recently saw another blog that showed a tent without a floor as a good option. I don’t understand it. So any advice about how you sleep with the bugs would be very helpful.

    • The Velo Hobo
      October 22, 2012 at 10:52 am

      Hi Frank,

      I guess it depends on where you live and your comfort level with creepy bitey things. Here in the mountains we’re pretty lucky not to have many mosquitos, but we do have lots of ticks and chiggers. I sometimes use a Big Agnes tent without the floor and netting, so far nothing poisonous has slithered in with me. My wife refuses to do this and insists on carrying the full tent.

      To be honest, I enjoy sleeping exposed to the elements (creepy critters and all) and am pretty happy just curled up under a poncho. No problems so far. The only close encounter I’ve had was a wild boar sniffing around me…scared me half to death, and me him when I jumped up screaming like a little girl (no offence intended to little girls).

      So I guess to answer you, I just ignore it go to sleep. May not be the smartest thing…but certanly not the dumbest thing I’ve done either.

      Thanks for the comment, Jack

  4. October 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    I need to try this mountain camping. In Coastal Carolina the bugs will send you to the hospital if you are unprotected for a whole night in the summer. I guess I should try mountain camping sometime.

    • The Velo Hobo
      October 23, 2012 at 9:13 am

      True. We had to ride non-stop from Cedar Island to Bueafort to keep the bugs from sucking us dry. Everytime we tried to stop we were set upon by thousands of the thirsty blood-sucking monsters. I would’nt dream of sleeping outdoors with netting on the coast.

  5. February 13, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    I seldom leave a response, however i did some searching
    and wound up here Pre-Hanging a Hammock ~ Danger is my Middle Name The Velo Hobo.

    And I actually do have 2 questions for you if it’s allright. Is it just me or does it look as if like a few of these responses appear like coming from brain dead visitors? 😛 And, if you are posting at additional social sites, I’d like to follow anything new
    you have to post. Would you list of the complete urls of all your communal pages
    like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

    • February 14, 2013 at 10:27 am

      Okay Spambot, you’ve crossed the line. Velo Hobo readers are not ‘brain dead’. Impaired? Maybe, but brain dead, no. Keep this up and I’ll cancel my subscription to Wired Magazine.

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