There’s no experience quite like camping. It’s a refreshing and grounding feeling about hiking somewhere far from the hustle and bustle of the city, and sleeping under the stars. But what many avid campers don’t know is that hammocks have enhanced the experience even more.
Whether alone or with friends, it’s a great way to relax in the great outdoors without having to go back into your tent in order to get some shut-eye or just some alone time.
But, like camping itself, setting up a hammock doesn’t come with its occasional issues. The most common of which being hammock straps, as they’re prone to snapping or breaking. That’s why you need DIY hammock straps.
If you don’t have any spares, then your hammock is useless without something to hang it up. But if you’re able to make your own, then this won’t be a problem, as you’ll be able to solve it straight away.
In this article, we’ll talk you through just how to make your own hammock straps, to ensure a peaceful, problem-free trip.
Best DIY Hammock Straps
Here are a few DIY hammock straps you should take into consideration:
1. DIY Marlin Spike Tree Hugger Straps
DIY tree hugger straps are simple to use and make. They are also safe for trees, as they cause very little damage – and sometimes none at all. Being very lightweight makes them a great choice for hikers and backpackers. You don’t want your straps weighing you down after all.
What You Will Need:
- Two carabiners
- Two webbing lengths
- Two toggles
2. DIY Paracord Suspension
The DIY paracord suspension is a great option for those who don’t fancy parting with all of their cash. This can be done for under $10, and some have even managed to do it for less!
Although these straps are extremely simple, and also lightweight, they do have one big downside, as they have been known to cause damage to trees. If you do decide to go with this method, just be cautious with how and where you attach the cords in order to cause very little damage.
What You Will Need:
- Cigarette lighter
3. DIY Simplified Webbing Hammock Straps
Simplified webbing DIY hammock straps are the perfect choice for those who are most concerned about shedding weight from their kit. Using nylon webbing, these particular straps don’t occupy too much room in your backpack, and also don’t weigh you down either. Not only that, but they’re easy to install, saving you time when you’re out on the trail!
What You Will Need:
- Two carabiners
- 2 webbing lengths
- Cigarette lighter
Factors to Consider When Making Your Own Hammock Straps
To get the most out of your hammock, as well as making sure it remains safe, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.
- The length between both ends of the hammock
- The height at which the hooks of straps are attached to the trees
- How high the hammock stays off the ground
You’ll also want to pay attention to how much force or pressure is placed on the anchor points themselves. If there’s too much force, it can damage whatever the hammock is hanging from, or even damage the hammock itself.
This is all dependent on where the hammock is attached, how much tension lies in the hammock itself, and even the weight of the user. It’s recommended not to hang the hammock too tightly, as it may apply too much pressure when someone lies in it.
Why Use Hammock Straps?
Hammock straps are exactly what the name suggests. They’re straps that attach your hammock to the tree or anchor point in order to hold it off the ground.
The straps are tied around your chosen support in a loop, and the hammock is hooked onto the loop. The tension whilst you lie in the hammock is what keeps it firmly attached, preventing it from slipping down or falling.
Because of the amount of tension put on them, hammock straps need to be strong and durable in order to ensure your weight and keep you off the ground.
What Are the Types of Hammock Straps?
There are two main types of hammock straps – more detail of each is given below:
Sewn straps are a little more complicated, but have a more aesthetic look when finished. Like with ‘no-sew’ straps – cut the straps to the desired size, and then sew them shut or seal them.
These types of straps don’t require any type of sewing or other attachment using thread. Just cut the straps to the desired size, and burn the end to seal it. When that’s done, tie an overhand knot at one end, as this will allow you to place that end into the loop to secure it.
DIY Hammock Straps Safety Tips
Safety is of utmost important when doing any outdoor activity, and camping, as well as using hammocks, isn’t any different.
You should always have safety in mind when setting up a hammock, both in the location you’ve chosen to set it up, as well as how you’ve set it up.
And you should pay even closer attention if using any DIY projects, as these aren’t regulated like manufactured products, and therefore post higher risks.
Double-check your setup before getting in, and make sure to get in slowly, as not to jolt the hammock with sudden movement. This poses a higher risk of damaging it.
All key parts of the hammock should be regularly inspected before, during or after use, to make sure they’re in good enough condition to still be used. If you see any signs of significant damage, fix or replace then immediately.
It might cost you a bit more money to replace them over repairing them, but this is the safer option, as new straps are likely to last longer and have fewer signs of wear and deterioration.
Types of Hammock Strap Suspension Systems
There are various suspension systems available for hammocks, some of which we’ll cover here:
Cinch Buckle Suspension
Cinch buckle suspension systems work by attaching the tree webbing with a dutch hook, before attaching the hammock onto the cinch buckle.
Whoopie Hook Suspension
Whoopie hook suspension systems work by using an adjustable sling, which allows you to set up your hammock from any point across the long, giving you complete customization of where the hammock hangs.
Dutch Buckle Suspension
The Dutch buckle suspension system is a much simpler system, as it works by simply threading the trees webbing into the buckle, and that’s it.
Disadvantages of Hammock Straps
Despite their versatility and usefulness, there are actually some downsides to using hammock straps. This is because, depending on the type used, and how/where it’s used, they can cause elements of difficulty that can make things somewhat of a hassle.
Regardless of where you hang your hammock, you’re likely to cause some kind of damage, especially when attaching it to a tree. Whether this is surface damage to the bark or more structural damage due to the weight of the user, some damage will be made.
All hammocks and hammock straps wear down after long-term use, so users have occasionally been known to fall from failed hammocks and hurt themselves.
Some users have even found that they’ve struggled to find any trees suitable for their hammock straps, resulting in them having had to sleep on the ground, which isn’t ideal! So, bear all of these in mind when considering using one yourself.
How to Set Up Hammock Tree Straps
Here are a few steps you should take:
Choose a pair of sturdy supports – usually trees – between 10 and 20 feet apart from each other, and that are at least 5 to 6 feet in height. Inspect the surface on which you’ll be attaching your straps to make sure it won’t cause any damage, and isn’t too wet. This can prevent the straps from getting a good grip.
Pass one of the straps through the loop at the other end.
Tighten the hammock straps around the tree or other chosen support.
Attach the hook or carabiner at the top of the end of the hammock to the strap that’s been tired around the tree. Adjust the height and tension of the hammock to make sure it’s safe and ample for you to get inside.
As well as hammock straps, a good set of carabiners is crucial, as these will also support your weight. Hammock straps tend to be suitable for most – if not all – hammocks. But this is worth checking before you purchase, just to make sure they can be used with the rest of your equipment.
They also often come with some kind of bag or pouch to keep it neatly together, and prevent you from losing any parts.
If you’re hoping to get the most out of your hammock, and have a great trip where you get to soak in parts of the natural world, then it’s worth getting your hands on some high-quality hammock straps.
Whether these have been purchased from a store, online, or you’ve made them yourself, these can make all the difference when it comes to your trip – both in terms of your safety, and comfort.
Going DIY can save you both money and time if done correctly, and allow you to personalize your hammock straps to suit you and your personality. Just make sure you construct them well, so they’re able to support your weight and minimize damage to any trees.
And better yet, should any of your straps break, you’ll have the skills to make a new one. This way, you’ll always be ready to head out, sling up, and sit back and soak in what nature has to offer!