Hammock Suspension: Make your own whoopie slings

dyneemaLet me introduce you to a magical cord made from a substance called Dyneema. It’s used in both hammock and tarpaulin suspension.

Dyneema is incredibly strong, pre-stretched, packs very small, is very light, and even better, durable. With these qualities, it’s probably the most popular material for suspending a hammock, as the cord most commonly used is only 2.5mm thick (and light enough to float on water). You may come across a product called Amsteel-Blue. This is the name of cord or rope made from Dyneema (it comes in different colours, but it’s still called Amsteel-Blue). For those of you who don’t like metric measurements, 2.5mm is the same as 7/64th of an inch.

Cord used for suspending hammocks needs to be low stretch, and have a load bearing weight which is significantly greater than the weight of the item that it needs to support (YOU!). The cord has to cope with shocks and strains caused by you moving about and getting in and out of your hammock. A good rule of thumb is the cord should have a minimum load strength which is 5 times your body weight. 2.5mm Dyneema braid has a minimum load strength equivalent to 1,400lbs (635kg).

2.5mm is suitable for people up to a weight of around 20 stone (127 kg). If you’re heavier, consider 3mm thick Dyneema/Amsteel-Blue, which should be fine for people up to 33 stone (209kg).

An example of an unsuitable material for hammock suspension is paracord. US military paracord has a load rating of 550lbs, but stretches! Chinese paracord can be weaker. Stretching causes additional weakness, which can end with a rather painful meeting with the ground. Paracord is suitable for suspending a tarpaulin (using it as a ridge line) but be aware it does stretch so you may find your tarpaulin sagging a little in the morning. Again, we really don’t recommend paracord for hammock suspension.

Whoopie Slings: These are adjustable cords which you use to suspend your hammock. The video below shows whoopie slings being fitted to a hammock, and shows how easy it is to adjust their length.

 

You can buy whoopie slings from companies like DD Hammocks, or if you wish make your own. DD Hammocks also sell Dyneema braid, and their price is the lowest we’ve found in the UK (email us if you find cheaper!). They sell 2.5mm braid for only £0.99 a metre.

The video below shows how to make your own whoopie slings. You don’t need shop bought specialist tools although some people use them. The tools I use are a size 5 knitting needle, a length of thin garden wire and a pair of kitchen scissors. It’s not hard!

 

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