Suspension Rigs: Daisy Chain (looped) Tree Straps

Whether you’re a walker setting up camp after a long day or just wanting to lounge in the sun, you’ll want to set up your hammock quickly and simply.

Adjustable suspension is much easier than tying and retying rope to get the hammock pitched properly. There’s a variety of suspension rigs you can use, and in this article we look at looped/daisy chain straps.

These straps avoid the need for separate tree straps. Rope or cordage can damage tree bark, so responsible hammockers use some form of wider webbing which spreads the weight of the hammock (and you). Looped straps are an ‘all in one’ suspension system (although you’ll need cordage and a carabiner on each end of your hammock which we cover at the end of the article).

Looped tree straps, sometimes called daisy chains are very easy to use and convenient. They go round a tree, feed back through a loop, and then have a number of loops on the other end to allow you to set up your hammock at the preferred height. You attach a carabiner to the hammock, and simply clip this to a loop on the webbing. Quick to set up, take down, and adjust the height of the hammock. There are alternatives which use cords knotted together to make loops, but you still need a separate tree strap with these to avoid damage to trees, the knots weaken the strength of the cords (sometimes by up to 60%) and cords are more prone to tangling.  Some people make loops with paracord, but paracord is prone to stretching and breaking… don’t, it’s not safe!

There are several types of looped webbing straps. Some are far better than others.

Stitched looped tree straps

Relefree tree straps in action

Stitched looped tree straps have exploded in popularity in the last couple of years and many makers sell them on Amazon and Ebay. The quality is variable depending on the manufacturer, primarily due to the uniformity of the stitching on the loops.

They come in a variety of lengths, with most being around 10ft to 20ft. Again, the number of loops depends on the maker… the more loops, the greater the degree of fine tuning the height of your hammock. Ideally, you want to connect your hammock so the straps are at about a 30 degree angle to the tree with the foot end of the hammock set a little higher than the head end.

The strength of these straps is variable , and there are many misleading claims on Amazon and Ebay with assurances that these straps can support thousands of pounds. They don’t. While the straps themselves may support 1000 to 2000lbs in weight the stitching doesn’t, and the straps are only as strong as their weakest point… the stitching on the loops. More reputable sellers such as Gimars claim weight limits of 500lbs, which is a fair estimate for the best, but that depends on the quality of the stitching. Some sellers claim less… 200lbs to 300lbs. These straps are too weak to be safe or reliable. Ideally your hammock and suspension should support 5 times your body weight to cope with the ‘shock force’ of climbing in and out, swinging, your turning over etc.

Stitched tree straps which failed

Some straps have very good stitching while with others the quality of the stitching is poor. Our members have found Gimars to be the most reliable, and I own a set of Relefree straps which so far show no sign of wear. Others are not so good, and have let friends of mine down… literally!

If buying stitched tree straps, we recommend Gimars (but there are better alternatives for a similar price which we cover further on). If buying others, check online reviews carefully.

The weight and bulk of the straps are variable depending on length and the quality of the carabiners which some come with. Some carabiners are surprisingly and unnecessarily heavy. We recommend 12kn wiregate carabiners as shown in the picture above. They’ll support over 2,000lbs and are cheap to buy.

Woven Tree Straps

Looped woven straps in action

A new development are woven looped straps, where rather than the loops being stitched, the webbing itself is woven into loops. These are far stronger and more reliable than stitched straps and are made by Dutchware Gear in the United States. Dutchware Gear has a well deserved reputation for quality and is highly regarded in the hammocking community.

Dutchware Gear sell two types of looped straps. One is made from Woven Daisy Chain Webbing, and we’ll cover these first. The straps themselves can support 5,000lbs. The loops 2,000lbs. This is four times the strength of stitched straps. I own a set and love them. They’re half the weight of my Relefree stitched straps, and half the bulk (the quality of the webbing is higher, and thinner).

Importing them is expensive due to shipping costs, and bear in mind you’ll pay import VAT (add 20%) and depending on the total value of your order you may pay a customs duty too (another 2.5%). There is also a Parcel Force handling charge for billing you with the import duties of £8. Generally, the post office will hold the goods until you turn up and pay the import duties and handling fee. This can make the straps very expensive, but…

There is an importer of these chain looped straps in the UK who you’ll find on Ebay. The name of the UK seller is Henge Hammocks. They utilise these woven loops in their own hybrid straps.

I have bought from the Henge many times, as have members of our Facebook group, and their service is very reliable. They don’t always have these straps in stock, as each time they import a batch they tend to sell out fast. Contact them via their Ebay store and ask them to reserve you a set if you can’t find them in their Ebay store. The straps are well worth any wait if they’re not in stock.

Henge’s hybrid straps are 10ft in length. Mine weigh 217 grammes. The  looped webbing itself weighs 14.5 grammes per foot and is one inch wide. The webbing is military grade.

Link: Henge Hammocks – Woven Daisy Chain Straps (if the link doesn’t work, they’re probably out of stock… email them).

To sum up, these straps are half the weight of stitched straps, four times the strength of the best looped straps, and will cost you around £20 if bought from Henge. Members of our Facebook Group bought out an entire import batch, and every single member was happy. They blow the stitched straps out of the water.

New developments: A new product by Dutchware Gear is their Spider Daisy Chain Webbing. This is made from UHMWPE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethaline) fibres (the same material as used in dyneema/sailing rope and cordage). It is incredibly strong and lightweight… as strong as steel and light enough to float on water. It weighs under 5 grammes per foot. Like their other looped straps the links are interwoven. Strength wise, the straps will support 3,000lbs and the loops 1,500lbs… a little less than their other straps but more than adequate (and roughly a third of the weight). When they become available in the UK, we’ll let you know!

Would I upgrade the standard Woven Daisy Chain straps for the new Spider Daisy Chain? No. These straps are more than adequate for me. If I was purchasing a second set for another hammock… I would be very tempted, but we’ll have to see what the landed price is in the UK.

Attaching a hammock

You may be upgrading the suspension from a parachute silk hammock, or ones which come with webbing which you tie off after wrapping around a tree (hammocks from DD Hammocks and Tenth Wonder normally come with this suspension as standard).

Parachute silk (210T) hammocks usually come with a short length of poor quality nylon rope which is prone to stretching so you often need to re-tie your hammock. The ends of the nylon rope tend to be heat sealed, sometimes leaving sharp edges which can be abbrasive to the hammock material when packed. The carabiners they come with are usually of poor quality… strong enough, but sometimes having sharp edges on the clasps which can damage the hammock material when packed and being excessively heavy. The webbing which comes as standard with some UK sold camping hammocks I find is also prone to stretching, and the knots you need to tie tighten after you’ve been in the hammock, affecting the hammock height.

When using a looped/daisy chain hammock suspension set up, we recommend you replace the rope and carabiners/webbing on the end of your hammock with 2.5mm wide/8 inch long Amsteel continuous loops and 12kn aluminium wiregate carabiners (see picture). Using continuous loops on the end of your hammock replaces knotted cord where knots can slip or come undone. Loop the Amsteel around the existing webbing or rope, pull through the sewn end of your hammock, then loop the Amsteel back on itself an attach a carabiner to keep it in place (again, see picture).

Amsteel continuous loops are very light and very strong (supporting up to 1,600lbs). You can buy them ready made or make your own (it’s a little fiddly to do, but with a knitting needle, a stanley knife and a bent piece of garden wire, I’ve made some in about 10 minutes). Amsteel is made from dyneema fibres (UHMWPE) which is then coated in samthane (used in the roofing and sailing industry, this coating makes the fibres more wear resistent and waterproof). The loops cost around £6 a pair ready made, while DD hammocks sell 2.5mm wide Amsteel for £0.99 per metre if you want to make your own.

If you want to make your own continuous loops, the following video is easy to follow. 7/64th Amsteel is the same as 2.5mm wide Amsteel. You’ll need 2 metres of Amsteel to make 2 continuous loops: Making continuous loops

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Suspension Rigs: Double O-Rings

SDC10965This is the hanging system I use. I’m not skinny, and I can confirm that even for the more ample hammock camper, this set up is perfectly secure and is also quick to take down. Four thick metal O-rings (used in pairs) allow you to quickly hang and adjust your hammock. I tie mine directly to the tree straps rather than using a carabiner, but the principle otherwise is the same as the one set out in the Youtube video below.

To simplify matters further, I removed the short rope attached to the hammock, replacing it on each end with 5 metres of pre-stretched 6mm thick sailing rope. 5 metres is more than you’ll need in most situations, but the slack can be coiled and tied up. Sailing rope is stronger than most nylon rope which can stretch.

The O-Ring set up also acts as a water barrier (when it rains, you don’t want water running down your rope and into your hammock). A further precaution is to tie a small length of paracord to the hanging rope near the hammock end, which acts as a wick (water runs down the rope, meets the paracord, and then runs down it, dripping onto the ground rather than your neck!).

Tree straps protect the bark on the tree whereas rope or cord can cause damage.

 

An alternative adjustable set up uses whoopie slings. Whoopie slings offer a far more lightweight and compact alternative to O-rings and rope.

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