If like most normal people, you enjoy being outdoors for any length of time, you will have without a doubt spent a lazy afternoon or maybe even a night in a hammock.
Without a doubt the best way to sleep outside, a hammock keeps you up off the ground and in relative comfort (some practice required)
This summer my friends and I spent a very wet week in Scotland in our hammocks and we stumbled across an inconvenience. At our local woodland, the trees are evenly spaced and frequent, making for a nice easy set up. Trees in Scotland aren't so considerate and can make finding an ideal pitch difficult. We frequently found trees too close, or too far apart. Especially Loch-side or on some of the more isolated trails.
As a keen follower of http://theultimatehang.com/ I thought my prayers had been answered when Mr Hansen posted about a Tree-O hammock frame back in September.
A great idea this simple set up uses 3 straps to provide anchors when there are none. However from reading his review, it seemed like there was a lot of hardware for this kit. As a fan of the Keep It Simple Stupid principle, I set myself the challenge of improving the design.
Step 1: Parts List
The Treble-O set up uses 3 straps joined with an anchor ring + 3 separate anchor straps (each with 2x more rings in) The use of daisy chained straps means that hammocks can be adjusted quickly and simply. I use Amsteel whoopie slings from DD Hammocks which make fine tuning a hammocks "hang" idiot proof.
I opted to go with tubular webbing from a climbing store; http://www.dicksclimbing.com/products/beal-americ... Although not cheap this stuff is rated for a huge amount of weight.
I then looked at rappel/anchor rings http://www.needlesports.com/1775/products/omega-p... and opted for a slightly bigger pair for the centre of my design.
Originally I planned to make 2x frames but decided to keep it longer until i actually tested it, a 3m strap sounds like loads when you think it will be nearly 6m across (tree to tree) but when you see it it doesn't seem quite long enough.
Step 2: The Core
I opted to take an opposite approach to the Tree-O hammock frame Instead of adjusting each strap at the tree, I opted to keep all the working ends of the straps in the centre.
Using a webbing hitch (no idea what it's "official" name is so it's a webbing hitch from here on out) I put all three straps (picture shows just one) through, round and back out. When the strap tugs it pulls the rings together and pinches the webbing. When adjusted properly a hitching off the loose end will provide further security.
Step 3: The Straps
As I mentioned before, this started out as 2 lots of 3m arms, but ended up as 1 lot of 6m, this way I can bridge a nearly 12m gap between trees.
in the picture you can see the webbing straps with loops stitched in, these will go around the tree twice and clip to themselves. Then pulling the loose end will take up the slack.
Make sure that the tree end of the strap is always on top, if it's on the bottom the hitch doesn't clamp at all.
Step 4: The Tie-in
Now that you have 3 straps strung up, you just need to attach your hammocks
I used a different hitch (another no namer) with the rap ring, I tried just looping it through once but it starts to slide eventually. Best to go over it twice and then it won't budge at all.
Using this method means that each person can adjust their rings independently, or you could share rings and reduce the parts by half.
Step 5: Packaging
In total my set up contains 18m of webbing strap, 3 carabiners and a minimum of 3 rap rings. It all fits rather nicely into a spare Maxpedition pouch I have. It doesn't weigh much really, the webbing roles nicely like a fire hose (see previous pics) and the only tricky part is packing it so it doesn't jingle as you walk.
I've yet to fully test this but in the garden it was rather good. Whilst it cost nearly the same as the $80 Tree-O kit, it packs small, is made of the strongest parts I could find + I have the versatility and bragging rights of it being my own design.
I will hopefully get to test this after the holidays when the weather stops being quite so British.
If anyone beats me to it then post a picture and feel free to rip the design apart, it may save me waking up on my back!