Hammock Tarp Hanging Strategy – Hammock Ridgeline Plus Slide/Grip Knots

Hike, Bike, Hammock
Hike, Bike, Hammock

Like many hammockers, and campers in general, I’m always looking for a new/better/faster/niftier way to get things setup.  One of the things that always irritates me is getting my tarp centered over my hammock. It takes me several tries to get it where I want.  Meanwhile, it seems that others in our crew just slap the dang thing up and it’s great!  How the heck?

Then I see the below video by Wintertrekker and my whole world changes.  Watch it and pay attention to it all but especially the concept of the continuous ridgeline for the tarp, which I will call a “Tarp Ridgeline” (I know!) from here on out.  While watching it I had a few ideas to not necessarily improve upon what he did, but just to try a few things differently.  Way below I’ll give a few things I was thinking about though I think Wintertrekker‘s versions are better than my alternatives.

In addition to Wintertrekker‘s video, a tip by Corporals Corner takes care of attaching the Tarp Ridgeline to the anchor tree.  That tip is at the end.

Take the time to watch Wintertrekker‘s video then come back.

Some of the great lessons/take-aways in here didn’t really resonate the first time because I’m already doing something similar.  For example, he uses a neat tarp bishop bag and I’m using a snakeskin.  Both work great.  For the purposes of discussion I’m going to list some of the VERY useful things and then some things that just add a nice touch.

But first …. why am I making this article?  I’m mostly doing it to gather all the thoughts in one place and to provide links FOR MYSELF to the knots used, etc. and I figure if I’m going to do that, why not make it so that others may also find value in it?  Wintertrekker took the time to make his wonderful video, and I’ve thanked him for it, so I figure maybe I can add a little value by providing some links.  There…. that’s why.

Knots Mentioned In This Article

Prusik Knot
Trucker’s Hitch
Klemheist Knot
Alpine Butterfly Loop and Butterfly Knot (easier way once you know how)

Major Lessons/Take-Aways

Tarp Ridgeline & Tarp Holder Bag
Hennessy Snakeskins
Hennessy Snakeskins

Wintertrekker uses a nice bishop bag by CCS, I have a DIY snakeskin made by Michael Collins, though I’m getting close to needing to replace mine.  If I do replace mine I’ll either ask Michael Collins if he has something that is close to the CCS version or buy the one from CCS.Tarp Ridgeline – This I was already doing, but more on that below

Tarp Ridgeline

Wintertrekker uses 50′ of 1/8 Amsteel.  I use 30′ of the same.  Before I watched this video I toyed with the idea of a Tarp Ridgeline but how I implemented it was different.  I was not tying off the ends to the trees and then adjusting the tarp along it.  Instead, I would attach the ends of the ridgeline to the edge tabs of the tarp, and be able to pull on the ridgeline in one direction and the whole thing would move and adjust.  I think it was a great idea but failed in reality.  I’m somewhat pleased with myself even for coming up with it.  I’ll bet that if I tried I could find several people who are doing the same thing and can show me how to make it work.

When I watched Wintertrekker‘s video it solved about every pain point that I was having.

Slide/Grip Knot To Adjust

Wintertrekker uses a Prusik Knot hooked to a plastic clip.  The Prusik Knot works very well but it is made for when there could be tension in either direction.  A uni-directional version of this knot is the Klemheist Knot.  It is NOT VERY IMPORTANT for tensioning the tarp, but I put it here just so you can see it and be aware of it.  You may find it useful over the Prusik Knot at some point in your life.

Hair Tie Things

I use a length of thick shock cord to keep some rope organized on the front of my kayak so when I watched this video I thought “Hmm, great idea!”  A great way to keep lines tidy.  I always feel good when things are where they need to be.  I’m unorganized by nature so finding a “method” to help this situation out is a bit of smile to my day.  I’ve heard some say these hair things tend to break so I’ll make sure I buy some quality ones.  Possibly there were using cheap ones?

User Trucker’s Hitch to tension Tarp Ridgeline

Tensioning the ridgeline was something I was looking to solve.  Usually when I had to tension a rope, usually one used to keep a tree stand in place, I’d jerk a knot (loop) and tension against it.  The problem with this method is that once you pull against then it is very difficult to undo.  For my tree stands, I didn’t care.  For a tarp ridgeline, I do.

While practicing some knots I noticed the Alpine Butterfly Loop and thought this had solved my problem.  And it had!  I practiced it a few times and felt good about using it in many situations.  I re-watched Wintertrekker‘s video and took the time to look at the Trucker’s Hitch that he mentions.  Hmm… I like it even better!  When you watch how the knot is being made make sure you separate it into two parts.  The first is how to make the loop.  The second is how to secure it.  I am going to use the first part but may not use the second part.  For certain I’ll run the line back through the loop, as that is the whole point, but then I’ll use a different knot, for which I don’t know the name of.  Terrible, I know.  If I find the knot at some point I’ll update this article.  The second half of this knot is a great way to secure it and is very useful beyond using it for the Tarp Ridgeline, so it won’t hurt to implement it here just to practice.

Smaller Points Made

Use plastic clip to hook Prusik knot to tarp loop

Great way to do it!  I have some soft shackles that Ron Sage made so I’ll use those.  The plastic clips would be quicker but I’m ok with using what I already have.

Don’t Put End Loops Through Tarp Ridgeline in Order to Help with Wind Deflection

I have no opinion on this but I’m going to try it.  It looks cool if nothing else.

Can Easily Run a Clothesline Inside Tarp

Why have I never thought of this?  Am I just an idiot?

Trucker’s Hitch For Tarp Tie-Outs

Or the Alpine Butterfly Loop, whichever.  The Trucker’s Hitch has the added benefit of how the line is secured after making the loop to tension against.

So there you go.  Every now and then you come across a video that just pounds you with solutions.  Wintertrekker‘s video does that, and I thank him!

Now on to Corporals Corner‘s tip!

Corporals Corner uses a Marlin Spike hitch on the anchor end to get a quick release.  He also uses a Trucker’s Hitch on the other end to tension, but we covered that above so I won’t focus on it here.  I encourage you to watch the whole video, or you can skip to 0:55 to where he gets ready to move to the Marlin Spike on the anchor end.

Thanks to Corporals Corner for posting the tip!

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