5 Most Common Types of Hammock Suspension Systems

5 common types of hammock suspension systems

What is a hammock suspension system?

When you buy a new hammock, often only comes with two amsteel continuous loops bound on each end, it can’t directly hang between the trees. The suspension system is the key to hang the hammock off the ground, it’s the bridge between the hammock and trees (or other fixed anchors), through the suspension system you could adjust the hanging angle and length to get the most comfortable lay.

Hammock suspension system usually consists of webbing straps (know more about straps in this article), continuous loops, and relative hardware.

In the rest of this article, I’ll talk about five different types of hammock suspension systems, and help you choose the right one for your hammock camping.

#1 Daisy Chain Suspension: Most User-Friendly

#2 Whoopie Sling Suspension: Ultralight Hanging System

#3 Descender Rings Suspension – The Quickest Set Up

#4 Cinch Buckle Suspension System – The Most Convenient Hanging

#5 Becket Hitch & J-Bend Suspension System – No Hardware Needed

#1 Daisy Chain Suspension System

The main components of this system are continuous loops, daisy chain webbing straps, and carabiners.

Daisy chain strap usually has 18-30 attachment points over the length for carabiner clipping to adjust the hanging length and angle.

ENO Atlas Strap is one of the most successful commercial daisy chain straps on the market, for its convenience and safety guarantee. Made of 1.5″ wide Polyfilament, 9′ long and support 400 lbs weight capacity, easy to use for both starters and veterans.

daisy chain suspension system
Daisy chain suspension system

How to hang a hammock with daisy chain straps?

Wrap the daisy chain strap around the tree, run the free end through the other side end loop to tighten. Connect the carabiner with hammock’s continuous loop, clip the carabiner to the proper sewn loop on the strap.

Hang a hammock with daisy chain straps

Pros and cons of daisy chain suspension:

Daisy chain suspension is the most user-friendly hanging method, has no learning curve and large weight capacity, widely welcomed by new hammock campers.

But, it also has obvious downsides, due to each attachment point has a fixed length around 4″ per loop, so it’s not 100% length adjustable.

Besides, the daisy chain strap is in double webbing mode, heavier than other tubular webbing straps. A pair of 10′ long 1″ wide polyester straps often weigh around 10 oz, plus two carabiners (around 1.6 oz), it is the heaviest among all suspension systems, not suitable for ultralight backpack hammocking.

#2 Whoopie Sling Suspension System

Tree straps (huggers), whoopie slings, and other hanging kits are the main parts of this suspension system. One sewn loop tree straps and two sewn loop tree huggers both work well with whoopie slings.

Whoopie sling suspension system
Whoopie sling suspension system

What is a whoopie sling?

Whoopie sling is an adjustable rope made of amsteel, it has a free end called “tail” woven through itself (bury section) for pulling to adjust the length. It has a small fixed loop along with the tail side, a big adjustable loop at the other side, and a burry at the center. It usually has a plastic bead or ring spliced onto the adjustable loop for preventing pulling the loop into the bury.

Whoopie sling
Whoopie sling

A whoopie sling is usually 6 to 8 feet long, and has a 6 to 8 inches long bury. It is commonly made of 7/64″ Amsteel which has 1500 lbs breaking strength, or 1/8″ Amsteel of 2500 lbs breaking strength, pretty strong and safe to support an adult weight. So, it is very compact and lightweight, a pair of 6′ whoopie slings weigh only around 1.4 ounces, absolutely the best option for gram weenie.

How to hang a hammock with whoopie slings?

1. Tree Straps + Whoopie Slings

For one end-loop straps, wrap around the tree and run the straight end through the end loop tightly. Attach the whoopie sling’s adjustable end to the strap’s straight end by a Marlin Spike Hitch knot with an aluminum toggle (or find a strong stick on the ground as a replacement). Connect the whoopie sling’s fixed end to the hammock’s continuous loop with a lark’s head knot, or use a carabiner instead, which can also function as a water break to stop rain running down the hammock.

To adjust the length, one hand pinches the bury, the other hand pulls down the dangling tail to shorten the length, or pull up the adjustable loop to increase the length. If the bury is compressed during the hanging, flatten the bury with your hands to distribute the load evenly on it, this process is called “milking”.

See this YouTube video about hanging details:

Hang a hammock with whoopie slings

Something you should notice:

● Put whoopie sling’s adjustable loop over the MSH knot, rather than placing it directly on the toggle. Because it can reduce the tension on the toggle, which only receives the pressure from the knot.

Put loop on the knot
Put loop on the knot

● You can also use Dutch Buckle as an alternative to Marlin Spike Hitch and toggle, as it is more convenient and neat to adjust strap’s length, and the sling’s loop won’t slip off the buckle which might occur with the knot.

Dutch Buckle
Dutch Buckle to replace Marlin Spike Hitch and toggle

● If the distance between the trees is too small, you can remove the whoopie sling, just hang the continuous loop on the strap’s MSH knot (or use a carabiner connecting the continuous loop to the tree hugger).

2. Tree Hugger + Whoopie Sling

For two end-loop huggers, the suspension method is the same as the tree straps, except the way of how to connect whoopie sling’s adjust loop to the hugger’s loop end. You can connect them by a carabiner, or use Marlin Spike Hitch with toggle system which is used in the above tree straps’.

Dutchware has whoopie slings with a whoopie hook spliced onto the adjustable loop to replace the bead, which can directly connect to the hammock’s continuous loop, then connect the fixed end to the tree hugger’s end loop by a lark’s head knot or a carabiner. With this unique design, whoopie sling is easier to connect and disconnect from other suspension parts.

whoopie hook
Dutchware whoopie hook, directly connects to the hammock

Should whoopie sling’s fixed loop connect to hammock or strap?

Both are fine, it depends on your personal preference.

But attache the fixed eye to the hammock (continuous loop) is likely more popular, since it is close to the hammock means you can adjust the mechanism under the tarp to avoid getting wet if it rains outside.

If you use Dutch’s whoopie hook system, you should connect the fixed loop to the webbing strap, and attach the whoopie hook to the continuous loop.

Pros and cons of whoopie sling suspension:

Whoopie sling suspension system is definitely worth a nomination for the best hanging system for its ultralight weight, small bulk, and flexible adjustability.

Nothing is perfect, this hanging system also has some little downsides. The sling cord is hard to adjust when in cold icy weather with gloves, and if the tree distance is too small, sometimes you should give up the whoopie sling, then attach the continuous loop to the webbing straps directly.

#3 Descender Rings Suspension System

This suspension system is comprised of continuous loops, descender rings, and tree straps.

Descender rings are made of aluminum or steel, have no seams on the surface, which are strong and lightweight, and have no abrasion or wearing for webbing straps and ropes when crossing through.

SMC descending rings are widely used for this hanging method, these no welds aluminum rings have 1.5″ inside diameter, and only weigh 0.8 oz per pair.

Descender Rings Suspension
Descender Rings Suspension

How to hang a hammock with descender rings?

Like all other suspension systems, larks head continuous loops to the hammock, wrap the strap around the tree, pass the free end through the loop sewn end or clip biner. Run the continuous loop through the two rings to form a larks head knot, put the free end of strap through the center of two rings, finally cross the only one ring to complete. Pull the strap end to tighten, or separate the rings to loose.

Hang a hammock with descender rings

For the security concern, tie a slippery half hitch knot at the end of the webbing to avoid slippage. (Warbonnet offers triangle rings buckle, which don’t need backup knot)

Warbonnet triangle buckle to avoid slippage

Descender Rings & Garda Hitch Haning (Method 2):

Derek from theultimatehang introduces a no-knot option when using descender rings for hanging a hammock.

In this method, you need an extra piece of spectra or Titan cord for connecting D rings and tree strap, the left suspension part is the same as the common way we talked about above. In this hanging way, instead of running straps through the rings and tying a slippery half hitch knot, just attach one end of the extra rope to the strap, pass the other end of rope through the rings and wrap twice, for the third wrap, only cross one ring to form a garda hitch. Then you could shorten the length by pulling on the end of the extra rope, and separate the rings a little to release the tension.

Because garda hitch only slides in one direction, the rings compress the rope and won’t slip, so no backup knots are needed.

No-knot descender rings suspension system

Prons and cons of D rings suspension:

This old-school two-rings suspension system is simply configured, quick to set up, 100% micro-adjustable and super strong, welcomed for both camping starters and veterans.

The slippage issue is its biggest downside, despite a slippery half hitch can almost solve this problem, for people who pursue 100% perfect hanging, this method still has a bit “flaw”. And once the hitch is done, it’s inconvenient to adjust the strap length.

#4 Cinch Buckle Suspension System

This system consists of continuous loops, cinch buckles and webbing straps.

The cinch buckle is made of aluminum or titanium, lightweight and compact, which can be deemed as an upgrade version of descender rings. It has a slider toggle at the center, it will self tighten when under pressure. Once is set up, no back-up knot needed, and super convenient to adjust.

Besides, the buckle can play a role as a drip stop, to prevent water from running down to the hammock.

Cinch buckle suspension

How to hang a hammock with cinch buckles?

Attach the cinch buckle to the continuous loop with a lark’s head knot, when the strap wrapping around the tree tightly, feed the straight end of strap through the buckle, then feed back under the slider to complete.

Pull back the end of strap to shorten the length, or the other side of strap to increase the length.

Hang a hammock with cinch buckles

Pros and cons of cinch buckle suspension:

This buckle system personally think is the most perfect suspension, easy to set up, solid and incredibly adjustable, and no extra knot needed.

Despite being a little bit heavier than the whoopie sling system (Dutchware provides Titanium Cinch Buckle weighs only 0.4 ounces each to reduce weight), but it’s feasible to hang and adjust by gloves in the cold winter weather.

Dutchware Titanium Cinch Buckle, weighs 0.4 ounces each

#5 Becket Hitch & J-Bend Suspension System

Different from other suspensions listed above, this system doesn’t need any hardware or kit, continuous loops and tree straps needed only. Hammock and straps are connected directly by two different types of knots: Becket Hitch and J-Bend knots.

Becket Hitch & J-Bend Knots

Becket Hitch & J-Bend Knots

How to hang a hammock with Becket Hitch & J-Bend Knots?

Due to how to tie knots are hard to describe with words, you can see the below video to learn the process, super easy to follow.

Hang a hammock with Becket Hitch and J-Bend knots

Pros and cons of no kit suspension:

These two knots are both strong and slip-proof, simple, and untie quickly. The most awesome part is that they’re the lightest system among all.

Since tying a knot is a complicated topic, some people can’t handle them well, and once the knots are tied, the suspension length can’t be adjusted except undoing them. So this hanging method is acceptable for experienced hammockers or someone who doesn’t like suspension hardware. When you are familiar with these knots, the whole system will become fast to adjust, won’t be much complicated than the buckle system.

Conclusion:

Hammock suspension systems are various, and not limited to the five types listed above. No specific hanging system is perfect, everybody has their own taste and hanging habit. You can try all the common suspension ways above, and find your “sweetest” hanging suspension.

At last, every suspension will wear and tear after a long time using, don’t forget to inspect your suspension before the next hang.

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