View Full Version : 2 use or not 2 use tree huggers??

2007-07-17, 06:44
I've been thinking about tree huggers lately and whether I want to buy or make a pair for myself. But as I haven't ever actually seen or used a pair myself so I'm not sure if I would actually gain any real benefit from them.
What's your view on it?

2007-07-17, 06:57
I see no need. Unless you are forced to hang on very soft barked trees, treehuggers are a useless novelty. They get covered in sap and completely nasty on short order. I simply stopped trying use softwoods for my hammock setup and hence did away with the huggers. Plenty of trees in the forest as they say.

Actually the only notable difference to not using treehuggers, is that you lose a couple feel off of the maximum distance you can pitch your hammock from because you use more line to go around the tree. But its never affected my
setup. Where it could become an issue is if you were using a 12x12 tarp. That would leave you with not alot of line to work with for tying off.

2007-07-17, 07:59
I use tree huggers to keep from abrading that fancy polyester rope permanently attached to my hammock. Besides being nice to trees, it's the disposable part of my suspension system.

2007-07-17, 08:44
Most I have talked with have changed to a ring buckle system. You can find simple directions (with pictures) here. http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/showthread.php?t=565

I'll warn you, it is the most popular thread over at hammock forums. It's over 50 pages.

In a nutshell, you attach a pair of descending rings (available from REI among other places) to the hammock. I cut the rope on my HH and placed the rings about a foot from the hammock body. You thread a length of 1" strap (the type of strap is important to minimize stretch) through the rings. Sew a loop into the very end of the strapping for a light weight biner (also available from REI and others).

When you set up, find a pair of appropriate trees, wrap the biner end of the straps once or twice around the trees and clip the biner onto the main strap. Now center the hammock and tighten it by pulling the straps throught the ring buckles. Secure each end with a slippery half hitch and, badabing, you are done.

2007-07-17, 09:12
The evidence in my backyard is that the tree huggers do prevent some damage to the bark that would otherwise be caused by naked line. When I hung my hammock without the huggers, the bare line wore a groove in the bark of the trees (maples) overnight. With the huggers, the bark was abraded somewhat, but not grooved like the bare line.

One night on a tree won't hurt it, but along the AT, I'll bet you can find "hammock-bitten" trees, just like you can find soil compacted by tents, so I'll keep my huggers.

My .02

2007-07-17, 10:23
With the ring buckle setup, I am using straps. And, I get the benefit of really quick set up and tear down times. I usually wrap twice around the tree to give more strap on the tree to disperse the weight.

2007-07-18, 12:06
I personally believe in tree hugger straps, AND I am not here to preach to you how you should camp.

I was just in my hammock for 10 nights straight on the same trees (part of a Boy Scout youth leader training conference), and I was using 1" wide tubular nylon straps on trees at least 4'' in diameter. At the end of the 10 days, there was noticeable abrasion on the bark of the trees and I felt badly about that. The straps were wrapped three times around the trees, and my biners (to which I tie my hammock and tarp) were hooked to 3 wraps of the straps.

A fellow Scouter, to whom I had loaned a hammock for him to try (and got him hooked, btw) also spent 10 nights hanging from two trees of his own, yet he had 1.5'' polypropylene webbing for tree huggers, and there was MUCH less abrasion on his two trees (nearly invisible).

I am not an arborist (and I don't play one on TV), and I don't know what kind of trees they were, but they were all the same kind. I also don't know if the abrasions I saw on my trees was really damaging to the trees, but I camp at this location at least 5 times a year, so I'll be able to observe them over time, and if I notice problems, I will certainly post those findings.

With that experience, I am switching to 1.5'' polypro huggers on all my hammock setups. Again, that's just me. I figure protecting the environment I am out using includes carrying a few extra ounces of gear.

Dave (Jonas)

2007-07-18, 21:06
You tree monkeys are all a bunch of tree killers! Murderers! Ok, so I am full of it, I know...

Dumb question #236; Why don't you hammockers wrap a dual layer of rubber then something hard over the tree to take the abuse...? Or does a hard surface equate to slippery and not good for hanging from? How about quickly wrapping some twigs or other debris to the tree to take the abuse?

2007-07-18, 22:07
I think they need to lose weight

2007-07-18, 22:08
This could be serious. As many know and for those that don't, a trees Cambium layer is a very thin layer beneath the inner bark that transports water and nutrients from the roots to the rest of the tree above. If a tree suffers damage to part of it's cambium layer, sufficient to stop this flow the trees growth can slowed until the damage is repaired. If the damage serious and continuous around the whole tree that flow is stopped, the tree could die. Deadeye said " One night on a tree won't hurt it, but along the AT, I'll bet you can find "hammock-bitten" trees, ". Although this sounds speculative, the use and care of our natural resources is the responsibility of everyone who benefits from their use. I wonder if/as Hammock camping becomes more popular, if this is something that needs to be of concern. The real question is, has anyone noticed this effect on the trail and wondered about it. Not noticing it is of little value if your not looking for it. My real curiosity is weather it will be noticed in the future. Now that some readers might be on the lookout. Possibly by distributing the pressure over a larger area ( 2 or 3 inch wide) damage can be prevented. SS :captain:

2007-07-19, 03:18
I continue to use tree huggers even though I've converted to Just Jeff's strap & ring buckle setup. Instead of using 'biners to connect to the huggers I just pull the straps through the hugger loops and secure with a couple of quick-release hitches. I do my adjusting at the hammock end, securing there with a couple of quick-releases as well. When I'm camping and have to use an exceptionally big tree I use the huggers as strap extenders instead. Why don't I use 'biners? Simple---I don't have any. I have yet to convince myself that the things are really worth the price.

I keep my HH and spare hex tarp set up semi-permanently in the side yard woods when I'm not out somewhere (which is depressingly infrequent of late) so I can loaf and sleep out to unkink my back. The huggers work very well indeed at preventing tree damage. I suspect using them along the trails would keep those trees happy over the long run.

Which way is right, huggers or not? Damifino, but I lean strongly toward huggers whenever practical (which is almost always for me). YMMV, though.

Half Step

2007-07-27, 21:06
I think whether to use tree huggers or not depends on where you hang - if along a well used trail like the AT or PCT, then tree huggers would probably be worth whatever it takes to carry and use them since multiple hangers using the same tree could produce damage that would cause harm to the tree and just as important to all who use hammocks - perception is very important in this world. If you hang where you are only one who has been there in the last 50 years and will be the last for the next 50 years, then the damage, if any, of a single night would be minimal and repairable by the tree well before the next hanger came along or the ranger came along to inspect the damage and stop future hangers.

As far as the softwood trees ruining the tree huggers with sap, I would rather throw away 4' of webbing than have to replace the suspension line on my hammock when it got covered with the same sap as the tree hugger. The webbing I use is far cheaper than the suspension line. Also, the tree hugger I can bag separately to prevent the sap from covering anything else. Rather hard to do that with my hammock suspension line.

2007-07-28, 10:17
I wonder though, if as Iceman suggested, a piece of blue foam pad might work just as well as the webbing. 4"x8" maybe, or smaller. I gotta getta hammock. Sounds like way much fun.

2007-07-28, 19:20
I wonder though, if as Iceman suggested, a piece of blue foam pad might work just as well as the webbing. 4"x8" maybe, or smaller. I gotta getta hammock. Sounds like way much fun.

Iceman's suggestions are good - as usual. I've learned to listen to him and TaK - both have experience to share that can teach me a lot.

I think that putting someting else between the tree hugger or suspension line and the tree is good for some situations. I'll have to think about that one and see where it leads me.

2007-07-28, 23:06
Would you be willing to speak to my wife for me? :biggrin:

2007-07-29, 09:33
Thanks. But what you and your wife do with blue foam pads and suspension lines is really none of our business. My wife and I will work something out on our own, which is half the fun really. :ahhhhh:

2007-07-31, 20:36
Would you be willing to speak to my wife for me? :biggrin:

I speak to mine all the time:

Yes Dear, What Dear, Okay Dear.

We have great conversations:biggrin: