View Full Version : Hennessey hammock problems

2003-07-01, 19:03
Well, I got my explorer ultralight with snakeskins today and I didn't have a good time with the hammock at all. I was having lots of trouble with it actually. I couldnt seem to get the ends tied right and they kept coming loose which had me on the ground a few times. When I did get them to stay and could actually get in the thing it sagged really low. That was no where near flat. After working my butt off to get the thing up in the tree, I was hot and sweaty and didn't want to stay in there long at all. I was kinda in a rush though because I had to hurry up and get ready for work (I work all night 1830-0630)

The mosquitos had a good time with me while I fussed with it though. I will try again tomorow. I suppose it will take some getting used to.

2003-07-01, 21:33
If you haven't done this yet, explore the knot/set up links at the Hennessy site. I tie three knots...the first is just to give me something to pull the hammock tight against. After I tie the second knot, I loosen the first and tighten everything up. I tie my hammock up at about shoulder height. At first getting the right height is the hardest part. The closer the trees are together, the easier it is to set the hammock up correctly. The best distance is about 11 feet. From outside, the hammock doesn't look level. When you lie in it, you will be lightly at a diagonal and almost perfectly level.

The "getting the hammock up the tree" comment puzzles me. What are you trying to do?

2003-07-01, 23:50
This is also a good web site on the "how to's" of the Hennessy Hammocks:


2003-07-02, 03:57
I had seen that site before. I think I have seen all the HH related sites and read almost all the reviews too. That's why I know that there has to be something wrong with what I'm doing. I will get more time to "practice" today. I was in a bit of a rush yesterday and think that I may have done some things wrong. I'm sure it's me and not the hammock.

I'm still not sure how I'm supposed to get the two sides ropes the same length. I do understand why though.

2003-07-02, 21:36
You don't have to have both ropes the same length. Tie one up first then just make sure the other is pulled tight.

This is how I tie the knot. It may be a little different than what's shown on the web sites but it works for me and it's quick.

Wrap the webbing around the tree. If you have right much rope left over go ahead and wrap that around the tree also. Then tie a knot just like you're starting to tie your shoe. Then do the same thing agaim but this time put a loop in the rope and pull it about half way thru.

Pull tight on the rope to the Hammock to lock the knot and you should be all set.

To undo, just pull on the rope and it should come undone nice and quickly.

And trust me when I say I'm no boyscout when it comes to knot tieing.

2003-07-02, 21:50
I am usually pretty handy with knots but for some reason the Hennessey Hammock knot gave me a lot of trouble.

I found the PlaceWithNoName link particularly useful, also downloaded and printe Sgt. Rock's illustrations and carried them with me for a while & practiced putting the thing up and taking it down until I got it.

I think for me was the mention somewhere in my reading but i don't know where that the knot was more of a lashing than a knot. Don't know if that means anything to anyone out there who isn't in to knotws, but I had light bulbs going on when I read that.

Think of it this way - it is wrapped around itself several times, as you would wrap a line around a cleat - then finish off with a couple of half hitches.

I too, tie a couple of temporary knots to get the positioning right - then tie off with a couple of proper "knots".

2003-07-03, 00:31
I am really into Knots also. I sometimes carry rope to work just to tie in knots (lots of boredom in my shop). I understand about the lashing and tried to apply a few different knots to see how they would work. I didn't get to "practice" today. I was busy getting maps and gear for an extended hike in a few weeks. I do try to tie it shoulder height and that's what I meant by "getting it up into the tree". The stuff sack that it used to be in isnt really easy to read. I will try to mess with it again over the weekend. I am going to go camping/day hiking in the green ridge state forest in maryland next week, so i should get plenty of time to play with it then.

2003-07-04, 08:48
Hi! I got my HH a few days ago and set it up for the first time on my deck out back. Don't have suitable trees, but the deck has some posts that worked fine. Here's what I discovered:

1. The instructions on the bag are not too clear for first time set up. I think they are intended as a kind of reminder after you've learned to set up the hammock, but haven't done it in a while. Look at the stuff on the Hennessy site and the "place with no name" site listed above.

2. My first attempt at set up failed because the posts were too close together. I had to pick posts further apart. 10-11 feet is pretty minimal.

3. In order to get the HH centered I first tied one end with a very temporary knot like a single half hitch. I then held up the other end and eyeballed it, adjusting my temp knot until it was about right. Then I did permanent knots in both ends.

4. I didn't have an undue amount of sag. You need to tie as tight as you can get it. I also think its important to get it fairly high, although shoulder height knots seemed to work fine.

5. I had the benefit of horizontal crosspieces on the deck posts I tied to that kept the webbing from sliding down. The posts I used seemed to be too slick to keep the webbing up with just friction. I am assuming that this will not be a problem on trees without a smooth surface.

Here's my set up questions:

What do you do with trees that are too large for the webbing to go completely around? I expect to encounter a fair amount of that?

Will this fly really keep me dry in wind and rain? The coverage is pretty minimal in places even with the fly well centered and tied down at a pretty steep angle?


2003-07-04, 23:01
I have been able to pull off one tree like this...You just bridge the gap between the ends of the strap with the rope. YOu can do the knot, but not a tight as with smaller trees. You need some slack to get the rope through for the "figure 8" part of the knot. The other end has to be tied to a smaller tree so you can pull everything tight.

I didn't have any trouble finding appropriate trees.

2003-07-05, 00:37
I had to do a fair amount of walking today to find a suitable "campsite" but I did find two trees that were just about perfect. I got it all set up and everything was good. It took me a few tries to get it perfect but it was really comfortable when I got it right. I feel like I'm going to rip the thing in half though when I'm pulling it tight.

I also got another free HH today to compliment the explorer ultralight I just bought. My wifes friend saw my HH laying beside my desk and said "my boyfriend has one of those". She said he never used it so I called him and asked him how much he wanted for it. He said I could have it for free, and he has never taken it out of the bag. It turns out that it's an expedition 2.5 that was made for Snap-On (that's where he got it for free). It has a red canopy with snap-on written on it. It was free so it could say whatever it wanted on it and I would still be happy.

I get to test it out for real this coming week. Going to the Green ridge state forest in Maryland for a week of kayking and hiking.

2003-07-05, 07:47
A word of caution

On a recent hike, it was getting late and dark by the time that I set my hammock up. I was glad to just crawl inside.

When I got in the thing sank lower .... and lower ... and I was wondering what I had done wrong when I heard it "CRAAAAACK". One of the trees that I had tied off to was dead and rotten but looked OK at the level where I was tieing off and I had neglected to check it out above for healthy branches above. The weight of the hammock with me in it pulled the tree right over on to the hammock.

I wound up on the ground and very fortunaetly for me the tree that I had tied up to got hung up in trees surrounding it or I would have found myself inside of the hammock with a tree in my lap.

Before you tie up, check out the trees to make sure that they are healthy!:D

Hog On Ice
2003-07-06, 08:44
A similar thing happened to me once - the tree I had ties up to was half of a forked tree that had been used to break firewood. The inside of the fork had been damaged/died and the tree broke when I load tested the hammock (ie crawled in for the first time). Again as with your case the tree hung up on the other tree that I was tied to and other than the damage to the first tree no harm was done - except for the pictures that come back to haunt me now and then (grin).

Trip Report thread over on thebackpacker.com (http://thebackpacker.com/trailtalk/thread.php?id=17556&age=999)