Friday, April 9, 2010

Hammock Camping: ENO SlapStrapMICRO's

As part of our new hammock camping system, we purchased ENO SlapStrapMICRO's for our hammock suspension. We like the idea of wrapping a thin, lightweight strap around a tree, quickly threading the tail through a loop, and clipping our hammock to the straps. Its very appealing.

We bought our SlapStrapMICRO's at our local outfitter. The straps are well made and seem to comply with the best practices for sewing climbing harnesses and accessories. The two straps come in a small stuff sack. We dispensed with the stuff sack as we plan to store our SlapStrapMICRO's in our Grand Trunk Lightweight Hammock.

We tested our SlapStrapMICRO's in the backyard using an apple tree and a 4X4 wood post. The straps were easy to wrap around the tree and we wrapped twice around to eat up some of the length. The straps easily fed through the loop as advertised. We were able to hook our hammock onto the straps quickly.

Settling in to our hammock we heard considerable creaking and stretching. Our hammock bottomed out. As we had set the straps at about eye level (just under 6 feet), we raised the straps to about arms length (about 7 feet). Sitting down a second time, the hammock slowly lowered to within a foot of the ground. The addition of 2mm ridge line seemed to reduce some of the stretching from the hammock itself.

We left the hammock suspended under a tarp as a rainstorm was pending in the forecast. Fortune was with us and the rain eventually came down in buckets. The dangling remainder of the straps served to direct rain down and away from the connected hammock. Typically, hammock campers use a shoe string wrapped around their suspension to accomplish the same.

In summary, the ENO SlapStrapMICRO's worked as advertised albeit with considerable stretch. As we haven't a good alternative solution at this point, we'll pan to go with the SlapStrapMICRO's. But, first chance we get to implement a no-stretch suspension, we're probably going to make the change.

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