Whoopie Slings, Single Line Tarp Ridge Lines and Bug Socks, Among Other Things…

Not too long ago, I blogged about my new (to me) Grand Trunk Ultralight Hammock which I recently received. If you are familiar with that posting, then you know that the first thing I decided I wanted to do with the hammock was to cut down on both the weight and the bulk. Of course though, I could not cut either of these from the actual hammock itself, but it was easy enough to do so with the suspension system that I received with my hammock. However, there seems to be quite a few different methods for suspending a hammock, so the trick now was to figure out which method I wanted to go with…

So, like any other hammock newbie would (or at least should) do, I went to good ole Shug’s YouTube homepage and began watching his 10-part “Hammock Hangin’ How-To” series…and wouldn’t you know it, I found exactly what I was looking for in his first How-To video!

The suspension system Shug demonstrated with on his hammock set-up in the very first video consisted of tree straps connected with Dutch Clips, and then a single toggle tied onto each tree strap using a Marlin Spike Hitch knot. Then he simply had Whoopie Slings attached to each end of his hammock (using the fixed eye end). The end of the Whoopie Slings which were not attached to the hammock (the adjustable loop end) simply slipped over the tree straps and rested on top of the Marlin Spike Hitch knot. Simple and done!

Anatomy of a Whoopie Sling (Courtesy of Whoopieslings.com)

Immediately, I knew that this set-up was similar to what I wanted. Very little bulk and probably very little weight, very easy to set-up and super-easy to adjust! Now I just had to figure out where to get it all from… And wouldn’t you know it, it was as simple as Googling “Whoopie Slings” and the actual Whoopie Slings site which will supply me with complete suspension systems, as well as a few other things popped right up… Too easy!

So, I quickly scanned through the Whoopie Slings home page and then quickly clicked on the “Online Store” option in the top right hand corner of the page. Then I grabbed my buggy… And what did I get? Well I will show you…

So, to recap the items from the video:

Unfortunately, the Whoopie Slings store did not carry the Dutch Clips like Shug had in his video, so instead, I opted to go with 2 of the Nano 23 Carabiners by C.A.M.P. USA which would perform the same task. However, as seen in my above video, I opted not to use the biners because once I received them I realized that the Tree Huggers had loops sewn into each end of them (just like the website says…) These loops allow me to simply loop the webbing around the tree and then run one end through the opposite loop, tighten down and done! No other hardware needed, so less weight!

Hammock & Original Suspension

So, obviously with the Whoopie Sling set-up, I easily cut out a large part of the bulk that I had with the original suspension system. In fact, I cut out the entire bulk of the original suspension system which came in its own stuff sack because now the new suspension system fits easily inside the hammock bag, with the hammock!

New Whoopie Sling Suspension

Of course, I also cut weight with my new Whoopie Sling suspension system too! The hammock alone in its original shape weighed 11.7 oz, plus the suspension system which weighed an additional 7.9 oz, which makes the weight of the original hammock with suspension 19.6 oz. Now, the hammock with the Whoopie Slings installed, the Adjustable Structural Ridgeline and the two Tree Huggers with the toggles weigh in at 14.3 oz! So, this suspension system did in fact save me 5.3 oz! Nice.

As well, not only is my new suspension system lighter and less bulk, but just as I had hoped for, it was also relatively easy to install thanks to the videos that is included on the Whoopie Slings video page. And of course, this suspension is also super-easy to use. But to top it all off, Stu from Whoopie Slings has already extended a very high standard of customer service to me regarding this order. Even after I placed an order late one night and realized the next morning that I wanted something a little different, he took care of it, and on a Sunday! Then, just 3 short days later I had all the items that I wanted in my hands…

So, a big 2 thumbs up to Whoopie Slings! And now that you have heard it from me, go check them out and get your own Whoopie Slings!

So, now that I have my suspension all hooked up, it is time that I figure out what to do about all these dang bugs we have!

So, in my search to find a solution to deal with the bugs, I came across the Bug Sock which Randy Smith (AKA: Papa Smurf) features on his site: mydiygear.com. Not only does Randy offer these Bug Socks for sale (made in your choice of materials: Tulle, Noseeum, or Nanoseeum), but just as the name of Randy’s site implies, he also offers instructions so that anyone can make their own. So, this is just what I did…

Of the 3 materials that Randy list’s on his site, the Tulle seems to be the lightest per square yard. However, I was unsure as to exactly what this was, so I searched the net for what Tulle actually is. What I found was that it is a very fine netting that is used in clothing items such as veils, gowns and ballet tutus. Then, after reading this, I went to Wal-Mart to browse through the fabric, and sure enough, I found some Tulle, and for only $1.27/sq yd! So, I purchased a few yards, came home and began making my own bug sock…

Cutting out the pattern...

Sewing the material...

DIY is great...

So, once I got the Bug Sock all sewn up, of course I had to make sure that it worked. And who better than my daughter to help me test it out…

DIY Bug Sock Testing

Bug Sock Cinched Up

There are a few differences between the Bug Sock that I made and the Bug Sock that Randy sells. In the directions found on his site, he calls for some ribbon to help reinforce the edges, particularly at the foot end and then at the head end where the cord exits the Bug Sock and is cinched closed. I did not have any ribbon, so instead, I used some scrap ripstop nylon to reinforce the foot end, and I did not use anything to reinforce where the cinch cord exits the Bug Sock at the head end. So far I think that it will work fine, but only time will tell…

Also, Randy suggests using a mitten hook at the cinch on the head end of the Bug Sock. I imagine that this mitten hook will help keep the bug sock centered along the hammock’s ridge line, as well as help to keep the Bug Sock pulled slightly taut along the length of the hammock. Unfortunately, I did not have any of these that I was not using, so again, I did not include this on my version either. The last thing worth mentioning is that I used some of Lawson Kline’s Glowire for the cinch cord at the head end. I figure the Glowire will improve visibility at night.

So, after I finished the Bug Sock, I dug out a DIY ripstop nylon stuff sack I made quite a while back that just so happened to be a good size for the Bug Sock. Once I stuffed the Bug Sock into the stuff sack I set it on the scales… 2.4 oz was the verdict. Even though Randy’s version is slightly less weight than this, I am still super happy with the overall results of my DIY Bug Sock…

Last, but definitely not least, is a tarp. I have got to have something to throw over the hammock set-up in case rain should fall. Unfortunately, at this point I do not have one of those fancy cuben fiber (super-lightweight) tarps. Fortunately though, I do have my OES 8×10 Sil Flat Tarp which is plenty of tarp to work with this hammock! In fact, it is plenty enough so that I can stake out the center guyouts along each side and still pull the corners in to create a “4 Season” hammock tarp. As well, I already have those super handy panel pullouts on each side so I can really maximize the room inside the tarp…

Up to this point, I have simply been using some 1.5 mm MLD Liteline on all of my tie outs on this tarp. This has worked great and has not been any problem at all. However, now with the thought of using this tarp over a hammock, I wanted to be able to have a little more control in positioning the actual tarp over my hammock, without untying and retying all the guylines, or at least along the ridgelines. So, when I placed my order with Whoopie Slings, I added a Single Line Tarp Ridge Line to my cart.

This tarp ridge line really helps to take all of the guess-work out of getting the tarp positioned right. The tarp ridge line is a 30 ft line that has a Knot Bone secured in one end which just so happens to be a very quick and easy item to use to secure one end of the ridge line. On the opposite end of the ridge line is a Nite Ize Figure 9 attached to a Prusik knot which makes cinching the ridge line down good and tight a cinch (quite literally) .

But the real magic of this Whoopie Slings Single Line Tarp Ridge Line is the 2 items found between the Knot Bone and the Figure 9. This is also where Stu really showed up for me in my order. This line comes standard with 2 regular Prusik knots in the middle of the line, however, for just a few dollars more, these can be swapped out for the Soft Shackle Prusik’s. These are essentially tiny little Whoopie Slings which can be opened and then locked around a tiny knot, hence, the term “shackle.” This is a great way to connect a tarp to the tarp ridge line, however, when I placed my order, I failed to realize this. The next morning when I did realize this, I quickly emailed Stu and asked if I could change my order. Just a few hours later, Stu returned the email informing me that the change has been made and we were all square!

So, now that I have changed out the 2 pieces of LiteLine that I had tied to each ridgeline and replaced it with this tarp ridge line, the weight of my tarp did inch its way up from 20 oz even to 20.5 oz now. So, despite the small increase in weight, I am very pleased with this system and have no intentions of changing it back. Heck, I would probably replace it with another one if anything were to ever happen to this one…

So, for now this is my hammock set-up. I am very happy with it at this point, but I am sure that if I continue to be happy with it, it will more than likely change. (Have I mentioned the Warbonnet Blackbird?) As well, I am looking at a 3/4 length UQ at Hammock Gear, so maybe that will be sometime in the future…

Until then, thanks for reading!

~Stick~

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About Chad “Stick” Poindexter

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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19 Responses to Whoopie Slings, Single Line Tarp Ridge Lines and Bug Socks, Among Other Things…

  1. Pat Combee says:

    Whoopieslings does rock. I just finished up an order for a few items that I needed to.
    I think you are gonna love hammock hanging. It ain’t UL, but you can get pretty darn close.
    Remember hammock hanger DIYers call a sewing machine a thread injector.
    As for an underquilt, I love my 3-season phoenix from hammockgear.com.

    • Stick says:

      Pat,

      Whoopie slings do rock!

      So far I have enjoyed laying in my hammock, but I have not tried sleeping in one yet (although I almost fell asleep in it a few times…)

      What size is your UQ? I am wanting to go with a 3/4 and use a foam pad at my feet. Thoughts on this?

      ~Stick~

  2. David Byrge says:

    Good post as always Stick! A friend of mine is trying out a hammock setup, so I’ll point him your way to see if he can gain any insight to your setup vs. his. Thanks again for all your reviews!

    • Stick says:

      David,

      Thanks for coming by. I am not so sure that at this point anyone can learn anything from me about hammocking, but who knows… What kind of set-up is he using?

      ~Stick~

  3. Raul says:

    Welcome to the addiction…. be prepared to have your packages forwarded to your place of business. The wife will start to question why so many boxes appear at the house on a regular basis and why you know the UPS and USPS men by first name.

    • Stick says:

      Haha… I hear ya! Trust me though…I already have packages coming in pretty frequently…and I much prefer the USPS to UPS or FedEx… I actually got a package in today…my new NF Verto windshirt. Large weighs in at 2.9 oz! I am expecting a handful more in the next few weeks, but after that the rest of our money will go towards our Bahama’s trip in November…

  4. Randy Smith says:

    Looks like you did a great job on that net. Thank you for the kind words.

    • Stick says:

      Randy,

      Thanks Randy! And thank you for your site. It has lot’s of great info! I still need to try some more things…

      ~Stick~

  5. Another good post Stick. Very informative. Thanks!

  6. JERMM says:

    Stick- you may have covered this already and I just can’t find it, how durable do you think the Tulle will be? Last fall I used it to make a small sack for my toothbrush in order to allow air to circulate and dry the toothbrush…can’t stand having funk on my toothbrush. Anyway it’s a small bag and not exposed like a the bug bag will be.

    • Stick says:

      JERMM,

      Concerning the Tulle, at this point, I think that care will have to be taken with it. If stressed, it does tear easily. I have had to make a change to the draw cord hem on my DIY Bug Sock already because there were some spots that had already came loose on the hem. However, the rope used in the hem is probably a little abrasive, at least when sliding against the Tulle. I made a ridge line organizer and felt that it wouldn’t fair well from the weight of different items, and then by sliding across the ridge line. To be fair though, I only double hemmed the edges.

      Saying this, I think that as for the Bug Sock itself, it should do fine. The only concern that I would have is if I snagged it on a limb or what not. Although it would be simple to repair in the field. I do think that if I do another bug sock I will use some noseeum just because I think it will be more durable. Although, at $1.27/sq yd and it’s super light-weight, it is hard to beat. It does do a great job at keeping the skeeters out though! During the evenings I watch the skeeters fly around the outside of the netting…not inside! Haha…

      ~Stick~

  7. I’m doing my own version of Sgt. Rock’s 13 oz. set up using the Grand Trunk Nano. The insulation system is key to hammocking. I’m thinking 3/4 down UQ too and I already use a small foam “sit pad” as part of my pack (Granite Gear Virga). I use a Hennessey UL with their insulation system now. I sleep better in my hammock than I do in my bed.

    • Stick says:

      More Than Architects,

      That sounds cool. I have seen that link for a while, but even that was more money than I wanted to spend at the moment. However, when I came across the GT UL for the sweet price, I knew it was my sign… :)

      And I am glad I followed it. I have been very happy with my hammock so far. I have only slept in it one night and it was alright. I still have to get used to it all together, as well as figure out my system. I do agree with you that insulation is key. I will probably not get to use my hammock much this year since I will not be able to get an UQ this year, but I am really eyeballing that HG 3 season Phoenix…

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      ~Stick~

  8. Joslyn says:

    So I really just wanted to say you rock for using an MXPX song.

  9. Gabe says:

    hey stick, really helpful post. After seeing it, I happened across a grand trunk the other day and figured that for 20 bux it was worth experimenting with. I was confused by one thing though- did you get both the structural ridgeline and the single tarp ridgeline? it looks that way in the video, but I wasn’t sure.

    • Stick says:

      Gabe,

      I think you will like the GT. For the money, it is hard not to like it! Did you get a suspension for it though? Or do you have one? I got mine used and it was included, but if you buy it new the suspension must be bought separately. (N/M this if you already know this… :) )

      Like I said, I got the suspension that GT sells with my used GT UL. However, I knew I wanted to replace it. So, I ordered whoopies, tree straps, and toggles. IMO, this suspension is easier to use, way lighter and packs much smaller!

      Then I also bought an Adjustable Structural Ridgeline. This is tied (attached) at each end of my hammock to the Whoopies where they attach to the hammock. This allows me to adjust how far apart the hammock is each time I hang it, but once I get it how I like it I just leave it set at that length. This way my sag is the same each time.

      The Single Line Tarp Ridge Line is a separate ridge line which is attached to my tarp only, not my hammock. I used to use 2 guy lines attached to each ridge line tie out, but I think I like this single line ridge line better. It is a continuous ridge line that I can use to hang stuff from underneath the tarp, but the cool thing is that I attach my tarp to it with tiny shackles that are attached to the ridge line with a prussic knot. This way I simply string the line between two trees and then I can slide the tarp across the ridge line either way I want it.

      Hope this helps some, rather than confuse you even more…

      ~Stick~

  10. Hammocks says:

    Looks like you did a great job on that net. Thank you for the kind words.
    Thanks for sharing with us..

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