Updated: Apr 7, 2019

Converting my hammock suspension system to whoopie slings and soft shackles.

soft shackle connecting a whoopie sling to a tree hugging strap
soft shackle connecting a whoopie sling to a tree hugging strap

"The smaller trips are useful in between the big trips: they help me gain new skills and experiences, they solve a perpetual case of cabin fever, and they are accommodating to an ambitious public speaking schedule and to some private guiding." ~ Andrew Skurka

In my quest to lighten my gear, I turned to my #hammock suspension system to see how I could reduce the weight and encumbrance. Research led me to explore the world of DIY, an area I was fearful in stepping through because I didn't want to cause myself any injury with weak or faulty equipment I created.

Backpacking forums indicated that my next step to change my gear would be to change my suspension system by making #whoopieslings. I watched YouTube videos, went on Reddit, FB and numerous forums for instructions, pros and cons in making and using them for months and still I didn't go ahead in altering my gear.

That is until I spent 10 days in Lake Superior Provincial Park last year. I was one of two people who used hammocks instead of tents in the campsite. That meant I had a lineup of people visiting and asking for a tour because they had not seen this type of setup, including Dave (not his real name....that's because I can't remember it) the other hammocker.

Anyway, Dave's set up was all DIY. He had a gathered end hammock, with whoopie slings and a marlin spike and a cute dangly bead thingy preventing the long loop of the sling from completely slinding through. We spoke for awhile both laughing over Shug's instructional videos.

My visit with Dave energized me to order the Dyneema required for making them. I got them here. I just made them today. I also made a couple of #softshackles with the extra Dyneema and tested the lot in a park near my place.

It was quite the surprise when I took the ziptie out and removed the sleeve. There were no burned holes in the end! Yikes what was I going to do? I finally decided on a cow's hitch, hopefully this would work keeping me hanging. The whole conversion was reasonably easy to do.

Lets see how much weight that conversion has saved me. Three whole disappointing, I was expecting more of a difference. On the left is the Hennessy cordage and the right the Dyneema before the alteration.

OK so on the spur of the moment I decided to make some soft shackles out of the remaining Dyneema. The weight savings here were considerable, 62g!

So I had to try it out tout de suite! Here is my setup in a park close to home. Success!

As much as I enjoyed this DIY, I'll be carrying a carabiner for a while.

Now onto reducing other gear...this is will get addicting.



On making whoopie slings:

On making soft shackles:

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