Updated May 2015
Another Make Your Own Gear (MYOG) article for the DIY camping equipment crowd.
Making DIY hammock tree straps, sometimes called “tree huggers” is an easy project that can be done with or without a sewing machine.
Tree straps protect the trees from damage caused by the ropes used to hang a hammock.
If you don’t want to make your own, there are a variety of commercially produced tree straps sold most places that you can buy a hammock.
Other hammock projects you might like:
- How to make an Insultex Hammock UnderQuilt (UQ)
- How to make a Hammock UnderQuilt (UQ) from a sleeping bag
- How to make a Hammock UnderQuilt (UQ) from a poncho liner
- How to make a No-Sew Hammock UnderQuilt (UQ) from a poncho liner
- How to make a camping hammock tarp
- How to make a DIY camping hammock
How tree straps are used:
- Wrap the strap around the trunk of the tree, passing the loose end of the strap through the loop on the other end, and cinch tight around the tree.
- Tie a marlin spike hitch in the loose end of the strap a few inches from the loop. (marlin spike hitch instructions)
- Attach your hammock suspension to the marlin spike.
- Repeat for the other end of the hammock.
- Take a nap in your hammock, you deserve it!
- 2 Polyester straps at least 3 feet long each, and at least 1 inch wide. IMHO, wider straps spread the weight over a wider area on the tree, reducing the liklyhood of damaging the tree. So, I use 2 inch wide polyester webbing (Amazon link).
- Optional: polyester thread and a needle or sewing machine
Determining strap length:
My straps are about 6 feet long x 2 inches wide. I expect to use them in areas where tree diameter is on the smallish side. If I were hammocking in the Pacific NorthWest, or in giant redwood country, then I would need longer straps. Determine the maximum diameter of tree that you expect to hang you hammock on, then add about 18 inches for the loose end that will attach to the hammock suspension, and 12 inches for the figure 8 knot. The sum of these three will be the length of strap needed.
These directions reflect how I made my own straps, which may or may not be the best way. While my straps have functioned satisfactorily, I can’t guarantee that straps made with these instructions will be safe. Use these directions at your own risk.
No sew tree straps:
To make tree straps without sewing, simply cut the strap to length (seal the ends with a flame to reduce fraying) and tie an overhand knot in one end, making a loop big enough to pass the other end of the strap through.
Sewn tree straps:
- Cut the strap to length (seal the ends with a flame to reduce fraying).
- Fold 4 times the strap width back on itself. I know that sounds confusing. If your strap is 1 inch wide, then fold 4 inches of strap back on itself.
- Sew at least 4 rows of medium length straight stiches lengthwise down the overlapped section of strap, leaving an unsewn area at the end forming a loop about 1.5 times the width of the strap. ie. if the strap is 1 inch wide, leave a 1.5 inch loop at the end.
- Many people like to sew boxes with and “X” in them, but I read a report in a climbing publication that extensive testing showed that rows of stitching proved stronger than the box with an X in it, or bar tacks. I sew mine with heavy thread on a sewing machine. They can also be sewn by hand.
Please leave a comment to let me know if this article was helpful to you, or if you used these instructions to make straps. 🙂