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"Going to the woods is going home, for I suppose
we came from the woods originally."

- John Muir

How to Put Cinch Buckles on a Hennessy Hammock

The Hennessy product line is very versatile, and their hammocks are usually considered one of the better starter hammocks because of the complete nature of the purchase (they come with a tarp). They are also cheaper than comparable hammocks (because they're made in China) and are sold in several big-box stores like REI. HHs are comfortable, but like any piece of hiking gear, they are not perfect.

One of the key features that many hammockers like to customize is the suspension system. Hennessy's system of spectra cord lashed to a tree hugger is one of the lightest methods that still responsibly protects the trees. It's also simple, if you define simple as fewest parts with no mechanical pieces to break in the field. If you are knot/lashing challenged, however, or if you want an easily adjustable system, or if you just want one that goes up faster in the rain, you may not consider it so simple. In that case, changing the suspension to cinch buckles may be a good mod for you.

An easy way to do this would be to use the existing cord, wrap it a few times around the cinch buckle, tie it in a knot, and cut off the excess. If you're happy with that, then run with it. I'm presenting an alternate methods that ends up looking cleaner and more professional.

Discuss this project here.

Putting Cinch Buckles on a Hennessy
Here's a close-up of the end of the HH before any mods are made. You can see the hammock body on the right and the black sheath covering the suspension connection. The cord exits the sheath on the left side, just out of the picture.

The first step is to remove the sheath. Looking at the end of the sheath in this picture, you can see the end of a black zip-tie poking out. Cut it off. I just grab that square with needle-nose pliers and twist a couple times until it breaks.

With the zip-tie removed, you can slide the sheath out of the way. My cord was already wound up so I just turned the sheath inside out over the bundle to get it out of my way...but if your cord isn't bundled you can just slide it up to expose the knot.

On the left side, you can see a loose bowline knot. It's loose because the wraps take most of the force and the bowline just keeps everything in place. This will be important later.

Next step is to untie the bowline, unwrap the cord, and remove it from the hammock. If you look close in this picture, you can see a smaller cord coming out of the hammock and wrapping around the thicker hammock support. Pull this out a little further when you remove the support so it's easier to thread the new cord thru it later.

I used a 40" piece of 2.8mm Spyderline, with a tensile strength of 1200 lbs. I attached it to the cinch buckle with a triple-larkshead...this is important to keep the buckle lined up straight. If the buckle were to turn sideways b/c a single larkshead didn't keep it centered, the buckle would put uneven force on the webbing and may cut it. Putting a triple-larkshead gives enough stability to the buckle that it can't turn sideways. See the picture below for a close-up of a similar setup.

IMPORTANT: The slider in the buckle is shaped like a "V" - you want the point of the "V" pointing towards the larkshead.

You can also see that the tails aren't even. You'll need enough length to tie a square knot (or another knot of your choice) into the tail and keep it inside the sheath when you're done. The short one is 4-5" long.


Photo by angrysparrow
Here's a close-up of what a double-larkshead looks like on the cinch buckle. You just wrap the cord around like a normal larkshead, and then wrap it thru again. With the cord I used, I put a triple-larkshead.
Now slide the sheath onto both tails...
...and turn it inside out over the buckle to keep it out of the way.
Tie the tails together. I used a simple square knot, with overhand safety knots on each tail.

This setup is a bit different than the bowline on the original HH suspension, so I'll have to keep an eye on it to make sure it holds. I realized after I had finished the project that the bowline setup HH uses only has stress on the part of the cord w/o the bowline in it, but this setup will have stress on both parts of the Spyderline. I'll post back after some testing, and redo the setup if necessary.

Now wrap the loop around the hammock just like the original wraps. In this picture, it goes into the first hole from the top, wraps around the hammock, then out thru the second hole. It may be hard to tell in this picture, but the loop of Spyderline on the right side is coming out of the hole from the bottom side of the hammock.

The thin black loop on the left is the ridgeline that I pulled out earlier.

Now thread the Spyderline inside the ridgeline loop.
Now thread the cinch buckle and sheath inside the loop of the Spyderline. If the cord is a little tight, you might have to squeeze the wraps tighter and pull the Spyderline loop out a little bigger.

The ridgeline loop will be loose like it is in this picture. You can either reach inside the hammock and pull the ridgeline tighter, or wait till you set up the hammock and pull it out then.

I chose to pull the ridgeline loop tighter so it looks like this picture.
Now just pull the sheath down over the whole connection and you're done. You can add a new zip-tie or a drawstring to the sheath to keep it dressed and tight, but I just left it open so I can inspect the knot. I'd recommend leaving it easily accessible at least until you've tested it a few times and are confident with your handiwork.

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