Better ways to hang a Hennessey Hammock

I love hammock camping. I hate the Hennessey Hammock knot. It is annoying to tie in the first place, and even more annoying to adjust for tension. This article might not make much sense if you don’t use a hammock for camping.

Andre shares in my dislike for the Hennessey Hammock knot. We both took different approaches to fixing this.

His setup is on the left, mine is on the right:

Here are the core pieces of hardware:

On the top is my hardware. It consists of two descending rings tied to a piece of cord. A smaller piece of cord holds a stake.

Andre’s hardware is a cam-lock buckle which is tied to the end of his hammock.

Both start with looping some webbing around the tree, and then back through a loop that is sewn into the end of the webbing. Ignore the buckle on this loop, it isn’t used for anything related to hammocks. I put those on my webbing so that I can dual purpose them as compression straps. This is already a major advantage compared to the Hennessey Tree Hugger method because the webbing can handle any diameter tree (with a max based on the length of your webbing). The Hennessey Tree Huggers tend to work best with trees about 1.5′ in diameter and are too short for larger ones and too long for smaller ones.

I use a knot called a Marlin Spike Hitch to put a spike (this could be a stick or tent stake, I use a small piece of aluminum) into the webbing. The Marlin Spike Hitch is a long name for a very easy to learn knot. Then I hang my loop of cord with the two descending rings from it:

The cord is looped through the descending rings using another fancy sounding knot called the Garda Hitch. It is really a very simple knot too. The advantage here is that you can tension the hammock just by pulling on the loose (free) end of the rope. When you light down in the hammock the rings pinch the cord and prevent it from slipping. If you need to loosen one end of the hammock you just separate the rings and the cord slides out from between them.

Advantages of this system:

  • You don’t need to modify the hammock at all, the standard long cord works well. My hammock cord was worn out though, so I did need to replace it with the purple one shown.
  • Easy tensioning
  • Light weight


  • The descending rings are expensive ($3 each, you need 4) and you need a tent stake or something else as the spike.
  • Two knots to learn, but both are much simpler than the knot that Hennessey uses.

Andre’s system is even simpler. He cut the cord off of his hammock and replaced it with a cam-lock buckle. He carries much longer lengths of webbing. You wrap the webbing once or twice around the tree, then thread it through the cam-lock buckle. It is easy to adjust the tension. There is nothing else to it. He used low-stretch polypro webbing.


  • Pretty inexpensive (cambuckles are cheap, 30′ of webbing is more money).
  • No knots!


  • Webbing is bulkier and heavier to carry than cord. My solution requires carrying about 8′ of webbing (for the two tree huggers). His solution requires carrying about 30′ of webbing.

We weren’t clever enough to invent these systems on our own. There is a 20 minute video on Youtube that goes into both and some other options:

HammockForums has days worth of reading on the subject too,and this is a good summary of some other options.


  1. Pat S says:

    Alex and Andre, nice solutions to a pesky problem.

    Your post got me thinking, and I was goofing around with my gear and a scale tonight. I”ve done something somewhat similar to what Andre’’s done. Except that my webbing is set up as just a single choke on the tree and so it’’s shorter (12” of webbing per end). I haven”t studied webbing, I just grabbed mine quick from REI and it’’s flat but tubular in constuction and so I”m thinking it’’s probably climbing-quality and that single-layer stuff would be plenty strong and much lighter.

    My additional gear is attached to the hammock, but I did my best to isolate and weigh it and the added webbing and hardware combine for 1 lb-5 oz. Damn, that’’s a lot. When I weigh the whole setup – hammock, rainfly, stakes, bag, webbing hardware and all – it comes in at 3 lb-14 oz. (Subtracting the webbing/hardware leaves me with 2 lb-9 oz, which is actually less than Hennessy’’s advertised weight of 2 lb-12 oz. Kudos to them for not dinking around with the numbers.)

    I also weighed my REI Quarter Dome T1 tent and it weighs 3 lb-5 oz, compared to the published “average weight” of 3 lbs-6 oz. My package weight also included the footprint, which is not in the “average weight” definition, so the measured weight came in well under what REI says it weighs. Attaboys/girls to REI as well for not jerking us around with weight games.

    Anyway, I”d be curious to know what kind of weight you guys have added to your hammocks. My mod is dirt simple, but obviously quite heavy. Alex, yours looks pretty damn light. Andre, yours looks likely as heavy as mine. My 4 lbs total is okay if I”m sticking pretty close to home, but if I”m trying to be fast and light enough to get 60-70 miles out, that’’s a bunch of weight. I ain”t never goin” back to lashing, but at this point, I guess I”d be willing to trade some moderate knots for a few ounces.

    Bottom line for me, I guess, is a starting place, a work in progress.

  2. AlexWetmore says:

    I”ll weigh mine when I”m at home. My hammock weight also includes the “Super Shelter” (under tarp and insulation), which I carry instead of a pad. I think it is around 3lbs total, maybe a bit more. Add a 2lb sleeping bag and I don”t think 5lbs is so bad for a comfortable night’’s sleep.

    You”ll get to see it in person in June on our S48O trip too.