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Rigging A Tarp For A Hammock – With Hardware

Knots are great and all, but what about hardware options for rigging up a tarp? Well, there are dozens of ways to do this, and I illustrated several ways in my book. When I use a continuous ridge line, I most often use a very simple method using two carabiners and a prusik knot. It’s pretty quick and painless (i.e., no knots!) and uses minimal hardware (lightweight! inexpensive!). I prefer to keep my ridge line separate from my tarp, but there are ways to leave your ridge line connected if you prefer.

In this illustration, I try to show a few different hardware options that achieve basically the same thing. In example “A,” I show what I typically do using the two mini carabiners. In example “B,” I show how you can use other hardware, like the Nite Ize Carabiner Figure 9 or the DutchWare Stingers. You can use Figure 9’s and Stingers in other ways, of course, but this is a pretty simple example.

There are three “basic” steps: 1) connect the ridge line, 2) clip on the tarp, and 3) adjust the tarp left-to-right (actually a fourth step would be to actually tighten the ridge line and tie down the guy lines to the tarp :). As I mentioned in my no hardware example, make your left-to-right adjusting when the line is slightly loose so you don’t cut into the bark of the tree.

For “A” and “B,” one end is fixed with a mini carabiner. In “A,” the other end of the line has a prusik knot and an attached mini carabiner. In example “B,” the other side of the line has nothing attached; the tarp has the hardware clipped instead (e.g. Figure 9 or Stingers).

This example is used to show how you can achieve the “V” in the ridge line so the hammock suspension can fit easily in the middle.

Update: Some folks have asked how to keep the tarp from slipping when setting up using the Dutch hook and tarp flyz method. After clipping on the hook and walking the tarp out, you next center the tarp by sliding it into position. Once centered, take the line and do a quick wrap around the antenna to hold the tarp. Now you can walk or reach the standing end around the tree and the tarp will stay in place. Finally, unhook the antenna and then cinch up the line normally.

Rigging a continuous ridge line for a hammock tarp.

31 thoughts on “Rigging A Tarp For A Hammock – With Hardware”

  1. Excellent & simple. Not that I didn’t love my 30 knots and 20 min ridgeline lessons in patience… But,I will be trying this on my next trip out.

    1. Ha! You know, you’ve got to love knots and lashing — it’s a sort of bushcraft exercise that is failsafe in any situation. Hardware options can speed things up, make things easier, but it’s always good to now a few knots 🙂

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  3. Great video demos, Derek! Do you know if braided mason line will work with the stingers or tarp flyz? I believe Dutch recommends 1.75mm, and curious if braided mason would work. Thanks

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  6. Derek, I’m going to give this idea a try. I usually tiy my ridgeline with a timber hitch (not reallya “knot” knot) on one side and a trucker’s hitch on the other to get the desired tension. Then I simply afix the tarp ridge using prusiks and toggles on each end. This way I can adjust/center the tarp coverage without affecting the trees or ridgeline tension.

    I like these ideas as alternates even though, as a rule, I don’t generally use hardware other than carabiners on my cordage or ropes.


    1. Let me know what you think of this method. For me, it simplifies the set-up a little and allows me to adjust both sides of the tarp (centering) from one point.

  7. Derek, I have some questions about the carabiners you use on the continuous ridge line. How many pounds are those rated for? Is there a minimum I should be looking for?

    1. Those mini keychain carabiners aren’t rated very high, but then again, the tarp isn’t load bearing. You don’t need to crank down too much to get the tarp taut.

    1. You can add a short connector line to the end. Most folks bunch up the snakeskin on the ends. Not ideal. You can also use quick connect carabiners and pitch the hammock with a little slack so you can unclip and slide the snakeskin up one side of the V and then clip the end back and tighten. The slack doesn’t need to be too much. In fact, the slack can be taken up when you tie down the guy lines.

  8. The mini carabiner method works great with the Warbonnet Superfly with the ridgeline over the tarp. I was also wondering about the snakeskins but ended up doing just what you suggested in an earlier post – unclip the biner and slide the snakeskin up one side of the ‘V’ – then reclip and tighten – works great!

        1. Yes. I usually don’t do it too tight because I take up any slack with the guy lines. I’ve been playing with a spliced loop, similar to a UCR style suspension. It slides much easier than a prusik and doesn’t jam. If you want to get tighter, you could use the prusik as a mechanical advantage and tie a truckers hitch off it instead by threading the line to the tarp and then back to the prusik loop and then get a 3:1 pull advantage before tying off.

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  10. Thanks Derek! Tried this out yesterday and was surprised how tight you can get it just by sliding the Prussik along.

    Have you got any ideas about the set up if I want to use this method but also use my ridgeline loops along the length of the tarp? The loops are too small to thread a carabiner through and I’m also worried about set up time. Also, it would mean I have to put the tarp on before going round the second tree.


    1. That shouldn’t be a problem, although threading the line through all those ridge line loops will take more time. In my experience, you won’t need those extra loops if you hang the tarp correctly with a continuous ridge line. You could just use the two end guy points.

  11. I’m a bit confused as to how the adjustable/tightening side works. I understand the taut line hitch, but never seen the prossik be used as a tightening knot.
    Please explain very basic as I’m not very familiar with knots

    1. A Prusik loop works very much like a taut-line hitch. It’s a constriction knot. When tension is applied, it tightens and holds. You slide them back and forth to get them into position and then you’re set.

  12. Thanks Derek! I have two ignorant questions. 1: How much cordage did you use? I have 50 feet of dyneema cord and plan to cut that down to 40 feet. I figure this will be long enough for any hammock that I use. 2: Do you have any videos demonstrating how you spliced the fixed end of the cord and attached it to the carabiner using a larks head knot? Thank you!

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