I’m a sucker for cool, little hardware gadgets for tarp and hammock rigging. Don’t get me wrong, I love knots (I’m a Scoutmaster, after all), and use them on all my trips, but sometimes a good piece of hardware makes the task of tensioning and tying off a tarp or hammock just a little easier.
Read more: Knots vs. Hardware
When friends told me about a Kickstarter campaign for a little device called the LoopAlien, I was curious. I ended up backing the project after seeing the LoopAlien’s potential, and to support innovation. When David, the LoopAlien creator, offered to send me some prototypes, I gladly accepted; call it a pre-shipment for my investment in the project.
I’ve been having fun playing and experimenting with these little devices for the past several days. The trouble with the LoopAlien may well be it’s greatest strength: there is no set way to use it. My main goal was to see if I could use them to set up and tension a tarp, so my efforts have been focused to that end.
What’s intriguing about the LoopAlien is that you can get away without tying any knots in order to use it. Of course you can use knots, but by using loops (or bights) along the line, you can quickly attach and detach the line from the hardware. The following illustration and video demonstrate how I used two LoopAliens to rig a tarp with a continuous ridgeline without any extra hardware.
I managed to get the LoopAlien to hold fast without slippage and get a 3:1 mechanical advantage to really get the tarp taut. All-in-all, I’m happy with the results. The LoopAlien makes it easy to set up and the line is easy to un-hook once I’m ready to pack up.
I also used the LoopAlien to rig up a bear bag using the PCT Method. Attaching the LoopAlien to the cord is pretty simple, and the line glides smoothly through the holes in the device much better than mini carabiners.
I should note that while Dave sent me a pair to evaluate, I’m not being paid to endorse or support his project.
Disclosure of material connection: The author (Derek Hansen) was provided with a free sample from the manufacturer for testing and evaluation purposes.