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I use paracord for a lot of stuff but looking for something stronger, for holding up a hammock. I'm thinking it would need to be 1000lb strength or stronger.

Would type IV paracord (850lb strength ) be strong enough?

Note: I do use wide webbing [protects the tree] for the tree part. The paracord/rope would be from the straps to the hammock.

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The strength is dependent mainly on the angle between the two ropes form, on which the hammock is hung, and the weight you want the hammock to support.

For a traditional hammock the angles of the ropes (measured to the horizontal) are about A=30° (just an estimate). Lets assume we want to design the system for a person weighing W=200lbs. Then we can derive a formula for the force ( acting on the ropes using trigonometry:

Force on each rope (in the same unit as the weight W):
F = 0.5 * W / sin(A)

(Note that the Force gets extremely high, the closer to horizontal the ropes are / the close a is at )

With the assumptions from above we get F = 200lbs, but this is just static loading, as soon as you "dynamically" sit down in it the forces can be higher. I'd go with a safety factor of about 5 to be on the absolute safe (that means 5 times the static weight it absolutely needs to support, consider that any knots weaken the rope, a knot can reduce the strength by up to 50%), so that results in about 1000lbs strength.

I have no experience using parachord, but this site also suggests to use rope of at least 700lbs - 1000lbs.

Another reference I just found is this online hammock anchor calculator.

  • Great answer. I knew the trig in my head, but too lazy to find a Sin(A) calculator, so just used 45 degrees (and quadrupled it). Looks like I was being very conservative. Even a 15 degree angle is < 3x (and 15 degrees is pretty shallow for a hammock) – Clay Nichols Jul 7 '16 at 20:30
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I've recently got into hammock camping and roping it to a tree is a bit more complicated than it first sounds so please bear with me

  1. You need something to wrap around the tree to protect it from holding your weight, these are unsurprisingly called tree straps - mine are made out of seat belt material.
  2. You need something adjustable from the tree straps to the hammock (if it's not adjustable, you're limited to the trees you can use). Most people use something called a whoopee sling which is made out of Amsteel and is an adjustable, non stretchy material

Lastly, you need to connect your hammock, whoopee slings and tree straps - the best thing is some heavy duty karabiners. I try and keep everything rated at a 1000lbs which I think is overkill even if I can't get decent angles with everything else going on

  • 2
    +1 Tree straps! Paracord would harm the tree even if it could hold the weight. – Russell Steen Jul 6 '16 at 20:23
  • I went down the exact same route when I started with my hammock, it's a steep learning curve at first! – Chris J Jul 6 '16 at 21:10
  • I do use Tree Straps for the tree bit, but 20' of tree strap it too bulk for my backpack. So I use rope + treestraps. – Clay Nichols Jul 7 '16 at 20:31
  • BTW, you don't really need a whoopie sling if you learn to tie even a simple knot. – Clay Nichols Jul 7 '16 at 20:32

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