Paracord has quickly become a go-to tool for many people who spend lots of time outdoors. One thing people find themselves asking when they forget their hammock suspension at home is; will paracord hold a hammock? Well, I did some research and unfortunately, you may not like what I found.
So enough stalling, can you use a paracord to hold up your hammock? No, not only is paracord a bad choice for holding up your hammock, it is also not recommended for any other part of your hammock set up and there are a few reasons why.
When people are considering using a paracord to hold up their hammock they are usually thinking about using it as part of the suspension to create an anchor point. There are a number of different reasons why a paracord is a bad option for this.
Why Paracord is a Bad Choice:
There are three obvious reasons why paracord is a bad choice when it comes to setting up your hammock; it’s too stretchy, it’s too thin and it’s bad for the trees. Let me explain each reason as to why these are bad qualities for any cord in a hammock setup.
1. Paracord is Too Stretchy:
Paracord can hold a lot of weight, 550 paracords can hold 550 pounds but that is for a static load. This means that this paracord can hold that much weight for something that isn’t moving up and down.
Because the cord is stretchy and you will be moving around in your hammock, the amount of weight it can hold will be significantly reduced. It is not suggested that you use paracord in the suspension system in your hammock ever, it is potentially dangerous. Even If it does hold you, you might sink so much that you are on the ground!
I have also recommended not using it as a ridgeline for a similar reason. Although it’s less of a safety concern, It’s too stretchy to take the tension away from the hammock.
2. Paracord is Too Thin:
Having a suspension system that is a bit thicker is helpful when it comes to balancing the hammock. It’s easier to keep a hammock upright with a thicker suspension similar to how it’s easier to walk across a bridge instead of a tightrope.
Even if paracord was suitable when it came to stretch and strength, I still wouldn’t recommend it as part of your suspension. It would be difficult to relax when you are spending all your effort trying to stop the hammock from tipping.
3. Paracord is Bad for Trees:
As I recently mentioned in my “Do Hammocks Hurt Trees?” post, eco-friendly straps are usually made from thicker nylon that’s a little more than 1 inch wide. I have also mentioned that thin pieces of rope and cord are doing damage to trees and paracord being used as an anchor point is no exception.
When you use paracord as an anchor point in your hammock setup, it is being stretched and getting pulled into the bark of the tree. I just mentioned that paracord leaves your hammock unstable and because of that, the paracord wrapped around the tree is moving back and forth. To a tree, this is like having its bark sanded off and we all know how important bark is to trees.
So Then What is Paracord Good For?
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against paracord, in fact, I love it! Just because paracord isn’t good for hammock straps doesn’t mean it’s useless, it’s actually incredibly helpful. It’s lightweight, easy to tie knots with and durable; there are so many uses for paracord around a campsite that it’s impossible to list them all.
Here are a few uses for paracord around the camp that I was able to come up with off the top of my head in only a few seconds;
- Gear line or Clothesline- Just because paracord isn’t made to hold a moving person doesn’t mean it isn’t amazing at holding static items. Paracord is actually one of the best options for a clothesline as it’s easier than something like twine to untie and re-use. We highly recommend using paracord to make a line to hang your gear or your clothes at your campsite.
- A First Aid Item- Paracord could prove invaluable to you if you need to tie a splint or anything similar. The string that comes in cheap first aid kits is often horrible, you are much better off with paracord. If you own a paracord bracelet, I suggest always wearing it in the woods, you never know when it could come in handy.
- Tie Down Your Guy Lines– When I said that paracord was completely useless in your hammock setup I lied. Although I don’t recommend using it with your actual hammock, paracord is excellent when it comes to setting up guy wires for tarps.
Those are just a few ideas of what you could use paracord for around your campsite. I think that you will find many uses for your paracord and encourage you to be creative but also be unsafe. Remember that paracord is not meant to support human weight.
So What Can You Use to Hold Up Your Hammock?
When it comes to choosing what to use as your hammock suspension and anchor system you have a few choices. If you are using or stand or permanent hooks then you don’t have to worry about setting an anchor or damaging trees; you can just hook in. Here are some options that you have;
- Straps: Straps and tubular webbing are my top choices for a suspension system. I like these options because they are the best for the environment and can be used to set your anchor. I suggest checking out tree friendly straps but we understand that not they might not be the best choice in every situation.
- Tubular Webbing: This is a great option for people looking for something ultra-light. Although tubular webbing is not marketed as an eco-friendly product (or marketed at all, really), you will be hard-pressed to find anyone who objects to it being used on trees.
- Rope: A rope can work great as a hammock suspension line, however, there are some things to keep in mind. For one, remember what I said about paracord being thin? Well, that applies to ropes as well. Your best option is to find a thick braided rope. Also, ropes are not eco-friendly at all so please don’t wrap them around trees
- Chain: Everything I said about ropes is also true about chains. They need to be thick for decent stability and shouldn’t be wrapped around trees. Chains are most often used on stands or are found hanging from eye-bolts.
So there you have it, a few good options for hanging your hammock. These four methods are four of the most common methods for a reason; they are effective.
The Wrap Up:
To summarize everything here; do not use paracord to support your hammock. Do not use it to fit an anchor or as part of your suspension system at all. Trying to use paracord to support your weight on a hammock is not only ineffective but it is also unsafe. Even if your paracord does hold your weight, your hammock will probably be unbalanced and hard to sit in any way.
Not only is using paracord unsafe for you in a hammock set up, if it is wrapped around trees it could do damage to them too. This is just as careless as it is unavoidable. Please try to set up your hammock using tree friendly methods such as tree-friendly straps or webbing.
If you are looking for something to use to support your weight in a hammock, give straps or tubular webbing a try. For those of you are using a stand, a chain might be the solution for you. If you’ve found something else that works just as good, give me a shout and let me know; I certainly would be interested in hearing about it!