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  1. #1
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Ditch your Snakeskins!!

    Today I was out in the woods testing a new (for me) concept, with the inspiration to come up with it supplied by HF member and accomplished thru hiker @chef4. I don't know if it has been done before — although its utter simplicity screams 'Surely it must have!' — but a fair amount of googling with various keyword approaches yielded no results for me. Perhaps the combined brain trust and institutional memory of HF will recall a similar technique.

    chef4 said he loves the job a snakeskin does because he likes to end his hiking day reading and stretching and looking at the sky for a couple of hours, while also having the tarp ready to deploy quickly when needed. What he doesn't like is the extra weight and especially the bulk of the snakeskin, and the fact that he can't use something like my folding technique to end up with a much smaller volume. So I got to thinking about these two requirements and the idea came to me very quickly. Today I couldn't wait to do the very simple rigging and hit the woods.

    The first step is to set up the tarp as you normally would, getting all the angles set correctly and the ridge- and guylines to preferred tautness.

    The basic idea here is to gather the tarp at the end of the hammock instead of along the tarp ridge line, which is the classic snakeskin arrangement. This works with a tarp with a CRL above the tarp. For my tarp, I use prusiks on both ends, and the only modification is to add a small carabiner or clip to one of the prusiks. To pull the tarp back and expose the heavens, all that must be done is to remove the two stakes at the carabiner end, unclip the tarp D-ring from the carabiner and slide the tarp to the other end of the hammock. At that point the gathered panels of the tarp are each wrapped in a spiral of light (1.2mm) shock cord that has a mitten hook on each end, with one shock cord for the right and one for the left.

    For rapid deployment of the tarp, simply unwrap the spiral shock cords, pull the biner toward the opposite end of the hammock and clip into the ridge line, place two stakes. I did this today and with absolutely zero practice it took less than a minute, and after doing it 2-3 times I had it down to about 30 seconds.

    So, here's a photo of what it looks like in 'retracted position," which, as you can see, has even less visual obstruction than a snakeskin...
    nosnakeskin_quickdeploy_tarp_small.jpg

    And here's my little video which goes into more detail...

    Last edited by cmoulder; 03-16-2022 at 05:41.
    Five Basic Principles of Going Lighter (not me... the great Cam Honan of OZ) Instagram (me!)

    “If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” ~ Gen. George S Patton

  2. #2
    sideshowraheem's Avatar
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    Thats an interesting idea, would certainly save people some weight. I wonder how it would work in windy conditions though? To me thats the real strength of using snake skins.

  3. #3
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sideshowraheem View Post
    Thats an interesting idea, would certainly save people some weight. I wonder how it would work in windy conditions though? To me thats the real strength of using snake skins.
    It was fairly windy (15-20mph) a lot of the time when I made the video and it worked well. You can see in the still photo how the hammock was billowing out... I waited some time for it to calm a bit but it didn't!
    Five Basic Principles of Going Lighter (not me... the great Cam Honan of OZ) Instagram (me!)

    “If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” ~ Gen. George S Patton

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    It was fairly windy (15-20mph) a lot of the time when I made the video and it worked well. You can see in the still photo how the hammock was billowing out... I waited some time for it to calm a bit but it didn't!
    I’m going to try this out, I see that you had one or more stakes on the ‘stored’ end, I would assume this is like deploying a tarp from a snakeskin in the wind, when one will stake the open end before completely retracting the sock. It’s interesting in hammocking that you can make progress by getting rid of things and simplifying, rather than adding more on. I assume that if I give you a few days you’ll have a knot to replace that carabiner…

    Now I have to see if I can part with my hammock sock, which I really like.

  5. #5
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chef4 View Post
    I’m going to try this out, I see that you had one or more stakes on the ‘stored’ end, I would assume this is like deploying a tarp from a snakeskin in the wind, when one will stake the open end before completely retracting the sock. It’s interesting in hammocking that you can make progress by getting rid of things and simplifying, rather than adding more on. I assume that if I give you a few days you’ll have a knot to replace that carabiner…

    Now I have to see if I can part with my hammock sock, which I really like.
    I hope you get to try it soon!

    Yes, the two stakes on one end keep the gathered panels very secure, in addition to reducing the number of stakes that need to be placed for deployment. After I got home I thought of a couple more tiny tweaks that would make it a skosh quicker. One of them is to remove the gate on one of the mitten hooks on each shock cord to make them easier to engage and disengage. I'd leave the gates on the mitten hooks that attach to the top loop of the tarp ridge line since those hooks stay in place during normal use. I might have to do another little video for that... a video being worth 10,000 words. Another idea is to use some mitten hooks with DCF sticky patches to attach the tarp to the ridge line in a couple of places to aid when retracting it, but I think I'll pass on that one. It was easy enough to slide the tarp along the hammock's SRL and keep it a reasonably neat bundle. And it doesn't have to be all that neat, anyway, because the whole kaboodle is wrapped in the shock cord spiral.

    There's probably a knot that would work for this ridge line clip job, although I don't mind using minimal hardware when it's ideal. For instance I use mitten hooks on tarp doors, and of course cord locks and little 'biners for UQ-to-CL. I ordered a few of these little clips from HG which I think will be perfect for this tarp job.

    I know some people think I'm 'anti-hardware' but I'm not and will use some small bits where appropriate. However, I really do think that knots are better in the places where I employ them. For me, anyway.

    Not that it matters a bunch, but mesh tarp skins typically weigh about 35g so the exercise doesn't save a ton of weight, which makes the focus more about volume. However, for this mod the itsy bitsy carabiner, 1.2mm shock cord and mitten hooks weigh in at a whopping 11g.

    no_snakeskin_tarp_mod.jpg
    Five Basic Principles of Going Lighter (not me... the great Cam Honan of OZ) Instagram (me!)

    “If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” ~ Gen. George S Patton

  6. #6
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    This looks great. I especially love the idea of having one end already staked and ready to go. I'll have to give this a try my next time out.

    Another bit that impressed me: you saying you're out in 3-4 minutes — I count it a success if I can fall asleep in under 20 — 30 minutes
    Last edited by bsteele; 03-13-2022 at 22:52.

  7. #7
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsteele View Post
    This looks great. I especially love the idea of having one end already staked and ready to go. I'll have to give this a try my next time out.

    Another bit that impressed me: you saying you're out in 3-4 minutes — I count it a success if I can fall asleep in under 20 — 30 minutes
    Ha, some friends of mine said that on one occasion I was snoring less than a minute after tucking in! (Sorry, Jimmy & Lisa! )
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  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    How about you slide prussik with tarp attached all the way to the end? Or if you prefer unclip biner from prussik and slide the biner/d-ring combo to the end? Would help control the tarp in wind

    2) for tarps that have them, how about using the doors and their shock cord / mittens on the stake side of the tar to wrap to wrap and stow the tarp until deployment?

    I know the extra 11g of hardware cordage is eating you up inside


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  9. #9
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by possum daddy View Post
    How about you slide prussik with tarp attached all the way to the end? Or if you prefer unclip biner from prussik and slide the biner/d-ring combo to the end? Would help control the tarp in wind

    2) for tarps that have them, how about using the doors and their shock cord / mittens on the stake side of the tar to wrap to wrap and stow the tarp until deployment?

    I know the extra 11g of hardware cordage is eating you up inside


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Lol, some of you know all about my OCD

    Yep, I though about sliding the prusik but that would put a lot of friction wear on the prusik cord.

    HOWEVER with the Lawson Ironwire it is very easy to relieve the prusik grip by pushing the loop back toward the wraps, which almost completely eliminates friction, so this might well work. Thanks for the great idea — I'm going to try it! Eliminate a piece of hardware? Yessss!

    And using the tarp doors and mitten hooks to secure the bundles on the end is also a great idea.

    I'll bet people come up with even more tweaks once they try it on the trail.
    Five Basic Principles of Going Lighter (not me... the great Cam Honan of OZ) Instagram (me!)

    “If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” ~ Gen. George S Patton

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    I’ll be trying it out when I have some time. Love the skin on my first tarp, but have resisted with my new DCF. Features I like most about the skin is a controlled set up in the wind and the laziness of packing it up.

    I want to see what it looks like leaving it all wrapped in the “stowed” position and putting the coiled “horizontal snake” in the outside pocket of my pack instead of in a stuff sack. That would retain the snakiness.

    Im imagining a coiled roll of DCF as long as a tarp is wide to be pretty bulky though


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