If you’re backpacking or are a backpacker, pack weight and space are a precious commodity. This simple trick will show you how to get your pack off the ground without adding weight or gear to your kit.
For a while now I have used paracord and a carabiner to hang my pack from a tree when I got to camp. This has worked great for me, and is fairly lightweight. But as I backpack more and more, I continue to look for ways to simplify my kit and lighten my load.
So recently I was watching a video from Dave Canterbury (http://www.youtube.com/user/wildernessoutfitters) on the usefulness of toggles and it gave me an idea. I’m sure I didn’t invent this trick, but in doing this I couldn’t recall having seen this before (otherwise, I have absolutely no problem giving credit :-). I just combined what I saw in Dave’s video (he was using toggles in camp cookery), with what I remember from utilizing a marlin spike hitch to hang my hammock with (in this video: http://youtu.be/L4kp3p3kUzc); a trick I adapted from something I learned in one of Shug Emery’s videos (http://www.youtube.com/user/shugemery). (Maybe now you have a glimpse into the craziness that is my mind at times 🙂
After piecing those things I learned together, what I came up with was a way to hang my pack from a tree using a bit of paracord, and a toggle made from a stick lying on the ground. Simple, and no additional weight or gear required for my pack (as I already have paracord in my pack.).
Here’s how you do it:
1) Tie a piece of paracord around the tree you want to hang your pack on. Tie it at around eye level. I carry an extra hank of paracord that is about 10 feet long for this. I tie it using an overhand knot and and then a slip knot (similar to how I start my ridge-line). I then let the long tag end hang down, making sure the knots are tight to each other and the tree.
2) Tie a stick a few inches down from the first knot(s) using a marlin spike hitch. Tie the hitch to the middle of the toggle for proper balance. Make sure the stick is thick enough to support the weight of your pack. In this video, my pack is about 39lbs, and the stick is about 3/4″ in diameter. This is probably plenty, depending on the kind of stick you pick up. Obviously hardwoods are going to support more weight. Also, the stick length should only be long enough so it can slide through your pack’s handle simply, yet support it’s weight. Too long and the toggle won’t fit through your handle. Too short and your pack might slip off.
I tested this recently in an overnight winter camp where it got down to about 5 degrees Fahrenheit that night and the thing held beautifully all day and night long.
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Music you heard in this video was from the finger-style guitarist, David Youngman. I highly recommend you check him out.
I have obtained written permission from the original artist to use his music in my videos.