What The Heck is a Ridgeline?
What is a Ridgeline Exactly?
A ridgeline is a length of cord usually about 82-83% the length of your hammock that connects the two gathered ends of the hammock together. This creates sag in the hammock and makes it hang like a smiley face.
Why do I need a Ridge Line?
When you are looking at a hammock setup that uses a ridgeline, the hammock should look like it is hanging free of any tension and will hang like a smiley face. In a setup without a ridgeline, you can often see some tension pulling on both sides of the hammock itself. This is not only bad for the hammock, it is also bad for the trees and can put more load on the hammock, suspension, suspension components, and material then they were designed to handle.
When hanging your hammock with or without a ridgeline you never want it to be pulled tight. You want it to hang like a smiley face free of any tension this is how you will know that you have it hung properly. In other words don’t hang it guitar string tight. Not only will you be very uncomfortable hanging like this, you may cause your hammock or suspension to fail causing injury or worse.
This is where a hammock ridgeline comes into play. The ridgeline being only 82-83% the length of the hammock brings the two gathered ends of the hammock in closer to each other. This creates sag in the hammock body itself. Now you may be asking why you would want sag in the hammock at all? To get a proper lay in a gathered end hammock you don't want to lay straight in the hammock but instead at a diagonal angle with your feet one way and your head the other. By doing this you will take advantage of the width of the hammock body and lay nice and flat instead of laying like a banana. the Hammock ridgeline is there to create that sag needed to lay diagonally in the first place.
So you're probably saying to yourself do I really need a ridgeline? Well the answer is no, you don't need one to hang comfortably and properly. You can, with practice setup your hammock with the right amount of sag, however having a ridgeline takes all the guesswork out of the equation. This ensures that no matter where you are or what the tree spacing is that you can hang consistently and more importantly, comfortably every time.
How do you install a ridgeline?
If a person is sitting down, the ridgeline should be above their head. Many camping hammocks and gathered end lounging hammocks will use carabiners or clips to connect the suspension to the hammock itself. This is a great place to attach your ridgeline on any basic gathered end hammock.
Most premade ridgelines will have spliced loops at one or both ends depending on the manufacturer and whether or not it is a fixed length ridgeline or an adjustable length ridgeline.
We offer both fixed length and adjustable length ridgelines which you can find for sale here. You can also make your own with a little bit of YouTube know how and some basic tools. We offer ridgeline kits for sale here they come with all the tools and line that you need to make your own if you are the crafty type.
I want to make my own, what cord do I need?
While it may seem like the obvious choice, standard para cord is not a good choice for hammock ridgelines. Para cord will stretch over time making the ridgeline not as effect at its job. A better choice for a hammock ridgelines is amsteel or zing it which you can find for sale here. Amsteel is a super strong woven cordage made from UHWMPE (ultra high weight molecular polyethylene) and the most important part, it doesn’t stretch. This means that your ridgeline will not change length throughout the night as your weight rests in the hammock keeping just the right amount of sag in the hammock all the time.