Jan 31, 2014 at 12:02 pm #1312693
Hello. I am going to move to a tarp/bivy (thanks to you for all your help on those choices :-). So, I wonder if you could advise me on the type of line/cording that I should purchase, as well as stakes. I backpack in the Sierra Nevada, and will be doing the JMT this summer. I do not winter camp. I will not be "ultra light" but do want to be as light as possible of course. Also, as much as I hate to admit it, I am not much on tying knots (but am making an effort to learn) so am leaning towards the line lock devices I've heard about.
Thanks in advance.Jan 31, 2014 at 12:15 pm #2068300
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I also backpack in the Sierra Nevada, and I have always used shepherd's hooks. Several companies sell them.
The advantages are that they are lightweight and easy to push into most ground using just your fingers. The disadvantage is that they don't have quite as much holding power as a wider stake, but you can overcome that with careful placement. That mostly means putting them in at the correct angle.
Also, learning to tie knots is very useful, but you really only need to know about two really good ones. Yes, line lock devices work fine.
–B.G.–Jan 31, 2014 at 12:36 pm #2068305
Thanks Bob. What two knots would that be? (I see a knot discussion coming :-)Jan 31, 2014 at 12:43 pm #2068308
taut line hitch – because it slips
bowline – because it doesn't slip
(I wonder if Bob's two are the same)Jan 31, 2014 at 12:47 pm #2068311
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
You would get a lot of discussion about two knots, or not.
Personally, I was a knot tying instructor in an Army school more than forty years ago, back when I was a tiny child.
I find a bowline knot to be valuable. A half hitch is often added to anything else. A clove hitch is handy for some camping operations. It just depends on what you are trying to do.
There are many climber's knots that can be handy, but if you aren't a climber, you don't really need a lot of that.
There are some online guides to knots. Why knot?
–B.G.–Jan 31, 2014 at 1:46 pm #2068323
So, what are your two knots?Jan 31, 2014 at 2:05 pm #2068326
Chad “Stick” PoindexterBPL Member
@stickLocale: Southeast USA
I use what I have simply called an adjustable knot, although, I have been informed that it is actually a tautline hitch… either way, it works great IMO. If the cord is a bit slippery, or the wind is really acting up, just throw an extra wrap in the original knot, or throw a half hitch behind it… Hasn't let me down yet…
I made a quick little video showing the knot here: Tying an Adjustable Knot
As for stakes, I love my shepherd hooks, and think that the ones that Lawson Kline sells are some really good ones…
If you want your line to glow, check out Lawson's GloWire. It comes in a few different colors, and is not super small so it is easy to work with.
Check out the stakes and the GloWire here: Lawson Outdoor Equipment
If you like your line a little thinner/lighter, the GLine that LiteTrail has is really nice stuff. It doesn't glow, but it is nice and strong, and even a little stiff, which makes working with it a little easier… Check it out here: LiteTrail He also makes the same stuff in a slightly larger diameter too… it's on the site.
If you like the thin stuff, but also want some that glows, my favorite is the "Dyneema rope with reflective tracer" from Picharpak Workshop. Check it out here: Picharpak Workshop
Hope this helps some!Jan 31, 2014 at 2:17 pm #2068330
Yeah, same here, tautline hitch works for guyline adjustment.
I've tried little plastic adjuster thingies but tautline works just as good. You have to know how to tie it though. And pull the loose end tight and kind of push the loops together to get it to hold best.
Dynema cord (like Lawson's glowire?) is a little stiffer than regular nylon so a tautline hitch works a little betterJan 31, 2014 at 2:30 pm #2068336
Here is a good link about securing guy lines from Andrew Skurka;
I recently posted a concern about a particular type of line when pulling loose the slippery half hitch used for pulling the line through;
I like this knot, many times referred to as a truckers hitch, because it has a lot of leverage for an extremely taught line.Jan 31, 2014 at 3:48 pm #2068354
Greg MihalikBPL Member
No knots (in the field) required –
I attach a LineLock3 to my tarp,
… and have a permanent loop in the "stake end" of the cord.
Nothing to untie/untangle/reset for the pitch, no matter how close or how far you have to stake.
All tensioning takes place at the tarp.
When I use a "rock pile" to secure a stake, I tension at the tarp.
When it's raining, muddy, or snowing, I tension at the tarp.
Knots Are good to know. But, for me, they aren't needed for shelter setup.Jan 31, 2014 at 4:54 pm #2068372
@geokiteLocale: Southern California
I use the 1.25mm Z-line from zpacks, with micro line locs. Once you get used to these line locs, they work great. Some would say that using this type limits you for how close your stakes can be to the tarp. Just choke up on the end of the line that passes through the micro line lock if needed (using a knot that is easy to untie).
http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/spectra_cord.shtml for both items.
SteveJan 31, 2014 at 6:27 pm #2068409
@fluffinreach-comLocale: no. california
" Nothing to untie/untangle/reset for the pitch, no matter how close or how far you have to stake. "
knots are cool .. when everything is working .. and the sun's not quite set. sure, Go Knots Go !
but when it's cold and wet and your butt is tired and your hands are numb, knots are just another cross to bear.
so for the optimal setup, i'd guess it sort of matters where you are going, and how much time makes the weight of tensioners important.
for the love of god in heaven though, don't let bpl find out about this, or they'll build a test rig … and they'll Graph it too ! (to show us where the lines cross on this matter)
v.Jan 31, 2014 at 7:37 pm #2068424
Thanks Chad. All very helpfulJan 31, 2014 at 7:41 pm #2068425
Thanks Gerald, I've seen the Shurka video (I really have been doing some home work :-). Guess the thing for me to do is just get some rope and practice…I read quite a thread about the truckers hitch..Jan 31, 2014 at 7:43 pm #2068427
Great video…thanks for the link. I do like the idea of glowing lines to keep folks (me) from tumbling across (and perhaps crashing) my shelterJan 31, 2014 at 7:46 pm #2068428
Ooohhh…I'm liken this…not that I want to be lazy…but do want to be able to do this (perhaps knots for if a line lock breaks?). So…am I to assume there a different sizes of line locks…and therefor different sizes of lines that should be used with them?Jan 31, 2014 at 8:05 pm #2068436
Greg MihalikBPL Member
For the LineLoc3 I show ABOVE, 3mm cord is bombproof, wet or dry.
The Mini/Micro-LineLock …
…that is sometimes referenced, goes at the stake end to eliminate knots there. It can use a much smaller cord, but IMHO, "… when it's cold and wet and your butt is tired and your hands are numb…." (thank you Peter) you have almost the same dilemma dealing with tangles, being to close, etc.
Some do very well will skinny cord. I don't.Jan 31, 2014 at 8:20 pm #2068442
Joe LynchBPL Member
@rushfanLocale: Northern California
If you want to learn knots, volunteer with a scout troop.
Taut line, bowline, plus folks should know a square knot for first aid (tie a bandage in place).
To speed setup, pre-tie the knots. Adjust the taut line hitch to your stake, etc. Works well with tarps.Jan 31, 2014 at 8:42 pm #2068451
Jeff SimsBPL Member
@jeffreytsimsLocale: So. Cal
Did the JMT last year with the tarp and bivy set up I mentioned on your other thread. I used Lite Trail Gline, Zpacks Micro Line locks shown above and shepherd hooks. Worked everywhere and held through some solid wind and weather. With that said I use the Line Lock 3s and lawson glowire and anything from Ruta Locura carbon stakes to Suluk 46 snow anchors on my Mid in the winter. No knots either way, lots of adjustability
JeffJan 31, 2014 at 9:01 pm #2068457
Trace RichardsonBPL Member
@tracedefLocale: Southern California
I've never gone wrong with the titanium 6.5 inch shepherd hooks, zline 1.25 and glow in the dark mini line locs from zpacks. The line locs have the potential to break (have never had it happen) but are way easier than knots with cold hands and or rain with virtually no weight penalty. My one takeaway with stakes is to never use your foot to try and get the last push done into the ground … I've broken an easton and bent a few shepherds doing that ….Jan 31, 2014 at 9:07 pm #2068460
Absolutely the best forum ever. You guys rock.Jan 31, 2014 at 10:34 pm #2068494
Brian CrainBPL Member
@brcrainLocale: So Cal
my lines are attached with a bowline and the stake end is a tautline – they stay on and the adjustment of the tautline is as simple as using the microlocs above… no need to untie/re-tie or fiddle with in cold/wet/dark… some people are just scared of knotsJan 31, 2014 at 10:40 pm #2068497
i keep my lines attached to my tarp permanently.
i've found that i haven't ever really had to learn any knots for my tarp. i simply wrap the stake like 15 times w/ cord and then tie a simple square style knot. the friction keeps the cord on my stake. not a problem in years…
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