Jan 29, 2020 at 7:01 pm #3629257
This thread got me thinking about this a while back. I did some tinkering and I think I’m on to something, but haven’t assembled anything to field test it on yet. Rather than sit on it until that day comes, I thought I’d share my findings so far.
It’s a ring buckle.
I tested two different sizes of aluminum washers. They’re actually sealing washers, or aluminum gaskets, used in hydraulic lines. They’re a standard spec., AN901-6A and AN901-8A. I ordered from https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/appages/an901.php, around $0.50/ea., weighing 0.6g – 0.7g ea. Since you need two, that makes them about the same weight as a Lineloc (1.3g), but ~$1 instead of ~$0.35.
That’s 1/2″ grosgrain. The orange cord loop is to release the buckle when under load. I tested them to approaching body weight, and they probably would have held my 200 lbs, but the soft aluminum washers started to deform.
Even all bent, they still worked as they did when flat and never slipped. The small ones were, not surprisingly, stiffer than the larger, but otherwise they worked about the same. I haven’t tested a Lineloc 3 to full body weight – I think it’d slip before I got close.
Advantages of washers in a ring buckle? This won’t crack as plastic can, especially when cold. If a line should freeze, this will probably be easier to free because it’s two separate parts that can be pried open. These showed zero slippage as I weighted them; the horizontal ridges of the ribbon have a very positive engagement with the metal edges of the washers.
Disadvantages: price; if you find something strong enough to withstand body weight, it will probably be heavier; if you need to loosen them, you can’t really adjust in that direction – they pretty much pop wide open all at once; only time will tell if this wears out the ribbon. My crampons use these for buckles, but the washers are steel, and the webbing is pretty burly, but still 1/2″.
If you want to tinker with this, you might try melting a small hole (hot nail) in the center of the fixed ribbon loop maybe a half inch from the washer and routing the release cord loop through that to keep it from floating around as you operate the buckle.Jan 30, 2020 at 12:18 am #3629286Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
I like this idea.
My issue with linelocs is in high winds.
When high winds buffet a tent, you get a very rapid rate of (dynamic) unloading-loading on the guyline from a slack (actually a negative along the axis of tension) position to a highly loaded position and the cord slips when (my hypothesis based on slo-mo video) the linelock is out of axis position and dynamic loading (tension) occurs on the line at a rate that is faster than the rate at which the linelock comes back to axis.
I wonder if that could be mitigated by the 2-ring setup you have here, and how they lock when they are off-axis.Jan 30, 2020 at 2:29 am #3629295
I don’t have a lot of experience with LineLocs, but I do have a lot of experience with ClamCleats (especially CL266). They rely on the string being jammed into a narrowing slot. I can definitely state they do NOT slip under a hammering load. About all they can do is jam even tighter.
As the basic design was originally developed for yachting, there is a lot of history there.
CheersJan 30, 2020 at 8:21 am #3629309
As Roger said, the V-Cleat design has been used in yachting for centuries…it is tried and proven, does not slip. In fact the physics of its function make it nearly impossible to loosen under any load as it requires a further tightening of the line in order to release. The Cam Cleat is a more modern interpretation of the same idea. Both Cam and V cleats are ubiquitous in marine applications.
The CL266 is a beautiful thing and performs its job nearly perfectly but…it suffers in one aspect. The guy line’s minimum length can only be 1/2 of its total length.
It seems another case of selecting the right tool for the job…if high winds are not an issue the lineloc offers the most flexibility and quickest adjustment. If wind is an issue, it’s hard to improve on the CL266.Jan 30, 2020 at 8:29 am #3629311
Spelunking around the ClamCleat.com website, it’s a shame they don’t make a mini version of their Loop Cleat, as it would seem to solve the problem of not being able to utilize the entire length of the guy line.Jan 30, 2020 at 8:40 am #3629312Chris RBPL Member
The design the OP is showing is not actually a replacement for a Lineloc as it is using tape same as using a pair of descender rings for a webbing hammock suspension and would actually be a replacement for a ladderlock buckle.
You may want to check out the cord adjusters from Dutchware.
This one for example has a small sliding plastic plate molded in that holds the cord.
He also has some “alternative” Linelocs that are better for smaller diameter cord.Jan 30, 2020 at 1:11 pm #3629328
solve the problem of not being able to utilize the entire length of the guy line.
Well, my method does use the entire length of the guy line, so there is no problem there. Mind you, one never needs to shorten the guy rope that much as the guy rope has to have a minimum length just to reach the ground. It is a bit of an academic objection.
My method is to put the CL266 at the tent, more or less directly attached to the guy rope anchor. The guy rope then goes out to the tent peg. That way I can pull the entire length of the guy rope through it should I ever need to. There is a small permanent loop at the stake end for hooking onto the stake.
For safety I have a small loop at the free end of the guy rope through which the active part of the guy rope passes. That stops the free end from flapping around too much in a storm, and with a knot at each end I can’t accidentally pull the guy rope right out of the cleat.
This arrangement has a strong secondary benefit, in that it avoids getting the guy ropes tangled up. I found that when there was anything with any weight at the active end of the guy rope, the guys tended to get tangled when the tent was rolled up. Without any weight at the ends, the guy ropes behave themselves.
CheersJan 30, 2020 at 1:34 pm #3629331
True, this will not work with cord. You have to use ribbon or webbing. My point of departure in this direction was the observation that 1/2″ grosgrain is lighter than common cord. Specifically, Lawson’s 2.5mm glow wire weights 4.95 g/yd, and 1/2″ grosgrain weighs 3.6 g/yd. If you use a similar cord, you could switch to grosgrain and a ring buckle that weighs twice what I described above and still break even at 1 yard.
To Roger’s point, I’ve been using the same set of these for 20 years with out issue, but I’d prefer the ease of use of something like a ladder loc. I get along with complex rigging just fine, but my partner doesn’t and there’s a measure of safety to be had if I’m not the only one that knows how to quickly secure our shelter in strong winds.Jan 30, 2020 at 1:59 pm #3629335
Ah, but do you NEED to use something as heavy as 2.5 mm cord for a tent guy?
My summer tunnel tent uses 1 mm Spectra guys, and has used the same bits of string since I made it. It has a breaking strain of about 100 lb from memory, and I sure don’t want to put anything like that load on one of my tent poles. Grosgrain is nylon, which does not have the strength of Spectra, but it is all overkill.
CheersJan 30, 2020 at 2:42 pm #3629341
2.5mm is the minimum rated diameter for a Lineloc 3, so many people use it out of convenience. Hence, it’s relevant for a weight comparison.
I think the ‘use of cord length’ issue JCH mentioned is the fact that a mini line loc can only reduce the full cord length to one half, while a lineloc 3 can adjust across the entire cord length. I can see how the guy lines on the sides of your hoop poles don’t run in to this problem, but how do you tension the ends of your tents, at the bottom of the vestibule? If your minimum anchor length is half the cord length, you need a longer site to pitch in. That’s where adjusting to near zero comes in very handy.Jan 30, 2020 at 3:14 pm #3629343
2.5mm is the minimum rated diameter for a Lineloc 3, so many people use it out of convenience.
I understand the argument, but to me that just means I should not use a Lineloc 3. It means I should find something else which can take a thinner line.
how do you tension the ends of your tents, at the bottom of the vestibule?
(XC ski touring, Australian Alps)
At the windward (other) end there are short (50 mm long) loops of 3 mm nylon cord to hook over the tent pegs. NO bungee cord at the windward end!
At the lee end there are 150 mm long loops of good 3 mm bungee cord as indicated by the pink lines. (That works out to about 400 mm: 2*150 + 100 mm for the knots.) These get stretched out quite hard – 50% or more.
The combination of rigid anchorage at the windward end and high tension from the lee end is what makes it all work.
But in addition I have guy ropes to the tops of the arches: you can see one of them at the left, going down towards the ice axe. The windward end ones are more important than the lee end ones.
I should add here that this is an old photo which has the more conventional threading of the ClamCleats on both the end guys and on the doubled side guys. Things evolve … but I have never needed to make large changes in guy rope length anyhow. These guys are more like 2 mm Spectra, but this is a serious winter tent.
For my summer tent I use 1 mm Spectra, as shown here on Le Brevent, opposite Mt Blanc (GR5). The adjusters are my own design as 1 mm Spectra is too thin for ClamCleats.
Still have the bungee cord anchors and the top guys though.
CheersJan 30, 2020 at 3:33 pm #3629346Eric BlancheBPL Member
@eblancheLocale: Northeast US
This is a very interesting and aptly timed conversation as I was literally researching around the web for the lightest/best way to guyline my new myog cuben mid not just a few days ago. I SETTLED on 1.2mm cord and the lineloc v despite all the reported “issues.” I concluded that I am not saving enough weight unless I do go down to the smaller >2mm cord. lineloc v or knots seem best. Lawsons 2mm ironwire does work decently in LL3 for a non-load bearing application, though.
Being non-primary guylines, I’m hoping this works out. If not, I can simply cut off those pieces of plastic and use knots and i’ll have some good information for the MYOG community. Thsaves about an entire .8oz compared to appropriately guy’d lineloc3, just in cordage! (these are for the ridgeline and midpanel guyouts, not the four corners).
Roger makes a good point about how certain guylines don’t need to be very adjustable and the fact that super strong guyline hardware/setup is not all that warranted. (What kind of forces do these points actually see? plus, I’d rather my guyline hardware, cord, webbing, etc fail before the main primary fabric panel or reinforcement fail. Of course, this depends on tent design among many other factors…)
Rene, I appreciate you posting threads like this. You and many others here at BPL have been an incredible resource for my own MYOG/DIY “career.”Jan 30, 2020 at 5:20 pm #3629355
It may be worth while reading the following:
Tent Stake Holding Power: Comparative Evaluation of Various Designs and Lengths by Will Rietveld at
Storm Resistance of Ultralight Shelters by Ryan Jordan, at
There is also
Camping in the Snow, by me, at
Actual measurements show that stakes pull out at under 60 lbf, and that tarp guys rarely experience as much as 10 lbf. Not that many tents, tarps or fabrics could even take 60 lbf anyhow.
CheersJan 30, 2020 at 6:08 pm #3629365
Roger, it sounds like your tent placement is largely at the mercy of buried rocks dictating stake placement. Clearly, this is not problematic in your experience. I wish I could say the same of mine :)
I just tried the ring buckle w/ rings that have a circular cross section – didn’t work, the ribbon slipped. The upper ring didn’t overlap the lower where the ribbon is, so there wasn’t enough compression to pinch and grab the ribbon. I also tried the ring knot used in hammock suspension with some cord. It can be adjusted to take out slack easily, but there’s no easy way to loosen it under tension.Jan 30, 2020 at 7:20 pm #3629371
it sounds like your tent placement is largely at the mercy of buried rocks dictating stake placement.
Yes, and no.
In most Alpine areas there is no problem of course. The soil layer is thick enough that Ti wires are quite sufficient for 3-season use.
(Vicinity Bulls Peaks, Kosci NP)
River walking, camping on sand banks – large sticks embedded in the sand, position quite free again.
In ‘bushland’ buried rocks can be a problem, but only for the 4 corners. All the other stakes are very adaptable. That said, we very seldom camp on really rocky positions: too uncomfortable. We aim for either tops (which may be rocky) or for little saddles – flat and some accumulated soil. Only once have we had to camp on sheet rock:
(Windy Creek, Kosci NP)
In this case I put a strong stick (green) through the bungee loops and held the stick down with rocks (red). We were half way down a very steep rocky gully, it was getting dark, and this flat rock turned up just when we needed it. We slept very well.
Even on some of the worst terrain full of rocks, on top of a very rocky knoll, we usually manage to find enough soil for a) the tent and b) the stakes.
(Wild Dog mts)
OK, some clearing was required. This is a rather old photo of one of my 2-pole tunnels. All I used here was Ti wires plus a few rocks except at the 4 corners, where I used some tubes made from broken tent poles.
(All photos very off-trail.)
CheersJan 30, 2020 at 9:33 pm #3629384
Well this is interesting – those flat washers also work with braided cord. Not as well as the ribbon, but still reasonably well. More friction to tighten, and some slippage at higher loads, but high enough to hurt my fingers from pulling. And if you swing the free end around the opposite direction it usually points, pulling on that causes the buckle to open up and loosen, so no need for that little release cord loop. A typical kernmantle accessory cord worked as well as a hollow core UHMWPE cord, both 2mm – 3mm. Thinner cord may want smaller washers, which will be both lighter and stiffer.
Here’s the best price I’ve found on the aviation washers: https://www.univair.com/categories/hardware/gaskets-o-rings/an901-gaskets.html
An equivalent product appears to be sold as ‘drain plug crush washers’, for car oil pans, available on Amazon. The washers I have are 1.25mm thick – the drain plugs are thicker.Feb 2, 2020 at 7:49 am #3629577Daryl and DarylBPL Member
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Your invention was a flashback for me. I came up with the exact same invention around 3AM one morning after working on the problem most of the night in 1976. I was thrilled because it solved a tensioning problem I was working on for a tent I was making as part of Daryl’s Tents, a small company I was starting at the time. No other available tensioning device worked as well. I thought I may have invented something new or, at least, found a new use for something old. One of my customers, however, said he’d see it before.
I used rings I bought from Boeing Surplus. They were made of some high tech aluminum that was super strong and almost weightless. I had a bucket of them and would send you some but I recycled them years later after no longer having a use for them.
Tinkering with problems like this has always been satisfying for me. Sounds like it is for you too?Feb 2, 2020 at 3:08 pm #3629610David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I had that two-ring set-up on my newspaper delivery bags. They were two, big canvas sacks on each side of a 30-inch wide piece with a head hole.
You wore it like a poncho and cinched the straps up around the variable size of each day’s newspapers and re-cinched it as you delivered more papers. After every 10-15 newspapers tossed from the front sack, you’d spin it around and dispense them from the fuller sack.
The strap was a 1″ flat cotton webbing. The rings were about 1.25″ ID and pretty smooth. Yes, they were easy to cinch up and you had a lot of control in tightening it, but tipping the rings up would give an all-or-nothing release of the strap (i.e. horrible for belaying).Feb 2, 2020 at 3:12 pm #3629611David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
If you had to equip a lot of people, cheaply, to carry a fair bit of weight and volume over some distance (a Scout troop?), that poncho-with-pouches set-up wouldn’t be the worse way to do it.
A 50- to 200-liter variable-volume pack that weighs 8 ounces and costs $15 (if mass produced from cheap nylon fabric) or maybe 4 ounces and $40 if produced from UL fabrics with careful reinforcements.Feb 2, 2020 at 8:06 pm #3629639Daryl and DarylBPL Member
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
I agree that the paper sack concept has a lot of potential. I’ve used it as the basic concept for most of the backpacks I’ve made over the last 20 years or so. Even bought one to experiment with it.
The front/ back bags, for example, can replicate the balanced load concept featured in the Aarn pack.
If you drape the shoulder straps over a waist mounted frame (e.g. like a Jan Sport frame) you have a backpack that transfers all the weight to one’s hips.Feb 2, 2020 at 8:30 pm #3629642Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Re: LINELOC ALTERNATIVE
Agree that using two rings to make a buckle for webbing works, albeit a mite archaic. But there are so many neat little acetal buckles out there designed for webbing or tape.
However the title of Rene’s thread suggested doing it with guy line, for which the linelocs I’ve seen are a bit bulky for the job. So took two of those little plastic rings that come with the mitten hooks so beloved by TarpTent. (Have you seen Franco’s video of how to clip and unclip mitten hooks faster than a speeding bullet?)
Then took some quarter inch lacing of the type used for sewing loops onto tents for guylines, and wrapped it around the mitten rings, and secured it with the nose of a small Vise-Grip, thus:
The lines on the paper are 0.9 cm apart.
Had first tried a pin, but the Vise-Grip better mimicked sewing the lace together up closer to the rings in order to hold the cord tight.. Voila! This arrangement tightened the guyline cord to any position with zero slippage. But think it might be better to find some metal rings the same size as the mitten rings for serious use. (I do not quite get Ryan’s post, but trust that it probably raises some genuine hackles that must also be taken into account). And since the shape of the mitten rings holds fine, would not use flat metal rings, as I think they would abrade the line cord pretty quickly.
There is also the question of whether the guyline cord will come loose from and separate from the tent when it is not tightened. Our growing puppy would love doing that. But a simple knot at the pulling end of the cord, along with the stake loop at the other end, would prevent this from happening.
So MYOG may have created the technology to do away with those bulky plastic linelocs. If ALU rings the size of acetal mitten rings can be found (a big if), would definitely use this to replace bulky buckle linelocs on the next tent, thus reducing the weight of line tighteners to no more than a tautline hitch (Daryl’s or regular). And if the mitten rings are the only rings of this size around, well … not sure about trusting the small diameter acetal mitten rings.
Oh, and if you doubt me, here is our growing puppy:
This post was interrupted by once again having to get her away from chewing burnt wood chunks from the ash bucket.Feb 3, 2020 at 6:17 am #3629674
Roger – I’m trying to imagine how you attach a CL226 to the tent such that it doesn’t move yet still functions as designed…I must be missing something obvious. Can you post a picture and/or instructions? Thanks.Feb 3, 2020 at 10:44 am #3629704Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
How did Daryl’s tents go?
I think getting into the business of selling gear to backpackers would be difficult
If you can “go viral” then you could possibly make a business. Focus on making something that appeals to people rather than on functionality.Feb 3, 2020 at 2:09 pm #3629728
Two photos attached.
The first shows the more conventional approach (pink string), which I think is usually adequate as it does give a good range of adjustment. After all, the guy rope does have to reach the ground, so you never need to be able to adjust over 100% of the guy rope length.
The second shows how to rig the CL266 so you can have 100% adjustment. You just have to ‘invert’ your thinking to get here. I usually make a loop in the free end and pass the tension end through that loop, to stop it flailing around in the wind.
Neither photo is perfect for this: they were taken during tent development just for the archive.
CheersFeb 3, 2020 at 4:19 pm #3629747
Roger – The first photo is the configuration I am familiar with, and agree that for guys attaching high on the shelter it works well as they never could be adjusted very short
The second photo explains perfectly the concept I wasn’t grasping…I knew I had to just be missing something obvious. I find corner guys, or those attaching near ground level, often benefit from being able to be adjusted very short…avoiding rocks and roots and such. This configuration seems perfect for that application.
Also, I really like your “loop in the free end” idea.
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