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Thread: Winter Guyline Tensioning Systems

  1. #1
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    Winter Guyline Tensioning Systems

    I've been looking around for ideas on better ways to tension guy lines in Winter. Specifically, I am an absolute idiot with knots even in the best of conditions and when you throw in wearing gloves, the likelihood of doing this in the dark, icy guy lines and the fact that I am firmly in the "need to wear my reading glasses" category now I pretty much suck at this process and get highly frustrated.

    Today going through the various Black Friday sales I came across the MSR Camring Cord Tensioner. I watched a few videos and this looks like a possibility. Does anyone use these or something like it? It looks like I can pre-rig everything in advance so it is ready to deploy out in the woods and it seems large enough that using gloves would be reasonably easy with this set up. I am really focused on ease of use and will take any weight "penalty" of having the extra hardware so that it is fairly idiot proof (i.e. "DayTrip proof" - a high bar indeed ). Maybe there are hooks or rings or mini-carabiner type clips for attaching versus knots so I can just clip the set ups to the tent loops and have the cam rings ready to roll?

    I'm sure most of you just use knots like normal people but if anyone has an innovative set up that is their go to I'd be curious on the components. Thanks in advance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    I'm sure most of you just use knots like normal people but if anyone has an innovative set up that is their go to I'd be curious on the components. Thanks in advance.
    I have an innovative set-up. I attach a loop of 3/16 in. shock cord to the tent and then attach the guy line to the shock cord. You can try different lengths of shock cord until you find what works best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jfb View Post
    I have an innovative set-up. I attach a loop of 3/16 in. shock cord to the tent and then attach the guy line to the shock cord. You can try different lengths of shock cord until you find what works best.
    There was a guy on a Backpacking Light podcast I listened to recently that does this. It sounded like it took a lot of trial and error to get the balance right. How does it hold up in high winds and/or gusts? IIRC the guy on the podcast occasionally had the loops break from fatigue fairly quickly and the change in the shelter shape when everything was flexing in a gust caused other problems (I think he was referring to its use in a trekking pole shelter so the slack caused the poles to fall over. It would be highly unlikely I would be out in foul weather and I'd be using an actual freestanding tent so I don't think it would matter for me).

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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    There was a guy on a Backpacking Light podcast I listened to recently that does this. It sounded like it took a lot of trial and error to get the balance right. How does it hold up in high winds and/or gusts? IIRC the guy on the podcast occasionally had the loops break from fatigue fairly quickly and the change in the shelter shape when everything was flexing in a gust caused other problems (I think he was referring to its use in a trekking pole shelter so the slack caused the poles to fall over. It would be highly unlikely I would be out in foul weather and I'd be using an actual freestanding tent so I don't think it would matter for me).
    I've never had a problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jfb View Post
    I've never had a problem.
    Excellent. Thanks for the tip.

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    Some options would be to use a single strand instead of a loop or to use 1/8 instead of 3/16 shock cord. Whatever works best for your tent.

    Another tip is that when using snow stakes, they work better when the convex side of the stake is facing the tent.

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    Line locs are probably the cheapest and most idiot proof system I know of. There are a bunch of titanium options out there made by various companies that are marketed towards the hammock crowd who likes to fiddle with do-dads. I've used a shock cord system in the past with both silnylon and silpoly tarps. They break and things flap everywhere in the wind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    Line locs are probably the cheapest and most idiot proof system I know of. There are a bunch of titanium options out there made by various companies that are marketed towards the hammock crowd who likes to fiddle with do-dads. I've used a shock cord system in the past with both silnylon and silpoly tarps. They break and things flap everywhere in the wind.
    Having seen Tents rip…….yes even the really expensive ones in high winds due to the tent not being properly tied down tightly enough I would be interested to see if the inherent flop of bungee would give enough security.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    Line locs are probably the cheapest and most idiot proof system I know of. There are a bunch of titanium options out there made by various companies that are marketed towards the hammock crowd who likes to fiddle with do-dads. I've used a shock cord system in the past with both silnylon and silpoly tarps. They break and things flap everywhere in the wind.
    They're relatively tiny though, at least the ones I've had. Use with gloves is one of the big concerns. That is what I liked about the rings. They seemed larger and could slide easier in a gloved hand but basically work the same way.

    There was a Section Hiker article I came across too with the Nite Ize Figure 9 or something that he was a huge fan of for use with gloves. It was also larger than the typical line loc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jfb View Post
    Some options would be to use a single strand instead of a loop or to use 1/8 instead of 3/16 shock cord. Whatever works best for your tent.

    Another tip is that when using snow stakes, they work better when the convex side of the stake is facing the tent.
    Thanks. A follow up question on the shock cord. Can you simply knot in a loop? When I Googled it almost every link also had shock cord hooks (like you see on the end of a bungee cord). Is that because knots slip on shock cord? Is there a preferred knot for a loop?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    They're relatively tiny though, at least the ones I've had. Use with gloves is one of the big concerns. That is what I liked about the rings. They seemed larger and could slide easier in a gloved hand but basically work the same way.

    There was a Section Hiker article I came across too with the Nite Ize Figure 9 or something that he was a huge fan of for use with gloves. It was also larger than the typical line loc.
    I don't see how the MSR product works well with a dead man. Ideally the tensioner is on the tent/tarp so a buried line can still be tensioned. If one were to go the line loc route your lines would also be attached to the tensioner with a bight on the other end for looping around stakes or buried dead men. Loosening it is as simple as operating a light switch which I'm able to do with mittens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Thanks. A follow up question on the shock cord. Can you simply knot in a loop? When I Googled it almost every link also had shock cord hooks (like you see on the end of a bungee cord). Is that because knots slip on shock cord? Is there a preferred knot for a loop?
    I find that a sheet bend works best on shock cords. Be sure to leave about 1/2 inch tails on each end and pull the knot tight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    Loosening it is as simple as operating a light switch which I'm able to do with mittens.
    So it could in fact be "DayTrip Proof"? I'm pretty decent using a light....

    Why couldn't the MSR ring be used in the exact same way as a line loc, i.e. on the tent as you describe with a loop on the ground stake or dead man? It just looks like a fat line loc to me unless I am missing something about the design. I've always found line locs annoying to use and prefer the hitch method that releases itself (no clue on the name. It's the knot Andrew Skurka often recommends). It's quick and easy with bare hands but more annoying with cold hands and/or gloves and I'm finding it harder to tie now that I wear reading glasses, which I never seem to have handy when I'm pitching a tarp or tent.

    The generic version of the MSR cam rings was like $5.87 for a 10 pack on Amazon so I got a package so I can mess around in the yard with these, line locs that I already have on the tent, etc

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    Quote Originally Posted by jfb View Post
    I find that a sheet bend works best on shock cords. Be sure to leave about 1/2 inch tails on each end and pull the knot tight.
    OK. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    So it could in fact be "DayTrip Proof"? I'm pretty decent using a light....

    Why couldn't the MSR ring be used in the exact same way as a line loc, i.e. on the tent as you describe with a loop on the ground stake or dead man? It just looks like a fat line loc to me unless I am missing something about the design. I've always found line locs annoying to use and prefer the hitch method that releases itself (no clue on the name. It's the knot Andrew Skurka often recommends). It's quick and easy with bare hands but more annoying with cold hands and/or gloves and I'm finding it harder to tie now that I wear reading glasses, which I never seem to have handy when I'm pitching a tarp or tent.

    The generic version of the MSR cam rings was like $5.87 for a 10 pack on Amazon so I got a package so I can mess around in the yard with these, line locs that I already have on the tent, etc
    You can, I suppose. I can see the range being limited by the design. It'll be tough to tension all the way to the stake/ground without limiting yourself to a really short line or adjusting its position in the field using knots. Which I guess could be solved by moving your anchors farther out... I guess they make them for a reason, good luck!

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