Winter Guyline Tensioning Systems

vftt.org

Help Support vftt.org:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

DayTrip

Well-known member
Joined
May 13, 2013
Messages
3,694
Reaction score
123
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 :p). 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.
 
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.
 
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).
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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?
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.... :p

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
 
So it could in fact be "DayTrip Proof"? I'm pretty decent using a light.... :p

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!
 
I use a trucker's hitch knot. (The small loop can be made from a variety of loop knots.) Easy to tie under tension, easy to release.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trucker's_hitch

Also good for tying canoes and kayaks to cars.

Doug

That looks similar to the knot I actually use for most of the year. I'm not sure what it is called. He calls it a McCarthy Hitch but I haven't come across that name in many tutorials so I don't know if he made that name up himself. This is the Skurka video it's in (approx 3:40 into video): https://youtu.be/slOhlEmBwwY. It works quite well and comes completely undone when you release it which is nice. The big issue I have when I'm wearing gloves is getting the "tag line" you pull through to tighten enough to stay snug. I started using a little stick in the hole as a toggle (something I saw in another video) which helps keep it from slipping out altogether but I struggle to get it tight unless I'm in bare hands.

EDIT: I guess what I'm actually doing is called a slippery half hitch. Been awhile since I watched the video.
 
Last edited:
Last edited:
Top