DUTCHWARE DUTCH BUCKLE
BY STEVEN M KIDD
December 11, 2012
Steven M Kidd
5' 9" (1.75 m)
182 lb (82.60 kg)
Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 25 years. I backpacked as a Boy Scout, and then again almost every month in my twenties, while packing an average weight of 50+ lbs (23+ kg). In the last several years I have become a hammock camping enthusiast. I generally go on one or two night outings that cover between 5 to 20 mi (8 - 32 km) distances. I try to keep the all-inclusive weight of my pack under 20 lb (9 kg) even in the winter.
|Complete Ductch Buckle System (Image Courtesy DutchWare)|
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: http://DutchWareGear.com
MSRP: US $14/pair
Listed Weight: 0.35 oz (10 g) per buckle
Measured Weight: ~0.3 oz (10 g) per buckle*
*My scale only measures to the tenth of the ounce, but it did measure 10 grams
The Dutch Buckle is an implement designed to replace the use of a marlin spike hitch and toggle in hammock suspension. This hitch is a common method of attaching hammock webbing (tree straps) to the suspension line (often a Dyneema product), which in turn is connected to the actual hammock body. The marlin spike hitch uses a knot with some type of a toggle, be it a stick of wood, aluminum arrow shaft, empty brass shell cartridge...you name it...to connect the webbing to the suspension rope.
The Dutch buckle eliminates the knot therefore minimizing the amount of webbing needed to tie the hitch and thus saving weight by allowing for a shorter length of webbing. It also removes any potential of the toggle slipping and causing a catastrophic hammock failure. Therefore it has a safety aspect as well.
The aluminum buckle doesn't actually support the weight of the hammock or the occupant, the webbing actually does this. Similarly the aforementioned hitch handles the weight load, not the toggle. Based on those physics the Dutch Buckle is light weight yet safe.
The buckle allows a unified suspension to be achieved by slipping a whoopie sling over the buckle and being locked into place putting the tension on the webbing strap. A whoopie sling is a spliced adjustable length of rope long used in nautical environments and recently in the hammocking world. As mentioned earlier, they are generally a Dyneema product. Dutchware offers the Dutch Buckles in a package with webbing and Amsteel Blue 7/64 in (2.75 mm) whoopie slings.
The buckle may be slid up or down the webbing to accommodate varying tree circumferences. It also has a retention shock cord and latch to allow for neat storage when the suspension is not in use.
Last Fall I reviewed a book; "THE ULTIMATE HANG: An Illustrated Guide to Hammock Camping", by Derek Hansen. When I read the book I noticed a brand new-to-market product called the Dutch Buckle...I had to have it!
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Since embarking on hammock camping as my primary way to sleep in the backcountry several years ago, I've tried several varying hammock suspensions. I've used figure 8 knots, straps and cinch buckles and of course the marlin spike hitch.
I really like the hitch as it is light weight, but it does have limitations. One of my dislikes was the difficulty I had actually removing the knot after sleeping in the hammock and taking the toggle out. The weight of roughly 200 lb (91 kg) on the hitch caused it to set in and not want to come undone. The knot itself also requires several additional inches (cm) of webbing to be used and the whoopie sling can slip off the hitch when the hammock is not loaded.
|Close up of Dutch Buckle on a Tree|
|Dutch Buckle Under Tension|
I did a backyard beta test after I bought the Dutch Buckles and was immediately sold! The suspension is simple, safe and secure. The webbing slides up and down the buckle through slots in the aluminum, and once I've found the desired positioning I simply loop the webbing back through the top slot to secure the buckle from sliding. If I need to adjust my webbing based on the circumference of the tree, I simply unthread the webbing from the back-loop and slide to the newly desired length. With a hitch, I have to untie that gangly knot. In my opinion the buckle is much faster for fine tuning.
The retention shock cord is designed to aid in stowing the webbing neatly, but I typically lock my whoopie sling in place with it once I've deployed the hammock. This has no actual bearing on the suspension, but ensures the sling will not slip off the buckle when there is no load in the hammock. It is a two second maneuver and makes me feel more comfortable.
There isn't a great deal to write about the Dutch Buckle, other than I find it a very light weight and simple suspension tool for my hammock camping needs. My webbing/buckle strap combination weighs in at 6.2 oz (176 g) with both buckles and the two 6 ft (1.8 m) camouflage straps I purchased from DutchWare. My whoopie slings are Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and vary from less than half an ounce, to right at 1 ounce (14 - 28 g) based on my rope type and length choices.
I really have nothing but roses to affirm concerning my experiences with the Dutch Buckle. I've used it as my only form of hammock suspension for nearly a year. I've hung using them from sandy beaches in the Virgin Islands, to sub-freezing outings in the mountains of Tennessee. In fact, I had no plans to deviate from using anything but Dutch Buckles in the foreseeable future...until...Dutch came up with a newer and lighter suspension implement! However, that is an item for another review after I've given it a little field use...stay tuned!
|Example of the Complete Suspension Set|
|Precious Cargo Testing Dutch Buckles|
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