Tree swing straps make hanging swings easier. Hanging a swing before tree swing straps were invented required figuring out how to tie a rope properly around a tree or boring holes through a branch and inserting bolts with eye hooks.
Tree swing straps, along with carabiners, give you the ability to quickly and easily hang a swing from a branch, post, or beam.
Ropes and chains tend to tear into tree branches, causing damage to the branch. Tree swing straps help to distribute the load across a wider area. Also, straps lay flat on the branch which also helps to lessen damage to your tree.
What features should you look for in tree swing straps
You might think any strap that looks strong and durable will work for hanging a swing. But, there are factors you need to consider before allowing your loved ones to swing on a swing hung on a strap.
Here are the main features to look out for:
- Third party safety certification
- Weight limit
- Type of swing that can be hung
- Swing attachment type
Third party safety certification
One of the first things yo want to look for in a tree swing strap is how safe it is to use. Any manufacturer can make a claim that heir straps are safe. The only way to verify that claim before you buy is to see if the product is certified by a third party to meet safety standards.
There may be many different certifications in the market place, but there are two well known and trusted certifications used to verify the safety of tree swing straps. You should look for one of two certifications; SGS or TUV certifications.
Your tree swing straps will be subjected to many different weather conditions. You need straps that will withstand the blows that weather can put on them.
UV light will cause many materials to degrade of over time. Understanding the rate at which the material you are using degrades will help you select the right tree strap.
The two most common materials used for making tree swing straps are polyester and nylon. Both are UV resistant. Polyester is more UV resistant than nylon.
Never use polypropylene to hang a swing unless it is coated with a UV resistant material. Unprotected polypropylene will break down within days of constant UV exposure.
Polyester will generally last for up to 12 months in direct sunlight before losing approximately 40% of its strength.
Exposure to high and low temperatures can cause your tree straps to become brittle and weak. This degradation is usually caused by extreme temperatures coupled with water.
Rain and snow
Rain and snow can make your straps wet. As mentioned above, water mixed with extreme temperatures can damage your straps. Although polypropylene is water resistant, it is still not a good choice for tree straps because of its degradation when exposed to UV light. Polyester and nylon are not waterproof, but are still good choices.
There are wax based coatings for rope that can be applied to your straps if you want to make it waterproof.
You have to seriously consider the weight limit of the tree straps you are using to hang your swing. The rated weight given by most tree swing strap suppliers is the maximum weight at a 90 degree angle to the horizon. This means you can put the rated load on the strap when it is hanging straight down from the tree.
Once you move the strap from side to side you change the angle from the point that the strap attaches to the tree. As the swing goes further up, the angle of the strap to the horizon goes down. As the angle lessens, the safe load capacity goes down. There are published charts that have the percentage decrease in load capacity relative to the angle change.
Another thing to consider is that tree swing straps are usually hung in a choker hitch configuration. Choker hitches have a greater reduction in load capacity when they are at an angle then almost any other hitch.
Industry experts differ in there assessments of how much the load capacity decreases for a choker hitch. But some suggest that the load capacity of a choker hitch is decreased by 70%. This means tree swing straps rated for a load capacity of 1000 lbs when they are straight up and down will possibly only have a load capacity of 300 lbs when they are at an angle less than 90 degrees in relation to the horizon.
Tree swing straps come in a variety of lengths. You can get them in 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 20 feet lengths. The real determining factors in determining the length you need how high is your branch or beam, do you want more strap or rope, and do you need a certain length for a special configuration.
If your limb or beam is high, you may want to use a longer strap to make it easier to hang. Also, it will make it more convenient to attach and detach different swings from the straps.
The next question becomes, “How much strap or rope do you want?” If you prefer more rope, then shorter straps will be best. The trade off comes when you decide if more rope is better than more strap from an expense and safety point. Basically, do you trust rope more than straps or vice-versa. Or, do you believe they are the same. That is something you have to determine based on your needs and configuration.
If you have a special configuration, like hanging a swing between two trees, you will need longer straps. In some special cases, you will need ratchet straps along with your tree swing straps.
Type of swing that can be hung
For the most part, tree swing straps can be used for any kind of swing. But there are special features added to some to aid in hanging certain types of swing.
Once such special strap is made for hammocks. Some hammock straps come with many loops on them. These loops give you the ability to easily adjust how your hammock is hung without having to continually re-hang your straps. If you don't like the sage of your hammock, just unhook it from one loop and attach it to another.
Swing attachment type
Your straps will come with some way of attaching your swing to them. This attachment type can be as simple as a loop in the end of the strap or as sophisticated as a swivel.
Attachment points are very important to consider. You can have a strap that is very strong, but an attachment point that is weak. When looking at straps, pay close attention to how the attachment point is constructed and what it is made of.
You should look at how the attachment point is stitched. If it has permanent metal rings, find out how much weight they can hold.
If your straps come with carabiners, check their load capacity. If they cannot hold the weight you need, you may be able to still use the straps. Just get some different carabiners.
Swivel attachments can fail easily if they are not constructed well. If you are going to use a swivel attachment, it would be in your best interest to get a high quality one.
You will find tree swing straps made from an assortment of materials. The most popular are made from polyester, nylon, or polypropylene. When considering all of the factors of outdoor use, polyester is probably your best option. If you are using your straps indoors or on a covered patio, then polypropylene or nylon will also work well.