Smoothing out the towing

After training for several months for an expedition to Yellowstone, I’ve been searching

Bungee elastic in trace to harness

Bungee elastic in trace to harness

 around for how others have changed the shock of dragging a tire or a sled.  As the rope pulls taught, the lower back and hips take the impact of the full weight of the sled or tire I’m towing.

This makes you a little tougher but over mutliple days, it’ll kill your back.

Enter bungees.

After this morning’s towing session, I realized that I want to have bungies in my setup for ever!  It was very strange doing the tow on flat ground when the bungee took all the load.  Instead of a yank/drag sort of action, the tension on the rope felt much more like a continuous load.  It was so nice I couldn’t even believe the difference.

However, going uphill, I found that if the bungee wasn’t set to the right tension by making the loop in the rope longer, the impact was greater.  The bungee would take all the tension until the rope caught and then it would hit me.  Uphill almost indicated that having a bungee was worse.  Then again, a little experimenting with the correct tension point might smooth that out, too.

This configuration will for sure be on my Yellowstone rig.  I have to find a bundle of 24″ elastics rather than using a wrapped 48″ bungee.  I’m afraid that after a hundred miles of friction, the rope will cut through the elastic cover and damage the bungee.

Note that I used an butterfly knot on the top and then a double-looped figure eight knot for the bottom connection to tie around the neck of the hooks.  The butterfly knot is nice because the tension along the rope is translated along the rope rather than in the knot.  This translated to a higher breaking strength in the line compared to other knots (in theory).  Also, the butterfly can be pulled in any direction without affecting the balance of the knot.

A double figure eight on a bight causes the knot to be pulled apart when the rope is pulled from both directions.  An inline figure eight is also an option but it is only meant for tension in one direction.  This means that the line has a lower breaking strength.  And one loop tends to tighten more than the other, making untying the knot very difficult.

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