A little while back I was contacted by Claire over at Outdoor Trail Gear to take a look at the LoopAlien for creator David Burrell. David developed these cool lightweight gadgets a while back and I’ve seen them around, but never had the chance to play with them until now.
I am not an Ultralight guy when it comes to hiking and backpacking, but I do like to keep things as light as reasonable. So lightweight, versatile gadgets like the LoopAlien are interesting to me to see how they fit into my overall kit. This is especially when the weather permits me to do some hammock camping. Hammock camping has some unique challenges because most of your setup is suspended (sometimes all of it) and that means a fair amount of rope work, small rope work where knots and adjustments can be challenging. If you’ve ever tried tying a knot in a 2mm line and then untying it…it’s like trying to untie fishing line.
In my setup I’ve got some Dutchware that I use to fasten line, tie things down and string ridgelines and they’re great but somewhat limiting. The LoopAlien can do the same thing, with an insignificant weight difference, and much more. I’ve used them to tighten tie downs, secure loads on the backpack, hang gear, etc. They’re light enough (at 2.5 g for aluminium and 2.9 g for titanium) that the weight doesn’t even factor in to my overall load. They’ll work well with the 1.75mm and 2.2mm Dyneema chord but also work easily with paracord.
In a pretty nasty little storm we encountered in Arches National Park, I used the LoopAliens to rig my tent to a tree to reduce the shaking from heavy wind. In the cold, windy conditions at night the LoopAlien made it easy to secure the improvised tie down line without having to fumble around in the dark and cold with a knot.
I’ve also used it to add secure attachment points in line that’s already tied down. Pushing a loop of line through the large hole and wrapping it around the outside of one of the smaller holes allows me to secure a tight attachment point for tying off another line or hanging something from a ridgeline. I’ve only been using these for a little while, but it seems like the potential uses are endless if you work with small line a lot.
David was just successfully funded at his kickstarter for a new LoopAlien design that will prove to be even more versatile that the original. Check out the design at the kickstarter page to see the new design and info on when they might be available.
At only $4 for the Aluminium LoopAlien is pretty affordable to add to any gear set. The most expensive version (heat anodized Titanium) is $10 and is still not a bad price for something like this if you are going to be using it often. They’re nice to have around and a set of 3 or 4 of these would be a sweet stocking stuffer for the hammock enthusiast or lightweight backpacker in your family.