Snug as a Bug in a Rug
In June, I did the quarterweight hammock with 1.1 oz ripstop (two layers) and bug net. The resulting hammock is 20 oz in weight. Here is a picture of that hammock:
This hammock is presently (May 03) my favorite hammock and will be the one I take on a section hike of the AT this week.
- more comfortable way to use pad as insulation
- readily available material
- no ridge cord
- lighter weight tarp
Layer by layer the system consists of a single width of Silnylon as a tarp:
Note that the 10 foot spectra tie downs are held from two points from a single tent stake. I used this tarp arrangement in a huge wind/rain storm and it kept me quite dry. Winds were reported as 35-40 knots and we had more than 3 inches of rain in an hour. The area under the hammock was two inches deep in water.
Next layer (with the tarp peeled back) is a hammock tube made of silnylon and attached with a wire tie at each end:
You can see how the tarp would be roomy with the hammock held in the sausage like container. It is also easier to put the hammock up without worrying about getting it wet. If you need to put it on wet ground, the silnylon protects it from water.
Next layer shows the hammock with me in it. Note that the ridge of the bug net is held in place by the chord of the curve. No ridge line is necessary to keep the bug net suspended:
Next see the same arrangement, except the bug net has been thrown from my right to my left, held in place with the quarter weights:
Again, note that the bug net is held taut over my head without a ridge line in the hammock. (I do need to reach over my head and pull myself further to the right in the picture... My feet are a little too far left. I find I need to do this several times a night if I do not put the foot end a few inches higher than the head end.)
Also note that with the tarp set up this way, it just takes a couple seconds to jump out of the hammock and put two stakes in the ground to switch from sleeping under the stars to sleeping in a snug rain proof shelter.
Specific instructions for making the QuarterWeight Hammock
10 yards of 1" poly webbing
6 2/3 yards 48" polyester cloth (soft to the touch, ?? double-knit)
(about 1.5 oz/yard)
3 1/3 yards of 48" polyester chiffon (wedding veil material)
- Lay the chiffon out and scribe/cut one edge so that it is a foot
less wide at the ends than in the middle of the long edge. Make the
cut a curve, a segment of a large circle, like the side of a kayak
seen from above.
- Cut the polyester hammock material into two pieces 3 1/3 yards long
- Cut the poly webbing into two equal lengths (15 feet)
- singe the long edge cut of the chiffon and the ends of all pieces
(a propane torch is the easy way to do this)
- make a sandwich with chiffon between two layers of polyester and
sew a long edge of the two polyester layers and the cut edge of the
chiffon with a half inch seam allowance.
- At the end of the seam, there will be extra chiffon left over
(about 3-4 inches). Cut a strip from the end of the chiffon that
width and then re-singe the edge.
- turn the outside layers of the sandwich back and stitch 2.5 feet
of each end of the long edge of those two layers, forming a pocket of
hammock material with a layer of chiffon coming out of the opposite
edge of the "hammock to be"
- make a Speer type overhand knot in both layers of the hammock
material, at each end. Incorporate no more of the chiffon in the
knot than is necessary along the one edge.
- sew a hem an inch from the free edge of the chiffon. This
edge of the chiffon is still serged, like it came from the store.
Sew two quarters so they are trapped in the hem. One goes about 2 feet from each end. Just slide the quarter in to a place where you sew vertically across the hem, and then once the quarter is in place, sew a second vertical to trap the quarter in place.
An alternative is to sew pockets in the edge of a hem about 6 inches wide. In this you could put various pieces of equipment (head light, etc.) but fair warning: If you get up suddenly in the middle of the night, it is easy to fling that stuff quite a ways with the edge of the bug net.
- wrap the last 6 inches of a poly web around the hammock material
near the overhand knot. Switch to a zigzag stitch, 2mm wide and 1mm
in length and triple sew across both thicknesses of the strap about a
half inch from the hammock material. Repeat the zigzag stitch 2
inches further out.
You are left with a hammock with a double bottom layer and a bug net
which hangs closed without Velcro. Your Target blue pad will fit
very nicely into the pocket of hammock material and you can add other
flat clothing if you like. The hammock is hung with Ed Speer's 4
wrap knot and if tensioned with about 5 pounds of force pulls the
chord of the circle segment which is the cut edge of the chiffon so
the bug net is tight over the hammock.
My cost for the prototype:
Webbing 10 yards at 0.79 (ouch!) $7.90
hammock material 6.6 yards at 1.97 13.00
chiffon 3.3 yards at 2.97 9.80
500 yards of polyester thread .50
Total time to build: about an hour
I slept in the prototype (minus the quarters) last night with my
quilt. It was comfortable and warm with the outside air temperature
about 50. It sure was nice not needing to worry with the pad all the
time. I usually turn over 5-8 times in a night and it was much
easier to do so without any trouble. When I got up in the middle of
the night to pee, it sure was handy not to have to open the Velcro
and then work to close it again.
Let me express my debt to Ed Speer in this design. He wrote
the book that got me sewing hammocks. This design retains his poly
webbing support straps, and his overhand knot. New features include
a double bottom (partly in debt to Ray Garlington and partly to the
Crazy Creek hammock); a self closing bug net for which I got the
germinal idea when looking at a Crazy Creek hammock; a weight closing
system, modified to quarters from the water bottle system that
Chad "the one" was using on the AT in Hot Springs, and a bug net
suspension system of my own invention.
Now, go out and reproduce (hammocks)!
To this you will need to add some thread (all polyester) and some thick ribbon/thin webbing for pull outs for the tarp. Thread can be picked up (tan or black) at WalMart for $0.50 for 500 yards. I found the ribbon at Michaels craft store
If you do not need the tarp, the total cost comes to about $40 for the hammock and bug net.
Ultralight Hiking Page