An easy, inexpensive Hammock

Risk's  $9




This is a little project for someone who might be wanting to experience a camping hammock without spending a bundle to try it out.  Camping hammocks are not yet easy to find in sporting goods stores.  This is especially true for hammocks which are set up and can be tried out.  To solve this problem, it takes little effort and not much money to try out a hammock for a night.  I made the hammock on this page without a sewing machine in about 20 minutes.  I found the polyester material on sale at Walmart for a dollar a yard and bought the webbing the same place.

Polyester Cloth, this cloth is strong, but a little too heavy for ultralight hiking

The material I built this hammock from is a little heavy.  I always try to find polyester cloth for the hammock body.  I am 6 feet tall and buy 3 1/3 yards of material.  If you are much shorter, then 3 yards is enough.  The material needs to be reasonably light and not stretchy.  Either 48 inch wide or 60 inch wide cloth can be used for the project.  

One inch polypropylene webbing works best.  For testing, 7 yards of material is enough.  For a fully capable hammock, I suggest buying 10 yards.  Walmart charges $0.78 a yard for the webbing.  Nice webbing can be had from the internet sources for about half this charge.  

Total cost for this hammock was $3.33 for the material and $5.65 for the webbing.  

Before starting on the project, cut the webbing into two equal lengths, about 10-15 feet long.  Melt the ends of the webbing with a candle or with a red hot knife.  Do the same thing for the cut ends of the cloth.  For this hammock, the long edges do not need to be hemmed.  

The ends of the webbing need to be tied into strong slip knot loops.  The easy way to do this is to tie an overhand knot about a foot from the end of a piece of webbing...


Then take the loose end back through the overhand knot, making a loop:  



Tighten the overhand knot and then take the long end of the webbing through this loop to make a sliding kind of slip knot:


Next, the two ends of the hammock material need to be folded several times and tied in an overhand knot.  The slip knot above will be slipped inside this overhand knot in the cloth to hold the hammock.  Start with the cloth lying on the floor: 



Fold the two edges in neatly to the center.  it helps to have a book to hold the folded material once it begins to get thicker.  Here I use Ed Speer's great book on Hammock Camping.  It is a primary reference to camping with a hammock and is worth every penny he charges for it.  Get one!



Next, the material is folded to the center a second time.



And then a third time the sides are folded to the center.   



And then finally a fourth time, they are folded in.  


Then I fold those two sides against each other and tie an overhand knot in the cloth.  


In the end, the slip knots are slipped over the overhand knots and pulled tight.  The webbing is then tied moderately tightly to a convenient set of trees using one of the two hammock knots I show in another page on the imrisk homepage. The first time I tie a hammock up, I sit in it and it stretches a little.  Then I tie it a little tighter and it works out just right.


The disadvantage of this hammock is that it has no bug protection and needs a separate rain fly.  A bug fly can be added very easily in several ways.  If you are new to hammock camping it might not be obvious that to sleep in a hammock requires some insulation.  The easy way to add insulation is to put a foam pad in the hammock.   


I hope this little hammock will give readers the means and method to try out hammock camping.  This hammock has several compromises, but is surprisingly comfortable.  Try it out!


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