Sunday, September 27, 2009
My good friend NWManitou over at bushcraftusa forums
has given me permission to post this excellent write up and photos of a hammock he has recently made.
lately I have been scouting around looking for information on how to make a hammock and found this post, it is packed full of info and links on the subject of hammocks and their construction.
I hope you enjoy it as much as i did. got to go now and work on my hammock - Gotta have it for my next adventure.
Tomahawk - Scouts out!
(A personal note for me from NWM on hammocks)
First of all, a netting hammock might cause some difficulty at it will catch on every button or bit of gear you have on. Also, makes it easy for the skeeters to get you sans the mozzy net. However, depending on the thickness of the lines, it may be quite comfy. I've slept well in a cheap net hammock before.
Another option is to buy a queen sized bed sheet. It may prove to be a bit more comfortable. For attaching the webbing regardless of the hammock material, I've found that bundling the ends and tying it to the rigging with a sheetbend to work nicely. Also, you'll want a couple bits of rope or paracord to tie to the webbing a foot or so from your hammock ends, leaving couple inches dangling to act as a drip line. It will prevent rain from running down the webbing and soaking you.
Next you are going to want a ridge line if you are going to use the mozzy net. Tie some paracord to each end of the hammock around the webbing just before the knot. On one or both ends of the paracord I might include a taughtline hitch or some other tensioning knot so that you can adjust the ridgeline while in the hammock. Some just use a small carabiner or hook on the end of the ridge line cord to snap it to the webbing. This will keep the mozzy net out of your face when draped over the line. It will provide you a place to hang your gear like a headlamp, knife, gun, even your boots. And thirdly, it can act as a guide to help get the same sag to your hammock each time you hang it.
An alternative to the ridgeline on the hammock is fastening the top of your mozzy net to the ridgeline of your tarp.
I'd also include a light fleece blanket or sheet. Hammocks can get chilly, even in the jungle.
carabiners are not necessary for the webbing to be tied to a tree. I just had them lying around and decided to threw them on. Webbing is nifty in that I've been able to securely fasten it to painted, square, metal pipe and other equally slick supports. You wrap the webbing around the support, go around your main line, then back around the support, around the main line, and back around the support. 2 or 3 times should do it, then just tie a slippery hitch to lock it off.
I've had a bunch of requests to show a little more info on my hammock. So here goes.
First the back story and credit where it's due. Back in scouts I spent a week sleeping in those cheap mesh hammocks up in Canada through torrential downpours. Quite warm, comfortable, and dry. Fast forward to a couple years ago. I bought an inexpensive parachute material hammock from cabelas. I tried it on two trips and froze my butt off at 60 degrees. Even with a -20 degree sleep system. I didn't know then to use a pad in a hammock thinking it'd be the same as the hammock I used in Canada. I gave up on hammocks for a while until I read Marmoset's fantastic posts on using a hammock in the Swiss Alps:
(this guy's a master of the jungle as well... Check out his French Guyana trip with more hammock goodness: http://www.hoodswoods.net/IVB/index.php?showtopic=24507)
Through correspondance with a few forum members eventually I was lead to:
The Hammock Forums www.hammockforums.net (thanks Halcon)
Just Jeffs Hammock Camping Page http://www.tothewoods.net/HomemadeHammock.html
and DIY Tactical http://diytactical.com/blog/ (thanks Muddyboots)
I set up my wife's crappy old sewing machine, bought some fabric and thread, and started experimenting. Mind, I had never used a sewing machine before and this one is especially horrid to work with. The hammock shown is actually my 3rd attempt. Just Jeff's page and the Hammock forum led me to numerous other pages, youtube videos, manufacturers, etc. I tried to glean the features I though were the best.
The hammock is made of 2 layers of untreated, breathable,1.2 oz ripstop nylon. The interior is coyote tan an the outside is Woodland Marpat. The fabric dimension are ~11 foot by ~5 foot. The dimensions may vary a little due to hemming. I bought grosgrain ribbon at Joann's to use seal up the hem on both layers. Then I sewed the two layers of the hammock together for 2 feet from each long side corner towards the middle of the hammock. This created an inner space that I could fit a ground pad into.
Then I gathered the ends as outlined on Just Jeff's page and tied them in a square knot to a set of 2 foot loops of spectra rope. The spectra is tied in a prussic knot to two aluminum descender rings. I covered where the spectra line and hammock ends are tied together with a sort of waterproof fabric cone with stretch cord on the large end. There is a tutorial on the hammock forums on how to make them. I use the rings as a buckle for the 10 foot of 1 inch tubular webbing hooked to each side of the hammock. The ring buckles allow me to change the sag and tension of the hammock quickly
Some people use rope on the end of their hammock and tie it to a shorter section of webbing called a Treehuggers, but I made the entire suspension out of webbing instead, works the same way though. Then I tied caribiners to the end of the webbing for ease of hooking it around a tree.
II also got the idea for the double ended stuffsack from the forums. I didn't have enough material to make snakeskins so I opted for this method. So far so good. The stuffsack is made of the same waterproof material as the hammock end covers.
I've been on many trips with this hammock so far. And I've loaned it out a bit too. It is comfortable, lightweight and compacts very well. I am able to sleep on my side in it as well. My stuffsack contains the entire hammock and rigging.
My findings so far:
I should have made at least one layer from 1.9 oz ripstop. I'm a heavy guy at 275lbs. I cause the fabric to stretch a little more than I like, sometimes resulting in the sides of the hammock squeezing my shoulders. It'd be perfect if I were under 230lbs. My other prototype is made of two layers of 1.9oz and 2.2 oz waterproof fabric, constructed in the same manner as the one I use now. It's very comfortable because the fabric doesn't stretch at all, but it is very bulky and a bit heavier. It is warmer on it's own than the lighter hammock due to it stopping the wind, If I could find a breathable yet wind stopping material in 1.7 or 1.9 oz ripstop and in marpat or multicam I'd be all over it.
Wherever your body weight compresses your bag against the hammock material you get a cold spot. A really cold spot. The options are stringing insulation under the hammock like an underquilt, or using some sort of pad inside the hammock. Pads in hammocks can be a real pain, they change the lay of the hammock and slide around. I was warm on the trip in Canada because my sleeping bag bulged out through the netting allowing it to retain loft and thus insulation quality. I'm tempted to weave a hammock from paracord. My next project is to create a pad extender and perhaps an underquilt with the same camo material.
Over all though, hammocks are infinitely more comfortable than sleeping on the ground. They are also extremely convenient, greatly expand your options when choosing a camp site, and are low impact leaving virtually no trace. If you can solve the issue of being cold then you have it made. I know that an underquilt would do the job, I'm just stubborn about using the gear I already have.
On a side note, I could have gone out and purchased a nice hammock with a bug net and fly for the money I've spent on material. But then I wouldn't have learned anything.