May 22, 2017

A DIY Hammock

It is very easy to make a simple gathered end hammock. The original instructions I found had you use 7 yards of fabric and make a 10.5 foot long hammock. I strongly recommend using 8 yards of fabric and making a 12 foot long hammock.

You also have the choice of whether the "whip" the ends and then attach the hammock support via girth hitching it to the gathered bundle. This makes the strength of the attachment independent of the sewing of the end channels. The other way is to thread the support (whoopee sling) through the sewn channel and let it gather the hammock when you pull it tight. This is what I do now. It is "cleaner", but very much depends on the sewing of the channel (I use 3 lines of stitches). You can do this either way you want.

The simple gathered end hammock

I found a very informative post by a fellow named Jeffrey McConnell on BPL. He said it was simple to sew a gathered end hammock (his mother in law did it for him in about an hour), using the following instructions on the Hammock Forums website:

He bought his materials (as did I), from:

Some other notes on DIY hammocks:

A simple gathered end hammock will be about 10 feet long by 5 feet wide. The width is dictated by the width of whatever fabric you buy (usually around 64-68 inches), so you take what you get and hem the edges.

My Hammock

I bought (as recommended) 7 yards of material. It turned out to be 65 inches wide. It was 1.1 ounce (30d) ripstop nylon. They sold it as seconds for $3.20 per yard, so the material cost only $22.40. There was no problem buying the "seconds" grade material as the only issue was cosmetic - there is a slightly off color line down the length of the material, which is certainly nothing I will ever care about.

Interestingly the thinlight pad I use with the hammock costs $37.

My first tip is to be sure and cut the ends of the material square before you begin sewing. They just kind of chop it off quickly and ship you a little extra to make up for it. Nothing wrong with this, this is how things are done in the realm of fabric. I did not notice this until I was well into the sewing, but was able to make adjustments with hardly any lost time and no harm to the final product.

I sewed up a two layer gathered end hammock. My total time to do the sewing once I got my table cleared off and the machine set up was about 3 hours. I am sure someone who is experienced could do it much more quickly. I used single sewn seams all around. None of the seams are load bearing.

The hammock weighs 15 ounces (so presumably a single layer hammock would weight 8 ounces). The thinlight pad I use with it (59 x 39 x 1/4) weighs 12 ounces. Together they weight 27 ounces, making them a reasonable alternative to my 31 ounce Exped downmat, so long as I am sure to be camping in an area with trees.

Have any comments? Questions? Drop me a line!

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