A DIY 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!

Tom's hiking pages / tom@mmto.org