My DIY Hammock

Figured I’d fill the space of this blog with a few more outdoorsy posts; a brief overview of what I was up to this summer and how it prompted this blog.

I decided to get into hammock camping because… well… hammocks are really awesome, comfy, and lightweight. Plus they can be easy to set up if you have the right suspension system. So I made myself a hammock! (The majority of this post is taken from my post on the hammock forums website, with a few more additions because space isn’t a priority)

This is a hammock of my own design – a combination of the WBBB (gathering method, shelf, fixed bug net) and Switchback (asym shape, hammock body, foot tie-outs). I made it double layered because I will need to go to ground at times, and therefore underquilts won’t cut it. Since I’ll be relying on pads, the double layer makes it more convenient.  Suspension is whoopie slings and tree huggers, also DIY, with marlin spike toggles. For the actual toggles I’m currently using some nice thick sticks I found on the ground. Very classy.

Many people frown upon taking designs from other manufacturers and making them yourself. They point out that it takes money away from the cottage manufacturers who originally came up with the design and are selling it. However, that was the reason I had to go DIY. Cost. It was either make-your-own or none at all. I just graduated college, my lease ends at the end of the month, and I don’t have a job yet because silly Jenna loves birds and wants to be an Ornithologist of all things. SO, as much as I would love to own a quality store bought hammock, I simply can’t afford it. I will say that it’s a LOT of work – the project took me a full weekend to complete (approx 25 hours of labor). So if you have the option, and don’t value the pride and epic-ness of home-made gear, feel free to go for the cottage industry makes instead! They’ll probably last you longer, too…

What I Used:
12″ Size 3 Coil Zipper / 2 Double Tab Sliders
10yd of 1.1oz Ripstop Nylon 2nds
4yd No-See-UM Netting
12yd 1″ Grosgrain Ribbon
1yd 70D Coated Ripstop Nylon (for Double-Ended Sack and extra for SPE)
10ft Tech Line + 25ft Zing-It (just because I wanted to compare the two, really)
4 Cordlocks
7ft 3/32″ Shock Cord
14ft 1″ Polyester Webbing (for Tree Huggers)
30ft 7/16 Amsteel Blue (for Whoopies)

Everything but the Zing-It was ordered from DIYGearSupply. Final cost including shipping was approx. $90. Woohoo!
NOTE: I have left over materials. A good bit actually… so your own material needs may vary.

What I Did
1. Cut the material and sewed it together using This Self-Designed Pattern
2. Sewed 1″ double-reinforced channels into the top and bottom. Had some trouble with unwanted gathering here. If I had the opportunity to re-do it, I would make a nice end “cap” to sew over both layers AND the bug net when it was all finished.
3. Strung about 3′ Zing-it through each channel, gathered, and whipped according to the Warbonnet Whip method. Tied with temporary knots for testing.
4. Made Whoopies and Tree Straps.
5. Attached shock cord and about 4′ of Zing-it to the tie-outs on each side, following the Warbonnet technique. Fixed with cord locks.
6. Hung and tested hammock. Measured out ridgeline to desired length. Tied knots to keep in place.
7. Pinned on bug net where I wanted it. Took the hammock home and un-whipped the ends to sew the bug net in place. (Bug net is attached directly to zipper with two rows of stitches)
8. Used grosgrain to finish out the seams on the non-zippered edge.
9. Re-gathered and whipped including ridgeline and bug-net in end “ball”.
10. Made accessory ridgeline pouch and double-ended sack.

Finished weight is under 2lbs, but I can’t get a precise measurement from my scale.

Here's a pic of the finished hammock packed away

How it Works
Quite well! Very roomy, comfortable, and the two tie-outs on the foot end create a surprisingly roomie “faux footbox”. One troublesome problem is that if I don’t do the tie-outs just right, they sag and loose tension when I climb in. I’ve found that if I tie them out as far and horizontally from the hammock as possible, they work much better and give me plenty of room.

The hammock IS a bit big for me, especially in terms of length. I’m only 5’6″ and the hammock could easily fit a 6’2″ comfortably. =/ Oh well! Better too big than too small.

The most comfortable hang seems to be at about a 15-20 degree suspension angle (similar to what many people say about the Switchback). Gets me a nice flat lay inside. Have yet to put a pad in the double layer, will try to give an update on that when I do.

I biked the hammock down to Meridian Hill Park for some pics. Plenty of staring from other park visitors! Check out the pics below (also in my gallery) for a view.


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