Boy Scout Hammock Kit
I've been contacted a few times by folks wanting to put together inexpensive Boy Scout Hammock kits. I thought I'd post all this information in one spot for others to use if they desire. If anybody has other suggestions on ways to get Boy Scouts off the ground, please feel free to add your thoughts.
Please keep in mind that this is not the best or only way to go about it. It's just the way I've done it.
Boy Scout Hammock Kits
Hammock Body – 120” x 60”(ish). I buy whatever nylon taffeta happens to be on sale at my local fabric outlet. Most of the time, they have a several choices in “outdoor friendly” colors. I usually end up paying .99 per yard. Buying 4 yards allows enough leftovers to make a stuff sack.
For instructions on building the hammock, see Knotty's post - Instruction: Gathered End Hammock
Ropes – 7/64” Amsteel (rated at 1600lbs.). I usually buy mine from Redden Marine online for $.20/ft. I usually use around 6ft per hammock. Shipping makes it approx .25/ft.
Rings – 1.25” steel rings. I usually get these rings at my local Tractor Supply or Rural King store. I think they're about .79 each. They are rated with a Safe Working Load (SWL) of 270lbs. I've never had any of these rings fail. I think that since they are used 2 per end, they are plenty strong.
Straps – 1” Nylon webbing. I bought this batch from an Army-Navy surplus store for $0.25 per foot. The nylon stretches and it's not the best option, but the price is right. The best straps I've found is the strapworks.com “Simple Sling”. I buy a 1”, 20ft. Sling for $10.80 and cut it into 2 pieces. I'm still looking for a better “cheap” option.
Tarp – 8' x 10' Camo Poly tarp from Rural King stores. They're $6.99 and sometimes out of stock. I just stop in every now and then to see if they have any. Couple times, I've had to use their 10' x 12' Camo poly tarp for $10.99. They almost always have the blue tarps, but they don't look as cool.
Tarp Stakes – Walmart sells a 4 pack of lightweight aluminum tent stakes for $2.00. I always keep a few of these around.
Tarp lines – Whatever lightweight cord I happen to have lying around. I usually put one 8' or 10' cord on each corner of the tarp.
Stuff Sack – fabric is leftovers from the hammock. Cordlock is from Walmart & costs $0.88 for a pack of 4. The string is whatever paracord I happen to have lying around.
Bug Net – I also make an optional bug net from no-see-um (like) fabric. I usually pickup some whenever I find it at my local fabric outlet. Tulle fabric can be purchased at Walmart or Joanne for approx $1.49 per yard, but that stuff is a little fragile for Scouts. My cost on the netting fabric & grosgrain ribbon ends up being approx $5.00.
Disclaimer – Some of the items used in this kit aren't the best materials that can be had & therefore should be thought of as a “Starter Kit”. Scouts should consider upgrading their straps, tarps, lines, etc. as they get into serious hammocking.
I would also suggest including (with his permission, of course) a copy of dejoha's excellent Illustration - Hammock Camping: The Basics with each kit.
Nice post. I'm getting my son in scouts this year. Gonna have to put a bug in the troop's ears.
Great ideas. It sounds like you put alot of thought into these kits. I don't know of any scouts but my nieces and nephews will enjoy putting their kits together.
Thanks for posting.
Great plan! Having done something similar for me and my 2 kids, I have a couple of "cheap" options for you:
-- Polyester straps can be purchased from HarborFreight pretty cheaply:
I've sewn in loops, holds up well.
Also, if you know somebody in the cable pulling business, or know where a local ma-bell work yard is, they often have 3/4" polyester straps called Mule Tape. Rated at 1800lbs, and cheap.... (They normally throw this stuff away after one use) If anybody needs a bunch for some scouts, PM me. I can't always get it, but if I can, I'll send it to you for the cost of shipping. (Last batch was 600'-ish, cost $10 to ship to Hammocks for Haiti) I'll send you a tangled mess, it's slippery stuff, and easy to take apart.
-- Instead of dutch clips, you can use screw links or sew a loop onto a welded rings you already mentioned. Feed the loose end through the loop around the tree...
Instead of using amsteel for the connection between the rings and the hammock, I'd just sew two loops on mule tape (one pre-attached to the rings.)
--Tarp Lines: Braided Mason's line: strong, and cheap: 500' high-visible pink at Harbor Freight for $5.
--Bug Net: I agree, Tulle is very fragile, I've had good luck with Organza. If you can't find it in black, a cheap can of black upholstery dye (check automotive store) makes the white stuff into a very cool camo pattern. Big box stores with fabric depts. usually have this stuff really cheap.
Originally Posted by PapaSmurf
Great ideas! I appreciate the leg work on this and the cost break down.
This is exactly what I was looking for, and I'll certainly be bookmarking the page. Availability may determine what I wind up getting, but this is definitely a do-able launching point. Thanks for sharing your efforts on behalf the Scouts!
Hammocks for Scouts
I am brand new to hammock camping... I will be very interested in getting my Scouts involved as soon as I get a bit more knowledge and experience... therefore, I really appreciate this post... I will save all this information for future (hopefully, soon) reference. Thanks, PoppaSmurf and contributors!!!
Arvis (Scoutmaster T503)
Funny! I just bought the yellow Harbor Freight poly-straps a couple of days ago. I figured that since they were poly-straps they wouldn't stretch as much as nylon, and that doubling them in a loop would make these admittedly cheap straps stronger. Just tied a water knot in them to make two 5 1/2 foot tree-huggers. Quick tip for any interested: if you put a couple round files through the clasps and pull the ends apart, the clasps just pop right off--both clasps off in about 10 seconds, and no need for a hammer (which is great unless you get into the zen of beating strap clasps into oblivion (I suppose I can see the appeal in that though :))).
Originally Posted by JohnSawyer
For bulk straps, look on Ebay.
I picked up 25 yards of 1 1/2" polypro strapping that is .05 " thick (Same as the Medium weight for Strapworks webbing)
Listed as 800lb tensile strength for $8.95 and $6 shipping.
Here is one for 50 yards of the stuff
1 1/2 Inch 50 YDS Lite Black Polypro Webbing Strap
Item number: 110584302987
Works great with either the SMC descender rings or Pauls AHE rings.
David K. Perdue
Awesome thread!! I am going on my first Scout camp out as a leader week-after-next. I plan on sleeping in my HH and converting all the boys I can!
Thanks for the info and the work!