I was referring to the tarp. After looking at the pictures from MrClockWork, it makes sense now.
I was referring to the tarp. After looking at the pictures from MrClockWork, it makes sense now.
Im gonna build one!
What UQ or pad are you using for the hammock?
I just sewn one. It feels like the sweet spot is really small but I have just tried it for an hour or so. The worst part is that my foot easily gets squeezed which will make it cold. I made it longer to fit my 6"5', maybe I should have made the foot box larger as well to fit my big(ish) feet. IŽll have to give a night or more to be able to judge better...
I got to thinking about this. Have a look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6mjv0wU9fM
Go to about 5:00 and watch.
OK, so what I am saying is people get wrapped up in the idea of a "footbox". Some folks have said this doesn't change the bed of the hammock, others are looking at Knotty's stretch side to do the same thing. I want to get away from the name "footbox" for a second and talk about the footbed of the hammock and explain that the footbox is only one way of changing that arrangement. And show what I think is probably a good way to work out the arrangement for someone doing a custom hammock.
I've probably put too much thought into this over the past week LOL. This is going to be a winding post with what I have been doing and trying for years and eventually it will get back to what my point is for your hammock. Please bear with me and maybe some of you will actually find this interesting...
Starting off, people who have tried making a footbox and didn't like it, well everyone has preferences and that is one way to account for things. I personally cannot stand a bridge hammock, but wouldn't tell someone that you cannot get flat in a bridge hammock just because I couldn't. I may have done it wrong LOL. But in 2007 when I saw the first Warbonnets at Trail Days I couldn't get my head wrapped around the weird bed of the hammock. I say bed because I cannot think of a better word. Anyhow, people I know and respect were telling me they were getting out of Hennessys for the Blackbirds, and a few told me it had a lot to do with the footbox. As far as I know, Warbonnet figured the idea out of thin air and deserves all the credit for this innovation.
Fast forward a few years. So in 2010 when I was trying to do a super ultralight hammock I was willing to look at or try just about anything. That year I settled on using the Nano7 which had it's limitations. It always felt like I was about to fall out one side or the other, and the hammock had a lot of stretch to it. I had tried making my own hammock and wasn't ready to give up on the idea. I figured there had to be a way to design a hammock without going "bigger is better" for comfort. There had to be the essentials of what make a hammock comfortable that can be distilled down to some concepts and applied to smaller, lighter materials.
One thing I determined was that the Nano7 stretches too much to maintain a good comfortable bed. To solve this I figured the solution was material and my experiences proved to me that this was pretty on the money. Not all 1.1 is created the same, and some (like on the Nano7) stretch more than others. After playing around with it, I found a couple of sources (www.thru-hiker.com and www.questoutfitters.com) who carried 1.1 with less stretch. That solved that problem. Now I bring this up because I often get asked "will 1.1 work for me at 220lbs" or whatever weight. The answer is maybe? While 1.1 may hold you, it might stretch too much. Just going to 1.5 or 1.9 may not work because all material is not alike. Recently I was in on a group buy of 1.1 ACU material which I made three hammocks out of. I've come to the conclusion that it is too light for me because it stretches too much compared to some other 1.1, but my boys who are a lot lighter than my 180 think they are great.
Conclusion: if you make the hammock out of material that is too light or has too much stress it may not matter how well designed it is. If you make a hammock with a foot box but it stretches, you may think the footbox doesn't work.
When I made my first hammock it was the standard 4 yards by 60" sort of design. This gives a big old sweet spot that you can find a lot easier than in a 3 yard by 48" hammock. But for many people the 3 yard by 48" hammock does have a sweet spot, it is just harder to find. Now if you are bigger than me (5'8") well I think the same concept for clothing goes for your hammock. If you were to sleep in my hammock it would probably not be comfortable just as much as if you put on my t-shirt. If you are 6'5", you probably need about a foot more material in length and who knows how much width. Maybe with 48" width a 10' long bed would be enough to start with. Maybe 2" more on width is what you need. I can say with certainty if you go with 4 yards by 60" you will have a sweet spot you can use, but you are probably getting away from the ultralight goal you are trying to hit. If you are shorter than me, you may even be able to go smaller than my ideal design. One thing that can work is to make your test hammock with some cheap stuff to get the sizes right. Cut down until it stops being comfortable and then make the real hammock with the good stuff the last size it worked for you.
Which gets to my next point, shape...
Here is where I am going to borrow from UKhammocks video and say kudos to them. I hope this gets you some business. Anyhow, when I played foot box follies I kept sewing and cutting different sizes and shapes for the inserts. I got some wrong, and some way wrong, and some way right but unrealistic. And if I had thought about it long enough, maybe I would have done something like UKhammocks has done and saved myself all that extra work.
And with this I will say that some who have tried making a footbox and think it doesn't do anything, chances are it wasn't right. A footbox done right makes a huge difference and does change the entire lay of the hammock.
If you look at the pic footbed.jpg you will see that this is just a regular old hammock. If you did a stretch side mod, the hammock would still be the same shape but with slightly shorter sides that didn't sag to the level of the bed of the hammock. I've highlighted this with a blue line.
Now what UKhammocks has done is get rid of the whole "footbox" name that wraps people up thinking this is the same thing as a stretch side just different - just a way to hold your stuff in the hammock that doesn't change the shape of the hammock. They call it a foot sack in the video which is just as good as any other name, but for the sake of my discussion I think calling it a "foot bed" is probably going to get minds unwrapped fastest. So if you see in pic footbed1.jpg, he is about to attach the string, notice the standard U shape is still there. Then in footbed2.jpg he has attached the string and shortened it so that now the bed of the hammock has formed a new flat spot that wasn't there before. I've highlighted this on both pics. If you watch the video from minute 5:00 you can watch it happen.
The change wasn't as noticeable in footbed2.jpg as it can be, so in footbed3.jpg when he stands up behind the hammock you can really see now where the bottom of the hammock has changed shape to make a long area for your feet to lay flat in - a foot bed. There is no extra material to make a "footbox" which people can get their mind wrapped up in, thinking this is the same trick as a stretch side. This is done with just changing the pull on the hems of the hammock to the structure. What I do with a Ghost Hammock and Warbonnet does even better with their Blackbird hammock is basically make that foot bed a fixed size and pull with material instead of string. Personally I like reducing the amount of lines I have so I think material is the best solution for me. But UKhammocks video demonstrates very well what you are trying to achieve with the idea and how to make the foot bed without the footbox. And they show another way it can be done. For someone larger, smaller, or for someone that just wants to play with what is best for them, making the foot bed with a string on the hem is probably a great way to get it. And if you find the perfect sweet spot for you, then you could always make a material wedge that fits into the point by measuring your string and the length of the hem it takes up, and then cut it and sew it in to fit you. Or leave it as a string LOL.
Sum it up:
So back to my point at the start of all this. The foot bed is the distilled way I found to make the hammock more comfortable. I found that the shape change of the hammock could make up for smaller overall hammock body. I even took it one further and made a hammock that had "footboxes" on both sides at opposite ends. It worked in that I was able to make a hammock that was something like 98" x 48" with two footboxes worth of material sewn to it that was comfortable for sleeping in. But to get it to the field and actually use it as a backpacking hammock was a failure. I've covered why before so I'll leave it be.
But if you tried a "footbox" and it didn't work, there could be one of a number of reasons that lead you to that conclusion. If the hammock was already a very big one, then it was probably already comfortable without it, and the footbox didn't do anything more than complicate it. If the footbox was too small or too big, that could also affect it. If it was a weird shape, that too could mess up the results. There are many things that could be done differently which could cause you to dismiss what a footbox can do. But when done correctly to make a good foot bed, it can reduce the amount of material needed for the hammock and reduce the weight for the real gram weenies like me.
That said, I think a hammock with a foot bed on the leg end, and a stretch side at the shoulder would probably be a good solution as well.
Credits and apologies:
First off I want to thank Warbonnet for the idea to begin with. Then I want to thank the HF members from a few years back who helped me work out how exactly he makes the footbox work. Fast forward to now and add in mattmacman for showing me the video from UKhammocks, and UKhammocks for their cool solution for this.
And to anyone else who may think I am picking on them or trying to start something, absolutely not. I apologize now as this is not my intention. I have just been trying to find a good way to demonstrate what this idea actually is and why it is different and serves a different purpose than other mods. UKhammocks video presents this so well that I have been trying for days to figure out a way to make this clear and today I finally dived in.
To me it is all good.
One more thing you can try with our foot sack area is play around with the location of the grosgain loop on the hammock side, try moving it towards the head end or move it back towards the foot end this will aid you in finding a sweet spot! (possibly sew a few loops at diffrent places along that seam to give you more options....)
Great work on the vids and gear buddy!!
I made a hammock back at the beginning of 2011 with the "string footbox, footbed..." and it worked great almost. I actually put this on both sides of the hammock at the foot end. I like to switch directions during the night as I sleep only on my sides. I could simple release one side, then attach the string on the other side as I made the switch. The detachable string allows me to enter & exit on either side.
The problem that I ran into is that I was really stressing the fabric material near the hem. I used 1.5oz/sy nylon ripstop. I considered replacing the strung with heavy shockcord but haven't gotten around to it yet.
I called it a "gate" in an old post where I talked about doing this. I saw it as a way to have a footbox on both sides of the hammock and still have a way of getting in by opening the "gate". Semantics are fun! :P
"Life is a Project!"
I didn't rip, but I wasn't confident enough with it to use it in the field. Now that you have me thinking about it, I need to return to that project.
"Life is a Project!"