Portable Hammock Stand
Since moving to a hammock about 15 months ago, I have only had to go to ground once. That was on a canoe trip where the island we camped on did not provide any trees suitable for hanging. Cowboy camping that night on the soft sand was actually not terrible. Spending the next month washing and rewashing the grit from all my gear was a pain.
Often when attending large scout functionsm like camporees, you are assigned a specific spot to camp that may or may not have any trees associated with it. Since they are trying to fit in as many people as possible into a small area, it is most often that there are not any trees.
There have been a couple of campouts that have called for some drastic measures. For example, last fall, I built a tensegrity stand. It was a bit overkill for one person, the footprint was large compared with a tent, and its pieces were pretty big to haul.
We ran the winter camporee this year and as luck would have it, we were assigned the only spot that had a descent hanging location. The spring camporee did not have assigned locations, but my troop ended up camping quite a ways from the activities to accomodate the needs of our hammockers.
This brings us to this month and our Montana Council Camporee. It was anticipated there would be about 1100 scouts and scouters in attendance (actual attendance unknown). The location was at and around a local fairgrounds which borders the local small-town airport. Each troop was assigned a specific 105 foot by 70 foot campsite. Needless to say there were no trees.
Shout-out to Hiline and friends who also had a hammock up. Great to meet you guys and talk hammocks.
I had not known the exact details, but the general lack of trees has been known for quite awhile. This, along with the previous examples, drove me to develop a small portable hammock stand that could be easily hauled with the scout gear and could be used for upcoming scouting events where finding trees could be an issue.
Here is the result. Basically, all I needed was a spreader and two risers to provide the structure. Cordage could then be used to lock everything together and provide the tension. Once I decided that the ground itself could provide me the same spreading characteristics we use with the tree it all got very simple.
Nothing too earth shattering in its basic design. Simple two pole stand with guy-lines at an angle to provide both direct and lateral support. A line across the top (not shown in the diagram) provides tension to hold the structure together when the hammock is not under load. It also provides a CRL for a tarp.
The two obstacles that needed addressed were:
1) Properly anchoring the guy-lines
2) Making it portable.
The first item was addressed when I developed the Stake Boom (documented in this thread - http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...ad.php?t=34348).
I made it portable by making everything nest. The stakes (yellow) nest in the booms (black) which nest in the smaller diameter pole (red) which nests in the larger diameter pole (blue). A pin holds everything in place when packed.
Put into Practice
I have had the concept for quite awhile and even built the prototype several weeks ago. I have really wanted to record and post a video of using it, but due to weather and other commitments, I just haven't had the time. As summer quickly rolls into full swing, I decided to post what I have so others may benefit from it and I can benefit from feedback and others ideas.
We had our council camporee this weekend and I am happy to report that this stand worked flawlessly.
Here is a picture of my setup this morning (after a night of rain).
I took the tarp off so you could hopefully see the setup better. I used a simple 2mm polyester line from REI for the CRL. It is tensioned with a figure-9, but really does not have a great deal of tension. Once the hammock is loaded, all the force is transferred to the amsteel and anchors.
This is a close-up of one end. We have had rain everyday for I don't know how long (I can't remember the last day that it did not rain) and the ground is very soft. I put in a third boom with a whoopie-sling to the head of the pole as a pre-caution. I am fairly cautious when in such a vulnerable position. I am confident two lines would hold under normal ground conditions.
You can't really tell from this angle, but I have it slightly angled backwards so that the head end of the pole is farther from the gap than the foot end. The lines running from the booms to the foot end will keep it from slipping towards the gap. The slight angle insures that it can not slip backwards. I don't get carried away with the angle, as I still want all the pressure on the pole to be vertically into the ground.
The basic line is a continuous loop with an figure eight bight marking each connection point to the two ends of the pole and the two stake booms. Using the bight, I make the connection at each point with a larkshead knot. I used pins to make sure nothing slipped off or down, except at the bottom of the poles where I don't think there is much pressure at all.
Here are all the components of the stand:
1) 1.25 inch conduit
2) 1 inch conduit
3) stake booms
5) amsteel loops (plus a couple of whoopie-slings)
Here you see the basic pieces nested.
The final transport size of this stand is 5 feet by 1.25 inches (plus the cordage). Easily will fit with my scout gear in the pickup or the canoe.
This is still a work in progress, but I think it is far enough along and it has proven itself to the point that others may want to toy around with it or find it beneficial.
Here is what I know I still have to do.
1) Pole lengths - These poles are 6 feet long. I also have a couple of 7 foot poles that are one size up in diameter that I have also been playing with. I think that I will end up shortening them to either 5 or 5.5 feet. This will allow me to narrow the gap without making the hammock too high to get into. (The gap is currently 15 feet).
The smaller diameter pole will need to be at least 3 inches or so shorter so it will nest properly, so it will work well for helping the head end be lower.
2) Weld a base plate across the openings of the foot of both poles. Without it the poles are driven into the ground when the hammock is loaded. That is why there are currently boards under the poles in the pictures. This will also complete the nesting capability of the poles.
3) I am going to build new continuous loops for the main amsteel lines. I need to do this after I get my final pole lengths anyway.
I am going to build it with two colors so the lines going to the heads are different than the lines going to the feet of the poles. This will make it easier and quicker to identify how the lines attach.
I will use fisherman's knots to connect these keeping the knots in between the booms and the feet of the poles. Again, I don't expect much pressure here so I am not worried about having knots here. In the end, I may use a smaller line for this portion as well.
I think that is it for my to-do list on these. I can't wait to hear ideas and feedback if anyone else tries this.
That looks like an excellent solution. Well done and documented. Thanks for sharing.
Very neat idea! I've been looking for something like this, now it just need to be made out out titanium and carbonfiber. :)
Thanks for sharing.
The use of posts and guy lines isn't new, but your implementation is, and it's a thing of beauty.:)
It was great talking to you and Terry at the camporee and you definately gave me and my guys some ideas. We spent a lot of time swapping ideas back and forth. I was surprised at how sturdy this system is, you cannot wiggle it at all it is very sound and will be on our project list before our summer camp tour, just in case they don't let us use the trees. All my scouts were very interested in the hammock camping so I'm seeing some sewing lessons and hammocks being built in the future. As for numbers I heard final count was around 1250 scouts and leaders. Good times had by all except for the Ambulance ride on Friday night, yup that was me.
Glad to see your stake boom idea worked well. Your system is definitely one of the most minimal hammock stands out there. Minimal is good.
I will be building a couple of these. On my kayaking trips some of my paddling buddies are still on the ground, and finding a camp spot suitable for both tents and hammocks is hard sometimes. I think this will be just the ticket. thanks for sharing.
That is some fantastic work and one slick stand. Thank you for sharing with everyone.
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