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  1. #1
    Senior Member DannyII's Avatar
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    Tandem hanging with the wife - PVC spreader bar

    I decided to start another thread here because my utility pole installation thread evolved into this topic.

    Ok, in the spirit of the unofficial hammockforums.net motto... "will this work?", I tried my hand at a quick and dirty spreader bar system for tandem hanging with the wife. I wanted it to be captured on the suspension so it didn't fall out no matter how the hammocks moved, inward or outward.

    The whole thing cost just over $1, maybe it would be $2 if you had to buy your CPVC.

    Parts list:

    (1) length of 1/2" CPVC (28" was was I had on hand, so that's how long mine is.) $0
    (1) Wooden dowel the same length as your CPVC, and as big as will fit inside (7/16" works for 1/2" CPVC). $.79
    (2) CPVC tees $.25 each
    (2) washers that will fit in the tee to act as a stop for the wooden dowel. I dunno, $.05?

    I inserted the washers in the tees to stop the dowel from going into the middle of the tee, and put a 28" long by 7/16" wooden dowel in the CPVC for additional strength. I just press fitted the CPVC as there is no real need to join them permanently, and I may want to change the length of the CPVC later.

    I hung on it in my new "outdoor gear lab" (the pole I installed in my backyard because my trees were two far apart at 36') with both hammocks on it, and it seemed to work just fine when I lay on one side. I put my Amsteel 8" continuous loops on my hammocks through the long sections of the tees perpendicular to the CPVC stick, and noted that the angle was good, barely pressing on the inner wall of the tee at all. I do have an 18' span to hang from though. I'm certain that a shorter hang would press on it more, due to the harsher angle.

    I needed another crash test dummy to really test it. Oh, wife...

    The wife and I also tested out my DIY CPVC spreader bar today. I especially liked that it worked for both hammocks with different suspensions: mine with whoopies and regular whoopie hooks, and the wife's with carabiners and the Eno Atlas straps. All that it needed was the continuous loops that are on the hammock ends already. Sweet!

    We first put it on the head end which was about 8-9' from the tree. It worked great! However, our feet ends were a bit too close.

    Then I tried a 36" version and that worked well on the head end, too ... more about that later. Since the pieces weren't glued, I just pulled out the 28" CPVC and dowel out, and put in the 36" piece. Easy!

    Then I decided to try the spreader bar on the foot end, since the tree allowed us to get about a 24" separation on the head end naturally due to the diameter/shape of the tree.

    I tried the 36" spreader first. The wife was already in, but when I got in... FAIL!!!

    The CPVC bent into a U-shape, but didn't break. However, I heard the dowel inside break. The hang distance was only about 4.5' from the post when it failed, so I'm guessing the compressive forces were just too much for it. I pulled the 36" piece out and put in the 28" piece. I also increased the hang distance to about 6'. WINNER!!! Since the head ends were about 24" apart naturally from the tree, and the foot ends were 28" apart, it worked out well whether we laid heads on the same end, or head to foot. Laying head to foot offered a bit more separation, it seemed. We hung out there for 45 minutes or so, just chilling and talking about hanging on it this year. It was nice. Not much bounce from the other hammock moving either, even when the other person exited the hammock. I mean, you could definitely feel the hammock moving, but it wasn't bad. It was like the movements were transferred, but dampened by the spreader bar system somewhat.

    This seems like a great way for a couple or parent/child, or even 2 kids to share a tarp and be close to each other. I like it!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by DannyII; 04-05-2017 at 21:36.

  2. #2
    Senior Member BuckeyeFan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info! Your system will work perfect for my son and I this summer!

    Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Senior Member DannyII's Avatar
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    No problem!

    If weight isn't an issue, such as backyard hanging or car camping, I was thinking that you could substitute a solid or threaded metal rod for the dowel to eliminate any chance of it bending in a short hang situation. I'm now also thinking that keeping the PVC crossbar under 30" minimizes the risk of failure, even with just the dowel.
    Last edited by DannyII; 04-08-2017 at 19:14.

  4. #4
    Senior Member bobamos's Avatar
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    That should work nicely.

  5. #5
    johnspenn's Avatar
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    I like that solution- it's will basically work with any suspension. Nice job!

  6. #6
    New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyII View Post
    If weight isn't an issue, such as backyard hanging or car camping, I was thinking that you could substitute a solid or threaded metal rod for the dowel to eliminate any chance of it bending in a short hang situation.
    I was thinking that threaded rod and one of these on either end would be a pretty solid and would eliminate any bend issues.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Isn't cpvc more flexi than pvc? What schedule did you use? Pretty sure the thin walled stuff won't work. I would think that 1/2" schedule 40 pvc should be ok. I have not tried this myself but others have.
    I often think to myself, if only I had an ounce of gold for every stupid thing I've ever said or done... --sqidmark

  8. #8
    Senior Member DannyII's Avatar
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    Version 2.0.

    I beefed up the original design, indeed using 1/2 S40 PVC conduit, and a larger dowel rod. I made the bar piece 30" long, so the spread is now 32". It worked great for two nights this weekend for me and wife.

    20170514_121513.jpg20170514_121928.jpg20170514_121715.jpg20170514_072843.jpg

    The beauty of this spreader bar is that it's cheap, and so long as you can fit your suspension through the holes in the tees, it will work. Our hammocks have 7/64" Amsteel loops on the hammocks. I can hang mine with the whoopies and whoopie hooks, and the wife's with the Eno Atlas straps and carabiners. Her hammock is shorter than mine, but since our actual tree has a bunch of branches at about 7 feet, I can get the correct spread just using the tree on that end. I just make sure the foot ends match up, and works great on that end. Our hammocks have 7/64" Amsteel loops on the hammocks.
    Last edited by DannyII; 05-14-2017 at 11:46.

  9. #9

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    Excellent! Thanks for the info, details and pictures. We are new to hammocks and trying to find a way maintain a bit of intimacy has been a concern. I will be experimenting with your set up later this week! Thanks again!

  10. #10
    Senior Member DannyII's Avatar
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    You're welcome! This system lets us hang about 9-10" apart. Close enough that we can give each other a good night kiss without geting out of the hammocks, we can reach over to touch one another, but we're not so close that we constantly bump each other when we move.

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