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  1. #1
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    Question Medieval Style Hammock

    Hello everybody,

    in the next few weeks I like to attempt a hammock build which makes use of materials which would have been available in (let's say) the 11th century. Linen fabric(s) and laces, wooden buttons, diy oilskin (you know the linseed oil coated cloth), woollen army blankets. Obviously zips, para cord or any other modern plastics are off the menu. Weight may become an issue, I know.
    Aside from the hammock I most likely need an under quilt and a roofing tarp. Possibly a over quilt and bug net too.
    On the bug net I will probably have little choice but to use a modern fabric for that, which is fine.
    as a sleeping bag I will be using a cotton sheet (sewn into a bag) and a woollen army blanket.

    I plan to use the hammock setup to do foot journeys along routes or to places of historic interest, starting with a walk to Hastings in the UK in mid October to commemorate the Battle of Hastings of 1066. Dressed and largely equipped as a 11th century traveller: from a woollen tunic and a hood, a (made) portable camp fire, a round shield (could double up as an umbrella and table top in camp and a spear shaft as a walking stick and as a ridge pole. To stay dry while walking an oversized oilskin rain coat/tunic is in the making. All clothing and equipment with the viking/anglo-saxon theme and technology in mind.

    I have looked at WW2 jungle and US Navy type hammocks the last few days and I like the clew and nettle ideas to incorporate into my Hastingas Hammock (possible) A clew and nettle based design should have that more old fashioned look I think.
    Also I think a drape-over weighted-down type bug net would be best since zips are out. I am not a fan of using plastics in the insulation also but I need to be realistic (because of weight) and may have to resort to some (out of sight) use of modern insulation materials, which I can live with or could wool do nicely?

    October in the southern UK can get wet, cold and windy so I need some protection against the English weather. My thoughts are that linseed oil based oilskin will suffice when waterproofing a roofing tarp is concerned. Mixing equal parts linseed oil and odourless white spirits will most likely do nicely as I was made to understand.

    I wonder if people here on the forum have any ideas on which design to use for the mentioned items and how a medieval them could work ? How the various parts of a hammock setup could work and be made to make it a viable thing to use and carry around on an Ă–tzi type backpack.
    fa180f6c7e255315c09a5303cb1e9a36.jpg b21f418eb91baf5bb98bdab3a8d83129.jpg

    regards, Sander.

    PS: I had thought about using a slightly modernised version of a Roman style 1 person pup tent but I kept running into issues with the mattress it becoming heavy and bulky very fast if it was going to be of any comfort level (especially using natural fibres like wool or even straw). Also waterproofing from underneath seemed to be a mayor challenge, so the tent idea was abandoned fairly quickly.

    EDIT FOR THOSE INTERESTED/HAVING REPLIED OR SUGGESTED:
    I have several woollen army blankets kicking around, most likely the under and top quilts will be fashioned with these. Also I have several couch cushions with (as I understand it) some sort of down (goose or duck) in them which I can fashion anything with insulating value with (possibly an under quilt too)
    In my town there is a large fabric outlet which I can find almost any type of fabric I may need: wool, cotton, artificial fibre fabrics and all sorts of blends. Most likely heavier canvas and various silk blends too.
    I also have sitting in the materials shed 2 big (100 L plus) garbage bags packed full of (totalling 8 kg) clean and non smelling fibre fill cushion filling (harvested from several leather couches) which could be useful as well at some stage or point.

    I am aware of the hammock as a thing wasn't introduced until after the discovery of America in 1492. Vikings did discover the America's much earlier (as early as the 10th century as we all know) but it is unclear if they encountered the hammock in the parts they visited/inhabited and if they used it or even brought it back to Iceland or Norway. To be very honest I do not care if the hammock was used by early medieval Europeans or not. Most re-enactors representing the period seem to share the sentiment towards the use of fibres when it comes to tents. Most sleep in so called plastic camping grounds (away from the main event, peeing in dixies, ordering out pizza, using the cell phones to check the approaching weather and doing there modern thing away from the living history event and the general public. If they DO sleep in so called period tenting, cooking on open fires and acting like they stepped back in time, these tents are made largely of heavy woven (very modern) canvas (which is of course cotton and cotton was not (according to the largely accepted teachings that is) not known to the early medieval Europeans, which I doubt highly btw but that is another discussion and seems to boil down to many matters of various kinds of opinions/beliefs and even more kinds of assumptions)
    Last edited by SanderTel; 01-28-2018 at 10:35.

  2. #2
    Phantom Grappler's Avatar
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    Medieval Style Hammock

    You might need a serf to help carry your gear. This can be fun, going back in time, researching ancient ways of material usage.

    This rig is gonna get heavy real fast---
    Sander, if traders and explorers had gone to China before twelfth century---hammock, tarp and insulation and rigging ropes could be Silk---
    And as long as we're having fun, would a Lady Sherpa Guide be close enough to be historically accurate?

    I think silk can help keep your base weight low enough for you to carry on your travels

    Good luck Sander

    Great photos, send more, thanks!
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    Last edited by Phantom Grappler; 01-28-2018 at 06:55.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Redoleary's Avatar
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    Interesting project. I would suggest also adding some beeswax to your diy oilskin maybe even some pine tar, but definitely some wax. Maybe you could find a bear skin for an underquilt! Also, to the best of my knowledge there wouldn't have been hammocks in Europe until after Columbus.
    Good luck,
    RED

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  4. #4
    Herder of Cats OutandBack's Avatar
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    If you were a donating member we have 3 folders with over 13 pages of posts. This Vintage Hammock Contest was done back in 2008.
    Some of the picture display have the features you are talking about.
    If sometime in the future you become a DM give this link a look.
    https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...ontest-Threads

  5. #5
    HandyRandy's Avatar
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    Just my 2˘, but what about incorporating some custom OutdoorINK patterns into the mix where it makes sense and isn’t too much of a crutch or a cheat. Maybe a chain mail pack cover or some stuff sacks that look like animal hide or you could use a walking staff that resembles a long sword. Sounds like fun. If you really want to simulate the experience, leave all the electronics at home too!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  6. #6

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    Realistically, this is what horses and donkies are for. They carry the extra weight needed for long distance travel.

    For the hammock, you might consider an open weave Mayan style design. This is very low tech. It would use simple cotton yarns. But historically, hammocks were not designed to be portable.

    The most realistic kit would probably include a tent and wool blankets as a bed roll. If your journey is in October, dead grass and forest duff can provide extra bedding material.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Flash Grundelore's Avatar
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    Silk as a gathered end, and cheesecloth as a bugnet... ?
    >> Onward thru the fog...>>
    Find me on my blog Moosenut Falls https://moosenutfalls.wordpress.com/

  8. #8
    Phantom Grappler's Avatar
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    Medieval Style Hammock

    Underquilt shell of silk, stuffed with goose down. Braided leather tree straps. OutandBack great idea to jumpstart this project. Loads of great information Vintage Hammock Contest

    Marco Polo 1254 to 1324---close enough
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    Was cotton available to Europeans in the 11th century? Either way, for the conditions you're talking about you might want to avoid it. When cotton gets wet it's worse than useless.

    It's a very interesting concept. Do you have a social media presence where you post the results of your labors and the trips you use this kind of stuff on? I'd love to see it!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by OutandBack View Post
    If you were a donating member we have 3 folders with over 13 pages of posts. This Vintage Hammock Contest was done back in 2008.
    Some of the picture display have the features you are talking about.
    If sometime in the future you become a DM give this link a look.
    https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...ontest-Threads

    What does that entail being a donating member ??

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