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  1. #1
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    I don't know where to start.

    I haven't used a hammock since Vietnam. I want to try camping again but I'm too old and fat to sleep on the ground. I want to try using a hammock again but I have some issues and I don't know enough about modern hammocks to begin to make an intelligent choice. I clearly need some advice. It would be best to make a list of issues that will affect my choices.

    (Caution I am going to use some humor to get my point across but the issues are real.)

    I weigh around 350 and I'm just under 6'
    some back issues

    I'm close to 75 years old so a lifetime warranty on a production hammock doesn't mean much to me. You could give me a lifetime warrant on an ice cream cone for all it matters.

    I can't sleep in a closed tent and I don't want to sleep in a bucket shaped hammock. I need to be able to see what is going on around me.

    When I camp I always use a tarp. Even when I was in the USMC when I slept on the ground I only used a shelter half as a tarp.

    I just might still have some issues 50+ years later.

    Hammocks
    I loved my M1966 jungle hammock. I still have two "new" ones I acquired just before I got out (one with bug net and one without). They are in great shape but I am twice the man I once was so they don't work like they use to.

    I have looked at some commercial hammocks but it is hard to find one in my weight class that I think will work. Most are made with material that will stretch and I don't want to sleep in a bucket. I want to sleep with my head out of the bucket so I can see what is going on.

    What I think I want.
    As stated I loved my M1966 issue hammocks. I think they are well designed and versatile. I also believe they need to be longer and wider and made of a material that will handle the extra weight. I don't know how long or wide or what material I would need to use. This is what I hope the folks on this site can help me with.

    M1966 hammock design features I like.
    Spreader bars - The one without the bug net had a sleeve on both ends where you could put a spreader bar (branch, bamboo) through to make it like a cot. The bug net version had the sleeve down the sides because of the way you hung it. They could be used as a litter or you could use spreaders to convert it to a cot. The M1966 without the bug net was normally hung with a gathered end loop through the end sleeves. The hanger had a bungee/toggle on it to attach a poncho for a hammock cover. I like that because it was quick and easy to tear down.

    I'm sure there is better stuff out there but this is what I know and it worked for me. That said I am open to suggestions since like I said I don't know what the new stuff will do. I know the M1966 style hammocks are still issued around the world to military units. I think Hennessy makes one but it's not in my weight range and the last thing my old bones needs is to fall out of a hammock in the middle of nowhere.

    Summary
    1. I would like suggestions on commercial hammocks that will fit the weight requirements. I looked at HOBO hammocks on line and they cover the weight requirement and are in my price range.

    2. I would like suggestions on design parameters for a DIY copy of an updated M1966 clone. I think all I would need is length, width and fabric suggestions. I found a fabric company on eBay that has all sorts of military grade fabric at what seems like reasonable prices. I plan on using the same hanging system that came with my M1966.

    3. I would like to find someone that would be interested in this project to do the sewing. I will of course provide all the material needed. I could also loan them the M1966 hammocks to model.

    4. Cost is an issue. I will need to weigh the cost difference between commercial and DIY. Like I said I don't know squat about today's hammocks. I know the M1966 worked for me another lifetime ago but it may not work today. If I am overstepping with this post I am sorry but this is the only place I think I can find the answers I am looking for. At my age I know I will only have 2 or 3 years left where I will even want to go camping. After that the hammock will end up in the back yard.

    For those of you that are not familiar with the M1966 hammock this YouTube channel has several videos on this hammock. https://www.youtube.com/user/louisianahiker/videos


    Thanks for reading this far.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Smckinney0031's Avatar
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    Checkout the Dutch Chamelion
    And the warbonnet blackbird xlc. Both you can see out, have great bugnets you can see out of, plenty of space....you cant beat em.

  3. #3
    Slugger's Avatar
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    The Warbonnet Heavyweight Double Blackbird XLC might fit your needs. Rated at 400lbs. capacity. While it doesn't have spreader bars, it achieves the view you seek via tie-outs.

    Although not in production yet, a Towns-End Big Guy Bridge hammock is what you seek and may be able to get in the future. There are a few of us on this board that are testers of JustBill's prototype big guy hammock. Flat lay, spreader bars like you are seeking, great visibility outside of the hammock, built tough for those of a bigger size.

    https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/showthread.php/140290-Town-s-End-Big-Guy-and-Luxury-Bridge-update


    Retired US Navy, cancer survivor

  4. #4
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    I think I'd forget the M1966 Jungle Hammock entirely. Hammocks have evolved a great deal since then. I'd also probably ditch the requirement that you be able to see all around you. If you're using a tarp, there's not much to see anyway (other than the tarp). You can always set your tarp up in "porch" mode using a couple of hiking poles if you really want to see something. Thankfully, I don't have this requirement because I only use my hammock for sleeping, at night.

    I'm a fan of simple, gathered-end netless hammocks with a Fronkey bugnet - easy to get in and out of, no zippers to deal with, and you can get a double layer to meet your weight requirements. Dutchware has all you need:

    Netless hammocks:

    https://dutchwaregear.com/product/11...fabric-layer-1

    Or if you prefer a wider hammock (some 300 lb. plus individuals do):

    https://dutchwaregear.com/product/wi...fabric-layer-1

    Bugnet:

    https://dutchwaregear.com/product/bottom-entry-bugnet/


    Dutch also sells hammock suspensions. I like the Beetle Buckle Suspension and the Whoopie Hook suspension.

    https://dutchwaregear.com/product-ca...e-suspensions/
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

  5. #5
    gunner76's Avatar
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    The Warbonnet Heavyweight Double Blackbird XLC
    or the new Warbonnet Eldorado Heavy Duty ( double layer rated for 400 lbs and good visibility out both sides, better than the Blackbird ).

    Like Slugger said, Towns-End Big Guy Bridge might be a possibility for you once JustBill goes back into production.
    3rd Annual Frosty But Hang Feb 2017 ............ 4th Annual 2018 Fat Butt Hang TBA ..................... 5th Annual 2017 Hunger Halloween Hang

    I am 18 with 47 years of experience ! ................ Hike the Neusiok Trail & check out the NTforum !

  6. #6
    QFT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fal_shooter View Post
    I'm close to 75 years old so a lifetime warranty on a production hammock doesn't mean much to me. You could give me a lifetime warrant on an ice cream cone for all it matters.
    LOL I'll try to make this post in a hurry then!

    Sounds like you're used to bridge hammocks (spreader bar type). You could reach out to Warbonnet and ask about them making you a custom Ridgerunner that is rated for your weight? That style of hammock is a little more "tippy" than gathered end style hammocks, but if it's what you're after it might be a good option.

    Otherwise get yourself a 2-layer gathered end hammock... that'll bump up the weight rating nicely. Warbonnet XLC, Dutchware Chameleon, Dream Hammock all make really good ones, in addition to many other cottage vendors. The fronkey bugnet is nice, but if I were 75 and feeling achy I might prefer a zipped bugnet myself :-) all of the mentioned hammocks have zipped bugnets available.

    For suspending your hammock to the trees, if weight isn't an issue, the Warbonnet buckles/straps (link here) are quite easy to use and rated to 400lb.

  7. #7

    Join Date
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    Welcome aboard, first of all. I can’t give you any advice as I’m a novice. What I can say is that there’s a lot of helpful, experienced folk here to do just that.

    I hope it all works out for you and you find something comfortable and cost effective.

  8. #8
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    Thanks QFT.
    I prefer gathered mode myself and I only used the spreader bar option once or twice on my m1966. With the spreaders on the M1966 you could stake the corners down so it didn't tip. You could set it up like a camp cot if you put it in a frame and wouldn't need to even hang it so it was a nice option to have. What can I say you always want to dance with the one that brung ya. Also with the M1966 when you put the poncho on as a rain cover it mounted to the hammock and was high enough to see in all directions.

    I will look at the brands recommended but cost is a factor. Fixed income sucks and I don't know how much I will be able to use it. That's why I mentioned DIY since it may cost less than store bought. That said I will careful look because financially I can only do this once. If I make a mistake I will need to live with it.

  9. #9
    gunner76's Avatar
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    Before you buy........Go attend a group hang ( even if just to visit ) where you will be able to check out a variety of different hammock set ups. Ask nice and most of us will let you get in our rigs for a test ride,
    3rd Annual Frosty But Hang Feb 2017 ............ 4th Annual 2018 Fat Butt Hang TBA ..................... 5th Annual 2017 Hunger Halloween Hang

    I am 18 with 47 years of experience ! ................ Hike the Neusiok Trail & check out the NTforum !

  10. #10
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fal_shooter View Post
    I can't sleep in a closed tent and I don't want to sleep in a bucket shaped hammock.
    Do you have any examples of these bucket-shaped hammocks you're trying to avoid? It's not a common complaint. You'll often hear recommendations here on HF to sleep on the diagonal, but beginners usually sleep straight (what is usually called a banana lay). The ENO website has pictures of thousands of people laying banana style!

    Aan-Syaharbanana.jpg

    https://www.eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com/photo-gallery/
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

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