Hey guys, first post, and I've been lurking and reading threads for a few days. I have been inspired by headchange4u's hard work and great hammock, here. I've been thinking of using a hammock for backpacking for a while now. I have a Castaway hammock, made of thin
parachute material (not sure what exactly it's made of, but it's quite thin and pretty soft, doesn't stretch too much.) I've been napping in it for a few years, so I know I can sleep in a hammock. I've been drooling over hennessy hammocks for a while, but would rather put my mind and resources into customizing a hammock that works well for me. My biggest problem with the hammock I have right now is that it doesn't really allow me to lay sideways, as it's too narrow and is "scoops" up on the sides (I plan on re-whipping to experiment with patterns that can eliminate this).
I have removed the standard mounting stuff from the hammock and done my own whipping, which worked pretty well. I'm getting more experience with knots and the effect that whipping has on how the hammock lays. I have a couple months before a backpacking trip I have planned, so I have time to experiment with my design and re-whip and hang many times to get the formula right.
To my knowledge, the comfort and lay of the HH style asym hammocks depends on three things:
1 - The asymmetrical side tieouts
2 - The whipping
3 - The attachment and shape of the bugnet/cover
4 - The structural ridgeline
So, after assessing a few different hammock builds, I have taken largely from headchange's thread to design my own hammock. For each section of the project, I'd like to tap into your knowledge to assess any design problems before I get in too deep. Any constructive criticism is greatly appreciated!
1: Dimensions. I am 6'3", 140 pounds. HH explorers are 132X60", while the Safari model is a foot longer at 144". The extra foot in length isn't too much of a concern as far as weight goes, but will it affect the lay too much if I go a foot longer? I was thinking since both of these models support an individual over 6', I could go with 132" AFTER hemming the edges, so about 135" unhemmed. For the taller people out there, does this length seem sufficient?
2. Whipping. I plan on experimenting with different patterns of whipping, so finding something perfect immediately isn't a huge concern. In the mean time I'll experiment with the hammock I have, which is only 48" wide. As far as the rope for the whipping, is standard paracord sufficient, or must it be high-strength? It seems to hold well now but I don't want to mess around with cheap stuff when I build a new hammock. I'm only talking about the wrap on the whipping, not any part of the suspension.
3. Support. Here's one of the areas I plan to deviate from some of the builds that I've seen. I want to use this this type of 1" polypro web for the entire support, including the structural ridgeline. I like this idea because I don't have to have separate straps for trees, simplifying my package. 1" webbing also has an advantage I'll talk about when I get to my ridgeline.
Starting from where the webbing is tied to a tree, it will be threaded through the whipping (think of how headchange4u did it with the ridgeline, in the 8th photo of his first post.). On the inside of the hammock, it will attach to a carabiner or steel ring (of the proper load bearing quality, of course). The other end of this carabiner will attach to the ridgeline, which will also be made of high strength nylon or polypro that I linked earlier.
To clear this up, I drew a diagram of my idea.
I like this setup for a few reasons. It lets me use fewer knots, adjust the ridgeline easier, and I can easily attach things like a gear bag, small LED lantern, water bottle, etc. at the head and foot of the hammock to the carabiners. The ridgeline will also support the bug net, which I'll get to later.
3 - Ridgeline: Although explained earlier, I want to go over how I'll set it up. The head and foot will have similar carabiner setups, but the foot will have the following attachment: Reducing Loop. This will allow me to attach one end to the carabiner, and the other to the 1" nylon web. This will allow me to easily adjust the length of the ridgeline and therefore the sag, without dealing with knots. I will put it at the foot so any slack in the webbing will not be in my face.
4 - Bug net: I plan on sewing on a zipper on one side after I have the formula down. I'll sew the bug net to one side of the hammock, and attach a couple toggle/loop points on the side it's sewn down to so I can roll up the net when it's unzipped.
5 - Material: I'll probably go with ripstop 1.9 nylon or silnylon. Still researching the pros/cons of all materials but I won't be going cheap. I'll so a simple hem around the perimeter, make a tube out of the first 8-12" of each end like headchange did, and do reinforced tieout straps. Nothing revolutionary there.
6 - Tarp.... that's another post for another day
That's all I can think of right now, but I'm sure I'll have more questions later. Go over my design/plans if you would like, and post any problems you forsee I might have, especially with the support system. In exchange for help, I'll post pictures of the progress/finished product/bruises acquired when/if it fails.