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  1. #1
    New Member Ozark Mac's Avatar
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    DIY free and budget hammocks and other gear on the super cheap

    Just for fun I thought we could share ideas for hammocking with next to nothing. As you probably read from my intro, I was a homeless vet for a little over two years, and if anyone here has been homeless they know how fast down and dirty innovations can come.

    I was wondering if one of the blue cheapo tarps could serve this purpose? Maybe doing an accordion fold on it lengthwise, and tie off the ends with some nice over-engineered prussics.

    Hey, with the majority of Americans a paycheck or two away from homelessness, and the economy in the crapper, this could turn out to be a quite valuable thread.
    Last edited by Ozark Mac; 06-06-2010 at 14:32. Reason: changed title

  2. #2
    krugd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozark Mac View Post
    I was wondering if one of the blue cheapo tarps could serve this purpose? Maybe doing an accordion fold on it lengthwise, and tie off the ends with some nice over-engineered prussics.
    )
    I have heard of this being done. Don't know that they used prussics, but there are various knots that work.

    Another possibility is to get some heavy fabric at Walmart and use it instead of the blue tarp. That way you get breathabilty, and if heavy enough wouldn't need to be hemmed. I did this for my first test hammock and it worked well.
    --Don---

    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. - Ed Abbey

  3. #3
    New Member Ozark Mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krugd View Post
    I have heard of this being done. Don't know that they used prussics, but there are various knots that work.

    Another possibility is to get some heavy fabric at Walmart and use it instead of the blue tarp. That way you get breathabilty, and if heavy enough wouldn't need to be hemmed. I did this for my first test hammock and it worked well.
    I was thinking of the blue tarps because with the thick hem, it wouldn't require a sewing machine. This gear needs to be made without specialized equipment.

  4. #4
    krugd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozark Mac View Post
    I was thinking of the blue tarps because with the thick hem, it wouldn't require a sewing machine. This gear needs to be made without specialized equipment.
    Me too. It won't last as long, but I used unhemmed material for my first hammock. If you roll the edge under before lashing it is somewhat protected. That said, I'm sure the blue tarp would last longer. I just wouldn't be able to hang in a blue tarp in warm, humid conditions (like it is here today.)
    --Don---

    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. - Ed Abbey

  5. #5
    slowhike's Avatar
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    Yeah, I agree that a heavy fabric may not need sewing, & the width may be fine as is. If it's to wide, maybe just roll/fold the edges to get it the width you want.
    I think at times you can get away w/ a non-breathable hammock just fine, but it could work against you in a lot of cases, even cause some serious problems w/ condensation getting you & your stuff wet.
    So in most cases, I think I would choose something breathable & synthetic.

    Here's a way to insulate a hammock w/ an acridity (or other) blanket.


    If a person needed a quick, cheap, insulated hammock, they could buy a roll of the sheet type quilt batting from wal-mart (about $10.00) & 3 extra yards of fabric to hold it in place. Nothing fancy, but it would work.
    don`t leave the CREATOR out of the creation!

  6. #6
    Senior Member pedro's Avatar
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    I don't think that sewing is out of the question in a homeless situation. It has to be done by hand. Folks have been hand sewing for thousands of years. Tyvek scavanged from a construction site for a tarp. It's also good for a ground cloth. Keep your eyes out for ratchet straps on the side of the road. Can make good tree huggers. A couple of cans for a stove, another can for a billy pot. Utensils from fast food joints.Cheap bugnet can be gotten from the JoAnne fabrics discount table. It's a netting-like material used for window treatments and such, I don't know what it's called. Huaraches can be made from a variety of materials and are perfectly adequate footware for a variety of terrain.
    "Interesting! No, wait, the other thing.....tedious!"- Bender Bending Rodriques

  7. #7
    New Member Ozark Mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedro View Post
    I don't think that sewing is out of the question in a homeless situation. It has to be done by hand. Folks have been hand sewing for thousands of years. Tyvek scavanged from a construction site for a tarp. It's also good for a ground cloth. Keep your eyes out for ratchet straps on the side of the road. Can make good tree huggers. A couple of cans for a stove, another can for a billy pot. Utensils from fast food joints.Cheap bugnet can be gotten from the JoAnne fabrics discount table. It's a netting-like material used for window treatments and such, I don't know what it's called. Huaraches can be made from a variety of materials and are perfectly adequate footware for a variety of terrain.
    Great ideas. As for the sewing I was skeptical about the strength if it was hand sewn. I had a small tent when I was homeless and am now kicking myself for not considering a hammock. The only ones that I was familiar with were the cheap net hammocks and I always hated the way they snagged on everything.

  8. #8
    Senior Member pedro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozark Mac View Post
    As for the sewing I was skeptical about the strength if it was hand sewn.
    Actually, hand stitching can be stronger than machine stitching. When stitching by hand, you have ultimate control over your stitch placement, length, and most importantly tension. My wife grew up hand stitching, and had a frustrating experience with a sewing machine early on. She won't go near the things. Her hand stitching looks like it was done by a machine,at first glance.

    Here's a good one if you are homeless but somewhat stationary:
    en.howtopedia.org/.../How_to_Make_a_Coffee-Clay_Water_Filter -
    "Interesting! No, wait, the other thing.....tedious!"- Bender Bending Rodriques

  9. #9
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    The stress on the edge of a gathered end hammock is not overly great. Remember how many newbs complain about floppy edges? Even a thin synthetic fabric with the selvage intact would support sufficient weight to be usable. If the selvage is not intact, find a place with a burn barrel fire and sear the edges. Not all Walmarts have fabric anymore and many homeless do not have the money to spend $10 on something. I've been down to pocket change at times.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

    We Don't Sew... We Make Gear! video series

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  10. #10
    Senior Member Widerstand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozark Mac View Post
    Just for fun I thought we could share ideas for hammocking with next to nothing. As you probably read from my intro, I was a homeless vet for a little over two years, and if anyone here has been homeless they know how fast down and dirty innovations can come.

    I was wondering if one of the blue cheapo tarps could serve this purpose? Maybe doing an accordion fold on it lengthwise, and tie off the ends with some nice over-engineered prussics.

    Hey, with the majority of Americans a paycheck or two away from homelessness, and the economy in the crapper, this could turn out to be a quite valuable thread.
    I was a full time, houseless traveler for years and years and now I am a part time houseless traveler, so I know just what your talking about.

    My first hammock was made with paracord and the orange construction site fencing.

    Some of my freight hopping adventures on film over at my YouTube Channel... Oh and there is other stuff there as well!

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