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  1. #1
    Senior Member Big Jim Mac's Avatar
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    DIY, WV Camo Hammo

    So here's my first attempt at making a hammock. I calls it my WV Camo Hammo because the material -- two pieces of 1.1 oz ripstop -- came from WV. Wrapped it up just after dark tonight but of course had to go out in the dark and try it out. Must say I was worried about the stitching, knots and my whoopies holding up. Good news is that all works just fine. My first impression is that it is way short. I started with 9 foot 2 inches of green and 10 foot 9 inches of the camo. After hemming and stitching and rolling It turned out just a shade over 6 feet long.

    Here's how I stitched her up. I started by laying the fabric together on the floor with the wrong sides out. I trimmed the camo so it was 5 inches longer than the green on each end. Then I pinned the sides together. I stitched the long sides together leaving 30 inches about 1/3 of the way from one end. At first I sewed slowly and stopped to remove the pins as I got close to them. After awhile, it proved easier to get the pins out of the way and just let 'er rip.

    Then I turned the resulting bag inside out. I rolled the ends a couple times, with the extra 5 inches giving me some more fabric for the gathered ends. The final roll tied the two pieces together by overlapping an inch or so, leaving a 1-inch channel for the rope.

    That left me with the 30 inch opening. I planned to sew velcro to hold this part together, making a closeable opening to insert my Thermarest pad. I could not get the ripstop to hold still to hem it so I wrapped both sides with grosgrain, holding it with clothes pins and then slipping a pin every 3 inches to hold it better. I stitched this up, being careful to keep from sewing the sides together, pulling the pins as they got close to the needle. When this was done on both sides I pinned the velcro on and sewed that too. I put some vertical bars on knowing this would get stressed from pulling it.

    After a trip to Lowe's to get some Mason line, I taped the line to a pencil and dropped it through the channel on each end. I gathered the ends and tied them tight.

    Earlier I had made two Whoopie slings out of 1/8" black Amsteel. I looped them around the gathered end and it was ready. The combination of my 6' Whoopies and 6' tree straps was way too long for the trees I normally tie to. Good news is I have 2 ash trees in the front yard that were too far apart for my ENO setup but just right for the new one. I set the hammock up pretty close to the ground just in case.

    No worries, a little creaking from the straps and the trees and some stretching as things worked into place was all I got. This shorty is actually really comfortable, at least it was at first. I laid back and almost fell asleep looking at the stars. It was stretched pretty tight so couldn't lay diagonally much at all but it didn't seem to matter.

    Then I tried to use the Thermarest. This was a complete disaster. The hammock is almost 60 inches wide and the pad only about 18 inches. So as soon as I tried to lay down with the pad inside it slid to the left, the whole hammock did likewise and I slid out. I did manage to get inside once but the pad slid around so it wasn't doing me any good. After I took it out the hammock continued to list to port a little. The material was all messed up in relation to where it should be.

    I'm considering putting a seam down the middle to keep things in place, though this will negate the velcro opening I made. Might even add some tie-outs, that might give me some more stability. I also bought an adjustable ridgeline from Arrowhead that I want to play with some.

    All in all, I learned a lot from this project and hope to get started on another one that is a lot longer. Thanks again to WV for the material, hope I did you proud! Here's some pics:

    Laying out the double layers.


    Using clothes pins to help hold the velcro in place.


    Here's the opening I made to insert the Thermarest pad.



    Another look at the pad going in. Seemed like a good idea...



    Finished hammock




  2. #2
    Senior Member eflat7's Avatar
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    Looks great! I love camo. I really do. I'm starting to get into digital camo now. Wish it was easier to get.

  3. #3
    WV's Avatar
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    There's nothing like learning by doing. Combine that with some research and feedback from others, and you'll be amazed at your progress!

    Scott Littlefield deserves mention for the fabric, too. He started the chain of pay-it-forward by making it available to HF members at a ridiculously low price.

    Don't give your hammock short shrift just yet. It is ripe for further experimentation, which could yield an amazingly comfortable hang. I made my first gathered end hammocks more comfortable and lighter by cutting off the ends and adding adjustable strings so the effective length was unchanged. You could add a dozen cords at each end and use taut-line hitches to make them adjustable. If you use 6- foot cords, you'll probably be adding 3 or 4 feet to each end of the hammock, so it will be long enough to set a good sag angle and give you a comfortable diagonal sleeping position.

    However you will need to be particularly careful about how you attach those strings to the ends! Sewing the 1.1 ripstop will weaken it, but you need to reinforce the ends to attach the strings. Best thing would be a 6" x 60" strip of pack cloth or other strong fabric sewn to each end using several rows of zig-zag stitches with a long stitch length. The idea is not to make a row of holes close together, so the hammock doesn't "tear on the dotted line." Then fold the reinforcing fabric double, with a piece of utility cord or light rope inside the fold. Then you can poke holes in the end, just inside the rope for the strings. I use a small soldering iron to make the holes by melting the fabric (instant grommet). The strings go through the hole and around the rope twice, then fasten with a taut-line hitch about a foot from the fabric edge. That gives you room to lengthen or shorten the cord by sliding the hitch. The other end gets a loop (e.g. - bowline). Put all the loops on a carabiner attached to your suspension rope.

    I suggest you put a bag of pet food or charcoal or somesuch in the hammock while you adjust the cords so they distribute the force evenly along the end of the hammock. Then place your sleeping pad and as many other soft landing materials as you can find on the ground under your hammock and try it out. Good luck!

    Looks neat with the camo & green. Nice photos!

  4. #4
    gargoyle's Avatar
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    BJM, Have you tried letting a bunch of air out of your pad?
    Give it a try. You may even need to insert the pad so the valve is exposed, lay in the hammock atop the pad, and allow some air to escape. Get the inflation of the pad just right and it will conform better to the bends of your body and stay in place better.
    Ambulo tua ambulo.

  5. #5
    Senior Member HCH's Avatar
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    Nice job!

  6. #6
    Knotty's Avatar
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    Looks nice! Are you sure it's only 6' long?

    I'm sure there's some kid out there who'd love receiving it as a gift. Then you get to make yourself another. It's a win-win.
    Knotty
    "Don't speak unless it improves the silence." -proverb
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Big Jim Mac's Avatar
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    Well, I gave the hammock a good workout today. Did some fastpacking, 12 miles on the Berryman Trail. At the halfway point, which is an campsite next to a bubbling brook and an artesian well, I set the hammock up, crawled in and promptly fell asleep. Nothing but blue sky above and a gentle breeze to rock me. Super comfortable lay! Along the way I started thinking about where the extra fabric went. 9 feet down to 6 feet? So when I got home I measured again, 9 feet long, not 6. So I'm guessing when you look at a tape measure upside down late at night, a 9 looks like a 6...

    Gargoyle, I'll try the pad deflated, I had it pumped up but dont think that will help. Problem was how slick the fabric is, it just slid around. If it was sewn together that would probably help.

    With that breeze, my back got pretty cold. Might try the blue pad trick. Only need enough for the back and shoulders for this time of year.

    Best thing about this is how little space it took up in the pack. Already planning an overnighter. Here's a few more pics. Sure do love those colors WV!




  8. #8
    Senior Member chickenwing's Avatar
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    BJM - That sure is a good looking hammock. I like those colors. You should be really proud of your creation. For me DIY is the only way.
    and then

    Check out my website www.cwhammocks.com or Find me on the YouTubes
    You can even"Like" me on facebook or follow me on Twitter @cwhammocks

    "In my world everyone is a pony, and they all eat rainbows, and poop butterflies."

  9. #9
    WV's Avatar
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    Great news. Glad you remeasured before you got out the scissors! Forget my proposed modifications.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Big Jim Mac's Avatar
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    Actually pretty intrigued by them WV, but I'll save that for the next one. Maybe University of Missouri colors this time? Go Tigers...

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