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  1. #1
    Senior Member litetrek's Avatar
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    Hammock Fabric Tips

    I'm thinking about making a hammock to try out the concept for comfort and I'm a little confused about the best material. Nylon by nature will stretch A LOT under load. However, every "how to" webpage about making a hammock says to make the body of the hammock out of 1.1 or 1.9 ripstop nylon. So, I have two questions ... 1) what fabric are the best quality ready made hammocks made of ? 2) wouldn't a nylon fabric hammock stretch a lot while sleeping on it.
    ? I weigh about 230 lbs which is the upper end of many hammock's weight limit, so stretching the fabric is a possible issue. My plan is to make something cheaply to see if its comfortable for me (I've checked the local hancock fabric and nylon ripstop is only about 4.50 a yard, although it seems to be an iffy quality fabric. (sometimes half of that with the right coupon)... if the hammock concept works for me I'll probably splurge and buy a nice ready made.

  2. #2

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    I weigh a bit more. Seems to me that if you go with ~2 oz fabric and 1/8 amsteel you will be in a reasonable safe zone. I've played with both nylon and polyester. Both work. They do feel different. You also want to try a structural ridge line and vary the length to see how that works out. You can learn a lot building a beater to play with then decide what you want. It also clues you in about what to adjust if you then buy a "good" hammock where you are taking someone else's idea of "good". Their idea may or may not be best for your body. Much easier to tune that after you understand what's going on. ;-)

  3. #3
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by litetrek View Post
    I weigh about 230 lbs which is the upper end of many hammock's weight limit, so stretching the fabric is a possible issue.
    Most commercial hammocks that I am familiar with top out at 350 - 400 pounds. A far cry above 250. My own preference is polyester taffeta. Many commercial hammocks are also made of polyester taffeta. At 250 you should be able to find a whole lot of commercial hammocks that would serve you well. If you go with the cottage industry vendors here just contact them and ask what they would recommend. They are all knowledgeable and stand up folks who will give you the best adivce they know.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member JohnSawyer's Avatar
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    I haven't found a sufficiently light polyester to make hammocks from, so I've always made mine from Ripstop nylon.

    1.9 from Joann's would more than cover you. If you want some versatility, a Double Layer 1.1 would be extra-comfy...

    If you're going to make one, I suggest Knotty's instructions as a great basic hammock design. 10' or longer for the raw fabric would be good.
    "Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda


  5. #5
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    just remember you can buy a good ready made hammock and get everything you need for just a few hundred bucks. if you decide to make your own also remember the devil is in the details. you will need a thread injector(aka: sewing machine ) your hammock material, whatever kind of suspension you decide (webbing, amsteel, or whatever else is out there) bug netting, and a tarp. Any decent thread injector you find will be either more expensive or equal to the price of a ready made all inclusive hammock. Im speaking from experience here cause i thought "oh yea i can make a hammock its not that hard, some fabric, some line, some knots, no big deal" and i was 100% right, and as long as i dont leave my backyard the thing is wonderful. lol. I could take it out on a camping trip but i wouldn't be comfortable in it, no bug net or tarp, and it would ruin my experience.

    so to make a long post short, if you just wanna go hammock camping and see if you like it, and how comfortable it is. just buy a ready made system, you will be far ahead in the long run with both money and time. but if you wanna learn the ins and outs of making your own from scratch and dont mind spending 2-3X more then a ready made system. then make your own. But i will say this, having someone say "Thats a really nice hammock where did you get it?" and replying with "I made it" is a pretty cool feeling.

  6. #6
    Senior Member hippofeet's Avatar
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    My old singer is great, 25$ at a yard sale. say 5 bucks a yard for 4 yards of material is 20 bucks and 10$ for a yard sale backyard pavilion tent thing made of screen thats in decent shape, you can make a few bugscreens if you cut it right, a couple flea market sleeping bags for zippers, and once you have the sewing machine and accoutrements you can make all sorts of stuff. I have used everything BUT amsteel including the walmart 5/16 or whatever cheap rope, if its 150 lbs I double it up. I have never snapped a rope. My current whoopies are just some junk old plasticy dog leash rope I found in the barn. Its around 1/2 inch, I swing from'em. My first hammock had a completely zip off bugnet, and it was literally the first thing I ever ran through a sewing machine. It ain't hard, just takes time, and practice. I don't have 50$ in this one.
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by hippofeet View Post
    My old singer is great, 25$ at a yard sale. say 5 bucks a yard for 4 yards of material is 20 bucks and 10$ for a yard sale backyard pavilion tent thing made of screen thats in decent shape, you can make a few bugscreens if you cut it right, a couple flea market sleeping bags for zippers, and once you have the sewing machine and accoutrements you can make all sorts of stuff. I have used everything BUT amsteel including the walmart 5/16 or whatever cheap rope, if its 150 lbs I double it up. I have never snapped a rope. My current whoopies are just some junk old plasticy dog leash rope I found in the barn. Its around 1/2 inch, I swing from'em. My first hammock had a completely zip off bugnet, and it was literally the first thing I ever ran through a sewing machine. It ain't hard, just takes time, and practice. I don't have 50$ in this one.

    good post. ;-)

  8. #8
    Senior Member litetrek's Avatar
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    Thanks

    Thanks for the helpful info and comments. I've been backpacking for 35 + years and have most of what I need to throw together a trial hammock that I can put up in the back yard and sleep in it over night a few times. I figure I can throw together a "Beater" as someone called it for less than 50 dollars, but my concern was the fabric easily available to me is at Hancock fabric and the people who work there know nothing about it, including the weight (ie 1.1 or 1.9 oz). That said either would work for one or two nights of use. Fabric cost if using that fabric for a trial hammock is less than $20. I don't need a tarp and I can come up with slings, etc for a one night trial sleep by either borrowing or using what I have.

  9. #9
    Whoooo Buddy)))) Shug's Avatar
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    Maybe try a "beater" with a good ol' bedsheet rigged up for a few nights....no sewing involved. Follow Just Jeff's instructions for the basics.....http://www.tothewoods.net/HomemadeHammock1.html
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  10. #10
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    Normally the ripstop nylon found at Hancocks and Joanns is 1.9 oz and will work well for what you want to do. Many of use have used those fabrics to make our hammocks. It should last many years, not just a night or two.

    I prefer a finished length of 10'-6" for comfort.

    Welcome to the forum and the DIY bug.

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