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  1. #1
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    Can't get comfortable in DIY hammock.

    Hey everyone,

    I've been doing a lot of reading and researching the past couple months, trying to learn as much as I can about hammocks. I've made a couple hammocks so far, out of a ripstop material from walmart that is dull on one side and shiny on the other. I assume it is some sort of nylon, but in all honesty I have no idea.

    I'm having a very discouraging problem with these hammocks. When I test out one of my hammocks for 15 minutes or so, it seems very comfortable. But when I actually go to sleep in it for the entire night, after 30 or 40 minutes I start tossing and turning. I will eventually fall asleep but I wake up about once an hour and have to move then it takes me a good 20 minutes to fall back asleep. Everyone talks about how comfortable a hammock is, and I agree to a point, but why can't I sleep any longer than I am? I like the fact that when I get out of the hammock in the morning, my shoulders and kidney areas are not aching, but I dont like the fact that I barely slept. I get better sleep in a tent even with the aching shoulders and kidney areas.

    Here are the things I've tried to alieviate the problem:
    - Tried using a pillow and not using a pillow
    - I use a rolled up sweater shirt under my knees and under my lower back (or else my knees and back will hurt very bad because of the curve of the hammock)
    - I've used a ridgeline and had anywhere from a lot of sag to hardly any sag.
    - I've tried it without a ridgeline with a lot of sag and hardly any sag.
    - Just to emphasize the above two comments, I've had so much sag I can lay nearly perpendicular to the hammock, and I've had so little sag that I could feel it pressing against my shoulders.
    - I've tried one layer of material so it will stretch, and I've tried two layers so there is no stretch.
    - I've tried three different ways to whip the ends (Just Jeff's "W" folding technique, a normal "fold in half and bunch the ends" technique, and HeadChange4u's Hennesy type folding)

    My suspension is based on Just Jeff's method of using two rappel rings to weave webbing through to add adjustability. So I have a 2 inch strip of webbing around the tree as a tree hugger, this is connected to a biner which connects to the webbing. The webbing goes through the two rings which are attached to the ends of my hammock. My current hammock is two layers of 1.9 oz ripstop from a local fabric store (not walmart this time). It is about 58 inches wide and about 105 inches long. But from whipping to whipping it is about 95 inches. I am 68 inches tall and weight 160 lbs.

    Does anyone have any suggestions at all? I think my last resort will be a bridge hammock, tho it seems much more difficult to make than the ones I have been. I'm not worried about how difficult it is, but the more difficult = the longer it will take = the longer it will be till I get it done....I'm usually pretty busy with school and work. So any suggestions on the current setup? I've tried to sleep in this one about 6 different times, each time with a different sag, and I get the same results. Seems comfortable to start with, eventually I start tossing and turning, once I fall asleep I wake up about once an hour and it takes about 20 minutes to get back to sleep.

    Thanks,
    -Jonnie

  2. #2
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    What doesn't feel good? Is it laying on your back or side? Is any part of you hurting?
    Is that too much to ask? Girls with frikkin' lasers on their heads?
    The hanger formly known as "hammock engineer".

  3. #3
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    Laying on my back diagonally on the hammock is ok. I dont have pain as long as something is under my knees and lower back. But even though it is comfortable, I'll eventually get restless and have to change position.

    Laying on my side is not much fun. My face gets pressed against the side of the hammock if I'm laying diagonally one way, and if I lay on the opposite diagonal my face falls into the center of the hammock. Using a tiny backpacking pillow raises my head too far and hurts my neck (because the hammock is already sloping up slightly, but not using one puts my face in the positions just described. The arm that is under me can never find a good position. Putting it behind me is very uncomfortable, putting it under me puts a lot of pressure on it and my shoulder, and when I put it in front of me it makes me lay more on my back, the position i was trying to get out of in the first place. Putting it in front puts pressure on the back of my shoulder as well.

    In my bed at home, I start out on my stomach till I get really tired, then I move to my side and fall asleep. When I wake up I'm on my back. So I've tried the same thing in the hammock. Laying on my stomach is doable if i put a large pillow under my hips to counteract the curve of the hammock, but once I change position to my side or my back, the whole process of getting restless starts again and I start trying every position I can find.

  4. #4
    Senior Member NCPatrick's Avatar
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    Sorry you're having such a hard time. It is worth it in the long run though if you get it figured out.

    Have you ever considered making a bit longer hammock? I've found that (for me) longer hammocks are a little more comfortable, due to perhaps laying a bit flatter on the diagonal, (now that I think about it, I'd be hard pressed to explain why it is more comfy).

    I start at about 10' long, and by the time I whip it it's a little bit shorter than that. You can always start long (or longer) and get shorter as you determine what works better for you. Just a suggestion, YMMV.


    "Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities."
    - Mark Twain
    I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
    - John Burroughs

  5. #5
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    If you are not extra big in the shoulders, you sound like a major candidate for a JRB BMBH, or a DIY BH. But there are so many variables with all of these hammocks, it is hard to say what your problem might be. I can't help but wonder if it is something to do with whipping, but seems like you should have solved that by now.

    As already suggested, I wonder if a longer hammock might help you?

    Is there any commercial hammock that you have been able to try which worked for you?

    For example, it is remarkable the dif in a regular top loading hammock with knots used to gather the ends together(Speer type), and a Claytor with a channel on the end through which the webbing passes, and the dif in both of these and a Hennessy Explorer ( longer version HH). I can get adequately- or very- comfortable in all of these, but they each have distinct differences and pros and cons. However, some of the differences may be attributable to length dif, and maybe even width dif. For example, the Claytor is both the longest and narrowest of these 3.

    Good luck on your search for something that works, sorry I can't be more help.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lone Wolf's Avatar
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    When reading HC4U DIY thread, he mentioned that he had refold the hammock quite a few times before he got the sweet spot correct.

  7. #7
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    I havent tried a longer hammock yet. I guess I could run out to wally world and see if they have any cheap fabric left and try to make a longer one. Its worth a shot.

    My friend has an ENO hammock and its the only commercial one I've ever seen in person. I havent had a chance to try it out though so I have no idea how it feels.

    I was wrong about the whipping I'm using. I'm using the whipping from this thread: Asymmetrical Experiment I think I'll go home and try headchanges design before I buy more material.

  8. #8
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    I changed to the way headchange posted on the hh. I think it feels better. I think I folded every 2.5". The tension on the edges makes a huge deal.

    You can make test hammocks out of any material. I used a lot of thick $1 cotton. I made one 14' and kept changing it from there. For me it came out to a 10' hammock body, 10' ridgeline, and about 6" of rope on the suspension lines to attach the hammock to the ends of the ridgeline.

    It does take time and practice to get it right. If you can, try some commerical ones. I spent some nights in a hh before trying to make my own.

    It may come down to you have to change your sleep habbits. Sometimes it works better for me if I get into the hammock when I am tired and ready to sleep. A full day of hiking makes a difference too.
    Is that too much to ask? Girls with frikkin' lasers on their heads?
    The hanger formly known as "hammock engineer".

  9. #9
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    How big of an effect would the ridgeline have on headchanges original design if I didnt have it in the whipping? Just curious, because right now (not using his design) my ridgeline is on the rappel rings that are about 7 inches from the whipping on my hammock. So the ridgeline isnt even attached to my hammock, it is above it on the rings.

    It very well could be my sleeping habits. I do only go to bed when I'm tired, and last night I was exhausted when I finally crawled into the hammock, but maybe its the noise situation. In my room I have two fans on high all night long cuz its so hot but now its difficult for me to sleep without them. I need the humming sound. When I'm outside, there is nothing. Bugs and birds and wind. Maybe that could be keeping me awake and making me restless (its more of a restless feeling than an uncomfortable/hurt/pain kind of feeling....I just feel like I can't sit still for some reason...unless I'm trying to sleep on my side then it truly is just an awkward feeling)

  10. #10
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    I don't think it makes a huge difference on the feel. The ridgeline just makes the hammock sag the same each time you hang. The difference is in how far away from your face the ridgeline is. Also in the size and style of bugnetting you choose.
    Is that too much to ask? Girls with frikkin' lasers on their heads?
    The hanger formly known as "hammock engineer".

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