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  1. #1
    New Member woodswookie's Avatar
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    Question Looking for DIY Suggestions

    Hi all,

    I'm new to the forum and would like to pick the forum's brains over some questions I have.

    Let me start of telling you all a little about myself. Being of a slightly stout stature 6'6" and around 335 lbs. (which I'm currently working on trading myself in for a leaner, meaner me). And being of a robust nature, has imparted visions of myself waking up on the ground in bewilderment after a sudden altitude loss in the middle of the night
    Thinking of this, I looked online for hammocks and found to my relief that the Hennessy Safari Deluxe can suspend my weight.

    My wife and I know our way around sewing machine and we're not afraid to use it. We both plan on making our own gear and figured that hammocks would be the best place to start.

    My questions are:

    What sort of material do people recommend?
    What width of strapping would be suggested?
    Is there any reinforcing that I should do on certain parts?
    and What would be the best length for said hammock? (I heard 2' + body length)

    These are the first questions that come to mind. I'm sure there will be more to follow?

    Thanks in advance for any help given.

    SRG

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Here's some observations.

    I'm 265lbs myself, so I'm no small fella even if I'm only 6' tall. I use a single layer taffeta tablecloth 126" x 60 ". I like that length ( so that's body length +4' on me). I think a longer hammock body gives you more options with getting that sweet spot on diagonal lays. The single layer taffeta has held up well so far, but I think I'm eventually going to look at getting some 1.9 oz nylon ripstop as it packs down better and lighter, and I like the idea of having ripstop to stop any rips from becoming catastrophic if I ever damage my taffeta. I've seen reports of single layer taffeta supporting over 400 lbs.

    I use a pair of plain 6ft 1.5" polyester tree straps I bought on Amazon. I think most of the polyester straps in that width are rated around 1500 lbs. You can purchase your own strap material if you want ( DIY Gear Supply is a good starting place for most of the stuff I'm talking about ). I like mine because they came with a loop sewn in one side, and a metal ring on the other.

    Suspension from the hammock to the straps would probably be a good place for 1/8" Amsteel line. That stuff is rated for a little over 2000lbs. It's about $0.36 a foot and well worth the money. If you want to get fancy you can learn to make your own whoopie slings or loops, or just purchase them pre-made. I use heavy duty carabiners ( purchased from Amazon ) to attach my Amsteel loops ( home made ) to my tree straps . I'm just lazy and like a fast connection. If you are willing to research there are lighter weight options for connecting suspension to straps available.

    I like a ridgeline on my hammock. A lot of people like Zing-it or Lash-it, which is a high strength and low weight synthetic line. As the hammock ridgeline doesn't support a lot of stress those products are great. I use some Home Depot 3/16" poly cord myself with some $1 carabiners, but I'll probably switch over soon. I think the Zing-it line is available around $0.25 a foot.

    As you can tell by casual my disregard of weight I don't really backpack my setup much right now, but I am working toward getting gear that will allow that if needed. Some of your choices might be weighed in that regard as well. I'd probably ditch a lot of the carabiners and the metal loops in my straps if I got serious about any long range backpacking. The taffeta isn't lightweight versus nylon either.

    That being said I doubt my current setup weighs any more now than the 2 man dome tent I used to lug everywhere when I was a teen and into college.

    So recap:

    I'd look into 1.9oz nylon ripstop for a hammock body. I wouldn't personally look any shorter than 10 feet, but I like a longer hammock. I think at 6'6" you are going to want some length. Ripstop is plenty robust. The only reinforcing you might want to do is if you are going to make your hammocks with end channels for suspension. If so, make sure you lay in some good and numerous seams in that area.

    Amsteel is about the strongest and lightest combo you are going to get for suspension. Lookup whoopie slings if you are interested in having an adjustable and stable suspension system.

    Polyester tree straps 1.5" to 2" widths. Wider is generally stronger and should protect the trees better. Avoid nylon straps as they streeeeeeeeeeeetch.

    Connecting suspension to strap can be done in a variety of methods. I like heavy duty carabiners just for ease. Learn how to do a marlin spike and you can ixnay the carabiners and their weight.

    Zing-it or Lash-it for hammock ridgeline if you like the best/lightest. Or use any non-stretchy cord you have around.

    I probably left something out, but this is a good start. There are probably a dozen other options we could discuss.
    Last edited by geneaut; 02-26-2013 at 14:31.

  3. #3
    Brute1100's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for DIY Suggestions

    I hope you have some free time... Here is a short compilation list...

    https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...ad.php?t=51555
    Live, Laugh, Love, if that doesn't work. Load, Aim and Fire, repeat as necessary...

    Buy, Try, Learn, Repeat

  4. #4
    Senior Member turtleburger's Avatar
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    Hi as semi newbe (5'10, and 285), got 7 nights in, in the hammock this last fall I will toss in my 3 cents,
    I also have a tablecloth hammock, I ordered 2 First one had some flaws and I had 2 epic fails in one, (fail fix, fail, made into kid hammocks) the second one used over the 7 nights, I like it, I also have a eno single- hate it too small for me really tight in sholders not a big fan of the feel but that might change. but i like the materal of the table cloth. I have some ripstop that is in the works to make a hammock. as for lenght if you are makeing it yourself --go long at the start, you can always make it shorter,

    i use straps from rachet strap, they are 10 foot long and have hooks with clips built in and the use a marlin spike hitch with a peice of arrow shaft, has held me fine.

    Not sure how weight conscious you are, but none of my stuff is UL, for cordage (ridgelines tyouts, use what you have or find some smaller poly cord like geneaut said,

    Also i started with sleeping bags as topquilts and pads got down to about 25*, 2 weeks ago made a uq out of a old down comforter and with a peice of refleix and a 20 bag as a tq I got down to 3*,

    all of my stuff is peiced together as if learn, try, fail and retry, dont expect perfection right away, I know it did not happen to me,

    There is lots of info on this forum and at sometimes it is overwelming to digest it all,

  5. #5
    New Member woodswookie's Avatar
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    Dude! You Rock! Thanks for the info. Can't wait to get things started.

  6. #6
    New Member woodswookie's Avatar
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    Great Idea on the ratchet straps!

    For some reason I hadn't even thought in that direction. I even have some.

    Also being a noob, I'm starting to get acquainted with the different hammock.
    So far in my head,I believe that a bridge hammock has spanner bars, and not sure what the banana looking one is.

    Is that what is considered a tablecloth model?

    Thanks for all the responses thus far. I clearly see I've come to the right place.

    SRG

  7. #7
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    The "tablecloth" hammock is a gathered end hammock made out of a pre-cut/pre-hemmed (I think) tablecloth available on line. Personally I prefer polyester taffeta to rip stop nylon, but that's a personal preference call. I just like the way it feels better.

    A bridge hammock is a whole different animal. It is somewhat more complicated to construct, but still not difficult. It has a totally different lay characteristic. Having tried both, my own preference is a gathered end but hey... to each their own.
    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

    Important thread injector guidelines especially for Newbies

    Bobbin Tension - A Personal Viewpoint

  8. #8

    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by selfreliantgiant View Post
    Great Idea on the ratchet straps!

    For some reason I hadn't even thought in that direction. I even have some.

    Also being a noob, I'm starting to get acquainted with the different hammock.
    So far in my head,I believe that a bridge hammock has spanner bars, and not sure what the banana looking one is.

    Is that what is considered a tablecloth model?

    Thanks for all the responses thus far. I clearly see I've come to the right place.

    SRG
    If you get ratchet straps make sure they are polyester if at all possible. I think Harbor Freight carries a set on their website that are something like $6.

    As far as the tablecloth thing:

    http://www.tableclothsfactory.com/default.asp

    That website sells tablecloths. We've discovered that their 'crinkled taffeta' 60X126 or 90X132 units make very good 'whipped end' hammocks. The price is around $12, and they often have specials over the weekends ... usually either 10% - 20% off or free shipping. I have 2 of the 60"X126" blanks I've made into hammocks. You can literally take the blanks, tie an overhand knot in the fabric at each end, attach your suspension, and hang. I've done that with one for my son, but my preferred method is called a gathered end like Rev mentioned in his post.

    His my daughter hanging in an early version of my gathered end:


    I've since replaced the 3/4" rope suspension with Amsteel loops. You can see the carabiner I still use attached to my tree straps by the metal loop installed on it.

    The tablecloths are nice. The fabric feels great, and supports me and my gear fine. However, it has the cons of being heavier than nylon ripstop, it doesn't compress as well for packing, and without the ripstop protection you run a risk of a minor hole developing into a catastrophic failure. Also, the colors available aren't exactly 'out doorsey' if that matters to you. Just things to think about. I still use both of mine, and am planning on getting my daughter a hot pink one.

  9. #9
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geneaut View Post
    without the ripstop protection you run a risk of a minor hole developing into a catastrophic failure.
    IMO the protection the ripstop grid provides is minimal, if at all. I can tear ripstop with my bare hands if the selvage is cut. Ripstop was made for garments that might get snagged on briars and other non-load bearing situations. Once you introduce the loading in a hammock I suspect the all bets are off. The weight difference is important if you are a gram weenie. But the safety factor of ripstop is way over rated IMO.
    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

    Important thread injector guidelines especially for Newbies

    Bobbin Tension - A Personal Viewpoint

  10. #10

    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramblinrev View Post
    IMO the protection the ripstop grid provides is minimal, if at all. I can tear ripstop with my bare hands if the selvage is cut. Ripstop was made for garments that might get snagged on briars and other non-load bearing situations. Once you introduce the loading in a hammock I suspect the all bets are off. The weight difference is important if you are a gram weenie. But the safety factor of ripstop is way over rated IMO.
    You make a good point. I bow to your wisdom

    So far my taffeta hasn't let me down, so I'll keep on hanging it up until it does. So far the comfort level has outweighed any minimal safety concern I've had with it.

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