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  1. #1

    Question Opinions solicited - minivan hammock for kids

    I am wanting to string up a couple of hammocks in my minivan. I want to go road tripping and will have 2 large dogs possibly and 3 kids. I thought if I could suspend the kids from the hammocks using the front and rear seats as anchors I'd be able to fit us in nicely. I'll take out the middle bench.

    The kids weigh about 70 & 120 lbs respectively.

    Would one style of hammock be preferable to another?

    Do you think the seats/headrests would take the weight? I could probably run a line to the steering wheel and the back trunk handle.

    Alternate hanging points?

    I want us as self contained as possible. I'm not planning to do a tent or anything as it will just make me nuts. I know myself. I want to have a succesful road trip and keeping things contained/simple are key - esp with dogs and a toddler to boot!

    I've read through a couple different tutorials for making a hammock and I think it's doable, but if you have pics or links you think might be up my alley, I'd love it.

    I appreciate the help. Thanks much!

    And if this is in the wrong forum, please feel free to move it.

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the Forums

    Considering the limited space i think a bridge hammock would be ideal in that place.
    Instead of tying to the headrest id try to run a strap from there to the rail on which the seat mounts ,
    you might find a point to mount to the rail instead of the seat.

    Were are you going to sleep

    You should be able to find instructions with pictures for a DIY Bridge hammock on here Have a look at the "Homemade Gear Directions" Subforum to get going =)
    Last edited by utilisateur; 04-30-2009 at 19:10.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply & welcome Util. I figured if the kids were suspended above, the dogs could grab the back bench and then baby and I would sleep in the middle part of the van on the floor (in the open section left after taking out that middle seat!) That is sacrilege (sp?) on a hammock site!

    I was also thinking of making a raised floor so I could have storage but a flat surface. Just a bit of framework and a sheet of plywood cut to the appropriate size high enough for a shorter tote to fit under. It would be "tight" but doable. I am not claustrophobic thankfully! I know the kids would just think they'd done gone to heaven with the setup!

    Ya think 1 wide bridge style? Or two smaller ones?

    Keep the ideas coming! I appreciate it!

  4. #4
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    When I was a kid we slept 5 in a full sized station wagon while driving all night. Of course witht he seat belt laws now you can't do that anymore. Dogs can sleep on the front passenger floor. Should be doable.

    I would think you would definately want two separate hammocks rather than one wide one. There will be enough together time without having the kids roll together at night as well.
    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."
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    Senior Member Walking Bear's Avatar
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    You might also look at the shoulder belt attachment points as locations to attach the hammocks.

  6. #6
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    Ah Your Plan sounds even nicer now
    You dont get any legislative problems with "random" modifications on cars interior in the US? In Germany nearly anything afixed to the vehicle would need to be registered (which wont work on many things and costs quite a lot) or can get you in trouble

    If your false bottom covers the whole area between front seats and the last row ,maybe you could incorporate a flip up support for the hammocks.You could even leave the hammocks attached so you'd only have to remove the floor cover release the flip up stand slide it in and down and replace the cover

    I know that requires alot more thought to work and is quite a bit more work than a "simple" raised floor
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  7. #7
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by utilisateur View Post
    Ah Your Plan sounds even nicer now
    You dont get any legislative problems with "random" modifications on cars interior in the US? In Germany nearly anything afixed to the vehicle would need to be registered (which wont work on many things and costs quite a lot) or can get you in trouble
    In general that would only apply to those modifications which affected passenger or road safety _while in motion_. In other words, if the idea was to travel with the hammocks deployed and occupied then additional inspection would most likely be in order. Something that did not affect the handling of the car nor reduce the passenger safety aspects of the vehicle would porbably not make any difference. Lots of people have sleeping arrangements they lay out at night and pack up during the day. Running a permanent bar from one seat belt attachment to the other minght be problematic as it could be a head injury irsk in a collision. But attaching a couple of semi-flush brackets to the chassis post for a removeable bar used only at night and stowed during the day would likely not be a problem.

    Warming: I am not a lawyer and these kinds of things can vary from one state to another.
    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

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  8. #8
    Senior Member TiredFeet's Avatar
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    The only thing I think would need more investigation is the ridge line length (real or virtual) of the hammocks used for the kids.

    How long is the fabric and the ridge line to get the desired lay.

    We have investigated hanging inside a Chevy Express van. Hanging diagonal from front corner to back corner is doable for one hammock. More than one is problematic.

    Of course that is for Bridge Hammocks with a 114" ridge line.

    The Hennessy ULBA has a 100" ridge line I believe and I assume the Speer type is probably on the same order.

    I have seen pics of someone using a hammock in a Jeep, but decided I wouldn't find it comfortable.

    The biggest problem is the ridge line length. For kids that is probably much shorter, but it still seems that it would be longer than from front seat back to rear seat back unless the kids are very young.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Fig's Avatar
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    Why not try and find a shop that installs roll bars. I am sure they could fabricate up a frame that could double as a rollbar with plenty of space to attach hammocks. I don't know if I would trust attaching hammocks to either seats or seat belt attachment points. You don't want those weakened and failing at the time when they are most needed (an accident) because you were hanging hammocks off of them. I would basically have a rollcage made for up front, and then one in the back, and the kids could tie off to each end at night. Plus, it might take up a little room, but look at the safety factor. You would be improving your chances in the event of a rollover.

    I would think any good offroad shop could fab up something for you. Possibly a speed shop, or if you have any friends that race cars. Roll cages are mandatory for racing.

    One last thought. If you had something made up like this, I wouldn't go putting things like eye bolts in to help hang the hammocks. Again, in the unfortunate event of a collision I wouldn't want things bolted down that could impact a potentially flailing body. An eye bolt to the head would probably do some serious damage with collision type forces. Plain smooth rollbar with enough cross bars to allow you to tie off and not have the rope sliding would be what I would go for.

  10. #10
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    Hammock + Minivan

    For another idea for hammock attachment points inside a minivan, check out this video!

    http://youtu.be/FyyoFujk8K4

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