Just Jeff's Hiking Page

"Going to the woods is going home, for I suppose
we came from the woods originally."

- John Muir

How Do I Make My Own Hammock?

You've sewn the body, gathered and whipped the ends, added the supports, and possibly put on a ridgeline...what's left? First, just hang and enjoy. Three important issues here:

  1. Make sure whatever you tie up to is strong enough to hold you. Someone posted on the Yahoo group that he tied to a doorframe...and pulled the frame out of the wall onto him. Remember, the supports can exert 600 lbs on each side. Just be careful if you're not tying onto a tree about 4" in diameter.
  2. Be sure to hang with enough sag that you can lay diagonally in the hammock. If you lay straight down the centerline, you'll be shaped like a banana. Pulling the hammock very tight can somewhat compensate for the banana shape, but then it'll squeeze your shoulders and they may get sore in the morning. So hang it with a good bit of sag, then put your feet on one side of the centerline and your head on the other side so you're diagonal across the hammock. Your head and feet will drop and you'll be nearly flat. I can even lay on my stomach in some of my hammocks.
  3. REMEMBER THIS - Hammocking is a skill just like any other. Remember how long it took you to learn to camp? Even picking a tent site has a skill set that you had to learn, even if you do it without thinking now. Learning to camp in a hammock is just like that...a set of skills that you'll have to learn over time. After learning to hang it safely, the most important issues are Staying Warm and Staying Dry. Then start figuring out how to Stay Bugfree, too.
  4. I know I said three issues, but here's a fourth - HAVE FUN! BE COMFORTABLE! Lots of people are converting to hammocks right now, but a few of them try it and decide it's not for them. If you can't get comfortable, you're likely experiencing a problem that someone else has already solved. Log onto Hammock Forums and explain what has you uncomfortable, or cold, or how you got wet...someone will be able to help you. And if you decide it's not for you, someone there will probably buy your new hammock!

Now go experiment...and start figuring out how to stay warm and dry while you're laying in your new homemade gear.

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