An Ultralight Hammock

You can now make a hammock which weighs (well) under 150 grams including its suspension system! Given that you can also make a hammock tarp which weighs less than this including tie-outs and pegs, (so a total carry weight of sub 300 grams!) you should seriously consider hammocking as an option, or at least as an alternative choice to your tent when you fail to find a suitable tent site at the end of a long day. Being able to sleep on the ground or above it is a great option if you want to hunt right up to dark.

This is particularly apposite (in forested areas obviously) when you can expect very wet conditions (as in Fiordland). If you are unable to camp on the ground, you will be in very serious trouble indeed (there) if you only have a tent or tarp. People die. Be warned.

Instead of that, you can just relax like this in your hammock.

Dutchware now has this wonderful new hammock fabric which weighs a mere .71 oz/yd 2 Cloud 71 Hammock Fabric at US14.95/yd (Mar 2021).  It is 57″ wide (including selvedge) meaning approx 56″ of useful fabric, anyway wide enough for a hammock.

You will need your height plus approx 2′ plus say 4″ for (double) hems, so roughly 8′. That would be 38 ft2 or 4.22. yd 2 or 2.99 oz or 85 grams. You could tie it to a tree with approx 3.6 metres (each end) –  so 7.2 metres in total (allow 8) of say 3mm dyneema cord.

The cord has a breaking strength over 1,000 kg and weighs approx 7.5 grams per metre so 8 metres would weigh 60 grams – total weight of hammock set-up 144.5 grams. If you want a lazier/easier set-up you could use ‘whoopie slings‘.

These are available from Tier Gear for A$12 each and weigh 18.5 grams each (and are 180 cm long). You either need an additional length of the dyneema cord to go around the tree (say 3.0 metres altogether, the lighter option) or tree straps. Simon might even make you longer whoopie slings if you asked nicely.

As you can see, if you use the whoopie slings the suspension will weigh nearer 70 grams – an inconsequential difference considering the easier set-up. You can prevent damage to the bark (not such a problem in wilderness areas and with harder barked Oz trees) by inserting twigs under the rope if you wish.

Spot loves hammocks. Well, Spot loves camping.

I will be making up two such hammocks which I can combine with a new version of my Grey Flyer tent to ensure Della and I stay alive, safe and dry in the wildest places such as a planned future expedition once more to search for the moose in Fiordland.

I find I am quite warm enough and do not experience a cold back if I just place my inflatable mat in the hammock. I have slept in a hammock this for I guess a total of around a year!

If you are a bit wider at the shoulders, there are a number of expedients for holding the hammock material away so that it does not compress your sleeping bag and create a cold spot. A couple of pieces of blue foam will suffice. The simplest/lightest/ best of these I am yet to write a post about. You will just have to wait.

Finding room for two dogs and two humans in one hammock could be difficult.

You can hang two hammocks under the one tarp quite easily though, as explained here. One human and one dog per hammock perhaps!

As for your hammock tarp, I used a 7′ x 7′ tarp quite successfully for many years (and never got wet). If you want to be really certain you could go for 8′ x 8′ which leaves you with a nice sized tarp for ground camping too. I have a cuben one which I have used for many years in both configurations.

I have sewn an extra 4′ (cut in half diagonally) of fabric to it to make the ‘wings’ you can see in the photo below. This worked well and added very little weight. The whole ‘tent (including eg Polycro groundsheet, guys, pegs stuff sack etc weighs less than 200 grams.

Two people can sleep dry and safely in this either on the ground or in two hammocks side by side in the wildest of conditions.

In .51oz/yd2 cuben fibre such a tarp need not weigh much more than 100 grams plus some reinforcing patches, guy lines and pegs.

Clearly a 7′ x 7′ one would weigh only 80 grams. You could even use the lighter .35 oz/yd2 (54 grams), but I would not.

I actually prefer woven fabrics myself, so I would go (say) for Ripstopbytheroll’s .93 oz/yd2 Mountain Silpoly which will make a tarp under 190 grams. Of course, I would actually use my Grey Flyer Tent design (now) whose roof weighed 310 grams (including tie-outs and guys) in 1.15oz/yd2  silpoly and which would clearly weigh 250 grams in this lighter fabric. I will be making one soon as the fabric has arrived. Wait and see.

Look how strong this new hammock material is:

BTW: Dutch sells an ultralight hammock chair made from this material: It might not be quite as light or as useful as my Nano Chair 2 (at 50 grams!) but if you can’t sew, it might be good to try.

See Also:

Whoopie Slings

Silnylon Hammock Tent

Simple Hammock Double Up

Other hammock related posts:

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