Picture of Free-Standing Portable Hammock Stand
1 Materials.jpg

One of the best things about summer is being able to enjoy the beautiful weather from the comfort of a hammock. But unless you’ve got the perfect gear, it can be difficult to find two trees or posts close enough and sturdy enough to set up your hammock exactly where you want it. That’s why we decided to design this lightweight portable hammock stand – so you can make any spot the perfect hammock spot, wherever you are. This project takes about 1-2 ½ hours, depending on your tools. Once the stand is completed, it only takes about 5 minutes (longer the first few times) to set up.

10ft. of 1 ¼” diameter SCH-40 PVP Pipe

10ft. of 1” diameter SCH-40 PVP Pipe

50ft. Paracord

48” x 3/4” x 1/8” aluminum angle

(2) 1/2” screws

Material Cost: approximately $20


Permanent marker

Pocket knife


Power Drill with 3/8” drill bit

Small, round file


Hacksaw w/ blade

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Step 1: Create Stakes (Optional)

Picture of Create Stakes (Optional)
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7 Stake_Repeat.jpg
4 Mark_Point.jpg
6 Cut_Point.jpg
8 Mark_Notch.jpg
10 Cut_Notch.jpg
11 Notch_Detail.jpg
12 File_Stake_B.jpg

These first few steps describe how to make your own aluminum stakes. If you’d prefer, you can skip this section and buy aluminum tent stakes from any outdoor gear store - just make sure they’re at least 10” long.

1. Measure & mark the aluminum angle into four 1ft. sections. We suggest laying the aluminum angle with the corner facing up for easier cutting.

2. At one end of each aluminum section, mark a line from the center of the angle towards the edge, creating a 45° angle; repeat on the other side of the center to create a point. Cut along the guide lines.

3. At the flat end of each stake, make a mark ¾” from top edge, and ¼” from side edge. Make a small triangle with the pointy end of the triangle pointed towards the bottom of the stake.

4. With the hacksaw, cut out the notches at the top of each stake.

5. File all cut edges of each metal stake.

cbhoff92326 days ago

If I used larger PVC pipe would this hold more weight? I have a family sized hammock and it's rated for 600lbs!

angelleah19819 months ago

This is a great idea. I'm just wondering why it's so close to the ground?? I saw where you were talking about the angle and "tighter" hammock but didn't seem to get my answer there.

Bundaberg42 (author)  angelleah19818 months ago
We started low to the ground so we wouldn't be injured if the system failed, so that's what most of our pictures show. In general, the further you hammer the support posts into the ground, the lower your eventual set up will be. The support posts could be made longer, but you'd likely have to use a stronger (and heavier) pipe to reduce bending.
FringeBits9 months ago

Great project, was able to put it together in a couple of hours. I did end up using some existing tent stakes that I had, and they seemed to work OK. Getting everything setup and aligned took awhile the first time, but I expect it'll be easier next time. Thanks!

Bundaberg42 (author)  FringeBits8 months ago
So glad the project worked for you :-)
EnigmaMax8 months ago

Fun build! Now I don't have to find two trees perfectly spaced apart. I tried this and modified some things. It helps to
tie a weight on a string before the knot where the cords split, this
makes setting up easier as you can tell when the pole is level. The
stakes don't work very well in the rain, so digging deeper for the poles
and reinforcing stakes with buried rocks is the only solution I found. I
put a small piece of rebar in the 1/2" tube so it won't break easily, and the pole won't bend so much.

Bundaberg42 (author)  EnigmaMax8 months ago
Thanks for the notes about modifications. I hope you enjoyed the project.
darus67 made it!8 months ago

Neat project. It worked fine for my 10yr old offspring. For my more considerable adult frame, not so much. The stakes ripped right out of the sod. For my second attempt, I attached one end of the hammock to a basketball goal post (3" steel pipe set in concrete) and put all 4 ropes and stakes on the other end of the hammock. That seemed to support my weight without much problem. Future plans include making another set of stakes and using two stakes on each corner, with a yoke to distribute the load between them.

Bundaberg42 (author)  darus678 months ago
Thanks for sharing pics! Glad the system was workable for you.
arlen9 months ago

I love this. I want to try making a version using bamboo poles :D

Very cool. Always good to use on family trips and stuff
Jobar0079 months ago

I didn't know PVC could support that much weight. That's good to know. An alternative would be a hardwood closet rod but you would lose the ability to store stakes inside of your tube. Perhaps aluminum tubing?

Your hammock seems to be setup with the poles too close. Sleeping all night like you show is hard on people's backs if they have back problems. You ideally want to be on a relatively flat surface when you lay in your hammock, slightly canted to one side. Here is a very crude drawing I found on the internet on how it is best to sleep in a hammock:

Bundaberg42 (author)  Jobar0079 months ago
I agree and have first hand experience of how much more comfortable it is to sleep for longer periods of time on a flat hammock than a curved one. The curve we recommended for this hammock stand setup is based on the limitations of PVC pipe.

We chose PVC because it is lightweight, easy to acquire, and fairly inexpensive. But, because it is highly flexible, PVC is relatively stronger when supporting weight as a column (load applied parallel to the pipe direction) than when a load is applied perpendicularly to the pipe, so long as lateral flexibility can be managed.

This setup angles the force vectors so that weight is supported by the relatively high compressive strength of the pipe, with the support chords and internal connector piece reducing lateral flexibility, rather than applying force to the relatively weaker flexural strength.

A tighter setup would put more force perpendicular to the direction of the pipes (from the hammock stretched between them pulling horizontally) which would weaken the structure.

TL;DR - Yes, a tighter hammock is more comfortable long-term, but PVC is so flexible that it is stronger when the weight pulls downward, and parallel to the pipe, than when force pulls it inward, side to side. Thanks for the pointer on long term comfort, though.

That makes sense (the compression vertically verses perpendicularly). That's the exact reason I suggested wooden poles. Wood has one of the highest compression resistance rates if you compress it like gravity does when growing (when cost and availability are deciding factors). On top of that it is really light given how high the compression is. I think I still have a hammock. I'm going to have to try this out. If I do, I'll report back here.

floppydisk1239 months ago
Or possibly metal
floppydisk1239 months ago
Would a wood pole be better if you wanted a tighter setup I was looking at making this but I like my hammock to be very tight
MrRedBeard9 months ago

Nice! I love my hammocks and now I can possibly use it on flat land with no trees.

seamster9 months ago

Nice hammock stand! And excellent documentation. Great first instructable!

Bundaberg42 (author)  seamster9 months ago
Thank you. I've read a ton of instructables since I became a member, so I had some good examples by the time I created this first one.
Jdsardone9 months ago

This is great, possibly for this weekend, and then maybe make a taller version for my hammock tent

Bundaberg42 (author)  Jdsardone9 months ago
We're thinking of modifications to this system that could support a rainfly/tarp as well. We'll keep experimenting and post again with new ideas.
buckwag12199 months ago
Awesome "ible"! I will be attempting to build this at my first chance!
Bundaberg42 (author)  buckwag12199 months ago
Thanks! We hope you enjoy it.
Bundaberg42 (author) 9 months ago