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Picture of Free-Standing Portable Hammock Stand
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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.

Materials:
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

Tools:

Permanent marker

Pocket knife

Lighter

Power Drill with 3/8” drill bit

Small, round file

Screwdriver

Hacksaw w/ blade

 
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Step 1: Create Stakes (Optional)

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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.

cbhoff9233 months ago

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

Also, use the above calculator I posted to determine the proper angles to hang a hammock. A really taut hammock at 600lbs (5 degree angle) would exert a whopping 3442 lbs per strap!!!! No PVC would withstand that. A 30 degree angle, you exert 600 lbs per strap. 45 degree angle = 424 lbs per strap. Now we're talking. Not the "comfortable" taut hammocks we all think of, but better than hearing something snap suddenly!

A larger PVC pipe would hold a little more weight but the best thing to do would be to layer pipe on the inside. About three layers or more of PVC pipe of varying sizes each going into the other would give it a much stronger weight capacity. Also if you know anything about bows you know that a recurve makes a bow much stronger. If you know how to recurve the PVC pipe you could do that too.

Great instructable!

As I am sure you are probably aware, but as a PSA for others: Hammocks should all be hung at much less taut than people think! Your angles, at least in the final pictures, look pretty good. You want a minimum 30 degree angles between the supports and the hammock lines.

If a hammock is too taut, then the forces are way too strong. A 200 lbs person can exert over 1000 lbs of of force at a 5 degree angle (per strap!), but only 200 lbs (per strap) at a 30 degree angle. This was the biggest wake up call when I got into hammocks. The backyard hammocks exert a TON of force on their stands when they are super taut, which is why they are heavy steel. Basically, take your weight / sin(angle).

This is also why straps rated for 200 lbs (per strap) fail on people all the time. A 100 lbs person in a hammock at 5 degree angle exerts 500 lbs of force on the straps and the supports.

This is a wonderful calculator that everyone should use before hanging a hammock!!!!

http://theultimatehang.com/hammock-hang-calculator...

This also explains why the PVC and stakes did such a good job supporting your weight. Your angles are closer to 30 degrees in the final pictures.

Sgt Doughy made it!2 months ago
I made this with high hopes, and I wasn't completely let down. After I made it I tested it out by trying to hammock in the middle of my yard. After MUCH adjustment I finally got to where my butt barely touched the ground, but the longer I sat, the more the hammock streched until I was sitting on the ground completely.

After a while I felt defeated, but I decided to try to use one of the polls and a tree instead of two polls. This method works great.

My advice is this. Don't make this if you plan on using the 2 polls as standalone support for the hammock. Make 1 poll and use that and a tree for the support (as shown in the picture #1).

******NOTE: You can buy 11in or 16in plastic ground spikes at Lowes for $2/spike
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angelleah198111 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)  angelleah198110 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.
FringeBits11 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)  FringeBits10 months ago
So glad the project worked for you :-)
EnigmaMax10 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)  EnigmaMax10 months ago
Thanks for the notes about modifications. I hope you enjoyed the project.
darus67 made it!10 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.

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Bundaberg42 (author)  darus6710 months ago
Thanks for sharing pics! Glad the system was workable for you.
arlen11 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
Jobar00711 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:

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Bundaberg42 (author)  Jobar00711 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.

floppydisk12311 months ago
Or possibly metal
floppydisk12311 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
MrRedBeard11 months ago

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

seamster11 months ago

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

Bundaberg42 (author)  seamster11 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.
Jdsardone11 months ago

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

http://hammockcompany.com/product/expedition+asym+...

Bundaberg42 (author)  Jdsardone11 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.
buckwag121911 months ago
Awesome "ible"! I will be attempting to build this at my first chance!
Bundaberg42 (author)  buckwag121911 months ago
Thanks! We hope you enjoy it.
Bundaberg42 (author) 11 months ago