Introduction: Make a Rip Stop Nylon Hammock

Picture of Make a Rip Stop Nylon Hammock

Rip stop nylon is some pretty cool stuff. It’s used in jackets, sails, kites, wing suits, and parachutes. While at the sporting goods store, I saw it’s used in hammocks as well.

I made this hammock from two sections of rip stop nylon sewed together. While a single ply would have probably done just fine, I played it safe and doubled it. Don't worry if you don't know how to sew. This is probably the 3rd time I've ever used a sewing machine.  

Step 1: Sewing Rip Stop Nylon Fabric.

Picture of Sewing Rip Stop Nylon Fabric.

The material is already 60” wide right off the bolt. I asked for 4 yards. That gave me a section 12’x60”. When I got it home I cut 1’ off of the end making is 11’x60”. The one foot strip will be used to make a storage bag.

This material only stretches diagonally. Since I’m using the fabric in line with the weave, I able to use a straight line stitch. Otherwise, I would have had to use a zig-zag stitch to allow for stretching. I adjusted the sewing machine so the stitches were wide enough to prevent it from being a failure point. If they are too close together it becomes a perforation rather then a strong seam.

Step 2: Sew the Panels Together.

Picture of Sew the Panels Together.

I matched the long edges and ran a straight stitch along the entire length. I then matched the edges on the other side and did the same. Since the panels are both 60” wide, They matched up nicely.

I used a rip stop line in the material to help guide the fabric along the sewing foot.

Step 3: Reinforcing the Seam.

Picture of Reinforcing the Seam.

To reinforce the seam, I folded the seam allowance down and sewed it flat. If I didn’t do this part I think it would have been fine. Very little stress is applied to these seams. Most of the stress goes along the center of the hammock. Still, this step makes the seam look a little more professional.  

Step 4: Sew in Channels for Paracord.

Picture of Sew in Channels for Paracord.

There is a channel sewed into each end of the hammock. Paracord is strung through these channels and looped. The loop is pulled tight so the edges bunch together and create the billowed shape. This also makes the anchor points. 

The solution to my inexperience with sewing was painters tape. I used it to hold a uniform fold along the entire short edge. After I ran the first seam, I removed the tape and ran another where the tape used to be.

Step 5: Make the Rip Stop Nylon Bag.

Picture of Make the Rip Stop Nylon Bag.

The storage bag is a simple draw string design.

I took the 1’ piece cut off at the beginning of the project and folded it in half. I then sewed the sides shut. Next I laid the bag down on it’s seams and taped the folded points down. See the pictures. After a couple more seams, the bag had its basic shape.

To attach the drawstring I folded upper edge of the bag over and placed a section of paracord inside the fold. I then ran a stitch all the way around the bag, keeping the paracord butted against the sewing foot.

Turn the bag outside in and it’s done.


ERICS198 (author)2017-02-08


I used your plan as an inspiration.

I used a length of 60" and three lengths of 30".

Made a 13" long in-side-out sock with flat felled seams.

After turning right-side-out, i centered the now two layers, and sewed chanels for hanging line.

A zig-zag seam protects from stressing fabric?

Hang low everyone!

DonaldF9 (author)2016-04-17

Please don't use para cord or anything else that thin on trees. Use 1" polyester web/strap around the trees to protect the bark. Tie a marlin spike hitch, and connect the rope to the webbing with that. Paracord is a bad idea, it it will stretch, I've woken on the ground before because of nylon stretching, never had it break though, but it has happened to lots of people. Avoid nylon. Amsteel is the way to go, similar price, but way stronger and no stretch.

zacker (author)2015-10-13

these Hammocs are great, so much more comfy than the traditional Webbing type ones. these sort of "Cocoon" around you when you lay in them. and no weird rope indentations on your skin when you get good job on this one. I will have to try it out next spring. Oh yeah, depending on the design in the fabrics like prints and colors, these are selling on the Outer Banks in NC. for anywhere from $55.00 to $100.00 just for the hammock. I was just there in August and one with just plain colors would be $55.00 and the one I wanted, It was a sort of Camo design, was $ ill go look online to find a camo type rip stop fabric. This is the same stuff used to make Photography lighting modifiers like, unbrellas or Soft boxes and light bouncers and such.

Parkatola (author)2015-03-23

First, thanks for the instructable. I am planning to make a hammock, and you have filled in some important holes in my knowledge.

Quick Question: why two layers of nylon? I've seen other DIY hammocks, and they seem to use one layer instead of two. I like the two colors, but didn't know if you thought that one layer would not be sturdy enough. I haven't ever seen an ENO factory made hammock, so I don't know how many layers they have. Just curious as I go to purchase fabric whether I need 4 yards or 8.



Mrballeng (author)Parkatola2015-03-24

You can do either one. I take mine camping so I wanted it to be more durable.

lisa.dukes.391 (author)2015-01-26

A good strong seam for the two pieces would be what's called a flat felled seam. Imagine two Js laying on their sides hooked together (one with the hook down, one up). You then stitch two lines of straight stitches through the 4 layers of fabric you end up with. Very strong and very tidy.

lisa.dukes.391 (author)2015-01-26

A good strong seam for the two pieces would be what's called a flat felled seam. Imagine two Js laying on their sides hooked together (one with the hook down, one up). You then stitch two lines of straight stitches through the 4 layers of fabric you end up with. Very strong and very tidy.

lisa.dukes.391 (author)2015-01-26

A good strong seam for the two pieces would be what's called a flat felled seam. Imagine two Js laying on their sides hooked together (one with the hook down, one up). You then stitch two lines of straight stitches through the 4 layers of fabric you end up with. Very strong and very tidy.

bakdrft (author)2014-01-01

Pretty Cool Instructable!

HollyMann (author)2013-10-30

LOVE it - I want to make one !:)

NGK48 (author)2013-07-11

You should put a bug net!

dchall8 (author)2013-07-01

Very nice. I got interested in hammocks back in the 90s and slept in a Mexican hammock for several months.  I wanted to make one from ripstop but could never find the fabric.  Where do you buy that stuff??

I would echo what everyone else is saying about paracord.  Nylon rope will stretch and stretch.  I used 25 feet on my boat one summer.  Every weekend it had to be tightened because it stretched.  By the end of the season I had pulled an additional 75 feet off of the original 25 and still had 25 on the boat.  I switched to this polyester rope (inexpensive and available at one or another of the box stores) and sailed for several more years without any stretch. 

Mrballeng (author)dchall82013-07-02

I got it at Hancock Fabrics.
1524 Barton Rd, Redlands, CA

annieannie (author)2013-06-17

Voted!! Love this idea :) I can just see myself laying under a wonderful tree with the wind blowing and falling asleep in a hammock like this!

vincent7520 (author)2013-06-17

I'm not sure people realize the quality of your work.
Look at the color combination : it's excellent. The right finishing touch to an otherwise perfect hammock !!!

neo71665 (author)2013-06-13

Don't trust paracord, many ultralight hammock campers have had a rude awaking by hitting the ground.

spiderham (author)neo716652013-06-14

I don't know enough about paracord to comment on its use here but, hammocks are a staple in Puerto Rican homes and for as long as I can remember we've always trusted yellow nylon rope. I've seen hammock failures of all kinds but I can't think of any where the rope failed without advance notice. You'll hear a strand break and feel a sudden drop before the other strands catch you. I would suggest using a webbing strap choked around whatever you hang the hammock from or some permanently affixed hardware to eliminate chaffing on the rope.

dropkick (author)spiderham2013-06-16

First off - Mrballeng, that's a beautiful hammock. If it was mine I'd be very proud of it.

I've never used paracord because when I built my first hammock I was worried about damaging trees with it. Also I didn't have any strapping, or the knowledge needed, to build a tree hugger. So instead I used some 5/8 manila rope I had lying around.

Later when I found a good supplier of webbing (at a farm supply - halter supplies) I just replaced my entire rope with 1/2" webbing.

I've done this with almost all my hammocks since then (I did build a tree huggers that I used with one hammock, but decided it was just a bother, and went back to the plain straps).

If you're an ultralight hiker (I'm not) the few ounces added weight might bother you, but I think the weight gain compared to also carrying tree huggers isn't that great, and the ease of use and peace of mind it gives me make it worth while.

alglo1 (author)2013-06-16

Love it, i'm not a sewing expert myself but i do love hammocks, ( i have been in 2 where the paracord has given way, not nice) can i ask what thread you have used to stitch with, you may have said but i cant see for looking, thinking seriously of giving it a go.

rippa700 (author)2013-06-16

Good job - so elegant!

ramsanti (author)2013-06-16

what is the estimated weight capacity on your hammock?

tinpusher (author)2013-06-16

Great job. One piece of advice would be to ditch the paracord though. that stuff stretches like crazy and will eventually fail. Make a trip out to any marine supply store and get yourself some 1/8th inch amsteel line (google it, you'll be amazed at what that stuff can do) the weight and price is comparable to paracord but you don't have to worry about stretch or failure.

neverevenheard (author)2013-06-14

How much did you spend altogether?

Mrballeng (author)neverevenheard2013-06-15


neo71665 (author)2013-06-14

Ultralight backpackers have been building these for years. Plenty of forums, and how toos on YouTube. You sign up on the forums you will find plenty of us that had had real paracord fail. A company named am soil makes a 1500lb test 1/4 inch rope most of us use now. Its a few ounces more but it beats a sore back. The hammock I built in my yard uses canvas and 1/2 inch poly braid rope (weight was no factor on it).

SWV1787 (author)2013-06-14

I would be interested in how "Breathable" it is on your back. I can't say that I would be too impressed to find that I sweated and had it dripping down my back because there wasn't enough airflow to evaporate your perspiration. the finished project looks very nice and I could see it being a great campsite accessory especially for how bright it is.

stilcrazychris (author)2013-06-14

Great job. Wish I could sew like that. U make it look easy.

IamWe (author)2013-06-14

Nice photo's. I expected the all-rounder himself in the hammock, taking a nap after a well done job. Wish you a nice summer rest.

cajunpilot63 (author)2013-06-14

Nothing like sleeping in a hammock when the weather is nice.

Mindmapper1 (author)2013-06-14

Thats really simple and great.
Problems with paracord, never heard of any if you use the genuine stuff rather than the cheap copy stuff.

Pat_Maroney (author)2013-06-13

Awesome. Any idea how much it weighs?

HollyMann (author)2013-06-13

Love it!

About This Instructable



Bio: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.
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