Introduction: Packable Hammock

Picture of Packable Hammock

Whether its for relaxing in the shade on a summers day or keeping you up off the wet ground, you cant beat a good Hammock!

What could be better than kicking back and chillin out in a hammock you made yourself. Its much cheaper than the store bought ones and easier to make then you think (only 3 different knots!).

You will need:

1 x 7.5m Muli-purpose Rope (polypropylene)(approx 10c per meter)

19 x 3.1m Mason's Lacing Cord (approx 4c per meter)

4 x Tent Pegs

1 x Measuring Tape

First I will explain the knots we will be using. If you know your knots you can skip forward to Step 4.

Step 1: The Knots - Overhand Knot

Picture of The Knots - Overhand Knot

This is the most basic knot of them all, its probably the first knot a child learns to tie.

Place the 2 cords that are to be tied together, parallel to each other. (photo 1)

Where you want the knot to be, creat a loop. (photo 2)

Pull the working end through the loop and tighten. (photo 3-4)

You can also make a loop using the same knot, by making a 'bite' or loop and follow the steps above (photo 5-7)

Step 2: The Knots - Larks Foot

Picture of The Knots - Larks Foot

Sometimes called a 'ring hitch'.

Double the cord and lay it under the frame line. (photo 1)

Fold the loop back over the frame line. (photo 2)

Pass the two tails through the loop and pull tight. (photo 3)

Step 3: the Knots - Reef Knot

Picture of  the Knots - Reef Knot

Sometimes called a 'squire knot'.

Bring the two ends together and place the right over the left cord. (photo 1)

Now twist the the right under. (photo 2)

Pull tight, place the left cord over the right and under.

The two halves should mirror each other.

Step 4: Setting the Frame

Picture of Setting the Frame

To make the frame for your web, first measure about 90 cm from the end of the rope and make an overhand loop. This will be your first corner. (photo 1-2)

Now, make two overhand loops at 40 cm intervals from your first corner. The third loop will be your second corner, one end of your frame is made, you can use tent pegs to hold these in place. (photo 3)

For the side come 190 cm along the rope and make another overhand loop, third corner. Follow this with two overhand loops spaced 40 cm apart, identical to photo 3, the last loop is your fourth corner.

You should have three complete sides and one side where the two ends meet somewhere in the middle. Finish the open side using a reef knot. (photo 4)

This is your hammock reinforcement rim.

Step 5: Starting the Web

Picture of Starting the Web

To start your web or netting, fold your mason's lacing lengths in half and attach them, with a larks foot knot, to the long side of the hammock rim (not the side with the reef knot). photo 1

When you have all your cords attached to the rim space them out equally by eye. photo 2

Skip the first cord, and tie the second and third cords together, using an overhand knot. Repeat this with the 4th and 5th, 6th and 7th, etc. keeping the knots in as straight a line as possible.

Now go back to the first cord. You will need to tie this to the end of the hammock rim with a larks foot, because one end of the cord is attached to the rim already we can not tie the larks foot it the same way, insted you need to tie it by wrapping two loop around the rim, see photos 3-5.

Step 6: Making the Web

Picture of Making the Web

For the second row of knots, skip the first two cords. Tie the 3rd and 4th cords together using an overhand knot, repeat with 5th and 6th, 7th and 8th, etc.

Go back to the first two cords and tie them together in the same way, completing your first row.

Repeat steps 5 and 6.

Step 7: Finishing the Web

Picture of Finishing the Web

When you reach the desired hammock width you need to finish off the webbing.

Take the first cord and tie it to the side rim using a larks foot (photo 2), then tie the second cord to the end of the first using a reef knot. Repeat this along the line.

Your hammock is now ready for use!

Step 8: Using Your Hammock

Picture of Using Your Hammock

Because of the design of this hammock and its attachment points there are many different ways to set it up.

You could attach it to four trees or two large ones just using rope from the four corners, for a more stable bed.

Or you can attach any timber (tree branch, tool handle, walking pole, etc,) for a more traditional hammock to swing in.

It can also be hung at an angle to make seating.

Because this hammock has no permanent poles, it's a lot lighter and packs up a lot smaller than other traditional hammocks.



ralema69 (author)2017-08-07

Not that often you get to see braided mullets! Are there still hicks out there that actually think they look cool like that?lol

KDMac (author)2015-07-20

I figure once Christmas is over, with all the trees that will be thrown out (free), there will be plenty of wood to make some of these!!!

sawker12 made it! (author)2015-06-15

Great design. I used 550 paracord for the outer layer. then shotline for the net portion. took no time at all. Now I just need to test it out.

VentureScout (author)sawker122015-06-16

Nice job, neat knotwork. The fist time you use it it may sag a little when it takes weight, dont worry this is just all the knots tightening up. You may need to reposition it to get the right tension.

Moltroub (author)2014-11-27

would be great to use to secure loose loads in back of pick up truck, I think I'll have to make one next spring!

VentureScout (author)Moltroub2014-11-28

Yes, good idea, you could make it wider and line up the loops in stage 4 to match the tie off hooks on your pick up truck so you won't need to tie it down. Send me a pic when you make it.

reikimaster5555 (author)2014-07-01

really great information. here in michigan we just had a festival that had an electric forest. very way cool! during the day it had hundreds of hammocks hung between very tall pine trees so visitors could kick back and enjoy the day or meet people. at night there were lights hung and many more surprises waiting to be discovered. any way, the trees had no padding to buffer the rope. this has been happening for years and no damage to the trees. it is a very good idea though. i am a tree hugger so i agree with your methods to protect our forests. i look forward to an instructable about leaving no prints. good luck

I live in MI and have never heard of it... Upper Peninsula..? Anyways I'll have to look into it.

The Electric Forest is in Rothbury, Michigan each summer. It is not to far from Whitehall, Michigan or Muskegon, Michigan. Its on the west side of the state, close to Lake Michigan. Alot of people call it the freak fest but it is more like a little Woodstock. Hippie, boho, free love kind of thing that people bring their children to. It is something to see with many bands and its like a 3-4 day festival with rustic camping. Hope to see you there next summer.

that sounds awesome, would love to see the electric forest. Glad no trees were damaged, most trees would be fine after a bit of hammocking,

TrollFaceTheMan (author)2014-08-30



mogo0 (author)2014-06-29

it really doesn't look comfortable

VentureScout (author)mogo02014-07-01

You should try one out.

The closer and neater you can do the knots the better, we found that the distance between the larks foot knots in step 5 should not exceed 12cm for comfort.

The knots on the chair exceed this, that was just a prototype, but we found that this spacing was fine for a seat.

jimmybotak (author)2014-06-28

can use with parasute..?change the rope

VentureScout (author)jimmybotak2014-06-28

You sure could.

reikimaster5555 (author)2014-06-10

Many years ago I made one out of jute and fancy knots. Took many, many, many hours to fabricate. Because of the jute usage (what was recommended) it eventually rotted. Have wanted to make another but procrastinated because of the many, many, many hours it took before. I am older and wiser now and have the rule to "work smarter not harder". I will be getting another hammock this year, not with pretty knots, but with colored cord. Can't wait to get to the hardware to check out the color options. And by the way, your hair is as awesome as your grass. tyvmfti

Cool, do you have any photos of your old hammock with the fancy knots? You should be able to finish this hammock in less than an hour. We sometimes hang the hammock between two trees, from two of the corners when we are tieing the the web. It's saves us from bending down to tie it or more often the case saves us from kneeling on the wet ground! I will see if I have a photo.
Thanks, enjoy your hammock.

Making hammocks between two trees.

jwu23 (author)VentureScout2014-06-22

If you're a scout, you should know to put sticks around the trees before you tie rope around it. Because the tree's sap travels in the bark, transporting water and food, tying ropes around it will suffocate it. Putting some sticks around it will prevent that, with only some pressure on some points, not suffocating it.

VentureScout (author)jwu232014-06-23

For any permanent/semi-permanent structures that need to be secured to a living tree we use 4-5 half-spars to spread the pressure, to not damage the bark. As for the hammocks, we use sacking under the rope as padding, these will only be up for a matter of hours and puts relatively little pressure on the tree. Also the choice of tree is important as some have stronger bark than others.

I think you may be mistaken on the "tree's sap travels in the bark", trees transport their fluids through the 'Sap Wood', this is the outermost wood and varies from tree to tree, from the first few millimeters up to 30 centimeters in thickness. Tying a rope around any substantial tree by hand (no mechanical aid) would not result in the suffocation of the tree, but the bark must be protected from damage, as damaged bark can cause infection it the tree.

Thank you for the comment, I may do a 'Leave no Trace' Instructable in the future.

Thanks for the pic. I get it now. Unfortunately I do not have a picture. Back in the day, I was making plant hangers, hammocks, owls and anything else I could get a pattern for. I was really into it for a few years. I call those "the boho-hippie years". I think the only things I have still is one large tiered plant hanger, towel hanger and a garlic keeper. Wish I did have a pic though. It was spectacular and comfy. I will send a pic of my next one.

Thanks for the complement on the hair and the grass. tyvmfti took a wile!


BigBoulder123 (author)2014-06-12

How did u keep the lacing cord from sliding on the frame

When we made these before we used Sisal, which is a natural fiber and has more 'grip' when you pull it tight. When you made a larks foot and pulled it tight, it stayed in place.

This Inscrutable uses ropes with 'man-made' fibers and I found the larks foot knots did slide up and down at step 5. This would only be a problem for the first row of knots as you will tie the web to both ends of the hammock (see photo 6-7 on step 5). This should stop any major sliding.

If your concerned about sliding when you unpack your hammock, I look it over when I set it up and make any adjustments before I use it. Once you stretch out the corners the adjustments are minimal.

I hope this answered your Question.

ladybgood (author)2014-06-12

o my, I see a paracord version happening in my summer. thanks for the 'ible!

VentureScout (author)ladybgood2014-06-13

Cool, enjoy.

RubikCube (author)2014-06-11

Do you know how much rope that it took to make this? Did you measure in order to know how much of each would be required in case you wanted to do it again? What are the dimensions of this Hammock as well so that I can properly adjust for my needs and size? Just wondering what it would take to make this. Great and seemingly simple construction. I love it, thanks for posting it.

VentureScout (author)RubikCube2014-06-12

The internal dimensions (excluding the loops) of the finished hammock are 195cm X 85cm.

I used 7.5m of the blue (4mm) rope for the outside of the hammock. You can use up a lot of rope in the loops so keep them small.

For the web I used 58.9m of the yellow (2mm) rope, cut int 19 lengths 3.1m each. When they are doubled over in step 5 you have two 1.55m lengths (82% longer that the width of the finished hammock). We found that the distance between the larks foot knots in step 5 should not exceed 12cm for comfort. Keep this in mind if you are making yours longer, you may need to add extra lengths.

Your best bet is to cut everything longer, if you can, as different thickness of rope may use more in the knots. But if your rope is similar to mine, these measurements should be accurate enough.

Yes, it is incredibly simple. We have made these with kids as young as 11 with no problems.

Thanks for your comment, I hope I answered all your questions.

Good luck with your hammock.

SpinedWave (author)2014-06-10

Is it a option to replace your robe with only paracord? I thinks so because paracord 280kg load.

VentureScout (author)SpinedWave2014-06-10

Making the hammock (or part of) with paracord would be cool and stronger. As I plan to make these with Venture Scouts, using paracord would be a bit too expensive.
As the weight will be distrabrutied through the four corners, the weight the hammock can carry would be close to 200kg, much more than my needs.
To answer your question, yes using paracord would be an option, but a more expensive one.
If you do make one with paracord, I would love to see some photos.

skelly35 (author)2014-06-09

That is just awesomeness is all I can say !!

VentureScout (author)skelly352014-06-10

You should try it out and send some us some photos of the finished product.


petrolon (author)2014-06-08

That...that hair...

VentureScout (author)petrolon2014-06-10

Hrrr...Thanks....I Think

photovoltaicfuture (author)2014-06-07

this is awesome


cege (author)2014-06-08

Can not wait to try ! Thanks.

VentureScout (author)cege2014-06-10

Cool, send us a photo of it when you are finished.

Jamjma (author)2014-06-08

The lark's foot is also called a cow hitch

VentureScout (author)Jamjma2014-06-10

This is quite an old knot (at least 1st Century) and used both land and sea, so it has been known by many different names over the years,

Cow hitch, Lark's head, Lark's foot, Girth hitch, Ring hitch, Lanyard hitch, Bale Sling hitch, Baggage Tag Loop, Tag Knot, Deadeye hitch, Running eye, are just a few.

BigBoulder123 (author)2014-06-08

And what size rope did u use

I got the Cord and Rope in Lidl, they had a special on a couple of weeks ago, so the 'normal' price might be a little bit more. The total cost of materials worked out at €3.09 (US$4.20) per hammock.

For the rim I used multi-purpose rope, 4 mm 3 strand twisted polypropylene, the type used for washing lines. 50 kg load.

For the web I used Mason's Lacing Cord, 2 mm braided polypropylene, the type used by brick layers. Unknown load.

When we made the chair in the main photo we used natural sisal and tied the web directly off the wood.

I hope this answers your questions.

Enjoy your Haommock.

BigBoulder123 (author)2014-06-08

How much did this cost

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