Complete Camping Hammock With Screen and Rainfly




This project will show you step-by-step how to make a complete camping hammock, including the hammock, mesh bugnet, rainfly, and tree straps. I built this as a gift for for my girlfriend, who loves borrowing the Hennessy Hammock I've had since I was a Boy Scout, and is taking longer and longer to give it back each time....

All told, this project took me about two full days of work, with estimated materials costs of about $100.

Step 1: Research and Design

From what I've seen, there are two basic camping hammock designs - attached bugnets (like the Hennessy) and unattached (like the Eno). I own a Hennessy and like it, but building one (even with guides like these) seemed intimidating, and there are a few improvements that I wanted to make to the rainfly design anyway. The Eno, by comparison, has a simpler and more flexible design that I could add to and modify - much better for a first attempt. With that in mind, the final hammock camping system has four components:

  1. a basic nylon basehammock with a ridgeline,
  2. a mesh and nylon sleeve that serves as a bugnet,
  3. a very large rainfly with a separate suspension, and
  4. daisy chain-style hanging straps.

This project builds on the work of two others here on Instructables, which I'll link to again at the appropriate stages of the project:

Make a Rip-Stop Nylon Hammock by Mrballeng.

DIY Hammock Straps by ralema69.

I also got a lot of great information and inspiration from Just Jeff's Hammock Camping Page.

Step 2: Materials

To build a complete system, you will need:


  • 10'x5' ripstop nylon for the base hammock
  • 8'x5' ripstop nylon for the sleeve
  • 8'x6' mesh netting for the sleeve
  • 12'x5' + 12'x2.5' ripstop nylon for the rainfly
  • 1.5'x3' scrap nylon for the bag
  • ~10' tubular webbing
  • ~150' paracord (I used 3 different colors)
  • 8" pipe insulation
  • strong thread
  • 4 tent stakes
  • Wash-in waterproofing (e.g. Nikwax)
  • 2 climbing carabiners

I used three different colors of nylon (what I had on hand), and three different colors/strengths of paracord (for a combination of aesthetic and safety reasons).


  • Sharp fabric scissors
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine and needles
  • lighter or blowtorch for fusing rope ends

I built this at Techshop using a Janome home sewing machine, and no special equipment was required. However, if you had a rolling hem presser foot, a LOT of work could probably be avoided.

Step 3: The Base Hammock

I built a basic hammock by following the instructions outlined in this project:

There were only a couple differences between Mrballeng's project and mine - I didn't double-layer the cloth (didn't feel it was necessary), and I whipped the paracord at the end to create a cleaner loop. I also attached a ridgeline to the inner part of the paracord loops.

Step 4: Make Hammock Straps

I made hammock hanging straps following the instructions here: I used about 10'-12' of rope to make a 5'-6' chain.

After some experimentation, I've found that the rope chain method isn't versatile enough. I've created new tree hugger straps out of 5' of 1" webbing, with simple overhand knots to create loops at both ends, and a length of ~15' of paracord running from the hammock loops, to be secured with a tensioning knot like a rolling hitch or a truckers hitch.

Step 5: Cut the Nylon and Mesh for the Sleeve

Cut the ripstop nylon and mesh for the sleeve:

  • 1'x8' nylon with a 1" pocket for the top
  • 6'x8' mesh for the middle
  • 4'x8' nylon with a 1" pocket for the bottom

Step 6: Sew the Three Pieces of the Sleeve Together

Pin and sew the three pieces of the sleeve to one another. Sew each seam three times:

  1. Straight stitch about 1" from the fabric edge to create a straight seam.
  2. Zig-zag stitch between the first seam and the edge to securely bind the mesh and nylon.
  3. Separate the pieces and sew the seam flat.

Step 7: Complete the Sleeve

Fold the sleeve fabric in half (seams out) to create a 12'x4' nylon-mesh-nylon sleeve. Sew along the edge to create a tube of fabric, then turn the sleeve inside out and thread paracord through each pocket to create a loop. You'll use these loops of paracord to cinch the ends shut, creating a bug-free sleeping area.

Step 8: Cut, Sew, Hem, and Seal the Rainfly

To make a rainfly wide enough, I sewed a 5' and 2.5' wide pieces together. This creates an offset seam (didn't want the seam directly above the hammock for fear of leaking). I then hemmed the whole thing, and added 2" loops of webbing to the corners. Cut a length of paracord 20'-25' for the fly suspension, and wash the whole thing in weatherproofing fluid.

For the guy-lines, check out these knot resources:

Rollling Hitch

Blake's Hitch


Step 9: Give

Give the completed hammock to a very special person, and set a date for a backcountry trip for two.

This Instructable is part of the "Homemade Gifts" contest, so if you like it please vote for it!

Step 10: Hang Out.

Hang the hammock and enjoy!

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    36 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Love this. Wish I saw it before I made mine lol. mine is much bulkier.


    3 years ago

    Be careful when buying paracord, there are a lot of "550" paracord a out there that is made for craft purposes and isn't able to hold a load. Good job on the instructable

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    Thanks for the 'able! It's turning out to be rather fun to make.

    One question - how do you make the bag thingie to cinch the ends of the bugnet around? Maybe I just missed that section..... Couldn't find instructions :/

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Hey Shelbyl, thanks for the compliments. I hacked the cinching together when it was clear the netting wouldn't cinch tight around the cord. The tube is made of pipe insulation with some extra fabric glued around it to make it look nice. If you can come up with a better method, please post it!


    3 years ago

    Wow, looks really great! If you haven't checked out hammockforums yet, you should totally join.

    A word about hammock suspensions.

    Universal paracord is usually 550 para cord, I think, which means it's breaking strength is 550 lbs. Which is fine if you plan to only lay softly in your hammock and never move. But, when you start adding dynamic forces the loads on the suspension increase exponentially. Also paracord stretches minutely as you apply load. A better option would be amsteel blue a marine grade rope. It's a hollow core nylon (I'm pretty sure, with 12 strands) rope so you can splice it, and it doesn't stretch as bad as paracord.

    Here's a cool link to a video of its strength being tested this is the 3/4" rope. But the 7/64" is rated for something like 1700 lbs.


    3 years ago

    sum tin wents wrong.. i wokeup in the world;s largest rain gauge..


    4 years ago on Step 10

    Nice setup. I have thought of a similar design but would like to find a way to fit a sleeping pad under the hammock -- perhaps with a extra sleeve -- to reduce the cold spots at my hips and shoulders. Also, a grommet in your fly right at the point where it touches the overhead rope is useful. I find it works better to tie the fly at this point to the support trees rather than running the rope all the way through. This keeps the edges of the fly taught instead of slipping toward the middle.

    3 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    Extend the cover length so you can have solid cover over all but your face and using a good sleeping bag you will be the happiest bug in a "rug", (hammock)!


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Saw a blog the other day with the sleeping pad IN the hammock. So your weight kept it down which helped with the cold.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Good ideas all - rainfly redesign will definitely be part of the Mark II system. Thanks!

    Neat!!! How do you pack it? Just toss it in a stuff sack? Also, when packed and stowed, what's the weight and volume?

    1 reply

    I made a simple stuff sack out of leftover fabric - you can just barely see it in the first picture of step 9. It weighs slightly less than a Hennessy Expedition Asym Classic (which is 2 lbs 9 oz), and the weight could be further decreased with more lightweight hardware (e.g. using a paracord soft shackle or similar). Packed size is also comparable to the Hennessy, about 4"x7"x9"


    4 years ago on Step 6

    Are you using Noseeum netting? If not I highly recommend remaking this with that material. It is a much finer mesh. If you are just using regular nylon mesh, even the smallest you can find in most store, there are bugs that are able to penetrate it.

    Happy camping!

    1 reply

    I'm not using noseeum netting in this version - I saw several other projects that discussed using noseeum netting (or sheer/chiffon fabric as a cheaper alternative). We'll test the hammock and see if noseeum is warranted in our area.


    4 years ago

    Thank you so much for including my ible for the DIY Hammock Straps!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Very good 'ible!! the simplicity of it makes so versatile, thumbs up for you.

    She has the most mesmerizing eyes and the most charming smile I have seen in a very long time. All of the best lucks for you two guys.

    1 reply

    Very nice! And what a great gift (I voted for you)! Anything hand made is always special, but something as special as a sleep system (hammock no less), is truly special.

    Please post some pics of your trip!