Intro: Free-Standing Portable Hammock Stand
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
48” x 3/4” x 1/8” aluminum angle
(2) 1/2” screws
Material Cost: approximately $20
Power Drill with 3/8” drill bit
Small, round file
Hacksaw w/ blade
Step 1: Create Stakes (Optional)
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.
Step 2: Creating the Stand - Cut PVC Pipes Into Sections
1. Measure & mark the 1 ¼” diameter pipe into four 27” sections. Wrap a piece of paper around the pipe as a guide when making marks. Using the hacksaw, cut along your guidelines.
2. Measure & mark the 1” diameter pipe into two 27” sections. Wrap a piece of paper around the pipe as a guide when making marks. Using the hacksaw, cut along your guidelines.
3. Fold a piece of paper into a guide for the PVC pipe angle cut. You'll use this guide in the next step.
Step 3: Creating the Stand - Cut the Angle for the Bottom Pieces
4. Wrap the newly-folded paper guide around one section of 1 ¼” PVC pipe – make sure that one corner of the paper guide ends at the edge of the pipe, and the bottom edge of the guide lines up all the way around.
Mark the pipe with marker.
5. Starting at the edge of the pipe, align your saw blade with the indicated mark and cut through to the other side of the pipe. Note: you will not follow the line entirely around the pipe.
6. File all cut edges of pipe.
Step 4: Creating the Stand - Create Top & Support Pieces
7. With the longer end of the 1 ¼” angle-cut pipe facing downwards, make a mark at 13 ½” from the flat end of the pipe. Repeat on second angle-cut pipe.
8. Secure a screw at the designated mark. Repeat on second pipe. No need to add a second screw to the other side of either pipe as these screws are not weight-bearing, they just hold the internal connector pipes in
place within the larger weight-bearing pipes.
9. On each section of the non-angle-cut 1 ¼” pipe, measure & mark 1 ½” down from edge. Drill a hole through one side of the 1 ¼” pipe, then check to see that the drill bit is angled to exit the pipe as perpendicularly as possible before drilling through to the other side.
10. Smooth the edges of the drill holes with the knife or round file.
Step 5: Creating the Stand - Add the Support Cords
12. Cut the 50ft length of parachute cord (paracord) into two 25ft sections.
13. To prevent fraying, melt the cut ends of the cord with your lighter. (Note: When you apply heat to good quality paracord, the internal core and outer sheath of the cord should melt simultaneously into a hard plastic tip. We wrapped our cord edges with Gorilla tape before melting, as the cord material we were able to find didn’t melt properly.)
14. Find the middle of each 25ft. section and feed the loops through the holes drilled at the top of the 1 ¼” pipes. Tie a Figure-8-on-a-Bight knot to create an approximately 4” loop.
15. Tie a second Figure-8-on-a-Bight on the opposite side of the pipe to keep the cord from sliding through. Repeat with second set of cord and pipe.
16. At the end of each support line, leave approximately 1ft of tail and tie another Figure-8-on-a-Bight. The loop at the end of the knot should be approximately 4” – long enough to loop around the head of the stake. Most important: each side of the support line connected to the same pipe must be as equal as possible. Measure your second knot against the first.
Step 6: Setting Up Your New Hammock Stand, Part 1
We know this next part might sound complicated because of all the angles and geometry, but trust us, it’s actually really simple. This system is pretty forgiving, so even if your angles aren't exact, as long as your support cords are even, everything will balance out. It may take you 15 minutes or so the first few times, but eventually, it only took us about 4 minutes to set it up.
1. Lay out your hammock on the ground in the position you want it to hang.
2. Place the pointed end of one of the bottom post sections near one end of your hammock at approximately an 80° angle (tilted away from the direction your hammock will eventually hang). Be sure that the longest side of the angle cut is facing towards the direction your hammock will be. Use a rubber mallet to hammer it into the ground until firmly planted (depth will vary based on soil composition).
3. Slide in inner connector pipe, and top piece.
4. While looking straight at the support pipe, line up each support cord at approximately a 30° angle to this center line.
5. Using the loop at the end of the support line, create a girth hitch around the head of a stake. Repeat on the other support cord connected to your first support post.
Step 7: Setting Up Your New Hammock Stand, Part 2
6. Connect hammock to first support post.
7. Pull support cords until straight, but not tight. Hammer stake into ground at a sharp angle away from the support post. Repeat with second cord & stake.
8. Fully assemble second support post, and connect the other end of your hammock to the loop at the top of it. Position second support post so that it is also at an 80° angle from the ground, and hammock has a generous curve at the bottom but still about a foot above the ground. Mark where the bottom of this post should be hammered in.
9. Disconnect the hammock from the second support post and disassemble post. Hammer in bottom section of post, then reassemble the second post. Repeat steps #2-#5 above to set up the support cords for the second post.
10. Clip hammock back into second post.
11. If you’ve set everything up properly, the cords should tighten just enough to prevent the support posts from bowing outwards, and the posts will hold your weight.
Lay back and enjoy your summer siesta. You’ve earned it.
Step 8: Additional Notes
This system can support two people (up to about 300lbs.) so long as your hammock is strong enough to do so as well.
Use both posts to create a free-standing system, or use one post to connect your hammock to an existing tree or post.
The aluminum stakes we showed you how to make, fit snugly inside the 1" diameter PVC pipe for storage and transportation.
The long tail you left at the end of each support cord makes it easier to pull up stakes when you take down the system.
This hammock stand works in sand as well - just be sure to dig down to the hard-packed sand before hammering in your stakes.