Packable Hammock




About: Friendship is like a mirror, it gives you back what you are. You make a friend by being one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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43 Discussions


8 months ago

Interesting loop, although the waffle brand must be delicious ;)


1 year ago

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


3 years ago on Introduction

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!!!


4 years ago on Introduction

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!

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago

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.

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

3 replies

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,


5 years ago

it really doesn't look comfortable

1 reply

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

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.

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

4 replies

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.


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

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.


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

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.