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View Full Version : Homemade Bottom Entry - Please tear it apart



icedancer
2005-04-14, 16:44
I can't afford a HH at the moment, but I'm intrigued by the concept of the bottom entry style. It seems the best way to limit the entry of unwanted critters while entering/exiting while minimizing mechanical failures with the bug net closure mechanism. I'd like to try my hand at one, but have a few questions before taking scissors in hand. I could really use some comments and suggestions. BTW, I've never seen one in person, and don't think I'll have a chance, at least for a long while

First, has anyone done this? I saw one post from someone thinking about it, but nothing else, and can find no plan ideas or layouts anywhere.

I've thought about starting with a basic top entry hammock, gathered and whipped at the ends. Wider and longer is better for sleeping at an angle, right? I'm thinking 60 in wide and nine feet between whippings. I'm 5'8".

I've got an idea for using a slightly oval shaped net, either velcro'd or sewn along the sides with drawstring ends, but need to test that out. I haven't decided on how to support it yet. An internal ridgeline attached at the whippings would do it, but in all my current top entry tests that kind of line loses tension and droops when I get in. Does the HH ridgeline stay tight?

Regarding the entry opening. I assume the opening should be parallel with sides and towards the foot end, but should it be along the centerline or off to the side so that there is less chance to fall through? I suppose the length of the opening depends partly on my size, but does two feet sound right? I'm assuming the head-end of the opening shouldn't be under me when I'm inside. Any suggestions on placement?

I'm going to talk to the fabric shop folks regarding the best way to hem the cut, and prevent it from tearing longer. I'm guessing the head-end is under fairly extreme sideways tension while entering. Am I right in assuming one edge of the opening has some extra fabric added as a flap that overlaps the top of the other?

Is it worth the extra effort and weight to add a velcro closure to the opening? I see that has been added to current HH models.

I know there must be other issues I haven't encountered in my paper planning. Could this work, or am I just crazy? I'll post pictures and plans when it's built, hopefully with me in it and not in pain underneath!

Just Jeff
2005-04-14, 18:22
Shane Steinkamp had a video on his website a while back illustrating how to enter and exit a HH...check to see if it's still there and you'll see how bottom-entry works and get a better idea of the dimensions.

In the HH, the slit goes from the foot end until just short of halfway...probably a 4' slit if I had to guess. It's in the center of the fabric, parallel to the ridgeline. It has velcro, but velcro isn't needed. When I use my JRB, I velcro the JRB to the HH on both sides so the slit doesn't have anything to attach itself to and it stays closed just fine.

I think if you offset the slit, it wouldn't stay closed because the downward force would open the pull more on one side of the material than the other (unlike the HH).

The HH's ridgeline stays tight. If yours isn't tight, I'd try shortening ridgeline until it does.

I'm also building a bottom entry hammock. I was thinking to slit and hem before whipping the ends so I can overlap the opening a bit at the foot end and whip them that way. Then near the bottom, I'll overlap the slit just a bit and sew in a reinforcement patch (either a circle or a triangle like you use to attach a pack strap to the bottom of the pack).

Post pics and progress as you experiment!

Jeff

icedancer
2005-04-14, 18:55
I've seen the video. He makes it look so easy!

I like the idea of the slit extending all the way to the end allowing more overlap without adding fabric. How are the edges of the slit on the Hennessy finished? Are the edges reinforced or just the end of the slit?

I'm surprised the slit is so long. Does it work (no falling out) because you sleep at an angle to the centerline and keep your feet to one side or the other?

icedancer

GregH
2005-04-15, 14:43
You don't fall out. The tension on the hammock bottom (which, coincidentally is under your bottom :rolleyes: ) keeps it taut.

Mutinousdoug
2005-04-15, 15:38
And the entry slit doesn't go to the middle (bottom) of the hammock. It stops about 6" short of there so your butt sits on solid fabric. The end of the slit is reinforced with a patch.
There is a guy on the "southernpaddler" forum who insists, for some reason, on sleeping in his HH backwards (with his feet to the unopened end) who has been the butt of some humor for having fallen out at least once. I think the reason for this heresy is more ready access to the gear stored under his hammock, but it's got to make entry and exit more of a challenge.

Just Jeff
2005-04-15, 17:27
I think the reason for this heresy is more ready access to the gear stored under his hammock, but it's got to make entry and exit more of a challenge.

That's funny. If I need gear under the hammock, I just spin around on my butt so I'm laying backwards, get it, and spin back. Wonder why he needs to save that extra 7 seconds of effort to get at his...um...water bottle?

Frolicking Dino
2006-05-24, 11:46
What I am about to ask may be a really stupid question - be gentle, I'm a hammock virgin.

Has anyone tried making a Speers' type hammock with a Hennessy type slit for entry and exit? Would it work? I ask because I tried hammocks again this year at trail days and was really comfortable in the Speers model, but I can't get in or out of it due to mobility issues. I could get in and out of a Hennessy alone, but it was not at all stable with me inside and would not allow me to change position (like sleep on my side) and I have ortho issues that make this a necessity.

Seeker
2006-05-24, 12:11
What I am about to ask may be a really stupid question - be gentle, I'm a hammock virgin.

Has anyone tried making a Speers' type hammock with a Hennessy type slit for entry and exit? Would it work? I ask because I tried hammocks again this year at trail days and was really comfortable in the Speers model, but I can't get in or out of it due to mobility issues. I could get in and out of a Hennessy alone, but it was not at all stable with me inside and would not allow me to change position (like sleep on my side) and I have ortho issues that make this a necessity.

hey dino(s)!... welcome. i know you guys from Whiteblaze, but see you've just started posting here. lots of WB regulars here too, including Just Jeff and a few others.

i'm so glad you were able to try a hammock again. i'm not sure what you mean by 'stable' though. could you elaborate so we could help you out? i'm thinking that maybe you were snuggled up more in the speer, with its sides wrapped up around you, and that made it feel more stable. it could have been hung a little 'droopy' too, lowering your center of gravity and making it feel more stable.

as far as laying on your side, i do it all the time in my HH, but i know you said you have issues with that... but again, maybe if the HH you tried was tied too tightly for you, it wouldn't have worked, when a "looser" hang might have.

any thoughts?

Frolicking Dino
2006-05-24, 12:31
Seeker, I tried the hammocks at booths in the vendor area so I'm assuming they were set up correctly. Speers and Henessey were with me when I tried their hammocks. I almost flipped over trying to move in the HH - scared the h*ll out of me. I'm an older lady with a bum right leg (85% disabled per the docs) and about the same build as Ms. Janet. I got the impression (possibly in error) that the HH was designed for the slender and nimble hanger that can easily scoot around - not for someone like me that must grab the sides to maneuver.

I was able to move around in the Speers without feeling like I was going to flip. The sides can be grabbed to maneuver - something that just did not work in the HH.

Just Jeff
2006-05-24, 12:52
I made a bottom entry Speer. It's not tough, but I made mine too long and narrow. The important part would be to sew a reinforcement patch at the crotch of the opening (i.e. where you sit when entering the hammock), just like the HH - I skipped that step for my first prototype and I can see that it's a potential point of failure.

Give it a try - it's no harder than a standard homemade hammock, just with a few more hems. You could still attach a bugnet, just sew or velcro it 2-3" below the edge so you have something to grab onto.

Frolicking Dino
2006-05-24, 13:15
Thanks for sharing that, Jeff.

Just Jeff
2006-05-24, 14:15
No problem. Actually, sewing the bugnet below the edge would make a nice shelf, too.

peter_pan
2006-05-24, 14:47
What I am about to ask may be a really stupid question - be gentle, I'm a hammock virgin.

Has anyone tried making a Speers' type hammock with a Hennessy type slit for entry and exit? Would it work? I ask because I tried hammocks again this year at trail days and was really comfortable in the Speers model, but I can't get in or out of it due to mobility issues. I could get in and out of a Hennessy alone, but it was not at all stable with me inside and would not allow me to change position (like sleep on my side) and I have ortho issues that make this a necessity.


Hey She model Dino,

You could get a HH expedition for under $120.... capacity 250....

Then Cut off the Bugnet and you would have a Speer model with a bottom entry option...just ignore the tie outs ...they exist primarily to pull the bug net out and away from you....

If you want bug protection just get a rectangle of netting a la Speers design and throw it over the ridge line once in the hammock...add some pockets on the side for rocks and it will stay closed w/o velcro...

Nice to meet you at TD.

Pan

Frolicking Dino
2006-05-24, 18:49
Pan - are you saying the expedition has 'sides' like a Speers? I'm not sure what HH model I tried - I wasn't willing to try another after the one I tried scared me to death. I was literally pale and shaking when I got out.

BTW, thanks so much for all the help at Trail Days. When I got to the HH vendors and explained the problem with getting in and out of hammocks and the need for stabilitiy, they directed me to a specific hammock they said was quite stable before I could tell them I wanted to try the expedition you recommended.

peter_pan
2006-05-24, 20:22
S/Dino,

What I'm saying is that for all the hype and gimmickry, all of the Hennessy hammocks are essentially a 100-120 inch long 60 inch wide rectangular piece of nylon on the bottom...So is a Speer and most others.... The HH bottom entry is unique...but if you cut the bug net off you will have all the unrestricted openness of a Speer top loader.... In fact, one could simply use it as a top loader....But in your case, as demonstrated at TD, using the bottom entry can be done quite stabilly...

You can leave the overhead line on the hammock as it mades set up easier....It probably will not be in the way for you with the bug net removed...if it is a bother, you can remove it also... Its functions are to preset the sag (which you can learn to estimate easily) and to support the bug net (which will be gone)

HH Asym points are just tie outs that give shape and define a folded parallelagram of bug netting...They also suggest which way to lay asym...when used regularly the material will take its stretch in the say orientation...If you don't pull them out the hammock will function as a Speer ( incidently the Speer is most comfortable on a slight asym also....it just doesn't make a big deal about it or add tie out points)

Basically you can have it both ways...a Bottom loading HH entrance to facilitate your orthpedic needs and the open use style of a Speer....just use a pair if scissors on it.

Summer's bugs may require you to use a Speer type bug net...easy to make or ask Ed to make you one.

Pan

Just Jeff
2006-05-24, 20:26
The HH's sides might flop over if you remove the bugnet. A strip of elastic on each side should solve the problem, though.

Woods Walker
2006-06-19, 01:53
You will never fall out of a HH. If I didn't then it would be hard for anyone else to roll it. Save up the coin and buy it. Heck by the time you are done getting all the parts, Hammock and bug net plus the rain fly you may end up spending more than the 100-199 for a new HH. Just my view.

If you do cut a slit in a hammock find a way stop the fabric from ripping apart more. Tom has the butt end of the bottom access reinforced. Just something to keep in mind.

Thin air
2006-07-11, 13:10
It would not even be worth your effort to find and buy and build a hammock as you state. You can buy the SCOUT version of a HH for only $79 now and get a free larger tarp and free shipping in addition to the SCOUT (hammock, bug net, fly).
If you do go the make it yourself route, you can solve your stated ridgeline problem by using a 1/8" stretchcord (army-navy stores). Tie it short and when you hang the hammock it will still be taut to whatever length your hammock ends turn out to be.

I have that exact setup on a Ticket to the moon hammock (double $39). I have the stretchcord as above with a 70" x 3 yard mosquito netting draped over it. It hangs down beyond the edges of the hammock and the ends are held in place by simply clipping with clothespins.

Just Jeff
2006-07-11, 23:34
It would not even be worth your effort to find and buy and build a hammock as you state.

Wha? I prototyped one for under $10. Add a bit for the supports that I scavenged from another hammock and the side tie-outs I didn't have - it could be done for under $20 easily...and still be half the weight of the Scout.

steve76
2006-07-24, 17:27
Hi,

Was just wondering if anyone has had any experience of these DD hammocks - http://www.ddhammocks.com
In the UK, although they also sell to the USA and Europe, the prices look good. They also sell on ebay and have 100% feedback.

I'm considering buying one as they look like great value and would be interested to hear from anyone who has one.

Steve

Just Jeff
2006-07-24, 17:47
First I've heard of this company...looks like some worthy products. The bugnet hammock looks a lot like the GI hammock.

The other hammock that wraps around you looks interesting. If it's waterproof it would cause condensation, though. I was actually thinking about making one similar to that with wpb materials...looks like the design might work if it's being manufactured!

I notice this is your first post here. Are you affiliated with DD Hammocks, or just interested?

steve76
2006-07-25, 05:47
No - I'm not affiliated with them, I live in the UK and can't afford a Hennessey so was thinking about one of these DD Travel hammocks, with mosi net - as they're a fair bit cheaper than Hennesseys. Also I'm not the best with sewing machines etc. so would rather buy one than make something that would probably break, with me in it!

Steve

Just Jeff
2006-07-25, 12:05
The Mosquito hammocks (http://www.jacksrbetter.com/index_files/Mosquito%20Hammock.htm) seem to be pretty popular, too. US$60...still have to pay extra for shipping but maybe someone over there sells them.

Oh yeah - forgot to say welcome to the forums!

steve76
2006-07-26, 10:18
Thanks Jeff, - so much useful info on here

Those hammocks look good too - think I'm probably going to go for the DD though as it should arrive quicker - being in the UK.

Cheers
Steve