View Full Version : DIY Kit?
I came across the article on making your own Thai Hammock on the main site (I'd like to try, although I don't have a sewing machine, so I'm not sure this is feasible?), I was wondering what experiences people have had doing things on an extreme shoestring budget were.
I haven't been camping since for quite some time (almost 8 years now!) so I find myself with the mixed blessing of being totally free from equipment. I've never really had anything spectacular equipment-wise, so I thought since the weather has turned quite nice now it would be fun to use as many homebrew/DIY alternatives as possible (as seems to be the spirit here!)
The hammock/basha combo looks really appealing to me, and I've seen a few posts here where people mention using their own homemade hammocks. I was wondering if people had any tips on construction or any neat ideas that had been brewing (asymmetric etc.)
I'm also very interested to know what people think about sleeping-bag alternatives, has anyone used wool blankets etc. to any great effect?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
I've made hammocks from various materials but mostly they were knotted into a net configuration eighteen inches longer than me at each end. The ends were gathered with paracord and the paracord was used to attach it to the trees. In other words, I didn't have a bit of a stick at the ends to keep it open.
The easiest hammock (if you can call it that) though, is to make a tripod from poles, lashed at the top and make a triangle of poles lashed as well. The triangle is two feet six by six feet six by six feet six. The wide part of the triangle acommodates your shoulders while the lashed ends of the six foot siix poles acommodate your feet. You tie your paracord or rope to the ends of the shoulder pole (2'6") in a loop which gets slung over a branch, or lashed to the tree. The other (pointy) end you just place on the pole tripod. Make it so the triangle is pretty level. Then place long supple twigs all across the triangle, you can tie them in place if you wish using a doubled piece of cordage going over, crossover, back up, crossover and so on. Once you have your bed and frame assembled, you can make a mattress of dry grasses or straw if available.
Try it for size and adjust if necessary. Because one end (the feet end) is placed on the tripod and the other end is attached to the tree by a sling, the bed will sway like a hammock. It's not uncomfortable and will allow you to turn over on your side. It'll also keep you off the ground like a hamock and you can put a basha over it as well.
Also. you only need one tree/telegraph pole to tie it to unlike a hammock.
Try this page http://www.imrisk.com/testhammock/testhammock.htm (http://www.imrisk.com/testhammock/testhammock.htm) its a cheap no machine hammock, you get the chance to try a hammock with out spending out too much.
I did and now Iím off to get my self a proper setup.
Modern sleeping bags were inspired by the reindeer 'sleeping robes' of arctic and sub arctic people. Early units were simply wool blanketing cut and sewn and later layered under a wind and rain resistant shell. Other native sleeping systems used down and even rabbit skins woven with reeds or tanned hides such as buffalo. Bags were introduced in WW2 and were actually unpopular with infantry needing to scramble from a deep sleep into a firefight. So, yes you can use blankets. They will be relatively heavy and you'll still need some manner of groundcloth and sleeping pad for comfort and insulation from the ground. Several safety pins, to be accurate big blanket pins will help fix things into a semblance of order. Soldiers and outdoorsmen used to make up a roll with spare clothing and small bags of kit and sling it over one shoulder or secured to a daypack. It's clumsy, heavy and horribly inefficient compared to a modern sleeping bag. But thats what people used for centuries and lived to write nature classics. The best thing about roughing it with expedient or poor man's kit is you truly appreciate and understand the value of every piece of dedicated kit you do acquire.
My first trip out with my dad and older brother was a blanket night. We made a 'mattress' out of logs, with small branches and twigs on top, and then a good depth of bracken and dry grass. It was a comfortable night, and I haven't tried this method in a long time. I may have to give it a go soon.