Portable Hammock Pipe Stand

UPDATE: For more information on portable hammock stands, check out my guest post on Section Hiker.

The hammock pipe stand has been around for a while. I believe Speer was the first to build one back in 2004. The Jacks from Jacks ‘R’ Better built a similar pipe stand for their displays out of 2 in. (5 cm.) threaded pie. I used these stands during Trail Days 2012 when I worked with the Jacks in their booth. The stand has a very simple construction (there are plenty of complex variants), travels well, and is easy to put together. I built mine from 1 in. pipe and it’s just as sturdy and costs less.

I’ve used a few commercial hammock stands in the past, but the problem with these backyard stands is that they flex once you get into the hammock. This poses a problem if you want to pitch a tarp on the stand, as the tarp will sag once the hammock is used. Stands with a vertical bar eliminate this problem. This stand uses 6 ft. (1.8 m.) pipe lengths creating a nice 12-ft. (3.6 m.) span that will accommodate most tarp configurations and a variety of hammock sizes and styles. For indoor use, you could get away with a 10 ft. (3 m.) span and five foot leg length.

I threw this illustration together as a service to those looking for the original Speer instructions; I hope you enjoy!

hammock pipe stand

  76 comments for “Portable Hammock Pipe Stand

  1. Larry Crouse
    July 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    So I’m not your average sized bear…..@250#’s, would a 1″ setup work or should I just stick to the 2″. Also my eno hammock has beaners and no straps (yet), what type of hardware would you suggest for beaner usage?

    • Derek
      July 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      Based on my experience and those I consulted when building my stand, I think you’d be fine. If you want to play the safe side, go with the 1.25 inch pipe. I think the 2 inch pipe is overkill and heavy.

  2. July 3, 2012 at 1:28 am

    Sounds like a good idea but I wish you Americans used metric measurements so the rest ofthe World could understand!

    I am thinking about making a stand using bamboo. There would be a tripod on both ends. The hammock would be attached to the ridge pole. The ridge pole would be hung from the tripod by some rope.

    • Derek
      July 3, 2012 at 11:44 am

      Thanks for the reminder. Typically I add metrics to all my posts, but I failed here. I’m updating the post now!

    • Clark
      August 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm

      Please let me know if you went through with this idea. I’m curious about how the metrics of this turned out. There are actually a lot of bamboo forests around where I live (who knew its an invasive species) and might be worth the shot at making something from bamboo before shelling out for steel pipes..

    • Kylee
      February 10, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      Quick conversion: 1″ = 25.4mm

  3. Grant
    July 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I just built a stand out of 1″ pipe and i weigh 330lbs. it holds me just fine, but I think I’m gonna be borrowing a pipe wrench from work and really tightening the fittings down and then welding the fittings that stay put so it adds some sturdiness.

    also, it seems that maybe putting foam around the support bars on the ground will help stiffen it up. or I could weld feet to the ends of the 24″ sections to add some stability.

    it is a bit rickety for now, but has a lot of potential for my uses. I’ll report back once I beef it up.

    • Derek
      July 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      Sweet! Be sure to post some pictures on Facebook. The Jacks recommend adding elbows on the feet for stabilization. I haven’t had a problem on carpet, but it is wobbly on hard, flat surfaces. Adding some of that pool floating noodles could also work for a lot less.

      I took a pipe wrench and ratcheted all the fittings that were “permanent.” The others were hand tight so I could disassemble it for demos.

      • Wayne
        August 20, 2012 at 1:13 am

        There’s no need to weld pipe fittings that you have no intention of taking apart. You can affix (threaded) pipe fitting by applying liquid “Loctite® Red High Strength Threadlocker” I’ve tried to loosen pipe fittings after applying Threadlocker Red with extender wrenches for extra leverage, without success. If you want to separate the fittings again, you’ll need a torch. According to the package instructions, “Cured Threadlocker Red must be heated to 500ºF (260ºC) before fittings will separate.” I purchased Threadlocker Red from my local (Hawaii) NAPA Auto Parts Store (Item #765-1144). For a quick demo about Threadlocker Red, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9zFgB8lTNM

  4. Ben
    August 14, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Hey, thanks for the instructions! What is an expected materials cost for building a stand like this? Can I just put in an order at the hardware store and have them cut the pipe to the proper lengths and then thread the ends of the pipe?

    • Derek
      August 15, 2012 at 7:21 am

      I purchased all the pipe and fittings from Home Depot for about $150, if I remember correctly. I paid a premium for the convenience, but it was one of the easiest do-it-yourself stands I’ve made. You can probably get the pipe cheaper if you have access to someone (plumber, welder) who can get the pipe at wholesale and cut and thread the pipe for you.

      • Robert
        July 13, 2013 at 6:37 am

        Did the Home Depot thread the pipe you bought from them?

        • Derek
          July 13, 2013 at 8:25 am

          The pipe I purchased already had threads and caps on both ends. They were ready to go out of the box. I literally purchased the pipe on my way to a hammock demo. It worked great.

        • Frank
          July 13, 2013 at 9:23 am

          The Home Depot I went to DID cut it and thread it for me at no charge. But the guy warned me that sometimes the machine is down bc new hires don’t always know to turn the oil pump on, and it burns out the machine.

  5. Dan
    August 22, 2012 at 7:22 am

    What’s the total weight of the stand when built with the 1″ pipe?

    • Derek
      August 22, 2012 at 8:42 am

      I’m not sure. Mine was built with larger diameter pipe. From other’s I’ve spoken with who’ve built stands with 1″ (2.5 cm) pipe, they said it bent and wasn’t as strong. I wouldn’t recommend the smaller pipe.

  6. Tai
    October 11, 2012 at 12:25 am

    What pipe material do you suggest to use? Would thicker PVC pipes work?

    • Derek
      October 11, 2012 at 7:45 am

      You can experiment with PVC, but I don’t have any experience with the plastic pipes. I used 1.5 in (3.8 cm) stainless steel pipe. Friends of mine used the thinner 1 in (2.5 cm) pipe and said it was too flimsy. My friends from Jacks “R” Better use 2 in (5 cm) pipe for their stands.

  7. turk
    February 11, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Hi Derek…I have read your posts on the building of the stand out of 1.5 inch pipe…I am thinking of building one ….do you have an updates on the materials or building the stand before I start on mine…also your book on hammock backpacking is great….going to use your ideas also to hang my tarps as well… thanks Turk

    • Derek
      February 11, 2013 at 8:05 am

      Thanks for the feedback and support! The Jacks recommend 2 inch pipe for extra security, and you can add corner joints on the legs to add stability. I used 1.5 inch and left off the corners for some cost savings. The 1.5 inch pipe has worked great for me.

      • turk
        February 11, 2013 at 8:30 am

        I am about 230 lbs and want to make sure the 1.5 is strong enough..Did you use galvanized ? Thanks
        Turk

        • Derek
          February 11, 2013 at 8:58 am

          I believe so. It wasn’t the black steel, just the silver; my only two options. The 1.5 should be strong enough.

  8. Kerri Larkin
    April 4, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Hi Derek,

    You are an inspiration to the hammock community. Thanks for your tireless good humour. Looks like I’m off to the pipe yard this afternoon to make one of these stands. I’ll let you know how it works!

    Kerri

  9. WHITTLESEY WILLIAM
    April 12, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Did you or anyone every try a PVC option?? Trying to get stands for a Boy scout troop, and PVC would be much more affordable (pending no emergency room visits)…

    • Derek
      April 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      I’ve never tried PVC, and I’m not aware of anyone yet to make one (although a few have wanted to). For your scout group, do you need a free-standing anchor? If you’re in a field, I would recommend the 3-person hammock stand instead. It’s much less expensive than even PVC and can accommodate up to 3 hammocks at a time. There are other less expensive options for a free-standing anchor, like the Turtle-Dog stand (I’m working on plans for that one soon).

    • Van
      September 21, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      I would think you would have to use really thick/big diameter PVC pipe to safely support your weight. Even then, I would worry about the plastic eventually weakening and failing. Just my $0.02…

  10. Kerri Larkin
    April 25, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Great news! I finally sourced the pipes and fittings. In Australia we don’t get the same fence fittings as the US, so I had to source galvanised water pipe. The fittings are getting hard to find as most plumbers use plastic pipe now. However, for the grand total of about $AU 200 I’ve got a 1 1/4″ stand which is plenty strong enough to manage my weight, feels sturdy, and gives me a great hang. Hooray! Thanks again Derek.

    • Derek
      April 26, 2013 at 10:57 am

      You’re welcome, Kerri. Glad it worked out for you! Send me some photos of your completed stand ;)

  11. May 5, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Hey, thanks for this post! I just had an idea. I don’t think I’d feel comfortable using wraps to attach the hammock to the stand, so I might try putting T-joints at the top instead of elbows, that way I can just use an S hook or something to go straight into the top.

  12. Daniel L.
    May 23, 2013 at 6:10 am

    What diameter pipe did you use? I purchased all the materials from Home Depot last night and it weighs A TON. Hardly seems portable. Please help, THanks.

    • Derek
      May 23, 2013 at 8:41 am

      Daniel, I just went out to the garage with a ruler, just to triple-check. It’s 1-inch pipe. At least, that’s what it says on the labels. I’m not a plumber, but I believe the diameter is measured from the inside. The outer width is more like 1.5+ inches, taking into account the thick pipe walls. My instructions list 1-inch pipe, but I do mention that folks have made these stands out of thicker pipe. When I spent time with Jacks “R” Better, they used 2-inch pipe for their stands. Thicker pipe will be heavier, no question.

      “Portable” is in reference to its ability to break down into smaller pieces so it can fit into a trunk or the bed of a truck. The pipe stand is the best in this category of all my hammock stands. It’s “footprint” in my trunk is the smallest.

      I weighed my 1-inch pipe stand this morning. The pipe sections are roughly 10 lbs (4.5 kg) each, making the stand around 60 lbs (27 kg). I hope I didn’t give the impression that these stands were in any way “backpack-able.” I usually carry my pipe stand in sections, shuttling back and forth from my car. That’s about as much movement that this stand gets, but that’s what it’s designed for: car camping, backyard hangs, or doing hammock demos at expos, trade shows, or inside retail shops.

      • Daniel L.
        May 23, 2013 at 7:39 pm

        Okay thank you Derek. VERY helpful. I didn’t know if buying a smaller diameter would make it lighter but even if it did I wouldn’t think by much. I am stilling hunting for a union joint then I can put this bad boy together! I purchased the 1.5 inch pipe and the 72” pipes are wayyyy heavier than 10 pounds. Do you think that 12 foot span is necessary? would a 10 foot span and a 5 foot height work all the same? Thank you for your time.

        • Derek
          May 23, 2013 at 8:00 pm

          Much depends on how you want to use it. At 10 ft, you’ll have just enough room to hang most hammocks, but not larger hammocks, unless you hang them with a significant sag (not a problem for spacious Brazilian or Mayan-style hammocks). But with a deep sag, you’ll also need more height so you’re not on the floor. Use my hammock calculator to figure out the right hang point for your hammock and use that as a general aid when building your stand (just remember to allow a few inches for wiggle room — the calculator is exact, but reality requires more forgiving).

          I wanted a 12 ft span because that mimics real world hanging more closely. It allows me to string up a tarp with a little room to spare on each side, which in turn provides enough space and height for the hammock suspension.

          I have other stands, like the Vario, that can adjust to a very small footprint. This works with some hammocks, but it will just allow for the hammock to clip on and no room for a tarp.

  13. Frank
    July 5, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Do you think it would work with 2 36″ pieces vs. 1 72″ piece for the vertical supports? Or would it lose too much structural integrity to support the loaded hammock?

    • Derek
      July 6, 2013 at 2:33 pm

      I wouldn’t recommend shorter poles as the stress could bend the pipe. Unless you add a larger coupler over or through the two sections, it is risky.

      • Frank
        July 7, 2013 at 8:38 am

        That’s what I was afraid of. Thanks for all the great info on this site!

  14. Kent
    March 18, 2014 at 6:11 am

    Hi, saw the post and will be making one this weekend. will be using 1.5 or 2″ pipe. will report back with pic/maybe a video . I do alot of Off roading Jeep 4×4 wrangler rock crawling, and alot of times the camp sites we stay at dont have tree’s located in locations close to my other wheeling buddies, so this will be nice to carry in my jeep , just incase, plus, if i dont need it, i can use it with a tarp as an extra shelter area for cooking or just hanging out at night.

    • Derek
      March 18, 2014 at 6:58 am

      Fantastic! My uncle does a lot of jeeping in the southwest of Utah where trees can be scarce. A portable pipe stand should work out well!

    • Kent
      March 18, 2014 at 11:56 am

      I am going to modify, to make this easyer to store/carry. instead of 6ft sections (72inches), across the top i am going to do 3 4 foot sections and for the two up right poles at each end i am going to make those 2 3 foot sections, sure i will have a few more items, and union joints, but it will be smaller in length when apart, thus easyer to store.

      • Kent
        March 22, 2014 at 8:54 am

        Ok, my specs are as follows, this works, very sturdy, and fits in the back of my jeep wranger JK 2D. a few more
        connections, but im 250lbs and no issues.

        http://s275.photobucket.com/user/kent10s/library/Hammock-no-trees?sort=3&page=1 for the immages.
        My specs are as follows.
        3 (4ft sections 1″)
        4 (3ft sections 1″)
        4 (2ft sections 1″)
        2 90degree elbows
        6 “T” joints

        really sturdy, i will make a few adjustments but overall it all fits easy in my back, and if trees are around, then this can act as a canopy with my tarps.

  15. Kent
    March 24, 2014 at 4:55 am

    I have since modified the end pipes, the images on the site above are 2 3ft sections, i went and got 2 5ft sections which still barely fit in my jeep. this cuts the 4 pole ends to just 2. the total height is not 5ft instead of 6. a bit more compact, but still plenty of ground clear with lots of adjustments.

    the biggest issue i have it getting the pip dis’assembled , i can get it on pretty snug, but break down can be a bear, need some kind of options to help hold the pip and fitting so u can unscrew it if its in snug.

    i did get a pipe wrench, its got a thick rubber strap, but it tends to slip on the round pipe.. need some better ideas
    on how to tighten, untighten this so setup and breakdown is easyer.

    • Van
      September 21, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      I just want to clarify what you did for other readers because I found your response confusing.

      You had: 2, 3-foot pipe sections on each end
      You went to: 1, 5-foot pipe on each end

      Okay, so why did you change the ends? Did you find that it wasn’t as sturdy as you originally thought?

      The reason I’m asking is because using smaller pipe sections makes for easier transport.

  16. Tom Wicks
    March 27, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Thank you Derek… really cool idea, and even more so for people like me, who do not have any natural offerings to hang a ‘mock onto.

    • Derek
      March 27, 2014 at 11:56 am

      Thanks Tom. I’m in the same boat: 2.5 acres of dirt. :)

  17. April 1, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Quick question: how do you set these up? Do you get both sides built and then join them at the union? Do you create each side and then attack the center pole on one side, then the other? Just curious about recommended approaches. I just got the pipe cut this weekend, but have not had a chance to set it up yet.
    Thanks in advance!

    Bruce

    • Derek
      April 1, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      I set up the legs first and then attach the ridge poles, one side at a time. Join the two halves in the middle at the union. I keep the feet and T joint attached and keep the elbows attached to the legs. The ridge poles keep one half of the union.

  18. Kent
    April 10, 2014 at 3:30 am

    I made a few more adjustments. keeping the 12 foot across, instead of going 72″ on the end poles i went 60. 5 feet is plenty high for me, i dont like that much sag. but over all this work. still struggling with how tight and hard it can be to break down, need some way to make the connections snug without being a pain to unscrew when u need to break it down. do u guys just hand tighten?

    • Kerri
      April 10, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      I hand tighten mine, but as this is a car-based system (way too heavy to carry far) I carry a pair of multigrips in the car to loosen any tight joints

  19. Zach
    May 9, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    This would raise the price a bit but Kee Klamp pipe fittings would be much easier to connect the pipes since they only require an allen wrench and they are really sturdy. I have used them in the past and i’m planning on using them for this project next.

    I will mostly be leaving this setup stationary on my patio to use with my Kammock Roo, occasionally moving it into the yard and throwing it in the truck for camping. I do have a few questions though.

    Does this design flex at all? I was considering putting angular supports between the base legs and the vertical bars to give more strength during sway. Is that over kill?

    I have noticed people using 1″-2″. What should I use? I want it to hold 300 lbs well, without any give. I don’t know what is not enough and what is too much for this project. I want it to be sturdy but I don’t want a $400 hammock stand.

    • Onno
      May 29, 2014 at 9:23 am

      Hi Zach, I’m in touch with a supplier with such connections and he mentioned some of the essential connections need to be screw type to be sturdy enough. I am building this one too with perhaps a combination of the two connections, more news in a few weeks.

  20. Zach
    May 9, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    To be clear, I meant to say 1″-2″ pipes. Sorry.

  21. Mike @ NIU
    May 14, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Question for physics folks: My studio apartment is 12ft wide and walls are 8ft high. It would be really convenient to run the top bar right across the ceiling and sides right up the walls so that this system takes up literally no real estate. At 8ft, do I need the thicker pipes? Or is it the crossbeam that really holds the weight and needs to be thicker? I’m running a 14 foot Brazilian to replace my obnoxious space hog of a full bed.

    • Derek
      May 14, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      You don’t really need thicker pipes. The trick is to make sure everything fits. To thread the pipe you’ll need some extra space for the fittings. It might cost less to get a floor stand like the vario stand since you don’t need the rigidity of the top bar to keep a tarp taut. The vario is adjustable and works well with large Brazilian hammocks.

      • Mike @ NIU
        May 15, 2014 at 8:48 am

        The floor stand would be much cheaper, but I’m in a ~300 square foot studio and can’t afford the floor space. I currently keep a mattress against the wall and flip it down after moving a couch in order to sleep. It’s uncomfortable and super tacky. The upper bar hammock stand, if I measure right, would take up effectively zero space. I’m just concerned about making sure it’s structurally sound.

      • Van
        September 21, 2014 at 2:13 pm

        No, the Vario will not work for a 14-ft Brazilian hammock. I know because I purchased one and it bottoms out when I get in the hammock.

        • Van
          September 22, 2014 at 10:20 pm

          Possible correction…it may work if you use the extender bar; sold separately.

  22. Onno
    May 25, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Hi Derek, great site! I got a Mexican hammock from a UK based company, very large and comfy triple woven cotton but the required pitch is 3.4meters with a height of 1.8m. That excludes most stands but for various other reasons I also want to make this pipe stand. I found a local supplier of tubes and fittings but I have the choice to go with sleeve couplings, with an Allen key nut in the sleeve to tighten it up. Do you think this will work too? Here’s the sites with the products:
    http://www.fixingsandfittings.co.uk/shop/Interclamp/C42/
    http://www.hammocks.co.uk/hammocks.htm
    I’m afraid it may be too wobbly, I could put in some diagonals in the corners to stiffen it up but those fittings make it a lot more expensive. Or I could just go with threaded ends…
    Thanks!
    Onno, UK

    • Derek
      May 25, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      Those fittings look like they will work great. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Deano
    July 23, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Hi Derek,
    I’d been looking for a hammock stand for the garden and camping trips, but none seemed practical until I came across this one, alas it is a bit big and heavy.
    So I spoke to some engineering friends over a beer (the best ideas are often fuelled this way) and have come up with the idea of using Aluminium Scaffold Poles and Kee Klamp fittings. This should drop the weight (Hopefully), I’m also shortening the ridge poles to 3 x 4 feet and putting a joint in each upright, so the longest length should be 4 feet long and will hopefully fit in my car.
    I have a welder friend cutting the poles for me, once I have everything and have done a trial run, I will take some photos and post them. I may cut the size of the whole thing down once I’ve tried it out, as you hang calculator says I don’t need such a big stand?

    • Derek
      July 24, 2014 at 2:50 am

      The 12ft length is to accommodate a tarp. If you won’t need that then the stand can be shorter. Is love to hear how it goes!

  24. Robin
    August 12, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Great post! I’m a little confused though. At the beginning/top of your post in the diagram, you specify 1 inch pipe. Same at the beginning of the replies/questions. Then on 8/22/12 you say you used 1.5 inch pipe, and that people you’ve talked to who used 1 inch pipe thought it wasn’t strong enough… So as a sub 175-pound person, would I need 1 inch or 1.5 inch pipe? Thanks!
    Robin

    • Derek
      August 12, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      I think what I’m using is 1-inch pipe. I’m not a very good pipe expert because I think I was measuring the outer diameter vs. the inner diameter to get those different results.

      • Robin
        August 13, 2014 at 6:31 am

        Thank you!

  25. Kevin
    August 16, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Just a quick comment to help those that are pipe illiterate :).
    Black and galvanized pipe (the pipe that you would purchase at Home Depot or Lowes) is sized different than it’s actual dimensions. A 1″ pipe is not actually 1″ in size. There is a full write up on wikipedia – search for Nominal Pipe Size. Also the “pipe schedule” (shedule 40, 80, etc.) determines it’s wall thickness. Hope that is helpful.

    • Derek
      August 16, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      Thanks! I need pipe 101 :)

  26. Robin
    August 17, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    So would 1 inch pipe (OD 1.3 inch) Galvanized (looking at big box website) be sufficient for under 200 pound hanger? Or would it be safer to go with 1.25 (1.66 OD)? Thanks, I’m pipe clueless :-).

  27. Van
    September 21, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Even with wrapping web straps multiple times around the pipe, I would think the hammock would be prone to slip a bit once you put your weight in it.

    • Derek
      September 21, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      I’ve never had a problem. But I’ve heard it happen to others. Some add some tape to add some friction. Others add t-connectors.

  28. Van
    September 21, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Derek,

    Have you tried hanging a 14-foot Brazilian hammock from this stand and if so, does it fit; e.g. it hangs correctly and doesn’t bottom out?

  29. September 26, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Hi. Do you think it will be possible to hang a hammock higher and use a ladder to get into it? Was thinking then my son would have room under it for another hammock or mattress on the floor for friends to sit or sleep.
    Also, do you think sleeping in a hammock all the time is good for your body?
    Thank you for your helpful site.

    • Derek
      September 26, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      In my house we have set up hooks near the ceiling. It’s high but not too bad. People sleep in hammocks every day year round. It’s awesome.

  30. Van
    September 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

    @Lisa Yelland…Checkout Hammock Forums for an answer to your second question; https://www.hammockforums.net

  31. James
    October 31, 2014 at 1:01 am

    Hey I really like this plan over the turtledog stand in terms of space saving. I am just wondering if it would work the same using timber for the side struts whilst still having a metal bar at the top? Sort of a hybrid between the two designs.

    • Derek
      October 31, 2014 at 5:59 am

      Good question. Youd need some thick strut like a 4×4. This stand works different too, with compressive forces in the bar, so as you experiment, be careful.

  32. Dan
    November 30, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    What would your opinion be on the following. Instead of running a pipe along the top to join the sides, you run one on the bottom. Then you attach the hammock to some webbing that ran over the vertical pipe, down to the ground, across to the other side, up the opposing vertical post and attached to the other end of the hammock. My assumption is that having weight in the hammock would result in the properly adjusted strap to pull against itself rather pulling the vertical posts inwards.

    The thought behind this change in design is that it could be build with a sofa put on top of it. without the bar on top, It would look slightly more aesthetically pleasing when there is no hammock hung.

    • Derek
      November 30, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      You would still have sheer forces pulling the vertical poles together, which would bend the poles.

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