Back in 2010, I published some instructions for making a 3-person hammock stand on HammockForums.net. I’ve updated the illustrations and information and am posting it here for easier access.
I’ve spent a lot of time and money trying to find a great hammock stand for my tree-less backyard and at events (e.g. car camping, music festivals, Boy Scout camporees) when or where trees are not available. Having a stand that travels well (portable), is easy to assemble, and doesn’t cost a fortune are also bonuses.
Enter the 3-person hammock stand.
This is not my own design, but it is inspired from a tensegrity stand used during the 1998 Burning Man event. Seeing the hammock between the struts was revalatory, so I had to try it out. I purchased everything at Home Depot for under $40, well under the “too expensive” radar[1. This is a great price, considering most commercial stands range anywhere from $60 to $200 or more]. Construction was fairly easy, but did require a drill and a few drill bits for the holes.
|QTY||Description||Unit Cost (est.)||Total (est.)|
|3||2 × 3 × 8 studs (the struts)||$1.50||$4.50|
|6||3 ft (1 m) rebar (the stakes)||$1.35||$8.10|
|1||2 ft × 0.5 in (61 × 1.25 cm) hardwood dowel (the pegs)||$3.00||$3.00|
|6||2 in (5 cm) steel O-rings or steel carabiners (to minimize abrasion on stakes)||$3.00||$3.00|
|~250 ft (76 m)||Rope/line (I purchased three 100 ft (30.5 m) of 3/8 in (1 cm) poly rope in different colors for a total of 300 ft (92 m)||$8.00||$24.00|
NOTE: Instead of poly rope, which I found to stretch a little, you could use some 7/64 Amsteel for increased strength, lower weight and bulk, and virtually no stretch. Consider using 6 welded steel O-rings (or climbing-rated carabiners) to protect cords from abrasion against the rebar.
Drill two 1 in (2.5 cm) holes on the top of each strut, spaced 1 in (2.5 cm) apart vertically, and 1 in (2.5 cm) from the top edge).
Drill one 1 in (2.5 cm) hole near the bottom of the strut, 1 in (2.5 cm) from the bottom edge.
After building the stand, I realized I needed better anchor points for the hammock so I drilled a hole (1/2 in/13 mm) near the two top holes where I placed a 4 in (10 cm) dowel. You can add anchor points further down the strut to better accommodate your hammock. I ended up adding a second anchor point at 4.5 ft (137 cm) from the bottom of the strut.
The top rope is one line, 50 ft (15.25 m) in length. Once set-up, it creates a triangle with approximately 14 ft (4.3 m) sides.
Cut 3 bottom ropes at 33 ft (10 m) each (e.g., cut a 100 ft (30 m) line in thirds).
Cut 3 side ropes at 33 ft (10 m) each (e.g., cut a 100 ft (30 m) line in thirds).
- Set up the stakes in a hexagon shape. The radius should be 14 ft (4.3 m). The easiest way to do this is to have two 14 ft (4.3 m) strings. From the center point, measure out for your first stake point with the first string. From there, use the second string from the first stake and the string from the center point to determine the next stake point. Use this pattern to determine the six stake points.
- Tie off the side and bottom ropes. Middle the ropes and insert the bight through the bottom or second-to-top hole respectively and tie a Lark’s Head knot to secure.
- Thread the top rope through the top holes. Pull the rope to take up the slack and the stand will rise. I tied a figure-8 on a bite on one end and used this as the anchor point to tie a Trucker’s hitch to get the structure taut.
NOTE: The inexpensive poly rope that I list and use on this stand often needs to be set or pulled stiff when you first get it. Some folks have complained that the rope stretches, and that seems to be the case on the first few uses as the rope is getting pulled stiff. Basically, the rope is only loosely braided and must be tightened up. Once this occurs, the line won’t stretch as significantly. I’ve made several stands using the same inexpensive materials and I take about 15-30 minutes tightening up the top and side ropes until all the fibers are pulled tight. The Trucker’s hitch really helps with that process.
I made some minor tweaking in the knots to make sure the posts were at a near 60-degree angle.
This hammock stand comes down quickly once you loosen the Trucker’s hitch. With the top rope loosened, the rest of the ropes are easily unhooked from the rebar stakes.
After the initial set-up, I leave all the ropes connected to the posts. This allows for a quicker set-up next time.
Getting the rebar stakes out is the hardest part, depending on the ground conditions. Use a pair of vice grip locking pliers to twist the stake around and then it easily comes out of the ground.
- Easy to construct
- Up to 3 hammocks supported
- Large footprint
- Not free standing (must be anchored)