Bed sheet Hammock

The Bed sheet Hammock

(As featured in the October 2009 issue of Practically Seeking)

Frequently in a survival (or camping) situation it is desirable to get yourself up off the ground because of dampness, insects, or for a host of other reasons, and a hammock can serve this purpose very well. 

A suitable hammock can be easily improvised from a tarp, a poncho, or even a bed sheet.  

To make a hammock all you will require is a bed sheet (or poncho, or tarp), two 3-foot lengths, and two 6-foot lengths of paracord, or other strong cordage that can support your weight. For this article we used a king size sheet and half-inch nylon webbing, and the knots used to tie and secure the hammock are the timber hitch and half hitches we discussed in the August newsletter.

Step-by-step Instructions on How to Make a Bed sheet Hammock:

  1. Take a sheet and fold it in half length-wise. (Larger sheets can be folded in half a second time.)
  2. Bed sheet Folded in half

  3. Take one end of your folded sheet and, working both sides simultaneously, gather the edges evenly inward towards the center, in an accordion-style fold.
  4. Fold in an accordian style

  5. About 9 or 10 inches down from the gathered end, use one of your 3-foot lengths of cordage to bind the gathered end together, using a timber hitch.
  6. Secure the gathered end Tie with a Timber Hitch

  7. Wrap back toward the gathered end of the sheet about six times, and secure with 3 half-hitches.
  8. Wrap gathered end Secure with 3 half-hitches

  9. Now fold the short end of the sheet over so that it overlaps the wrap you just made, and continue wrapping back toward the end at least 6 more wraps, and secure the cordage with a minimum of 3 half-hitches. You should now have an "eye loop" in the end of your sheet.
  10. Fold the end Wrap backwards 3 more half-hitches Eye loop

  11. Fold your six-foot piece of cordage in half and tie an overhand loop in the folded end. (As we are using half-inch webbing, which is stronger than paracord, we simply tied a loop in one end.) Pass the cordage loop through the eye of the sheet and then pass the free ends of the cordage back through the loop so that it tightens down on the eye loop at the end of your sheet.
  12. Loop cordage through eye Tighten loop down

  13. Repeat steps 2-7 at the sheet's opposite end. You should now have a secured eye-loop with a length of tightened-down cordage at each end of your sheet.
  14. Wrap the other end Secure cordage through eye loop Tighten down this end

  15. Secure one end of the hammock around a tree, about chest high, using a timber hitch. When creating this timber hitch you should wrap through at least 5-7 times to ensure the hitch is very secure! (You don't want to end up on the ground because you were short a couple of wraps!)
  16. Wrap on tree chest high Secure with 5-7 timber hitches

  17. Repeat Step 9 at the opposite end, securing this timber hitch a few inches lower than the first. It is always more comfortable to have your head slightly higher than your feet.
  18. Other end lower Secure with timber hitches Use multiple hitches to secure

  19. To enter the hammock straddle it in the center of the sheet and spread the hammock apart just behind your bum.  SLOWLY lower your weight into the hammock. At this point you want to carefully watch the knots for any slippage, ensuring they will hold before fully committing all your weight to the hammock!
  20. Stradle the hammock Spread the sheet to sit Comfort!

  21. If you have a larger sheet that you doubled-over twice at the beginning, you can crawl inside that second fold and have yourself a built-in blanket! (This is especially great during mosquito season :-)
  22. Open the fold of a larger sheet Built-in blanket

So give this improvised hammock a try the next time you're sleeping outdoors.
It's a great way to Relax, Enjoy and Have Fun!