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September 01, 2020 7 min read


Making your own hammock is one of the most cost-saving projects you can do yourself. It is also an easy project, especially if you are new to sewing. An average hammock from a retailer will cost upwards of $70, but you can easily do it yourself for around $25 depending on fabric type.

One of the questions we receive the most is, “What is the best fabric to use for making a hammock?” The answer is "it depends".

But don't worry! In this post, we're going to break down six different hammock fabrics that are all great for different reasons.

There are a few things to take into consideration when designing a hammock:
  • How lightweight and packable do you want it to be? 
  • How much stretch do you want it to have? 
  • How breathable would you prefer it to be?
  • How durable do you need it to be? 
  • How do you want it to feel?

One important note before we go on... 

When interpreting the information here, be sure to consider the "weight class" of the fabric. For example, if we say 1.0 oz MONOLITE is "very durable", that means it's very durable compared to similar weight fabrics - not compared to fabrics that are much thicker/heavier (e.g. 2.2 oz HEX70 XL). Said another way, always make sure you're comparing apples to apples.  For the purposes of this article, we've created three weight classes:  ultralight, mid-weight, and heavy-weight

Moving right along...

One of the best parts about making your own gear is designing it to your specific needs. 

Maybe you are harder on your gear. Maybe you prefer the fabric to breath more for those warm days. Some might need it lightweight and more packable for adventuring or thru-hiking. 

Simply put, everyone’s needs are different. That’s why we’re providing as much information as possible to help you make the best decision. 


1.0 oz MONOLITE Ripstop Nylon Mesh

This 1.0 oz MONOLITE mesh is a newer fabric and one of the lightest fabrics we recommend for hammock use. Aside from being extremely lightweight, it’s also see-through. 
 
MONOLITE is constructed with a unique monofilament yarn and mesh weave creating the best durability we've ever seen for the weight. It's strong plus much more resistant to snagging and abrasion than fabrics of similar weight (e.g. 1.1 oz Ripstop Nylon).  It’s also insanely breathable with a CFM (cubic feet per minute or airflow) over 1000 of over 1000.
 
It’s also stiffer with more structure than your typical ultralight fabric which makes it a lot easier to sew. On the other hand, this also makes it a little bulkier to pack down compared to other fabrics. Available in 10 color options. 

Weight Class:  Ultralight  
Breathability:  Extremely  
Stretch:  Low  
Durability:  Very  
Hand Feel:  Soft  
Packability:  Bulkier  
Friction:  Stiff  
Weight Rating: 200 lbs

Pros: ultralight, extremely breathable, very good abrasion resistance, easier to sew 

Cons: more expensive compared to other fabrics, bulkier compression, lowest weight capacity, more transparent giving less privacy.


1.1 oz Ripstop Nylon 

This is probably one of the most popular choices for basic hammock building. In short, it’s cheap, lightweight, and packs down well.

This is a lighter weight, yet still fairly durable ripstop fabric. It has also been specifically finished to have a very soft hand feel.

Like most lighter weight fabrics, it tends to be a little more slippery when handling, making it a bit harder to sew if you haven't worked with similar fabrics before. Available in 19 color options.  

Weight Class:  Ultralight   Breathability:  Average  
Stretch: More Durability: Average  
Hand Feel:  Silky Packability:  Smaller  
Friction:  Average   Weight Rating: 200 lbs

Pros: cheapest fabric option, soft to the touch, most color options

Cons: harder to sew, less abrasion resistance compared to other options, lowest weight capacity 


1.3 oz MTN XL Hybrid Ripstop Nylon 6.6

As the name implies, 1.3 oz MTN XL Hybrid uses our unique Hybrid weave ripstop construction.

Compared to most standard ripstop fabrics, we use a much thicker, stronger yarn (80D) for the ripstop grid vs the base fabric (20D). The result is a noticeably stronger and more rugged material with minimal increase in overall finished weight. 1.3 MTN is way more durable than any hammock fabric in its class, but nowhere near as durable as 1.7 MTN.

The diamond hybrid ripstop grid pattern makes the fabric easier to sew, increases comfort for load-bearing applications, and tends to extend the overall life of the fabric.

Like the other fabrics in our XL line, we've custom woven 1.3 oz MTN XL Hybrid to be wider than standard fabrics at 67" versus the more common 60" width. 

Weight Class: Ultralight   Breathability: Average  
Stretch: Low  
Durability: Very  
Hand Feel: Silky/Stiff 
Packability: Slightly   Bulkier  
Friction:  More  
Weight Rating: 275 lbs 

Pros: durability to weight ratio is exceptional, highest weight rating for the ultralight class

Cons: most expensive


 

1.6 oz HyperD

It’s hard to go wrong with HyperD.  It’s soft, smooth, strong, and one of our best selling hammock fabrics since 2014.

HyperD is our custom developed line of lightweight diamond grid nylon. Designed for superior performance and feel, HyperD is incredibly strong yet still very soft to the touch.

At 1.6 oz, this fabric fills the void between 2.2 oz and 1.0 oz weights when you're looking for something lighter while retaining maximum strength/durability. Available in 15+ color options.  

Weight Class: Mid-weight  Breathability: Average  
Stretch: More  
Durability: Very  
Hand Feel: Silkiest
Packability: Smaller
Friction:  Low  
Weight Rating: 300 lbs

Pros:strong,   soft to the touch, average price, lots of color options, stuffs down smaller, easier to sew

Cons: lower weight rating than fabrics that are only slightly heavier (e.g. 1.7-1.8 ozs) 


1.7 oz MTN XL Hybrid Ripstop Nylon

If you are looking for a rugged, yet still lightweight option, our 1.7 oz MTN XL Hybrid is a great choice.

Compared to most standard ripstop fabrics, this fabric has a thicker, stronger yarn (120D) for the ripstop grid vs the base fabric (40D). The result is a stronger, more rugged material with minimal increase in overall finished weight. The hybrid ripstop grid pattern makes it easier to sew, increases comfort for load-bearing applications and tends to extend the overall life of the fabric.

We've custom woven 1.7 oz MTN XL Hybrid to be wider at 74" versus the more common 60" width. With wider fabrics, the extra length gives you more room to lay diagonally, flattening your hang angle and increasing comfort for many people. Available in 7 colors.

Weight Class: Mid-weight  Breathability: Lower  
Stretch: Low  
Durability: Very  
Hand Feel: Silky/Stiff
Packability: Average
Friction:  Average  
Weight Rating: 400 lbs

Pros: strong and highly durable, wide fabric, easier to sew, high weight capacity

Cons: most expensive option, less color options 


1.8 oz AIRWAVE Hybrid Ripstop Nylon

If you are all about hand feel, this might be the hammock fabric for you.

1.8 oz AIRWAVE was designed and woven from scratch by us with the single goal of delivering a radically new and unmatched next to skin softness.

Unlike standard nylon, AIRWAVE fabrics use a secret sauce called Air Textured Yarn. During processing, an air jet is used to create tiny loops in the yarn that combines the ultra soft hand feel of organic cotton with the high strength of synthetic nylon. AIRWAVE is softer than everything else and every bit as strong.

Like 1.7 oz MTN XL, 1 .8 oz AIRWAVE uses our unique Hybrid weave construction with a much thicker, stronger yarn (135D) for the ripstop grid vs the base fabric (40D). The end result for you is a stronger, more rugged material with minimal increase in overall finished weight.

Due to the thicker, stronger weave, this fabric packs down slightly bulkier. Available in 8 colors.  

Weight Class: Mid-weight  Breathability: Very  
Stretch: Low  
Durability: Very  
Hand Feel: Most cotton-like
Packability: Average
Friction:  High  
Weight Rating: 350 lbs

Pros: very breathable, soft cotton feel

Cons: less color options, more “grippy” on clothing when you lay in the hammock (could be good or bad depending on preference) 


1.9 oz Ripstop Nylon

This is one of the first hammock fabrics we ever made and to this day, it's still offers a REALLY great combo of price point, soft feel, and high weight rating.

Particularly great for those on a budget or making their first hammock.  

Weight Class: Heavy-weight  Breathability: Very  
Stretch: Low  
Durability: Very  
Hand Feel: Cotton-like
Packability: Average
Friction: Average  
Weight Rating: 400 lbs

Pros: lightweight for its weight class, lots of colors, most affordable option

Cons: heavier and more durable than what’s actually needed for the average size person 


2.2 oz HEX70 XL

2.2 oz HEX70 XL is a 70 denier nylon designed specifically for higher strength durability, and abrasion resistance compared to standard 1.9 oz 70D ripstop fabrics.

This fabric has a firmer feel and likely the most support of any hammock fabric we carry. It also looks plain cool :)

Like the other fabrics in our XL line, we've custom woven HEX70 to be wider than standard fabrics at 74" versus the more common 60" width, a good choice for those who want a roomier hammock or more shoulder space. Available in 13 colors.  

Weight Class: Heavy-weight  Breathability: Average  
Stretch: Low  
Durability: Average  
Hand Feel: Firm
Packability: Bulkiest
Friction: Average  
Weight Rating: 400 lbs

Pros: wide fabric, very high weight capacity, extremely durable

Cons:  not the lightest weight option, bulkiest compression 


Best All-Around Fabric: 1.6 oz HyperD

It’s strong, soft, packs down small, easy to sew, and has a ton of color options. What more could you want?

Best Fabric for Value: 1.1 oz Ripstop Nylon and 1.9 Ripstop Nylon

The most affordable options for their weight class. 

Best Fabric for Durability: 2.2 oz HEX70 XL

Great if you are harder on your gear or concerned about longevity.

Best Fabric for Feel: 1.8 oz AIRWAVE Hybrid Ripstop Nylon

If you want a hammock that feels like a cotton shirt, this is it. 

Best XL Width Fabric: 1.7 oz MTN XL Hybrid Ripstop Nylon

If you want an XL wide fabric with a high weight rating (400 lbs), this is your best bet. 

Best Weight Rating for UL: 1.3 oz MTN XL Hybrid Ripstop Nylon 6.6

This has the highest weight rating at 275 lbs for the ultralight class. 

Best Fabric for Overall Weight: 1.0 oz MONOLITE Ripstop Nylon Mesh

For those who are counting grams, you can’t get lighter than this fabric. It’s especially durable for its weight class.


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