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Making Your Own Hammock: What Fabric To Choose

by Avery Hayden September 01, 2020 8 min read 1 Comment

Making your own Hammock and What Fabric to Use

Welcome to the exciting world of hammock-making! 

If you're looking for a fun and cost-effective DIY project that is perfect for beginners, then making your own hammock is a fantastic choice. Not only is it a great way to flex your creative muscles, but it's also a practical and enjoyable addition to any outdoor space. 

The best part? You can make your own custom hammock for a fraction of the cost of buying one from a retailer, with prices as low as $25 depending on your choice of fabric. 

So, whether you're looking for a cozy spot to relax or a unique gift for a loved one, let's dive into the best fabrics to use and get started on crafting your perfect hammock!

How to Choose a Fabric

One of the most commonly asked questions we get is, "What is the ultimate hammock fabric?". The truth is, there's no one-size-fits-all answer! However, fear not, as we've got you covered. 

In this post, we'll explore eight different types of hammock fabrics that each offer unique advantages and features. So, whether you're seeking durability, comfort, or affordability, we'll help you find the perfect fabric for your next hammock-making project. 

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...

When it comes to creating your own gear, the possibilities are endless. That's the beauty of it - you get to tailor your gear to your unique preferences and needs. Perhaps you're someone who needs gear that can withstand heavy use, or you prioritize breathability for those hot summer days. Or, maybe you're an adventurous soul who values lightweight and packability above all else.

The bottom line is, everyone's requirements are different, and that's why we're here to provide you with all the information you need to make the best possible decision. With our guidance, you'll be well on your way to crafting gear that perfectly suits your needs and exceeds your expectations.

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.

Keep in mind that, like other lightweight fabrics, it can be a bit slippery and challenging to sew if you're not used to handling such materials. Fortunately, it comes in a variety of colors to choose from, with a total of 19 options available.

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 


1.2 oz MTN XL Hybrid Ripstop Nylon 6.6

As the name implies, 1.2 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. 1.2 MTN is way more durable than any hammock fabric in its class but not 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 1.2 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

Looking for a hammock fabric that delivers on performance and feel? Look no further than HyperD. Since its introduction in 2014, this diamond grid nylon has become one of our top-selling options for good reason. It's soft, smooth, and incredibly strong, making it a reliable choice for anyone looking for a durable and comfortable hammock.

HyperD is our custom developed line of lightweight diamond grid nylon specially designed to balance strength and softness. 

At 1.6 oz, it offers a middle ground between the heavier 2.2 oz fabrics and the lighter 1.0 oz options, making it a great choice for anyone looking for a lighter weight hammock without sacrificing durability.

With more than 15 color options to choose from, HyperD makes it easy to customize your hammock to your liking. 

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're in search of a hammock fabric that's tough but also easy on your pack weight, look no further than our 1.7 oz MTN XL Hybrid.

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.

As part of our XL line, the 1.7 oz MTN XL Hybrid fabric is wider than most hammock fabrics, measuring 74 inches instead of the more common 60 inches. This extra width allows for a more comfortable diagonal lay, flattening the hang angle and increasing comfort for many people. With 7 colors to choose from, you're sure to find the perfect match for your preferences. 

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

1.8 oz AIRWAVE Hybrid Ripstop Nylon

If you prioritize the feel of your hammock fabric above all else, this option could be the perfect fit 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.

Keep in mind that this fabric has a thicker, stronger weave, which may result in a slightly bulkier pack size. However, with 8 available colors, you can still find an option that suits your style.

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 remains a top choice to this day, offering an unbeatable combination of affordability, comfort, and weight capacity.

This fabric is an excellent option for those on a budget or anyone making their first hammock. Despite its low price point, it boasts a soft feel and a high weight rating, ensuring that you won't have to compromise on quality to stay within your budget.

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 


Overall Thoughts

Best All-Around Fabric

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

The most affordable options for their weight class.

Best Fabric for Value

The most affordable options for their weight class.

Best Fabric for Durability

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

Best Fabric for Hand Feel

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

Best XL Width Fabric

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

Best Weight Rating for UL

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

Best Fabric for Overall Weight

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

Hammock DIY Kits

Experience instant relaxation with our hassle-free DIY Hammock Kits. Designed to save you time and effort, these all-inclusive kits provide everything you need to create your own hammock. With premium materials, detailed instructions, and a range of customization options, crafting your perfect oasis has never been easier. Embrace the joy of DIY and indulge in the blissful sway of a hammock made by you.


1 Response

Harley and a hammock
Harley and a hammock

April 05, 2022

Couldn’t agree with you more. I have a hammock with a double layer of 1.6 hyper D. I use it all the time and with the double layer I slide a mat in in the colder months for insulation. The material is silky smooth with the right amount of stretch and gives the best lay and is tough enough for my cat to climb in and sleep, he has learned not to claw but still they stick out somewhat. No issues in the second season so far. RSBTR has the stuff you need to make your gear and awesome support.

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