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Sleeping Minus the Matress - Printable Version

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- Tao Seeker - 01-04-2011

I see so many good examples of converted vans. This community is a great example of people with the ability to innovate and engineer. However, there's on aspect of every van I see that I can improve on, and that's the sleeping quarters.<br><br>A while back I though of buying a hammock, and getting together with some friends to mount our hammocks somewhere high up in a tree to make a kind of hidden hang out. Well after some research, since you <b>can't use spreader bar hammocks</b> (they'll flip), I found that the Mayan hammock is not only considered one of the most comfortable pieces of furniture known to man, but also that people sleep in them regularly in some countries and the idea that you can fall out of them is ridiculous. For this reason... I bought one!<br><br><br><b>It's fantastically comfortable, impossible to fall out of, would more quickly cure back problems than cause them</b>, and it was $50 after shipping for a hand-made piece from Mexico. For this reason, I have decided to add it to my plan for my van conversion. You can also make your own out of some tough fabric and good knowledge of knots (still very comfortable) which will resemble a camping hammock.<br><br>Here are some specs that must be considered:<br>-A single hammock (a bit too small for a large person, but still cozy) is almost 12ft long. You need about 10 feet to hang it right. The closer the ends of the hammock, the higher they will need to be and the more of an angle you will need to sleep on, so stretching it to 10 feet is best.<br>-The hammock isn't meant to be slept on parallel to the hammock (feet towards one end, head toward the other), but on a slight angle, to totally flatten your back. So you're going to take up about 4 feet of width when sleeping the most comfortably.<br>-<b>This is the good part</b>... when you aren't sleeping in the hammock, it consumes 0 space and can be taken down and put up in seconds. Being careful not to tangle or tear any strands is important. The whole thing weighs as much as a pair of shoes, and can be taken outside so you can sleep in the open air between to trees when it's nice out. I went to a junk yard and got some seat belts as straps, and used some eyelets from ace hardware to protect the loops from wear.<br>-<b>More good stuff</b>... the hammock doesn't need completely clear and open space. It's strong enough that if the passenger seat starts to invade its hanging space, or perhaps something else, the hammock can contour around it. This might affect how it feels to sleep in it, but shouldn't be a problem. Just be careful not to have it touching anything sharp or abrasive.<br>-Sleeping in a hammock isn't insulated. In fact, air gets under and through the hammock below you, making for great cool nights during the summer. For the winter, though, this is a big problem. However, slipping into a sleeping bag before you lean back into the hammock is the best way to wrap up and stay warm while you sleep, and sounds easy enough to me.<br>-<b>Please keep a cotton hammock away from any flame</b>. These things are made of soft cotton (they have nylon hammocks, too) which I imagine would light up fast and threaten to turn you into a thanksgiving turkey overnight if it caught fire. This is only another caution note, nothing that can't be dealt with easily.<br><br>Here's a link to where I bought my hammock. They are based in Mexico, and their english is a bit rusty, but I experienced real customer service which knows how to answer questions and seems to be running a real honest business: http://www.hammocksrada.com/<br><br>As they say, if you're 6ft or taller, go for the double hammock, that's what I got and it's amazingly nice to sleep in. It's only about foot longer than the single and a bunch wider, so required hanging space is only about 6in. more.<br><br>To attain the 10ft hanging distance, it seems best to hang it diagonally (this means you will sleep down the middle of and centered in the van) from the handle above a door window (with the seat leaned forward to allow space for the hammock) to the opposite corner and a mounted bracket of some sort. The hammock is light and made of string, so it wouldn't be hard to engineer something to lift the hammock out of the way of things while you sleep in it, as long as it holds your weight.<br><br>Maybe I should submit this as an article once I convert my van considering how long it is... thanks for reading!<br><br>


- akrvbob - 01-04-2011

Living in a van is quite similar to backpacking, and I know that hammocks have a huge and loyal following among backpackers. They have been discussed before, but I have never seen one used in a van. So, yes, take lots of pictures as you convert your van and I will run it as an article on the site. Expecially the hammock!! Bob <br>


- Guest - 01-18-2011

In regards to what the OP asked, I love my hammocks too and have had trouble when it is cool at night due to the lack of insulation underneath me.<br><br>I saw on a hammock forum that a Big Agnes sleeping bag has a pocket under it for a pad and that seems to work well for some. I just bought a Big Agnes Encampment bag on sale at REI and will give a report when I actually use it in my hammock.... Where I am in the desert there is nothing to hang my hammock to at the moment. When I go to Baja there will be so will try it then..,...I have three hammocks with me and I mostly use my Hennessey hammock for sleeping in. The others are lounging/napping hammocks...all on the Mayan style.<br>I am way too long to use one in anything but an extended van and mine is a shorty van...<br>Bri<br><br>


- dawn - 02-02-2011

bk2valve - I agree with you. <br><br>I was also going to recommend the Hennessy Hammock. It is more expensive, but it is much more versatile since it is a bonified backpacking hammock. There is no other hammock like it. Comfy, very lightweight, definitely takes up less space than the mayan hammock, and bug proof!! It also can transform into a tent if need be. Check it out if you are looking at investing in a hammock!! <br>


- polecat77 - 02-20-2011

You can make a hammock out of some rope and heavy blanket check this out http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-an-Instant-Hammock/ Now to figure out a way to put in a vehicle. &nbsp;Could use a canvas tarp instead of blanket or curtain. LOL&nbsp;