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MYOG - SUL Floating Bivy/Hammock-Sleep System
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Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
MYOG - SUL Floating Bivy/Hammock-Sleep System on 05/08/2006 15:58:08 MDT Print View

SUL Floating Bivy / Hammock / Sleep System
Summer Version - Prototype 1
Part 1.

Side-Effects equal to date:
A 1 ounce Hammock Body.

The prototype for my new "Floating Bivy" Hammock/Sleep System is coming along. For testing I have it tied as low as I could just in case something failed and I took a quick trip to the ground. Nothing did, yet.

I finally got the bottom part of my prototype done. I am using the cord and some fittings from an old hammock until I make some new ones or find something that will work. The new stuff will work as you see it in the pictures. All the new cord will be very light weight per foot spectra cord of some kind. I have several different cords to work with and I will connect this cord to tree huggers to protect the tree bark.

The bottom of the hammock is more or less 7' long by 32" wide. This is quite comfortable as the spreader bars keep the hammock almost flat when I am in it (see pictures). I also can lay on my side when I want to sleep that way. The Cuben fiber necessary for the bottom part of the hammock will weigh less than 1 ounce. The prototype is made out of some $1 a yard stuff from Wal Mart.

The spreader bars are part of my Home-Made Trekking poles so there is no added weight to my "skin-out" hike weight.

I have used some "Sail Makers" engineering in how the hammock reinforcement is designed so I can use Cuben Fiber. Testing will confirm or reject my engineering theory.

The Floating Bivy System should be just as home on the ground as it will be hanging from a tree. A light weigh, durable, footprint will be used when in the ground mode. It will also have a very light weight and removable "Storm Cap" to add more weather protection on the ends when used in the hanging mode. The "Storm Cap" will connect to my Tarp when used.

I am making two versions, one for cold weather and one for warmer weather.]

I see this set-up working well in a 4-season role except possibly during a 100 year snow storm. For that I would bail out to a shelter, make a snow cave or something. If that ever happens I could use the Floating Bivy System on the ground in some manner and ride out the storm.

As a side note on hikes longer than a few days I carry a small weather radio.

Edited by bfornshell on 05/10/2006 16:58:32 MDT.

Re: MYOG - SUL Floating Bivy/Hammock-Sleep System on 05/08/2006 22:16:47 MDT Print View

Did he change his mind?

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
MYOG - SUL Floating Bivy/Hammock-Sleep System on 05/08/2006 23:16:31 MDT Print View

I don't know who you are referring to with your comment and web link.

It isn't to me. Who is "he"? Since it isn't me - why do I care?

I have had two "Flat" type hammocks for 37 years. They are two old Army Jungle Hammocks that I got new in 1969. They worked well for me over all these years. The only reason I am making a new version is the lighter material I can get today. The old Jungle Hammocks weighed 23oz.

I also have what I believe is the only Silk Hammock Ed Speer has made. I sent him the Silk and he made it for me over two years ago. The Silk is great and very cool in warm weather.

I believe everyone has a right to their option but also will say that just because you can't make something work for you doesn't mean someone else can make it work for them.

This Hammock System is for use in cold weather and when finished will keep me warm down to what ever temperature I expect to have on any given hike.

Edited by bfornshell on 05/08/2006 23:18:20 MDT.

Re: MYOG - SUL Floating Bivy/Hammock-Sleep System on 05/09/2006 07:39:20 MDT Print View

Wrong Bill I was picking at : ).

Paul Kaercher
(paulkaercher) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: MYOG - SUL Floating Bivy/Hammock-Sleep System on 05/09/2006 07:40:47 MDT Print View

It looks good Bill. I have 2 questions.
1- As you roll close to the edge does it tip
gradually or is it sudden transition from stability
to you're on the ground?

2- Are you using something to keep the support lines from sliding along the spreader bars?

Thanks for sharing!

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
MYOG - SUL Floating Bivy/Hammock-Sleep System on 05/09/2006 17:33:56 MDT Print View

To: (Anonymous )

I post over at and read most of the threads there but I don't remember seeing that thread. Hammock Brands and all the Under and Over quilt things have a sort of "Cult" like following for their products. HH seems to have a really large group that thinks they are great. I would fit into the Ed Speer "Cult" if any as I really like the simple design of his hammock. Ed is also really great to deal with. I have never been in or close to a HH for a good look and really don't understand the design.

Paul, Thanks,
Q-1. 1- As you roll close to the edge does it tip gradually or is it a sudden transition from stability to you're on the ground?

A-1. This type of hammock design (flat) could/would be less stable than the Speer style that rolls up around you. I took a nap in this one sleeping on my side for about 45 minutes and never felt like it might flip. I have a built in computerized "roll-stabilizer" system to keep anything from happening so fast that I can't compensate for a roll-over.
I actually have a stabilization method for the hammock. A corner tarp guy line goes through a loop fitting on each end of the spreader bars. This fitting insert is tied to the end D-rings so when it isn't used it is pulled out of the piece of trekking pole and packed up with the hammock. The corner tarp tie-out goes through the insert loop and onto a tent stake. This give me a way to stabilize the hammock when I am in it.

The stabilization system is Side Effect number 2 and adds no extra weigh.

Q-2. Are you using something to keep the support lines from sliding along the spreader bars?

A-2. As I mentioned in answer #1 I have an inset that goes into the ends of the trekking poles. This insert has a loop cord that goes through the end D-rings. This keeps the trekking poles stretched in a uniform way from one end to the other (no sliding). You can sort of see the cord that is tied to the end D-ring in one of the pictures and the insert in the ends of the trekking poles.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
MYOG - SUL Floating Bivy/Hammock-Sleep System on 05/10/2006 16:55:40 MDT Print View

MYOG - SUL Floating Bivy / Hammock
Summer Version - Prototype 1
Part 2.

I have finished one idea for the top part of the Summer Version - Prototype 1. The open part between the hammock bottom and the top area will be noseeum bug netting. I don't want to use Velcro to seal the bug netting to the other material and have to work on that part. Velcro is heavy and I just don't like it. I have a few ideas and will compaire the weight of them to the Velcro.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
myog- Sul floating bivi/hammock-sleep system on 05/11/2006 03:15:54 MDT Print View


Your floating hammock is taking on the appearance of a M1965 Military Jungle Hammock...The shape is very similiar except the entire top is no seeum vs your material and no seeum plans...I do like that yours appears wider at the bottom...The original M1965s were only 32 inches wide...yours should be more stable.

Recommend that you keep a close eye on the little triangular cord manager at the end...Most folk using the originals had cord wear here, unless they deburred the small holes with a knife point and emery paper...seen a few failures here...including one myself.

nice proto.


Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
MYOG - SUL Floating Bivy/Hammock-Sleep System on 05/11/2006 07:49:40 MDT Print View

Hi Jack, Thanks for your interest and comments.

There is a really good reason why it looks like the old Army Jungle Hammock. I still have two that I got back in 1969. One was used during a couple of weeks of training in the Jungles of Panama during one of their monsoon seasons. It worked really well but the build on tarp was to small. I used my Army poncho each night for better cover from the rain. I added a larger tarp to mine and then they worked really well. I used mine a lot over the years and even used one in the North GA Mtn's in the snow. I like the flat design and for a winter hammock it works really well with my "Warmlight" Down Air Mattress (DAM).

With all the new really light material we can now get I have wanted to make a new one like it for awhile. The Army Jungle Hammock weighs about 23 ounces without the tarp part and my new one out of Cuben or maybe silk will weigh a lot less.

My "triangular cord manager" things have something like grommets pressed into the holes making a nice smooth place for the cord to slide in/out. My two Jungle Hammocks are "Army" issue ones. You could buy these back then and I got two plus a few of the Army Poncho Liners. I have a ton of old gear from my 28 years as an Army Infantryman but it is all packed away till I need it again.

Keep your gear ready and your guns clean.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
New Silk Hammock on 05/13/2006 16:22:34 MDT Print View

New Silk Hammock:

I had received some new material and hardware this past Thur and Friday and when I was putting it away I found the second piece of Silk I had sent Ed Speer a couple of years ago. When I sent him the Silk for my Hammock I sent two pieces just in case he had a sewing problem with the Silk. Yes, something happened and the first piece of Silk tore at one end. He went to the other piece and didn't have any trouble with that piece and made my Hammock from it. I think that Hammock is now going on three years old.

I have wanted to try a "Flat" style Hammock with some of my light Silk for a long time. I wasn't sure the Silk would be strong enough for the extra stress from the spreader bar. I decided to try the Hammock using the piece of Silk that I got back from Ed. I would reinforce the Silk like I planned to for the Cuben material (if/or when) I use it. I say if or when now because if the Silk works I may only use the Cuben for my Winter System. The weight difference of the fabric between the Silk and the Cuben for a Summer hammock is 1.4oz (+/-) a bit. The Silk is a 1/3 less cost compared to the Cuben. The Silk I used for the Hammock bottom is from Thai Silks and is Habotai - China Silk product number 26L - 8mm. The weight of this Silk is 1.02oz a sq yard (+/-) a bit. It is 54" wide and the last price list I have says it is $5.15 a yard. Compared to the $16 or $17 a yard counting the shipping for the Cuben material the Silk was worth a test.

When I was laying in the new Silk Hammock I again realized the really great benefit of Silk for a warm weather Hammock. A slight breeze was blowing and it was coming through the Silk and even in the sun my back was very cool. Silk is so nice to lay on.

I was trying to take these pictures with the timer on my camera and had tried several times to beat the clock. One time something broke and this is what it looked like. I didn't hit the ground, I held onto the sides of the Hammock. My first thought was that the Silk tore. It turned out to be only a broken D-ring. I never worried about the D-rings and even got some lighter ones to try. I fixed it by using a piece of 550 cord. I think I will replace all the D-rings with cord of some kind. You can see where the missing D-ring should be. There are 6 D-rings on the Hammock and the pictures shows only 5. It was a good test for the Silk even if it wasn't planned.

The Silk seems to be holding up OK so far. If you only count the weight of the Hammock material, reinforcement material, and D-rings the weight comes to about 4oz. I am still using the the tie up stuff from the old Army Hammock. The Silk is 34" by 90" or about 2.4 sq yards. The weight of the 8mm Silk is about 2.5oz vs about 1.1oz for same amount of Cuben material.

I may have a little room to drop some weight with the cord vs D-rings and maybe with a different reinforceing material.

Edited by bfornshell on 05/13/2006 20:13:34 MDT.