Make a Mosquito Net for Your Traveling Hammock
A hammock is a great piece of travel gear to carry with you in the tropics. In point, hammocks are comfortable to sleep in, easy to set up, cheap to buy, and many hostels allow guests to sleep in their own hammocks for a vastly reduced price. Carrying a hammock provides the traveler with the ability to set up a bed almost anywhere in the tropical landscape, but there is one major problem:
Sleeping in a traditional hammock leaves the body exposed to mosquitoes, spiders, animals, and other insects that may bite or otherwise discomfort you in the night.
To fully optimize a hammock for comfortable use in the tropics, the traveler needs to use a mosquito net. This travel gear tip is about how to make a mosquito net for hammock.
I met Ruth, an Austrian traveler, in a hostel in Zipolite, Mexico, where she was sleeping in a hammock/ mosquito net combo that she had designed and made herself. I looked over the contraption and realized that it was well made and constructed from widely accessible and cheap materials.
Watch video of Ruth explaining how to make a mosquito net for a hammock
Again, please refer to the videos and photos as they show clearly what you need to make the mosquito net look like.
Materials needed for a mosquito net for a hammock
1. A large strand of white mesh, “mosquito net” fabric.
2. Around six feet of thin but sturdy rope.
3. A 2′ long double sided zipper.
4. Two thick rubber bands or rings of elastic.
How to make a mosquito net for a hammock
Throughout this tutorial, please refer to the video and photos, as they show clearly how to construct this type of mosquito net.
[adsense]The mosquito net that Ruth made for her hammock was from standard white mesh — typical mosquito net fabric — that she purchased at a fabric store in Austria for a negligible price.
I would say that you should probably start with a sheet of fabric at least 6′ X 8′ and then trim it down as needed depending on your height and the dimensions of the hammock you are making the net for. Ideally, you want the mosquito net to spaciously envelope the hammock, yet not so loose that it is too big and bulky. To get the size right, tie the hammock up as you normally would and tie a string between the knots connecting it to its supports, so that the string is running tight and straight across and the hammock is drooping down from it like a banana (this string is an essential element of the design anyway). Once this is tied up, drap the mosquito net fabric over the string and pull it all together so that it completely encompasses the hammock. Then mark off the excess areas to cut away. Ideally, you want the net to go down beneath the hammock spaciously, but not be dragging on the ground too much.
Once you have the dimensions for the mosquito net marked off, you should sew it up like an square bag, leaving a small space at the top two corners for the elastic, and a space at the bottom for the zipper. Once the net is sew together, sew in the zipper at the bottom and then the rings of elastic around the upper two corners.
You are now ready to stick your hammock up through the zipper and into the net. Once this is done, you can push the hammock’s ropes out through the small holes that are cinched with elastic in the upper two corners, and then tie them to a couple trees or other supports. Make sure that the top support string is tied tight and level. Now, you can crawl inside the mosquito net (watch Ruth in the video), and you are finished.
A tarp could also be easily added as a rain fly over the top of the mosquito net and staked to the ground with ropes.
Again, please refer to the video and following photos as they clearly show what you need to make the mosquito net look like.
Photos showing how to make a mosquito net for a hammock
Many insects, I am sure, have feasted upon the exposed bodies of travelers sleeping in hammocks, but this truly does not need to be so: it is easy and cheap to make a mosquito net for a hammock. A hammock/ mosquito net combo is truly an essential piece of gear for traveling in the tropics.