Hammock Living: The Ultimate Simple Van Conversion

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This is the lazy woman guide to ultra-easy and comfy living!

This is the lazy woman’s guide to ultra-easy and comfy living!

There are two main reasons people become vandwellers:

  • They’re forced into vandwelling because they have little or no money.
  • They have a strong desire to live as simple or minimal a life as they possibly can.

For those of you who fall into one of those camps (broke or a minimalist) you’re going to love today’s post! We’re going to look at my friend Nancy’s van home which I think is the simplest, easiest and cheapest conversion I’ve ever seen. Are you ready? Here’s what she did:

  1. She took out all the seats.
  2. Tied a knot on each end of a hammock.
  3. Opened the front and back door and closed the knot in it.
  4. Moved her stuff in.
  5. Done!!!!
The ultimate, cozy, easy and cheap home!

The ultimate, cozy, easy and cheap home! Nancy is as snug as a bug in a rug!

It really is that simple. She didn’t make any permanent changes to the van; she doesn’t have any furniture; she doesn’t have any plastic drawers; she doesn’t have a bed; she didn’t turn a screw or drive a nail; she didn’t build or buy anything. All she has is her hammock and her stuff in whatever containers she happened to have on hand. I love it!!
ham-nancy-sideways

Nancy finds the hammock very comfortable to lounge cross-ways in.

 
hampme-in-it

I’d never been in a hammock before, so I gave it a try. There were things I liked and things I didn’t like. They tend to be polarizing, you either love them or hate them!

Whatever your situation or desires out of life, you can do just what she did and live a very happy life of freedom on the road! You don’t need money to buy a lot of stuff, you don’t have to have the skill and tools to build anything, you don’t have to spend a lot of time planning and making decisions.
No, you just buy a hammock, hang it in the van, put your stuff in the van, and drive away! Simple, cheap and easy.
What you must have is the courage and boldness to make the decision to do it! Those are the only essential things you need to bring to this party. If you can do that, you’re set!
I’ve known a few people who loved hammocks and I’ve known people who hated them. The one thing I can say for sure about them is that they are polarizing, you either love them or hate them.  I’ve not spent enough time in one to form an opinion, but based on my research and what I’ve heard from people who use them, here are their advantages and disadvantages.
ham-frnt-use

Hanging the hammock couldn’t be easier. She just tied a knot in the end of the rope and closes the door on it.

 
The knot on the other side of the driver's door.

The knot on the other side of the driver’s door.

To  hang the hammock out the back door, she  tied a carabiner to the end of the rope and closes the door on it.

To hang the hammock out the back door, she tied a carabiner to the end of the rope and closes the door on it.

Why should you get a hammock?

1) It’s a very natural and fetus-like way to sleep. There’s no question about that, if you get in a hammock you are curled up in a fetus-like position and you feel enclosed like I’m sure you would in the fetus. People who love them say that because they are so close to the natural way babies (and therefore all humans) sleep they have these health advantages:

  • The rocking motion gives you a deeper, more restful sleep. I must admit, I immediately noticed the rocking motion of the hammock and loved it, so this claim I totally believe! It’s also the only one with clinical proof. A Swiss sleep study verified that rocking during sleep does indeed cause a deeper, better sleep which should lead to increased alertness and mental functioning the next day.   http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/06/21/137300311/why-hammocks-make-sleep-easier-deeper
  • They are better for your back and neck. My first impression was this would be true for me. I have a terrible time finding a pillow that works for my neck, but I thought the hammock was just right without a pillow. Only time would tell if it’s true.
  • They eliminate pressure points so you don’t toss and turn. Again, I can easily believe this to be accurate. I’m constantly turning over in a bed so this would be wonderful if it’s true.

2) They save space. This is not up to any debate; they save a huge amount of room in the van and we need all of it we can get!
3) A Hammock is always level. Again, there is no debate about this, they allow you to sleep level no matter what weird angle the van is at. As a boondocker who spends lots of time in the National Forests or BLM land, this is a huge advantage to me. Their’ s a reason sailors have been sleeping in hammocks for hundreds of years; ships are rarely level!
4) They’re much cooler in the heat. We’ve all laid down on a hot night and felt the heat pouring up through the mattress. The thin piece of nylon or netting in a hammock doesn’t make you nearly as hot!
5) Making your bed is easy! Every morning I spend the first 10 minutes making my bed. That problem is solved with a hammock.
6) No build up of condensation or mold. While this doesn’t happen to me in the desert, whenever I’m in the forests I get condensation building up under the mattress and on top of the plywood under it; sometimes leading to mold. That won’t happen with a hammock.
7) No dust mites or bed bugs. Most of us don’t have these problems, but if you do a hammock will solve them. If you spend much time in a motel or hotel, it could be a lifesaver.
8) No mice, scorpions, snakes or spiders will crawl in bed with you. Many primitive tribes that lived in jungles or rain forests sleep in hammocks because it gets them up from the creepy crawlies on the jungle floor. They do the same for you and I wherever we are.

Nancy lives in a nice older 1991 Dodge van. It's in great shape but cost her very little money. Everything to make a minimalist and someone on a tight budget happy.

Nancy lives in a nice older 1991 Dodge van. It’s in great shape but cost her very little money. Everything to make a minimalist and someone on a tight budget happy.

Drawbacks:

1) It’s hard to get in and out of them. Nancy says that after awhile it gets easy, but no doubt in the beginning it will be quite difficult.
2) Hyper-extension of your knees. This was the very first thing I noticed and Nancy agreed, but she said she just put a pillow under her knees or bend them up the sides and that solved the problem. That made sense to me.
3) Getting out of bed at night to go potty. As I’ve gotten older, I find myself making multiple trips to the bathroom at night and I think that’s true for most of us. I can see that as being a real problem with a hammock.
4) Their colder than a mattress. This is the flip-side to they are cooler in the summer, they are colder in the winter. There are two common solutions which most people find totally solve the problem:

  • A backpacking sleeping pad under it will keep you warm and it doesn’t cost much.
  • An under-quilt that ties around the bottom of the hammock. It does an excellent job of keeping you warm and because its under the hammock and not under you, your weight won’t compress the insulation reducing its value. Unfortunately, they are fairly expensive. You can get them in 3/4 length or full length and Nancy recommends getting a full length or you can have cold feet.

To learn more about hammocks Nancy recommends joining Hammock Forums. Find it here: https://hammockforums.net/forum/content.php
You can buy the Trek Light Hammock that Nancy owns and recommends from Amazon here: Trek Light Gear Single Hammock
Here is a nice under-quilt at a good price $175 from Amazon: Eagles Nest Primaloft Underquilt

ham-me-feet

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94 Comments

  1. CAE

    I love this.

    • Bob

      Thnaks CAE! Something to think about!
      Bob

      • nancy bee

        Thanks for the great writeup. One thing I wanted to mention is that I have tried both the single width and the double width from Treklight. The double is significantly more comfortable. It is easier to sit sideways on it to read. It is also easier to sleep diagonally as recommended by hammock manufacturers and several people in the comments below.
        I will also add that I am very happy to see all the enthusiastic comments below. I am currently underpowered with the internet and computer that I have with me so will not be able to reply in a timely manner. But I will do my best. I am writing this on a borrowed computer!

        • Bob

          Thanks Nancy. I really appreciate you letting me share your story with so many other people. You have a great set-up!
          Bob

  2. Rob

    Cheap & simple!

    • Bob

      Rob, you can’t go wrong with that!
      Bob

  3. Mike C (mconlonx)

    I’ve done basically the same thing Nancy did — tossed a hammock and some stuff in a van and called it good. Not full timing, but I’ve been sleeping in the hammock, in the van, since last May. My van is my bedroom. Van: ’98 Ford E350 cutaway w/ Stahl med height utility body; Hammock: ENO doublenest.
    Let me address some of the pros and cons:
    Pros
    2. They save space while not hanging and are easy to hang, but require a lot of room while hanging. If you’re planning built-in furniture, shelves, or other infrastructure in your van, plan it out with the hammock in place and make sure you and the hammock won’t be hitting any hard parts when it’s up and you are in it.
    6. I do get condensation between my sleeping bag and camping pad. No big deal, I just hang them to dry, but condensation isn’t a non-issue. This while sleeping in below freezing temps.
    Cons
    1. Not hard to get into them, but it is kind of a “trust fall” experience. Getting out is actually slightly harder, but get used to it and it becomes second nature.
    2. Have not experienced hyperextension of knees. Usually, I’m sleeping on my side legs bent and crossed. Even lying across the hammock, it’s a minimal issue, and simply splaying your legs will take care of it. Might be a bigger issue if you like sleeping on your back… In the pix Bob posted, it looks like he is lying in the hammock incorrectly — along the axis of the hammock, parallel to the mounting points. Should be lying across the hammock, diagonally for a more level, less hyperextension-making attitude.
    3. See #1.
    4. Cold is an issue, for sure. I’m sleeping comfortably down into the single digits degF with the following setup: Sleeping bag rated to -20degF, Thermarest camping pad, moving pad doubled over. And then I considered one of the $175 underhammock insulation setups, but man, that’s steep. So I got a $20 king size comforter at Ocean State Job Lots and rigged it up with spring clips. Much warmer, seems to do the trick at a fraction of the cost. Slightly fussy — if I get motivated, I’ll do some grommets in the comforter and rig it up with some shock cord.
    Polarizing: I’m in the “love it” category, unconditionally. Best sleep I’ve experienced in decades. I have a lower back problem from my 20s; now in my 40s, no mattress I’ve tried leaves me pain free after a few months. Not an issue with the hammock — pain-free sleeping!
    Also, it got me in my van right quick. Would have been simple for me to have built out a typical bed — frame and foam with storage underneath — but I am a procrastinator, and the hammock was way simple to install. Drilled a couple of holes and I was in business.
    Love the self-leveling aspect of it — I’ve stayed a couple nights on moderately sloped ground, hammock self adjusts for regular sleeping attitude.
    I don’t know if it will stay in the van forever — I like the idea of a built-in bed/sofa combo for full time van living, but for now I’d say that the hammock in the van is one of the best things I’ve come across in a long time…

    • Bob

      Mike, thanks for all that great feedback! I’m amazed by how many dedicated hammock sleepers we have here!
      Bob

    • Drory Nadav

      Thank You Bob For Awaking America,In This Bad Economic Times,This Site & Without Bound Has Inspired Many To Have Simple & Realistic Options.We Are Growing Daily In #’s Thanks To You,And We Are Learning Daily What Comparisons On Which Vehicle To By Depending On One’s Financial Means,I Was An Over The Road Trucker Since I Was 19 Years Of Age Retired Do To An Accident.I Wanted To Buy A Tractor Trailer,Then A Bus Then I Bought A 2004 GMC Savana Conversion Van Due To ,Mileage,Parking,But Most Of All To Get Me Out Of The House & Be More Productive.I Can’t Thank You Enough Bob,& Also Michael Tubbs.Thx Again ,Your Friend Drory Nadav

      • Bob

        Drory, thanks so much for your kind words. I’m really glad you are following your dreams!
        Bob

    • Nancy Bee

      Mike- thanks for your comments. I am intrigued by the idea of a DIY underquilt and will experiment with blankets etc.
      I also had slightly unpleasant moisture condensation from sleeping on a non permeable pad in the hammock. It was OK and I was warm but I was motivated to explore other options for staying warm. My down underquilt from Warbonnet is extremely warm and will be too warm as the weather warms. It’s good to have lots of options.

  4. Calvin R

    The simplicity is amazing. Can a person sleep on his side in a hammock?

    • Alan

      Yes, you can sleep on your side if you lay at an angle to the ends, which lets you be pretty flat in any body position.

      • Calvin R

        Great, thanks!

    • Bob

      Calvin, you got lots of good answers on that question! I think the main idea is you will be so much more comfortable in a hammock that you won’t feel the need to sleep on your side. Instead of tossing and turning to find a comfortable position, you will be comfortable in the one and not move all night.
      Bob

      • Calvin R

        Bob, you have good followers. I’m especially impressed with Mike C.’s response. I have back pain sleeping on my side when I use the CPAP (which I hope to replace with something else), but not on my back. Mike’s posting tells me I’m good to go either way with a hammock, most likely. I have priced them briefly online, and I’ll most likely be experimenting soon.

        • Bob

          Calvin, I do have the best readers!! Including you!
          Bob

    • Mike C (mconlonx)

      Yes, you can sleep on your side! I prefer side sleeping, hammock is great for that. In fact, for me, better side sleeping than back sleeping.

  5. dan

    Used a hammock in my VW Van in my youth….room for my 135# dog
    Thor beneath. I carry one in my motorcycle saddlebag should I find appropriate trees…but am thinking of towing a trailer and stringing one in it now that I’m slowing down and crawling into a tent is problematical.

    • Bob

      Thanks Dan! I’d a whole lot rather sleep in a hammock than in a tent on the ground!
      Bob

    • Nancy Bee

      Actually one of the things I like as well is that my dog sleeps underneath me. It just seems like it makes more space in the van- Nancy

  6. Beth

    Hammocks are wonderful aren’t they
    Couple of suggestions and notes from a long time hammock sleeper.
    You CAN level them and should. Most people find that with the gathered end hammock you showed, you want the foot end about 6″ higher than the head end. Since the distance between the doors is constant, Nancy doesn’t need to level hers’ every time but they are adjustable if the van is on a slope.
    Most that hang them in the van use a piece of ABS plastic pipe on the outside of the van, it gives it more catch than the simple knot and it prevents the damage to the paint job that was shown were Nancy used the carabiner.
    Down underquilts are expensive but you can rig your own for less than $20.00. Instructions at Hammockforums.net
    Hammocks can be bought for far less than the price you showed for the Trek Light hammock.
    Proper position for laying in the gathered end hammock is NOT like a banana, that’s what caused your hyper-extension. You should be lying on about a 45 degree angle to the direction of the hammock. You’ll also get hyper-extension if the hammock is hung too tightly.
    Getting up out of them is easiest if they are hung so that your butt is about at knee height when sitting in it. There’s also a very small learning curve of walking your butt backwards to get you upright…I’m up several times a night too!
    To Calvin R that asked if you can sleep on your side on them – some do in the gathered end hammock, but most side sleepers are happiest in another style of hammock that is called a bridge hammock..once again go check it out at hammockforums. The place is just as friendly as we are all here at CRVL.

    • Bob

      Thanks Beth, all these tips are really wonderful for those who are interested in getting a hammock. Who knew there were so many hammock fans here!
      Bob

    • Calvin R

      Beth, I appreciate the thought. A quick look at Amazon reveals only two bridge hammocks available and the prices are far higher than gathered-end hammocks. I will begin my experimenting with a low-end gathered end hammock and go from there.

      • Beth

        If you go to hammockforums.net instead of Amazon, they have a stickie in the general section that has links to all the various manufacturers of hammocks including all the cottage industry businesses that make their hammocks in the US.
        The two manufacturers’ you’re seeing on Amazon are the large commercial businesses who mass produce their products offshore.
        The other two choices you have is a)to make it yourself. Just like we have a thriving community on CRVL that assists others in DIY projects and a reference library of material sourcing. The b) choice is to go to the ‘for sale’ section and find a gently used one up for sale. No one is allowed to sell on there until they have at least 50 posts so you’re dealing with mostly serious hammockers. There’s also a Want To Buy column that you can ask for what you want.

        • Calvin R

          Well, I did what I could with that, and put in quite a bit more work than I did building my first minivan bed. I’ll get something cheap from Amazon or Ebay and go from there.

    • Mike C (mconlonx)

      Re: leveling.
      I have my hammock rigged in my van with tie-down straps on either end. Originally, I did this so I could figure out permanent lengths of rope to use, but the adjustability with the tie down straps is unbeatable, so I continue to use them.

      • Bob

        Mike, that’s a really good idea! I tend to use ratchet straps for lots of thing that need strength and easy adjustment of length. The’re perfect with a hammock.
        Bob

      • Nancy Bee

        Mike I would like to see how you did that. Are the straps permanently attached somehow?

    • Nancy Bee

      Beth- thanks for sharing your experience. I am really brand new to hammocking. Only 7 months since I got my first.
      I think I will try out some other ways, more secure and more adjustable, to hang the hammock in the door. My knot has pulled through when I didn’t close the door tightly but fortunately it was a short distance to the floor.
      Maybe some kind of ratcheting strap could work.
      Nancy

  7. Man On Run

    ‘Simple Van Conversion’ sure got my attention! Seeing you peep out of that hammock instantly put a smile on my face, reminding me how you both educate, entertain and inspire on this blog all at once! My 2 cents on this topic: From a rudimentary understanding of human anatomy I assumed that turning over at night assisted in the digestive process.

    • Bob

      Man on Run, but are you laughing with me or at me?? 🙂
      Bob

      • Man On Run

        Bob, when my family and friends find out I am living in my van I don’t know if they will laugh, cry, cuss, cheer or envy!

        • Bob

          Welcome to the club, Man on the Run! I think we all have gone through that and some have laughed, some have cried but most envied, even if secretly! Good luck on telling them!
          Bob

  8. Al Christensen

    There are people in countries where hammock use is very common who say we Americans use them all wrong. They say to hang the ends closer together, then use it sideways.

    • John Dough

      That makes great sense, you’ll be a lot flatter.

    • Bob

      Al, think of all the room you could save if you got rid of your bed and got a hammock. Your van would almost be totally empty!
      Bob

      • Al Christensen

        Ah, you’re just envious of my decadently plush mattress.

        • Bob

          Al, you’re right about that! I’ve got a cheap, crap “memory” foam mattress from Walmart. It’s hard for me to understand how I’m able to sleep on it. I added a backpackers pad under it and a feather bed on top and it seems to work.
          But, I am jealous!
          Bob

  9. Desert Rat

    Love the simplicity! Smart gal!

    • Bob

      Desert Rat, simpler is usually better!
      Bob

  10. Linda Sand

    Instant conversion van! I love it!

    • Bob

      Thanks Linda! And super cheap!
      Bob

    • Nancy Bee

      Linda- Yup, me, dog, hammock and boxes.
      I had originally planned to build stuff in but didn’t get to it. Then when RTR was approaching I figured it was just as well- that I could use the chance to see what other people did and see how what I carried worked for me. I didn’t really know what I would need to be on the road for months at a time.
      Nancy

  11. tommy helms

    Bob, seeing you in that hammock reminded me of the pod people in that Science Fiction classic “Invasion of the Body Snatcher”

    • Bob

      Hmmmmm, I’m not sure how to take that! I’m going to have to give that some thought! 🙂
      Bob

  12. Ariel

    An inspiration! I find myself questioning my plan to get a relatively expensive cabin on wheels more and more everyday.

    • Bob

      Ariel, that could be the sub-title to this website: Question Everything!
      I’m sure you will find th answers that work perfectly for you!
      Bob

    • Nancy Bee

      Hi Ariel-
      I viewed this trip as a dry run and figured I would learn a lot. And I did.
      Nancy

  13. Alan

    I’m not van living (yet), but I sleep in a hammock every night with a hammock stand. I love it! I’ve never slept so well. My Chihuahua’s are happy sleeping on my lap and chest in the hammock, too. I’v also used them camping and backpacking in high heat and below freezing.
    I’m anxious to try it in a van. My worry stringing it up like Nancy does is that I’m a big man – 6’2″ and over 300 lbs. Anyone as big as me tried it? I’m thinking that it could work if I add something on the ends to distribute the load, like a foam-covered bar. Ideas?
    On the drawbacks:
    1) It’s hard to get in and out of them. – I don’t have a problem at all. I just swing my feet to the ground, then push my torso up using the taught edge of the hammock as a ledge.
    2) Hyper-extension of your knees. – Yup, pillows. I have two little ones, one for each knee. An alternative with the right angle is to have your feet past the edge.
    3) Getting out of bed at night to go potty. – No problem for me, though I’m in my early forties. But I’ve considered using a Go Pilot out of pure laziness.
    4) They’re colder than a mattress – The poor man’s solution for an underquilt is to fasten a blanket, cheap bed quilt, or another sleeping bag to the bottom with binder clips at the hammock’s edge. You don’t need to buy a special hammock quilt unless you’re into backpacking and worried about bulk and weight. And you could always wear more clothes, like long underwear, sweats, flannel pajamas, etc.

    • Bob

      Thanks for all that good feedback Alan. It’s good to hear the good results you’re getting and workarounds for the little problems.
      Bob

    • Bob

      Thanks for all that good feedback Alan. It’s good to hear the good results you’re getting and workarounds for the little problems.
      Bob

    • Alan

      I answered my own question, in a way. Looking through my “Van Living” Pinterest page, https://www.pinterest.com/alanoak/van-living. I had saved a link to some guy’s van-hammock setup: http://imgur.com/a/DERoL. You can see that he uses a foam-covered PVC pipe on one end to soften impact to the van body. This was probably rattling around my subconscious when I raised the idea of using a foam-covered pipe, but I might actually try a piece of steel pipe, and maybe a bit longer.

      • Bob

        Alan, thats a great idea! Thanks for the link.
        Bob

      • Nancy Bee

        Alan- thanks for the link- that is well documented and it will be helpful.
        I like the foam block because it seems like it would help keep the rope in the right position. I tore the weatherstripping on my door when I tried attaching the hammock further forward in the door because the rope slid.
        Nancy

  14. anni

    Nancy!! so good to see her cheery face! Never did get over there to see her set up, so I’m happy to see these photos. Love the simplicity and minimalism. And hope to see Nancy in Coos Bay sometime soon!

    • PJ

      How do all you interesting ppl know each other? RTR?
      PJ

      • Bob

        PJ, yes, mainly we meet each other at the RTR, but many folks have dropped by my camp through the years. You’re welcome in my camp any time!
        Bob

    • Bob

      Glad to help anni!
      Bob

    • Nancy Bee

      Anni-
      Nice to hear from you and do hope to see you in Coos Bay!
      Nancy

  15. curiousalexa

    1. Lay in hammock aprox 45 degrees to ends, not like a banana! much flatter body posture, prevents hyperextending knees.
    2. Easy to get out of hammock: sit up w knees over edge, walk feet back till under body, stand up! Might be hard to do if lots of stuff stored under hammock tho.
    3. Walmart has similar style around $20.

    • Bob

      Thanks for those great tips curiousalexa!
      Bob

  16. Openspaceman

    Bob_
    When ever I see a hammock it’s usually in some tropical place tied to two palm trees and probably made from some netting. This is the type that interest me…stows aways real small and all i need to do is find one tree and slam the knot in my front door. Great tips on your blog as usual.

    • Bob

      Openspaceman, let us know how you like your hammock when you finally get it. It sounds like heaven!
      Bob

  17. Irv Oslin

    Timely piece for me. Just got interested in going the hammock route. And you’re right, there is almost a cult around them — among those who are sold on the idea.
    Of course the right way to lie on a hammock is diagonally. More stable and more level.
    I’m still in the research phase and there’s plenty of info out there. I’ll start experimenting when the weather is warm to determine whether I want to go through the expense and trouble of using them for cold weather situations.

    • Roadworthy

      I agree that getting out of the hammock would be the biggest issue.
      Here’s another bed alternative I found, Bob. It’s a fold-away bed made out of the frame of a folding plastic table. The foot area nestles between the two front van seats. I thought it was a brilliant idea. Maybe not ideal for every day use, but great for guests or a vandweller who needs an extra bed for a child. But if you didn’t mind making the bed up everyday, it could be a possibility for a single person who doesn’t want a bed sucking up all the van space during the day. http://roadtreklife.blogspot.com/2012/06/folding-bed.html

      • Bob

        Roadworthy, that’s an ingenius system! I’m impressed! Thanks for the link.
        Bob

    • Bob

      Irv, I think a way to beat the cold for little money is to buy two hammocks and sandwich a layer of blankets or even a down comforter in between them. I don’t know if it would work but it would be worth looking into.
      Bob

    • Bob

      Thanks for that link David!
      Bob

  18. alfred

    Congratulations Nancy, you are doing something truly wonderful (and inspirational)!
    Regardless of what any of us may think about hammocks, there are two things we can take from this post:
    1) likely, there is a way of doing what we want more simply
    2) as Bob said above, “Question everything”, you might be surprised what will work for you.

    • Bob

      Thanks Alfred.
      Bob

  19. Offroad

    Nancy – thanks for the awesome display of inventive creative ideas in van living, and hammocks. Your way seems just outstanding.
    Bob – am looking at RIDGE LINES and how to set them up externally and self standing with wire, and poles. This fits into an extra alternative to the hammock. You can put it outside the van and just watch the stars. Yes you need perfect weather and no bugs, but that happens sometimes.
    Goal is to get good at RIDGELINES for various other uses. Like setting up tarps to shade large areas, strategically, without getting blown away by the sail effect.

    • Bob

      Offroad, I don’t know what you mean by ridge lines. Does that mean poles that are held upright by being staked out? If so they workd great where there isn’t a wind, but in the desert they are problematic.
      Bob

    • Nancy Bee

      Ohhh- I do want to figure out how to hang the hammock outside the van without trees. There are some ideas on hammockforums to explore. One lightweight system was two bamboo tripods with a ridgepole.
      Sleeping out of doors in warm weather is wonderful.
      Nancy

      • Turtlelady

        Nancy, I think you will love the simplicity & versatility of portable tri-pod/ridge pole stands. Like hammock systems, there is a learning curve. Once you understand the ideas, they can be used to make a comfortable sleep in so many situations. I have been a full time hammock sleeper wherever I go, 365 nights a year, for about five years now. This was a neat blog. Thanks for the sharing from Bob, Nancy and the commenters.

  20. raz

    hey bob
    check out hennessy hammocks. some have bottom entry and exit.some are zip.the rain tarps can be removed. amazon sells them. there are what are called “bridge” hammocks.jrb, eureka and warbonnet.i’ll warn you that they are pricey.
    ice cream raz

    • Bob

      Thank raz, I know Hennessy Hammocks has a great reputation and huge following.
      Bob

  21. Zach

    Nice simple setup. There’s another, earlier post here on hammocks which was what really got me interested in van dwelling, and this one is even better.
    I’m still in a house, but I’ve been sleeping in a hammock for the past year, and it’s pretty great. Echoing Beth, anyone who is interested in this should check out Hammock Forums. There are a lot of frugally minded, DIY types that post there, and just about all this stuff can be made for cheap.

    • Bob

      Thanks Zach, I’m really surprised by how many hammock fanatic there are reading the blog! I’m glad you’re here!
      Bob

  22. Sonny

    Thanks for the post Bob. I discovered hammocks last summer. I bought one with the integral bug net and long zipper. Built a stand out of 2×4’s and use it on my front porch. Great way to nap without worry about bugs since I live in the woods. Had never thought about using one in a vehicle. I have two SUV’s. Think I will try it out. Liked the video. Both my SUV’s are big enough to camp in sleeping long ways with the back seat folded down. The hammock would save a lot of room for cargo.

    • Bob

      Sonny, let me now how it works out in the SUV, I’d be curious if you like it!
      Bob

  23. Peter

    Regarding those who either ‘love’ or ‘hate’ a hammock, the hammock can still be a win-win piece of equipment. You can check it out and see whether or not you’re comfortable sleeping in one. If not, no loss — you can still use it as very convenience additional storage.
    Peter

    • Bob

      Very good point Peter! I have a cheap hammock along one wall of my van above my bed just for storage and it saves a lot of wasted space.
      Bob

  24. a

    You could get a solid 1-1/2 or 2-inch dowel (shovel handle) with a piece of rope at either end — one rope hangs from driver’s door, one from passenger door. That gives a single mounting point away from the front corner… two single mounting points for two hammocks. Or you could have two anchoring points for the end of the hammock to reduce the cocooning effect. Something similar for the back as well.

    • Bob

      great tip, thanks a.
      Bob

    • Bob

      Fred, I love REI so no problem promoting them at all. Looks like a great product! Bob

  25. Fred Edwards

    Oh, I just thought of something else. My Dad who was an old Navy guy slept in a hammock all the time and he rigged up a piece of line between his waist and shoulders in the overhead. When he needed to get up he just reached up and did a sort of mini-pull up, flopped his legs over the edge and he stood up. Not much strength needed, just used it to steady himself.

    • Bob

      Thanks for a great tip Fred! You could probably run a line near the roof right from the attachment points of the hammock. Really great idea! Bob

  26. Chris

    Hi Bob,
    where is the video for this post? Id seen it before and i wanted to see it again.

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