Roof Hammock Stand (Version 2)

Hammock stand in use in the Utah desert just outside of Arches National Park


This project was inspired by the success and shortcomings of the first version, who’s project page is  linked here. That first version was made of steel and was incredibly robust and overbuilt. It weighs 60 pounds and requires two people to put it up. It also only barely fits in the trunk of my car disassembled, and is impossible to get in and out if anything else is in the trunk. It folds, but only half way, and doesn’t have any positive retention to the actual roof rack of the car. As a result of these shortcomings it saw very little use, despite the fact that I loved the concept of roof hammock racks. So I set out to build a second version with the following design constraints:

  • Lightweight & easy to deploy: Needs to be able to be easily set up from it’s stowed state by one person.

  • Foldable: Needs to fold to either be stored in the trunk or on the roof.

  • Cheap/Easy to build: Can be built with easily available materials and basic tools


I settled on wood for this second iteration because it’s easy to work with, cheap, and light. I only had about a week to get this project done before I moved out of my college housing. The fold out design is based on the commercial product (discussed here). 


To prevent damage to the wood, and for aesthetic purposes, I chose to stain the wood black and then spray it with ~ 3 coats (an entire can) of polyurethane coating for waterproofing. I suspended the pieces from a tree with rope/bungee cords & set to staining. I did one coat of staining (and still went too heavy in some places) and multiple coats of poly. Make sure to let it dry sufficiently between coats.

The main frame pre-staining

Uprights mid-staining

Staining is dirty work! It’s hard to tell from the photo but I’m covered in black stain. Nasty stuff, wear gloves and a shirt.

Use & future work:

It actually works! I went on a cross country road trip with some friends and used it once to sleep, and have used it a few other times just to hang out. Sleeping overnight is tough because I don’t have a bug net and my rain fly is way too big to simply stretch from end to end. The only place it was viable to use was the desert in Utah, where it really shined. I’m looking forward to making a 3rd iteration that is even easier to deploy/stow. I imagine the design will be very similar except it will be made of aluminum instead of wood. It would also be very handy to have a platform to stand on while I’m up there, and maybe an easier way to get up like a ladder. It seems like these design iterations are getting closer and closer to the commercial product…


The view from the hammock



The hammock stand folded and stowed on the roof

The view from the hammock