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4 Best DIY Hammock Bug Nets for Backpackers

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There’s nothing quite like camping out in the summer, especially when using a hammock. There’s something freeing about being so up-close with nature.

But it definitely has its downsides. The weather, the cold, but worst of all, the mosquitos! Unless you’re camping in an artificially-natural environment (like a friend’s garden in a suburban area), or unless you decide to camp out during the super-cold months, the likelihood is that you’ll end up encountering a decent number of bugs.

And if you’re in a hammock, it’s even worse. The best way to keep the nasties away is to get yourself a decent bug net. But, obviously, that’s easier said than done. Not everyone has that kind of money to throw around.

But there’s a solution! Many avid campers make their own bug net, DIY style, and we’d encourage you to do the same. Whether you’re strapped for cash or not, learning how to make your own hammock bug net not only lets you add your own personal skill, but it can be a valuable tool to learn.

Here are a few DIY hammock bug nets you can try to make yourself:

1. DIY Zipperless Hammock Bug Net

The zipperless hammock bug net is an ultra-simple method of creating one, but bear in mind that some sewing skills are required. Although it can be sewn by hand, we’d definitely recommend using a machine, as it’ll save time, and make the entire process a lot easier.

Despite this project being extremely cheap, it still does a seriously impressive job of keeping critters away, making those summer camping trips a whole lot easier!

What You Will Need:

  • Mosquito net
  • Cord Tightener
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Supplies or Machine
  • Suspension Cord
  • Tape Measure 

2. DIY Bug Sock

If you’re looking for something that’s even simpler to accomplish, then the bug sock may be the perfect thing for you. It really doesn’t get any more straightforward than this!

All you have to do is pull the sock around one end of the hammock, then attach it to any nearby trees, and then climb inside your hammock, and tighten the ends. Although it doesn’t provide quite as much coverage as some of the other methods, its simplicity is impressive without a doubt.

Because of this, some added protection from a blanket or sleeping bag might be necessary for optimal protection. Again, some sewing is required, and a machine will make things a lot easier.

What You Will Need:

  • Mosquito net
  • Hook cinch
  • Paracord
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon or ripstop nylon
  • Tape measure

3. DIY Minimalist Hammock Mosquito Net

Having a minimalist bug net is perfect for those who don’t have a lot of spare room in their luggage whilst traveling.

These are cheap, lightweight, and simple, allowing you to protect yourself from bugs without having all of the added extras that aren’t always necessary. Because of its simplicity, you won’t end up spending a lot of money. It’s also super-easy to set up, meaning you’ll maximize your time on the trail or trip.

This is a popular option for those who are happy to go with a more minimalist option, and only care about the bare essentials.

What You Will Need:

  • Appropriate netting
  • Cord or rope
  • Sewing supplies or sewing machine

4. DIY GoatBone Method 

The GoatBone method is an interesting one, but still worth checking out for those who are in need of a bug net. It’s not as easy to explain, but plenty of YouTube videos can give you advice on this method, and show why it’s so effective.

The thing users like most about this method is just how customizable it is. You’re able to adjust the net in such a way that it makes the perfect fit for you and your hammock.

Like the other methods, this requires some sewing too, either with a machine or by hand. The choice is yours, but using a machine will save you a lot of time and effort, so we’d recommend that.

What You Will Need:

  • Netting
  • Ripstop nylon
  • Cord or rope
  • Sewing machine or sewing supplies
  • Scissors

DIY Instructions for Making Your Own Hammock Bug Net

The biggest advantage of bug nets that are made specifically for hammocks is that they have a snug, tight fit, are easy to find, and aren’t particularly pricey.

Having said that, if you’re still up for a DIY project, here’s a good idea of how you’ll want to go about it:

1. Buy Netting F​abric

Bug netting fabric should be available at your local camping or hardware store. If not, you can use sheer polyester, or other alternatives, provided the holes are small enough to prevent bugs from getting through. Anything with gaps larger than 1mm probably won’t do a good job.

2. Sew the Fabric into a Tube

Either by hand or with the use of a sewing machine, sew the fabric in a way that it resembles a tube that’s long enough to fit over your hammock. Make sure to leave a gap or opening so you can climb through to get into your hammock.

3. Sew Up Both Shorter Ends

Sew the shorter ends tightly, leaving a small gap for your hammock to slide through when being covered.

4. Attach the Hook and Loop Strips

Attach some sort of loop or hook strips inside the holes.

5. Sew the Zipper On

If you want to add a zipper, sew it into the opening you made during step 2. If not, use something else to fasten the opening when you’re inside.

What Are the Types of Bug Nets?

In essence, a bug nut is a mesh-type fabric that covers your hammock, either by wrapping around it or laying over it. The tight holes of the mesh prevent bugs from coming in, whilst allowing you to breathe freely, and keep cool.

Fixed

Rather than have a bug net separate from your hammock, fixed bug nets are already pre-attached, meaning that you’re good to go straight away. They’re usually sewn onto or into the hammock, and have an opening to allow you to climb in for easy entry.

Modular 

For those hammocks that don’t have bug nets fixed to them, a modular net can come in handy. This is separate from the hammock and requires attaching when setting up.

This is a good option if you’re not sure you’ll need one because it can easily hang off the side of the hammock, or be stored away after use, ready to be installed when required. When installed, they’re designed to leave a small opening to allow you to climb into the hammock.

After climbing in, the opening can be closed to prevent bugs from following you inside. These nets may be a better option if you don’t like the claustrophobic feel of other nets.

Ridgeline

A ridgeline acts like a hanging line, running from the head to the foot of your hammock. This works as a sort of lid for the hammock, preventing bugs from entering from above. This is usually a simpler option, as it’s easy to detach, and allows easy entry for ease of use.

Standard vs. No-See-Um

Choosing the size of the mesh can be important too, as this makes quite an impact on your experience when sleeping on the net.

Although having tighter holes will work better in repelling the bugs, it also prevents moisture and warm air from circulating out, so it can leave you feeling hot and humid or sweaty. Normal-sized mesh holes can do the opposite, allowing the hammock to be breathable, but also letting bugs in too.

Holes larger than 1-1.5 mm are likely to stop most bugs and insects, but the smallest will still be able to fit through. Holes less than half a millimeter will be able to stop all bugs.

Cotton vs. Synthetic Netting

The majority of mosquito netting on the market today are made of one of the following three materials: terylene, nylon or cotton. Cotton is the oldest of the three, and has been around for a long time, both in everyday life and in the outdoor-equipment world.

In more recent years, nylon and terylene have become more popular, and are used in more products than cotton due to their properties. Cotton is still a good choice, however, as – due to the way it threads out – it can help prevent even the tiniest of bugs from getting through gaps in your bug net.

The only way cotton doesn’t compete with nylon and terylene is in its durability, as it’s prone to tearing and fading over time. Although this shouldn’t be a problem when using your bug net on the odd occasion, when using it repeatedly this will become noticeable, and you’ll have to replace it.

Nylon and terylene, however, are much more durable and hard-wearing. They’re also moisture-resistant, light and strong, meaning that many manufacturers prefer using them over cotton, as they produce a better overall product.

What About the Size of the Net?

For a hammock bug net to be effective, it needs to cover the entirety of the hammock. Otherwise, bugs can get through any little gaps.

Some bugs can even get through or bite their way through your hammock itself, depending on the material! Not only this, but the hammock bug net also needs to leave enough space for you to move around underneath it, to allow you to sleep comfortably.

So, when choosing the right bug net for your hammock, make sure to get one with a little bit of extra room. If it’s a little too loose, it can always be wrapped around tighter. But if it’s too tight, it might not fit around the hammock.

Why Get a Stuff Sack?

Just like sleeping bags, tents, and even some outdoor clothing, most bug nets come with a compression bag, or ‘stuff sack’, allowing you to store them away into a small container. This way, they are easy to carry on you or store away elsewhere without taking up too much room.

The quality and material of your stuff sack isn’t something you need to pay too much attention to, but if you can get one that’s waterproof, that would be a bonus. You should also get one with some kind of hook or strap so it can be clipped or hung up.

How to Use a DIY Hammock Bug Net

Using a hammock bug net, whether DIY or not, is simple and easy. After hanging up your hammock, and making sure it’s in a secure and comfortable position, place the hammock bug net over one end, so it wraps around the hammock.

After climbing inside, as if the bug net is a giant sock, pull it over the hammock until it covers the entire thing. If it’s not a snug fit, use a strap or cord to tighten it together and eliminate any gaps and then you’re done!

Final Thoughts

A hammock bug net is a great way of making sure you stay comfortable when sleeping out in the wild, allowing you to take in nature at its fullest, whilst preventing bugs and insects from causing you trouble in the night.

When choosing your own, make sure to pick an appropriate material for your needs, as well as a design that can be placed or tucked away when not in use.

Before going on any trips, testing the bug net itself, to make sure it’s durable, comfortable, and, most importantly, actually fits your hammock is a good idea too, as you’d hate to find this out on the trail!

And if you’re not too experienced using bug nets, we’d recommend bringing something like a blanket or sleeping bag, just in case, as these can provide added protection from bugs and insects. But all in all, sleeping out in the wild is a fantastic experience, and there’s nothing like it.

Making sure you’re protected against wild bugs and critters is crucial, and something you should always make sure to do correctly. And, if you’re up for it, why not make your own DIY hammock bug net?

David Miller

My name is David and I have been an outdoor guy for as long as I can remember. I have a strong passion for the great outdoors in general and specifically camping. I am the kind of person who spends more time outdoors than indoors. I am a staunch believer in the fact that outdoor life should be well lived because it's in the natural, serene, and untamed wild that we find out who we truly are. Let’s take the journey together.

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