I am looking to build a detachable hammock stand structure for camping. I was originally thinking about making one out of PVC but I am in the UK and it isn’t cost effective as it looks like it needs to be imported. I am therefore looking for alternative materials that are durable enough to bear a heavy load (up to two adults) but are light enough to carry when detached.

Any suggestions? I have been looking at polycarbonate tubes but I am unsure if it would be rigid enough with weight pulling on it and what diameter the tube would have to be. Any ideas are greatly appreciated!

  • $\begingroup$ Is aluminum an option? $\endgroup$ – willpower2727 May 11 '16 at 15:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Aluminium is easily machined, cheap, and has a good weight to strength ratio. It's probably a matter of preference, based on what tools you have, and what you have experience with using. To decide what size polycarbonate tubes would have to be, as a minimum the structure's shape must be known $\endgroup$ – CL22 May 11 '16 at 15:43
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Hi Tara, welcome to Engineering SE. There are an incredible variety of light-weight, load-bearing structures; the best material depends very much on the specific design of the structure and we can't give an answer that is correct in every scenario. We also ask that questions be more focused than an open request for ideas or suggestions, to minimize conversation in favor of direct, practical solutions. Please take a look at our help center for more on the Stack Exchange model. $\endgroup$ – Air May 11 '16 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ In my judgement for this question materials selection is only particularly important for environmental resistance, cost, weight and aesthetics. Since this is a structural application, many ductile materials could be used provided the frame is designed to resist the required loads, e.g. suitable beam width etc. If weight is really important, hollow steel or aluminum tubes are common. Carbon/glass fiber composites can work but are costly. Polymers can degrade on uv exposure. $\endgroup$ – wwarriner May 13 '16 at 0:57