I've gotten quite a bit of RN and DWR from the $1 racks, and a bit
of silnylon, too.
> How do I tell what is what?
RN is slippery and thin, and you can see the cross-hatching in it.
Unlike DWR, you can easily blow through RN; this breathability makes
it great for hammocks.
DWR (Durable Water Repellent) will be even more slippery and
difficult to blow through. Water may bead off of it, but it's not
waterproof and will wet through quickly. DWR frays like mad, so
you'll have to either cut with a hot knife of some sort or make sure
your raw edges are covered in something like a rolled hem.
Silnylon is completely waterproof, much more slippery than DWR, and
you can't blow through it. It doesn't fray like DWR. It's good for
tents and tarps, but it's not breathable at all so don't use it for
hammocks or clothes (unless you want a vapor barrier). I've heard
of some silnylon rainsuits, but I wouldn't use them for anything
active like backpacking.
Other types of nylon can be good for hammock bottoms, but I've only
used RN so far. I think Rick uses taffeta, and my Hennessey isn't
made from RN.
> What will the labels say?
They'll say something like "$1.00" and that's about it. You just
have to look through and figure it out.
> What will it look like?
Check whiteblaze.net "make your own hammock" thread for some pics of
You could order a bit from online so you have an identified
reference to take when you go shopping, or you can just figure it
out. It wasn't too difficult for me once I actually saw the
stuff...it was all the wondering before I actually found the stuff
that had me confused!
The advantage - if you buy $1/yd stuff, you can experiment all you
want. You can make a 9' hammock for $3 so who cares if you mess it
up?! Make another! But if you're spending $4-5/yd, that's $12-15
per hammock, so I'd be more concerned about how I use the material.
I ordered DWR from thru-hiker.com for my quilts because I hadn't
seen any at Walmart...then about two weeks after I made the quilts
Walmart had a whole pile of DWR and silnylon, so I snatched it all
up for future projects. That's what I just made my TravelPod
from...the material was there when I got the inspiration, so I