Hammock Camping: How to Stay Warm
Updated: Jul 17, 2022
When you go hammock camping, there are a few things you need to know about staying warm. It can be a bit colder than traditional camping, since you're not using a tent to block the wind and keep in your body heat. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips on how to staying warm hammock camping!
In cold weather, keeping warm in a hammock may be difficult. When the outside temperature is 65-70 degrees, most people start to feel chilly in a hammock. At this time, bottom insulation is generally required to go along with whatever sleeping bag or quilt you use on top of your body in the hammock to boost its warmth.
Although wearing extra clothes might assist, adding an insulating sleeping pad to the bottom of your hammock, an insulated inflatable sleeping pad, or an insulated quilt that drapes over the outside of your hammock are all other options to stay warm in a hammock. Because your body weight compresses it and eliminates its capacity to retain hot air, putting insulations under you is the most effective way to use it.
To reduce heat loss through conduction, which occurs when your body is in direct contact with cold air or objects, an insulation layer between you and your hammock is necessary. It's like putting a blanket on the ground before sitting on it; the blanket protects you from the cold ground by trapping heat. Sleeping pads serve the same purpose in a hammock by trapping heat between your body and the air. Staying warm in a hammock is a must especially if you like to sleep.
There are many types of sleeping pads available, from closed-cell foam mats to inflatable air mattresses. Which one you choose is a matter of personal preference, but keep in mind that closed-cell foam mats are less expensive and don't require a pump. If you choose an inflatable mattress, make sure it's rated for cold weather use. Some mattresses are designed specifically for winter camping and have extra insulation to keep you warm. Use a sleeping pad helps to stay warm inside the hammock. A sleeping pad is most peoples first choice and thought when it comes to staying warm while in a hammock. I prefer the hammock fabric of an underquilt personally.
Some hammocks, known as double hammocks, have an inner chamber (slung beneath the fabric layer you sleep on) that can contain a foam or inflatable sleeping pad. Both of the backpacking or camping hammocks I own include them. The extra cloth layer acts as a pocket, keeping the sleeping pad in place so it does not shift during the night.
If you have a single-layer hammock, you might add a foam or inflatable cushion inside it for added comfort. Because the foam folds around you or tries to porpoise out of the hammock when you roll over (which is loads of fun), it's less comfortable than using an air mattress. This still helps your sleeping bag compresses the insulation in the sleeping bag liner.
In the summer, I frequently utilize a tiny foam torso-sized cushion to protect against COLD BUTT SYNDROME or CBS, which is when your butt becomes chilly at night while sleeping in a hammock, usually around 3:00 am. I like to use something like the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Topo Sleeping Pad. Don't rely on JUST your sleeping bag. – Sleeping bags work by using their thickness to prevent your body heat from escaping. The thicker the bag, the more heat will be kept inside. An awesome trick for a camping hammock or general warming up, but not so great when you're in an camping hammock to stay warm.
When the temperature drops much lower in your hammock, below 45-50 degrees at night, many hammock campers use a down or synthetic underquilt to stay warm.
A hammock camping underquilt is draped over the length of a hammock, slung underneath it, and envelopes your back, butt, and hammock sides with insulation to stay warm. They're available in a variety of temperature ratings. People like them because they're light and compress well when packed into a backpack and take up less room than other choices. I love them because they keep you warm and pairing it with a warm sleeping pad will make your hiking adventure so much more enjoyable.
Use a sleeping underquilt which comes in a variety of lengths. For colder weather, I like a full-length quilt, but some people prefer a 3/4 length quilt with a tiny foam pad under their feet and calves since they don't need as much insulation. It may save a little weight and money. It all comes down to personal taste.
Here are some different types of sleeping bags for hammock camping: Mummy-style sleeping bag. A mummy-style sleeping bag maintains heat within and keeps frigid air out. Hammock-compatible sleeping bag. A hammock-compatible sleeping bag is designed to wrap around the outside of the hammock to conserve body heat. It will keep you comfortable and warmer.
Up your sleeping bag game If you think a blanket will cut it when the temperature dips below 40 degrees, think again! You need a mummy-style sleeping bag that's rated to 15 degrees or less and if it's possible, invest in something with down fill.
Dress in warm clothing, perhaps warmer than you're used to wearing while sleeping in a sleeping bag. If you're chilly, wear a hat or balaclava over your head at night (more on this later). Some people also invest in separate insulated hoods, such as the Enlightened Equipment Hoodlum, which is an excellent complement for a quilt.
Bring extra clothes to change into in the morning or evening, as needed. I like to sleep in my base layers (the ones that wick moisture away from your body), and then put on a heavier shirt, sweater, or fleece when I get up in the morning.
On particularly cold nights, some people wear down pants as well. I've even seen people in full-on down suits, which look ridiculous but probably work quite well.
Just remember that you don't want to overheat, so dress in layers that you can adjust throughout the night as needed. 100 or 200 weight fleece long underwear can multiply the warmth provided by gloves and insulated booties many times over.
Because it takes up less room and is a lot easier to use in a small location, the top quilt allows most hammock campers prefer to sleep with a quilt rather than a sleeping bag. That isn't to say you can't utilize a synthetic camping blanket, wool or fleece blanket, or sleeping bag. As long as they're warm enough, those are all excellent options.
Down or synthetic? That is the question.
There are two primary types of insulation used in top quilt camping quilts: down and synthetic. Down is lighter, more compressible, and has a better warmth-to-weight ratio than synthetic. It's also more expensive.
Synthetic fibers don't lose their insulating properties when wet like down does, so they're a better choice if you think you might get caught in a rainstorm or want to use your quilt for other activities, like backpacking.
I prefer down because I'm more likely to camp in dry conditions and don't mind spending the extra money. If you have different priorities, synthetic
Quilts are a hoodless, lightweight option to sleeping bags with a variety of temperature ratings. Most include a foot box and drape over you like a blanket, and they're easier to transfer when you need to get out of your hammock at night.
In the winter, heat shield retention is more essential than ever before, and there are a variety of methods to keep it from stealing away your warmth. The easiest method is to lower your tarp to the ground or get a tarp with doors at the end for a little cocoon.
You may also get an over-cover for your hammock that lays on top of the bottom netting to keep you warm like a tent. An over-cover might raise the temperature in your sleeping bag by 5 to 10 degrees, but it isn't required unless you try to sleep in freezing conditions. You may also purchase a separate winter sock that goes over your sleeping bag to keep the heat in.
Another critical factor is wind chill, and you need to make sure you're adequately protected from it. If your tarp doesn't extend low enough to the ground, use a space blanket or bivy sack as an emergency measure. A poncho will also work in a pinch, but it isn't as effective.
Head and Shoulder Protection
Your head and shoulders are where you lose the most heat, so it's important to protect them as much as possible. The first step is to make sure your quilt is long enough to cover your head if you need to. Inside your hammock you need to be comfy and always use layers of warmth to fine tune how your night sleep will go.
With this survey of ways to sleep warm in a hammock, I don't want you to be scared off. It's rather easy in the summer and only gets more difficult as the temperatures drop. For mild conditions, a blue foam pad or an accordion-style Therm-a-rest Zlite pad are more than enough, and an underquilt can usually take care of the rest.
For those who want to sleep in a hammock year-round, there are many ways to stay warm, and most of them aren't as difficult or expensive as you might think. So get out there and enjoy the outdoors no matter what time of year it is!
Sleeping in a hammock, on the other hand, is a really pleasant way to camp, and once you try it you'll be hooked.
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