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Hammocks and cold weather

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Anyone have any experience with hammocks in anything but balmy summer time weather? How do you keep warm as temps drop? Sub freezing experience? Is this a better/just as good way to camp lightly as in backpacking tents?

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I use a hammock year-round here in NC. The trick is insulation. You can't just use a sleeping bag because your body compresses the insulation under your back leaving no air pockets to trap heat (that's how the bags work). Just like tent camping a closed foam pad is needed. I use one of 2 different sizes or both depending on the temp. I always use a 40x60 inch 1/8 inch closed cell foam page in the bottom of the hammock. This is large enough to keep your shoulders warm.


When the temp drops into the low 50's I then slip a mummy shaped self inflating pad into my sleeping bag. This keeps it from slipping out from under me if I squirm during the night.

If I ever get the funds I'll get a down underquilt that attaches to the outside bottom of the hammock and use a top quilt inside.


The very best source of hammock information can be found on the Hammock Forum pages (http://www.hammockforums.net/). These are all hardcore hammockers who love to share their knowledge. There's also several scouters there as well.

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I like to sleep on a cot and do it as often as I can get away with it.


But, once the temperature drops, I'm on the ground. That constant exchange of cold air beneath me makes me colder than if I'm on the ground.


The ground may draw off some of your body heat through the insulation, but it will eventually warm up and stop. The constant exchange of air beneath will never stop drawing off heat and as the air actually moves, it accelerates cooling.


I've slept better on snow/ice with vapor barrier, foam pad combo with -20-degree bag than same set up at 0-degrees on a cot.


Your mileage may vary.



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I've seen Hennessy Hammocks in action, and they are very cool. I have several ENO hammocks which are the most comfortable I've ever used. But, if I ever win the lottery... this is what I'd get: http://www.junglehammock.com/. I've never seen a Clark in action, but from the website description and reviews, they look like all you'd need anywhere anytime - especially in cold weather!!


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Actually the ground will not really heat up, it will suck the heat right out of you before it gains significant warmth. I've personally slept great at 20 degrees hanging and if you search YouTube, there's a hanger named Shug who record the trip he took at -27 in Minnesota and slept well.


If you have scouts interested in hammocks (5 of mine have so far converted)try making your own. http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/showthread.php?t=670 or http://www.tothewoods.net/HomemadeHammock2.html I assuming your scouts already have some kind of insulating pad like the WalMart blue pads?


Sailingpj: I'm surprised about your experience. If a hammock has enough slack and you lay on the diagonal, then you should have experience an near flay lay.


I know I'm sounding very enthusiastic but that's because since I've changed over from ground dwelling, I've have slept much better, with no (none at all) back or shoulder pain in the morning. I don't even fell this good when sleeping in my regular bed at home. BTW I'll be 50 in a couple of months so those of you in this age range know what I mean about the wake-up aches.


As a side benefit I don't have problems finding a level, dry spot to set-up. I have slept on steep hillsides that would have you smushed into one end of your tent. http://www.mcmannenscouting.org/Troop423/photos/Michie0310.htm http://picasaweb.google.com/manderle/200911FallsLake?authkey=Gv1sRgCOSBh-PK6eHNaw#5407359333126118226 http://picasaweb.google.com/manderle/ShiningRockWilderness2009?authkey=Gv1sRgCILjtcC72qiMUA#5352495615835093122

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