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Staying warm in a hammock is a breeze if you understand a few basic things.
You can stay warm in a hammock with insulation and the right clothes. For optimal comfort and warmth, you’ll want your hammock to have a bottom as well as top insulation. You can use a sleeping pad for bottom insulation, and for top insulation, you can use a sleeping bag. On the other hand, you can also use a hammock underquilt and top quilt for maximum comfort, warmth, and insulation.
If you want to know what clothing you should wear and what type of sleeping bag you need to stay toasty in your hammock, read on.
Here are nine effective tips to help you stay warm in a hammock.
Look for natural shelter and observe the wind.
As you put up your hammock, a primary goal is to handle potential wind. So, observe the wind direction and camp where there are trees, rocks, and hills. Do not set up your hammock in an open area. Instead, move into the woods to enjoy the natural sheltering effect of the trees.
Wear several layers of clothing.
The clothes you put on will determine how comfortable you’ll be while sleeping in your hammock in the cold weather. You should wear many layers of clothes that are breathable, waterproof, and warm. They should provide you with warmth and insulation while wicking away moisture from your body.
During winter, there are three layers of clothing that you should have, and these are a base layer, an insulation layer, and an outer layer.
- The base layer is the primary layer you dress in. It will wick away moisture from your skin to stop cold setting in. Avoid cotton as it absorbs moisture and takes heat away from your body, leaving you uncomfortable and cold. Instead, opt for materials like spandex and polyester.
- The insulating layer helps you hold the heat that’s given off by your body. The more effectively the insulation layer captures that heat, the warmer you’ll be. It is usually a fleece sweater or jacket.
- The outer layer is the final layer you wear and is intended to keep the other layers dry. You can take it off before going to sleep in your hammock. The outer shell layer protects you from rain and wind.
You should also keep boots, socks, scarves, and hats with you to keep yourself warm while hammock camping in cold conditions.
Use a quilt to keep yourself warm.
To help block the wind and trap heat, use an underquilt, which is simply an insulated blanket that you hang underneath your hammock. This creates a pocket of warm air between your hammock and the quilt, so heat is trapped to provide warmth and insulation.
Many campers use a top quilt that’s specifically made for a hammock. Normally, top quilts are compressible and light in weight, therefore, they’re convenient to carry into the backcountry.
Use a sleeping pad.
An alternative to an underquilt is a sleeping pad that you place underneath you inside the hammock. Both inflatable pads and standard foam pads work in a hammock. However, foam sleeping pads are more durable and less expensive than inflatable pads.
But inflatable sleeping pads weigh less and are more comfortable than their foam counterparts. They are thicker. This allows the inflatable sleeping pads to better support the curves of the body, providing extra comfort.
Apart from this, they allow you to adjust the firmness by removing or adding air. On the other hand, foam sleeping pads have higher R-values than inflatable sleeping pads. The R-value tells how well your sleeping pad will insulate you. A higher R-value suggests a warmer sleeping pad.
However, it’s important to note that these sleeping pads can slip and even slide out of the hammock as you turn and toss while sleeping. But some hammocks have an inner compartment that holds the sleeping pad and prevents it from sliding or slipping.
Generally, sleeping pads are smaller and lighter than underquilts, making them easier to carry. Moreover, they are also less expensive than underquilts.
Rig a tarp above the hammock.
A tarp can trap heat and block the wind if you rig it above your hammock. Place the tarp as low as possible.
Use hot water bottles or bags in your sleeping bag.
Boil some water on the fire, pour the hot boiling water into your metal water bag or water bottle, and put it in your sleeping bag. It will be warm when you’re ready to go to sleep.
Here are a few things to remember:
- Do not use plastic bottles to avoid melting.
- Don’t burn yourself. A metal bottle will burn your skin very fast.
- Make sure that there are no leaks around the mouth of the container.
Pack a travel pillow.
To stay warm in a hammock, you should make sure that your skin doesn’t press against the hammock fabric. So, use a travel pillow, and also cover your neck and shoulders as you sleep.
Use a sleeping bag.
Sleeping bags keep you comfortable by trapping the warm air around you. However, these bags lose their ability to keep you warm when compressed.
A sleeping bag consists of an outer shell and a lining. Sandwiched between the outer shell and lining is the filling that can be synthetic or down. The filling provides the insulating properties of the sleeping bag.
When it comes to staying warm in a hammock, some prefer synthetic insulation, while others prefer down insulation.
The structure of down creates many air pockets that trap warm air and hold heat, thus helping to keep you warm in cold conditions. Other than that, down is breathable that allows unwanted moisture to escape.
With adequate care, it can last for many years. Down is light in weight and highly compressible. However, it loses its insulating power upon getting wet. And it takes time to dry out.
On the other hand, synthetic insulation is resistant to water and provides some warmth even if it gets wet. Most synthetic fills are moisture-resistant. And some even repel water. Additionally, synthetic insulation dries faster than down insulation.
Most synthetic fill sleeping bags can be machine washed. However, synthetic insulation is bulkier and heavier than down insulation.
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. Plus, a hammock compatible sleeping bag has no compressed insulation.
- Reflective sleeping bag. Reflective sleeping bags can help retain body heat and are waterproof and windproof. Use a reflective sleeping bag as a liner at the bottom of your hammock.
Use your vehicle’s sunshade.
You can use a reflective sunshade as a sleeping pad for a hammock. While it doesn’t have a thick layer of air or foam like a conventional sleeping pad, it has a reflective material that helps reflect heat to the body.
Hammock camping can be relaxing, convenient, and fun with adequate preparation. We hope that the tips mentioned above will help you to stay warm and comfortable in your hammock.