Hammock Camping in Cold Weather – What You Need to Know
Hammock camping in cold weather presents the challenge of keeping warm without the benefit of a tent to offer shelter from the wind and from moisture, but it can be done. You must begin with the right equipment to address the challenges of the environment. Here are some tips to ensure that you'll stay warm and dry that tell you everything you need to know.
The Right hammock
Start with a hammock that is sturdy and durable. A double hammock can give you plenty of space to move, and you can also share it with a partner or pet. The additional body heat generated will keep you both warmer.
Since you won't have the protection of an enclosed tent, you will need protection from cold temperatures and winds that further reduce the temperature. A heavy duty sleeping bag is a necessity, but it won't be enough to keep you warm when it gets cold. You will need extra insulation. Set the hammock up in a place that offers as much shelter from the elements as possible. A grove of trees is a good solution for starters.
Next, decide how you want to address the problem of insulation. There are a few different ways you can go about this. It's a matter or personal preference, so here are some essentials that can give you the insulation that you'll so badly need.
Hammock underquilts are lightweight, but they offer insulation for the underside of the hammock, which is where the air moves freely, making you cold at night. They come in all shapes and sizes. Choose an underquilt that fits the hammock you are using. It will add a layer of insulation that keeps the cold out. Make sure that it is large enough to cover your entire body with wiggle room to move around. These hammock camping essentials are hung directly below your hammock and they are adjustable. Place it on the outside of the hammock so the materials are not compressed for the best protection from the cold.
CCF is short for closed cell foam. CCF pads offer a thin barrier between you and the cold air. They are a lighter protection type for when it's chilly outside. They are placed directly on the hammock, under a sleeping bag. The drawbacks are that they are bulky, and tend to invite condensation, leading to sweating, but they are durable. They can also be used along with underquilts to enhance protection from the cold.
Self- inflatable mats give you even more insulation and protection from the cold. They use both air an insulation material to offer a barrier between the wind and your body when hanging. They are attached below the hammock, like an underquilt to avoid compression. You can pump them with as much air as you need for insulation from the cold.
Sleeping bags are an essential for hammock camping in cold weather. They offer insulation that covers your entire body from neck to foot. Some campers use an extra sleeping bag as an underquilt. Since they are easily compressed, they do not offer the same level of insulation as an underquilt or pad, but they are necessary for comfort and warmth. When hammock camping, it's wise to use a sleeping bag that is highly resistant to water. It helps to use a waterproof bivy shell to offer even more protection from wind, cold and moisture.