Q: colder weather hammock gear
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Joe L
(heyyou) - MLife

Locale: Cutting brush off of the Arizona Tr
Q: colder weather hammock gear on 10/20/2013 23:34:38 MDT Print View

Looking for suggestions about hammock gear for 20 degree nights on backpacking trips with clear weather, not ultra low temperature car camping gear. What gear works for you?

Just came home from a 60 mile trip that had one 19 degree night and the others were 22-29 degrees. I was using double 3/8 inch pads because they weighed less than my LeighLo UQ, won't make that mistake again. Is a double layer hammock worth the weight? If so, which one from which maker? My single layer plus the UQ is probably lighter than a double layer and two pads.

I think of hammock socks as windshirts for hammocks, but I'm leery of the water resistant ones.

Please list what you use at those temps.

Chris Valery
(fortran42) - F

Locale: Western North Carolina
Cold Weather on 10/23/2013 05:58:44 MDT Print View

I've used a DIY 2/3 UQ rated to 20 degrees along with a DIY UQ Protector(breathable Nylon)& Space blanket inside UQ protector. If it is windy i add a DIY Top Cover (breathable nylon)as well..the top cover really helps with warmth as does the UQ protector...Socks tend to cause too much condensation..Hope that helps..

CV

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Cold Weather on 10/23/2013 16:38:41 MDT Print View

Regarding hammock socks, I have heard nothing but good things.

The water resistant ones are made out of similar materials to windshirts and UL bivys, and they do breath well so condensation isn't that bad.

Hammocks are more prone to heat loss from convention cooling than ground camping and the sock reduces the convection aspect significantly.

This means that you can use less insulation when the sock is deployed.

I think the Warbonnet sock weighs like 9 ounces, but I would suspect it could add a lot more warmth than 9 ounces of extra insulation.

There are probably lighter hammock socks out there and I know people make their own that are lighter.

You still need a tarp with the sock, just like you need a tarp with a UL highly breathable bivy, but you could get by with a smaller tarp.

Since your not so concerned about wind, spray and splash with the sock, the tarp only has to block direct rain and snow.

I don't have enough experience with using a sock yet, but I think of my setup as good to freezing and that the addition of the sock should extend it down another 15 or 20 degrees f and I wouldn't have to go with a heavier fully enclosed tarp for winter.

I'll know more over the next few months.

Edited by brooklynkayak on 10/23/2013 16:42:01 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Q: colder weather hammock gear on 10/25/2013 20:13:46 MDT Print View

I would be using a heathy UQ plus some sort of under cover vs a sock.

You can convert your poncho to a makeshift undercover by simply gathering the ends and mounting with shock cord. You can buy under covers from U2ZQ for about $35. I'm going to experiment with one made from polycryo this winder. I landscaped the back yard this summer and have my hammock poles set up, so I can experiment at will now.

I could see a sock having some advantage in windy conditions.

Double hammocks are good if you want keep a pad in place, but they aren't going to add much warmth. They do add some weight capacity. Note the chart that Warbonnet has on weights and single vs double hammocks: http://www.warbonnetoutdoors.com/travelers.php. Of course, you are going to double the weight of the actual hammock body, plus the extra expense.

You can certainly use a pad and an UQ at the same time. You can fold a space blanket and stuff that in between the hammock and UQ too--- no massive gain, but it has small cost and weight.

You can use a poncho or other light cloth for a top cover too. You want some breathing holes, so don't try to cover everything up tight. It's more of a windscreen. Using top covers will have the same issues with condensation as you have with tents. IMHO, of you get your tarp rigged nice and close, there isn't that much advantage until it gets really cold.

In my experimenting with under covers, I had few condensation issues. My guess is that is because warm air rises, there is plenty of ventilation on the top side, and no breathing to add moisture to air trapped below the hammock. The surface contact area for my body to transmit moisture to the bottom of the hammock is relatively small as well.

Search YouTube for "shug hammock". Shug lives in Minnesota and has hammock camped at -26F. He has a couple videos on cold weather hammock camping. He's quite the character too.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Q: colder weather hammock gear on 10/30/2013 18:01:37 MDT Print View

On the subject of hammock socks or bottom quilt covers, I think having good breathability is important to reduce any moisture gathering inside you sleep system.

The exception would be if you use a fully watertight VBL system.

I have heard stories of people using waterproof materials and complaining about how wet things were.

Regarding the convection aspect of a sock,
I got in the habit of using my bug net under my tarp for ground camping in the winter when I realized how much warmth the bug net contributed. It was especially noticeable how much warmer my nose was with the bug mesh hung.

Typically in the past, I'd be perfectly warm except for the area around my nose and mouth as they were exposed for breathing and would get painfully cold.

A highly breathable sock should help balance out the temps inside a hammock so that the air you breath is somewhat warmer than it would be without the sock.