Hammock camping is a growing trend today. Nothing is more fun than going camping or hiking during the summertime. Enjoying the bright sky and star gazing at night. However, things get weird really fast when summertime is over, and the temperature starts to drop especially at night. Majority of the hammock campers should be familiar with the “ice-butt” phenomenon. It’s the feeling you get waking up at night inside your hammock, and you feel like your butt has come out of a freezer. This happens even though you are suspended away from the cold ground. However, remember that when sleeping in a hammock, your but is compressed against the hammock and they almost become one. Do you have any idea on how to stay warm in a hammock?
Check out our review on the camping furniture here to see the best hammocks and cots.
This is a serious issue to hammock campers because they are forced to retreat and go back to the tent. This also happens during the summer at night because the temperature drops and in the middle of the night, your hammock stops being comfortable and gets uncomfortable. One question hammock campers always ask themselves is how to stay warm in a hammock.
One solution to this is buying an expensive under quilt or top quilt. This is however not cost effective since you won’t be using it all the time and it’s also so specific. Remember for the hammock, you can use it at home outside or on the balcony, but the under quilt is so specific that you can only use it outside and at only when it’s cold. An under quilt or top quilt is expensive with the best ones going for hundreds of dollars and becoming a limitation to budget hammock campers.
There are other inexpensive ways of staying warm in a hammock. They include:
You won’t need a bug net for your hammock in the winter but remember proper insulation is vital. To stay warm and comfortable in your hammock, place a sleeping pad beneath your sleeping pad before you settle in for the night. Both the air pads and foam pads work in a hammock, but foam pads are significantly cheaper and more durable than their air/inflatable counterparts. The only advantage that the air pads have over foam pads is comfort. This is not so significant since sleeping in a hammock is already comfortable than sleeping on the ground, the comfort advantage of the air pads become irrelevant. The primary determining factor now becomes size and the price.
Some campers have difficulties staying on top of the sleeping pad, and it keeps on shifting. One solution for this is putting the padding inside the sleeping pad. This way, it doesn’t matter how much you toss and turn, but the pad will stay in position.
Using a reflective blanket
Placing a Mylar blanket below the sleeping bag reflects heat back to you. These emergency blankets are relatively cheap and mostly used by outdoor enthusiasts, emergency personnel and marathon runners. I like referring to the blanket as a lightweight source of heat retention. It’s made of a thin, plastic material which acts as a heat shield under your body. For maximum heat retention in a hammock, you can wrap yourself and the sleeping bag around the entire blanket.
Just like the sleeping pad, the Mylar blanket acts as a vapour barrier and can cause condensation. You can also use the blanket to build a rain fly to help keep out light rain and retain some more heat at the same time.
Using a sleeping bag
Before you quickly disregard this, take time and consider how it would work. Most of the sleeping bags on the market today have two zippers. One zipper opens and closes the bag while the other one is at the foot of the bag. To use the sleeping bag to keep warm in a different style, you can string the hammock through the bag. Open the sleeping bag a little from the foot area and have the hammock run through it. It creates a sleeping bag hammock wrap where the hammock and you are inside the insulating layers of the sleeping bag.
The result is a burrito like shelter that provides you with similar properties of an under quilt and top quilt. This set up is, however, a bit difficult and requires to be done carefully. You will also need another person to help zip it up once you are inside. The tricky part is making sure the hood of the sleeping bag is fastened securely to the hammock. If it’s not and is dangling, it will let in the cold air freely.
Using your car’s sunshade
Lastly, another tip on how to stay warm in a hammock would be using your car’s sunshade. For campers, packing lightly and on a budget is paramount. If you already have a hammock and the under quilts, top quilts and other methods are a bit expensive for you, the car’s sun shade is a cheaper alternative. The car shade can be used as a sleeping pad for your hammock. It doesn’t have a thick layer of foam or air like a standard sleeping pad, but it has a reflective material that acts the same as the Mylar blanket reflecting ambient heat back to your body.
This is a very inexpensive technique, and it works reasonably well as long as you have one car shade in the car. The sunshade material is however not so quiet. You will have to get used to the crinkly sound it makes when you toss and turn on top of it.
While hammock camping is fun and all that, it needs preparation to ensure you stay warm and comfortable all through the time you intend to be camping. Most of it really depends on how you hang your hammock and how you sleep. You will want to sleep slightly diagonally with the hammock hanging loose. This will allow your body to lie a bit flatter and you won’t get dead feet or dead butt because of it. When hammock camping, invest in warmth as it determines the experience at night. Otherwise, you might find yourself retreating back to the tent or going back home frustrated.
The tips highlighted above are easy to follow and use for everyone. If you have other tips on how to stay warm in a hammock, feel free to share in the comments section.