10 useful tips for a winter sleepover in a hammock
Fans of winter camping and proponents of this type of camping, like sleeping in a hammock, commonly refer to it as “cold butt syndrome.”
When you sleep in a hammock, you become more vulnerable to the cold, as you run the risk of getting hypothermia in those organs and body parts that are more closely aligned to the fabric of the hammock. This is because the hammock is much more susceptible to being blown around by the wind in cold temperatures.
Relying on our own experience and recommendations from equipment manufacturers, we’ve put together some tips-tips on how to stay warm when sleeping in a hammock.
Contents of the article
- Find a natural shelter that protects you from the wind
- Find the sunniest spot
Use a hammock underlay as extra insulation.
- use a sleeping bag specifically designed for the hammock
- Use a hiking mat
- Secure an awning over the hammock
- Use a cushion
- Create many layers in the garment
- Grab a hot water bottle.
- Do not damage trees in the forest
- Find natural shelter that protects you from the wind
“Before you anchor your hammock just between trees in the open air – you’d better go deep into the woods,” states Natalie DeRatt, media and marketing project coordinator for Eno (or Eagles Nest Outfitters, the company that makes the original hammocks and accessories). She explained that you get nature’s shelter at the expense of the trees around you.
“When you’re attaching a hammock, your main goal is to achieve resistance to potential wind,” states Bill Bassler of Grand Trunk (a company that makes hammocks and hiking gear). – “Also pay attention to wind direction, and anchor the hammock accordingly. Also, look for natural wind breaks, like hills, trees and piles of rocks. And don’t forget about stringing a tent between trees as a standard weather shelter.”
How to use a hammock in winter
In winter you should have a separate sleeping bag, which is designed for colder temperatures
Find the sunniest spot
“In winter, the amount of daylight is severely limited, but you need to make the most of the sun’s warmth if possible,” Bassler noted. – “Make sure you anchor the hammock in a location with as much sunlight as possible.”
Use the hammock’s Under Quilt as extra insulation
A special insulating quilt (Under Quilt) is an extra insulation that you tuck under the bottom of your hammock. It performs better windproofing, and creates an extra layer of air between you and the hammock that keeps you warm longer. This kind of insulation is also good in that it doesn’t squeeze under your body weight – because in a hammock, your body fits tightly against the sleeping bag, so there is no air layer to retain heat. In this case the sleeping bag can be used as a shelter for that part of your body which is currently unprotected.
Use a sleeping bag specifically designed for hammock
Today we are witnessing a rapid development of the industry, producing not quite normal travel equipment. For example, special hammock sleeping bags for winter camping. You can take a look at the hammock sleeping bags from the aforementioned company Grand Trunk, notable for the fact that such sleeping bags are wrapped around the hammock – and thus avoid heat loss as much as possible.
Use a hiking mat
To keep heat in the parts of your body where they come in contact with the hammock, you can also use a regular hiking mat. Try a regular sleeping mat like Thermarest, or the Hennessy Hammock Radiant Double Bubble Pad, specially designed for hammocks, made of heat-reflective material. But there is one nuance – some mats can slip inside the hammock. Eno has taken this into account by developing the Hot Spot – special sleeves that attach to the hammock and create “wings” to hold it in place. But that’s not all the “goodies” from this company: Eno produces a hammock “Reactor” with built-in mounts for the mat.
Secure an awning over the hammock
An awning over a hammock not only protects from wind, rain and snow, but also serves as a heat reflector.
Once you’ve made the “roof,” lower the ends of it down and secure it securely. You will find a wide range of basic tarps and waterproof awnings on the equipment market: from Hennessy’s “Hyperlite” which weighs a little over 220g to the same company’s Typhoon which weighs about 700g and is almost a full tarpaulin. Also, check out the Eno House Fly, a combination hammock tent.
Use a cushion
To stay warm during a winter hike, you need to keep your body parts as snug as possible against the fabric of the hammock. DeRatt noted that you should wrap your neck and shoulders while you sleep, adding that it might be more comfortable to sleep with a pillow.
Create many layers in your clothes
Multiple layers of clothing are great for winter hikes with different weather conditions and intensities
A great idea would be to wear multiple layers of clothing while winter camping, even if you sleep in a hammock. “With a little bit of practice, you can get dressed or undressed without getting out of a warm sleeping bag,” Bassler said. – “We highly recommend always putting extra clothing in your sleeping bag to keep it warm and as accessible as possible, even if the changing process will be at night.” In addition, you need to make sure there is no snow on your clothes before you get into your sleeping bag. This seems obvious and simple enough, but this uncorrected omission has a big impact on keeping your body dry and warm.
Grab a hot water bottle
This is a trick we’ve been using for years – we fill a bottle with an airtight cork with just boiling water, and put it in our sleeping bag around our feet. This helps keep the whole body warm throughout sleep.
Don’t damage trees in the woods
“We should always pay attention to the trees we use to hang our hammocks; but this is especially important in winter, because snow and ice stuck on the branches in large quantities can easily fall and damage nearby trees and shrubs, not to mention ourselves,” noted Bassler.