Hammock Insulation

In the summer there is nothing better than lying in the hammock with a cool breeze and reading a book. One is grateful for the light wind cooling one’s back. But as soon as it gets a bit fresher out there, this feature of the hammock suddenly no longer feels so pleasant. Often this fact is a KO criterion for approaching Hammock campers. There are some effective methods for counteracting the cold from below.

Why The Hammock Insulation From Below?

In a Hammock one is usually far more exposed than a ground batsman. Even the smallest air circulation, which also takes place during windy weather, prevents the air from heating up under the Hammock. This energy consumed by the body evaporates, so to say, and you will not find any rest during the whole night. Also the isolation of the sleeping bag or clothing does not help much here, since this is flattened by the own body weight and cold bridges arise.

How Do I Stay Warm In The Hammock?

There are a whole range of ways to keep warm in the hammock. The most important step for this is first of all a suitable insulation from above. This can be the normal sleeping bag or a (top) quilt. The quilt has the advantage that one can not flatten insulation, which is therefore useless weight. In my case, I use the recently introduced enLIGHTened equipment-Revelation 850DT Quilt. So you do not necessarily need a new purchase.

Hammock With Isomatte

If you just want to use your sleeping mat in the hammock, you do not need a new purchase here either. Actually, pretty much every sleeping pad also works in a Hammock. Where is the Problem? In my opinion, the mattress is relatively uncomfortable to handle in the hammock. There are models, which offer a plug-in for camping mats, but here it can still slip and just does not feel comfortable. The second disadvantage is the insulation on the side.Most of the camping mats are cut in such a way as to provide insulation from below. In the hammock, however, the side loft of the sleeping bag can also be impaired. Here one must also help again, either by attaching side wings to the sleeping mat or by some other means. The biggest advantage of the Isomatte is, of course, that you can use its setup even if there are no two trees in the vicinity. Then the hammock simply serves as Bivi.

UPDATE: I just got the tip to take the sleeping mat into the sleeping bag. This way it can not slip. Thanks for the reference Joakim!

The Under-Quilt

As the name implies, this is a quilt that lies under the hammock and thus fulfills the same function as the quilt or sleeping bag from above. Just down. In the underquilts, there is now a huge selection. On the one hand, you can choose between various fillings such as down and various synthetic fibers, but also vary in length. The classic full-length under-quilt covers the body from shoulder to foot. Many Hammock campers swear however on shorter under-quilts, which cover only the back and buttocks. The idea is the same as with a shortened isomatte. Either you do not need any further insulation on the legs, or you can get rich items that you carry with you (backpack, clothes…).

Pod System

A pod is a down cocoon, which winds around the whole hammock. One is thus with the hammock in a giant down tube. The whole looks like a bloated banana, but seems incredibly warm and cozy. The disadvantage I see in the products available so far on the market is the fact that one is also with the head in this cocoon and for the most part in the down filled system breathes. Since moisture should be avoided with down, I imagine this construction relatively suboptimal. These systems do not work with closed hammocks, as you would have to push the Bugnet down.

Pull The Sleeping Bag Over The Hammock

Similar to the pod systems, you could also take a conventional sleeping bag and pull it outside over the hammock. Also here you need an open hammock without Bugnet. The advantage is that a sleeping bag is already present in most cases and thus a relatively favorable possibility for the insulation results. However, the installation is associated with much frickelei and it often fails to close the ends well enough to keep the heat in the sleeping bag. A combination of quilt and sleeping bag or two sleeping bags might be a possibility, but then it will be quite difficult again.

Hammocks With Built-In Insulation

In the USA, where the Hammock Camping is much more common, there are some hobbyists who experiment with MYOG Hammocks, which already have built-in insulation. In most cases, a few chambers, filled with down or synthetic fibers, were sewn on the underside of the hammock. This technique saves the weight of a large part of the fabric as well as the suspension system. The disadvantage is that such Hammocks are not really available yet and they offer no flexibility regarding the insulation.

My Preferred System

I’m just experimenting with underquilts and am really convinced of the system. I can use a Hammock at different seasons with different under quilts. This makes it very flexible. My goal is to make a MYOG under-quilt of synthetic fiber this year. The simple construction should not be difficult. Meanwhile, I use a Jacks ‘R’ Better Mt Washington 3 Underquilt which keeps me warm to the freezing point. Nevertheless, I will also take another system, such as the Hennessy Supershelter system under the magnifying glass.

Hammock Camping Also In Winter

With the insulation practices described above, it should also be possible to have problems with double-digit negative degrees in the hammock. In this case, however, you should gather some experience beforehand, as it is very difficult to estimate how much isolation you actually need. Also a large tarp that catches the rough wind is certainly beneficial if one is traveling at very cold temperatures. For security, a backup should be available during the initial tests. You do not want to freeze your ass.