Winter hammock camping may seem like a bad idea, but it can be fun! It can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience if you don’t prepare for it. As a part of your preparations, one of the most important is to pay attention to staying warm. This way, you can withstand the cold and stay in your hammock longer.
If you want the best experience for hammock camping in winter, keep on reading and learn from the tips we’ll share! From the best camping gear to a set of complete clothes, we’ll talk about the must-haves for an epic outdoor adventure.
Invest in the Right Hammock
The hammock will make or break your camping trip, so pay attention to what will you choose. If you are looking for the best camping hammocks designed for winter, pick one made of the thickest material possible for maximum insulation. However, it should still be lightweight. Otherwise, it will be a burden to carry the hammock, especially if you will be hiking or backpacking.
It is also good to consider options with netting. Otherwise, you can bring a mosquito net. This does not only shield you from insects but can also keep you warm. Although, nets may not be enough because there are tiny holes and the cold can still pass through them.
Consider a Variety of Options for Hammock Insulation
An under quilt is one of the best lines of defense to keep you warm during winter hammock camping. It is a lightweight gear that sits under the hammock. It is like a sleeping bag, but you put it beneath the hammock instead of being on the top. It also acts as a wind barrier. Especially if your hammock is made of nylon, wind can easily penetrate, and the undercut does a good job of blocking it.
You also need a top quilt. Like the underquilt, it also functions as a sleeping bag. It is placed on the top of the hammock. See to it that you buy one that is winter-rated and will be the same size or larger than your sleeping bag.
Bring a Sleeping Bag
A sleeping bag is also a great option when it comes to insulation. Choose one that is specifically labeled as a winter sleeping bag, which is made using thicker and warmer materials to help regulate body temperature.
When choosing a sleeping bag for hammock camping in winter, consider the material that is used. It should provide insulation and comfort without being bulky and heavy. The shell, which is the outer fabric, must be tough, breathable, and water repellent. The lining, which is the material inside the sleeping bag, should be soft and comfortable. To make you warmer, invest in sleeping bag liners if the current lining is insufficient.
A mummy-style sleeping bag is another great option for winter hammock camping. The rating of the bag should be less than 15 degrees Fahrenheit. As for the fill, synthetic and down are two of the most popular choices. Fill it with boot liners and clothes. This will occupy dead air space, and in turn, will make the sleeping bag warmer.
Using a hot water bottle in your sleeping bag is one trick that can work to keep you warm. Before you go to sleep, fill a bottle with hot water. Put it in the lower part of the sleeping bag. When your feet touch the water bottle, it will provide additional warmth in your sleep.
Another way to heat your sleeping bag is the use of a mylar blanket. Place it under the sleeping bag and heat will reflect you. It is a thin plastic that you can also wrap around the sleeping bag for maximum heat retention. You can also use ordinary camping blankets, although, expect that they will not be as warm as mylar.
Assemble a Tarp or Rainfly
The best camping tarps and rainfly will keep you warm and dry in the winter. This will complement the insulation that your underquilt and sleeping bag can provide. Aside from trapping heat, it will also shelter you from the wind, making your sleep more comfortable.
When choosing a tarp or rainfly, consider the size of the hammock and make sure that it will offer sufficient coverage. The material is also an important consideration. They are often made using a combination of different fabrics. Choose a waterproof material to keep you and your hammock dry.
Know What to Wear
Investing in the right gear is not enough. While they can help in insulation for winter hammock camping, used on their own, they might be ineffective. It is equally important that you dress for the occasion, so make sure that you are wearing the right clothes. Choose clothes that are breathable, warm, and waterproof.
When it comes to clothing, one of the most important is layering. The more you wear, the warmer you will be. However, while you do this, make sure that you can still comfortably move.
Start with a base layer, which is the one that sits next to the skin. Don’t go for cotton because it can absorb sweat and will make you chilly when you sleep. Merino wool is a good option as it wicks away moisture.
The middle layer, on the other hand, is mainly for insulation. It traps heat in your body. Microfleece is one of the best materials, which is known for being smooth and comfortable.
The last layer of clothing that you will need is the outer layer. For most people, they take this off when they are about to sleep. Hard-shell jackets are among the most popular when it comes to outer layers. The outer layer needs to be waterproof and windproof to keep you dry and comfortable.
Don’t forget your hands and your feet when hammock camping in winter. You will need socks, gloves, and mittens.
Be Smart About Your Site
Location is one of the most important for hammock camping in winter. Of course, you need to find a place where there are two trees or anchor points where you will tie your hammock straps.
Look for a place where you will have a natural wind barrier. A large boulder or a dense forest will be a good spot. However, always be mindful of your safety. Stay away from places where there is a risk of landslides. Set-up your hammock away from basins. Basins have lower altitudes compared to the terrains in its surrounding. Air can collect in the basin and result in freezing temperatures.
This might sound like an unconventional tip, but this can work for winter hammock camping. Fuel up before you sleep. Eat energy bars with whole grains. Complex carbohydrates will provide a steady supply of energy even when you are sleeping. This is released by the body slowly, which is also effective in keeping you warm.
During the day, pay attention to what you will eat as well. It is best to have soups. It is easy to prepare and can easily keep you warm. Hot chocolate will also help you to stay warm and cozy. Oatmeal, brussels sprouts, chili, avocado, walnuts, apples, squash, sweet potato, and banana will also load up your appetite and help you to stay warm.
Knowing how to start a fire in the woods will come handy when it comes to winter hammock camping. The fire will help to keep you warm on the site. However, do this with caution. Do not sleep with the fire on. Always keep an eye on the fire. Know the rules and regulations at the campsite to be sure that you are allowed to set-up fire.
Mind Your Safety
Do your research as you plan winter hammock camping. If it is going to be extremely cold and you are unsure if you can handle the weather, it is best to cancel the trip. Blizzards and avalanches will turn a supposedly fun trip into a disaster. Always check the weather forecast before heading out for your camping trip.
Before planning hammock camping for multiple days during the winter, it is best to try it out for one night first. This is an opportunity to evaluate the experience and see if you can last several nights. Even if you are just doing it for one night, if you are feeling too cold, don’t be hesitant to walk away. Better be safe than sorry. Be honest about what you can handle. Do not pressure yourself to get through the night.
Especially if you are a beginner, do not go hammock camping in the middle of winter when the temperature can go as low as 0-degree Fahrenheit. This is going to be extremely cold and almost impossible for novices to handle. It is best to wait until it gets a bit warmer.
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Hammock camping in winter can turn into a disaster once your body cannot handle the low temperature. It can be freezing and uncomfortable. To make it easier to handle the cold, consider our suggestions above. You should invest in the right gear, wear proper clothes, choose the right spot, load up with the right food, and keep in mind your safety.
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