Winter Hammock Camping – The Ultimate Guide

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Winter Hammock Camping
Winter Hammock Camping

There’s something special about camping in general. And when you are doing hammock camping, the feeling that’s even better. When you add winter hammock camping into the equation, there are so many more things that you need to think about.

However, don’t let those things put you off. In this article, we will go through everything that you need to consider to take up the cold in your hammock.

Winter Hammock Camping

One question that often arises is if you can sleep in a hammock during the winter. The answer that we have is; absolutely yes. When you consider the tents are on the ground, and Hammocks are in the air. You will lose a lot of the warmth that you accumulate in a tent through radiation into the consistently cold ground. However, if you have an insulated hammock, that temperature will not be taken away from you.

winter hammock camping

You do not need to shovel snow to be able to lay a hammock. You can find two trees, tie the hammock up, and get sleeping. It does not matter what temperature it is outside if you have the right equipment.

Another question that often comes up is, should you hammock camp during the winter? Well, the answer to that is a little bit more personal. If you already have lots of experience camping in colder climates. Then you may find that this is ok. However, if you’re only used to summer camping, then you may take some getting used to. However, hammock camping in the winter is a lot better than tent camping during the same period.

The reason for that is simple: You do not need as many preparations as you do with a tent.

Weather

The actual weather that you are going to be camping in is the most significant consideration that you need to think about. If you are in an area that rarely goes much below freezing, then you will be okay. However, if you are somewhere that tends to dip a lot more or over more extended periods, you need to be wary of the extra heat that you will lose.

Blizzards are another crucial element that you need to think about when hammock camping; they can be extremely dangerous for anyone stuck outside in one, let alone sleeping in a hammock in one.

Of course, blizzards are not the only thing that you need to watch out for. Torrential rain, deep snow, slushy snow, and extreme freezing are all significant considerations. We will take a look at the weather in a little more detail later on in the article.

Beginners

If you have a lot of experience in hammock camping, then you may be able to take up winter hammock camping easily. However, when you are only just beginning hammock camping in the winter, you may want to take a little more precaution. Going out into the woods your first time during freezing conditions may not be the best idea that you have ever had. Therefore, before you enter the wilderness and isolate yourself from everything that you need. Try doing it in your backyard.

When you are winter camping of any type, things can go wrong very quickly. And if they do and you’re only in your backyard. Then you can easily take everything in, warm yourself up and call it a bad experience. However, If you are in the wild, that option is not there.

Preparations

As with anything, preparation is the key to get anything right. And Hammock camping is no different. If you do not adequately prepare, things will go wrong much quicker than if you get everything ready before you go. In this section, we are going to take a look at some of those critical preparations that you need.

Winter Hammock Camping Equipment

We already have an article named the bushcraft essentials list that you should take a look at for the equipment that you may need other than on actual camping gear.

Hammock

Of course, if you are to be hammock camping, then you will need a hammock. However, the string hammocks or the very thin ones that you see regularly are going to be no use to you.

Winter Hammock Camping

Sometimes you will see in some articles that people say that you can use any hammock that you would like; however, this is not the case. Depending on the temperature that you will be sleeping in You will undoubtedly want something that is going to keep you warm during the freezing nights.

Companies such as Dutchware Gear create specific winter hammock socks. They are specifically for temperatures ranging down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore there is no need for you to be using one of the lightweight, cold inducing Hammocks that you see advertised for the summer.

Bear in mind that there is still a lot more that you need to look for in a hammock, especially if you’re not going to use a specific type designed for the winter. we will take a look through so many things that you need to look for next:

Material

A material called argon 90 is ideal for the outer shell of any hammock for any winter environment; it is highly windproof and waterproof. However, if you’re going to be battling against some extreme weather, you will still need another cover, such as tarpaulin, but we will go into covers a little later on.

As the name of Dutchware gears hammock suggests, a sock-style hammock is going to be ideal as it has as all-round coverage of the outer material protecting you from the wind. You’ll find that there are often openings on one end of the hammock with a mesh to allow air to escape and circulate to reduce condensation build-up. Furthermore, you can turn them upside down if the wind gets in your face. However, that is what the tarpaulin is there for.

Insulating Pad

Depending on the type of hammock that you have, you may want to purchase an excellent insulating sleeping pad. Sleeping pads are a little like a mattress. However, they are not designed purely for comfort as your bed. They will trap air between the outside of the hammock and you for an insulating layer.

Some sleeping pads are better than others and especially if you were going to be carrying them you on them small lightweight and easy to inflate. Ecotek Outdoors hybern8 ultralight inflating sleeping pad can be inflated to this little as ten breaths therefore when it’s cold you can get yourself an excellent insulating layer underneath you in your hammock as quickly as possible

Wall insulating sleeping pads are not a necessity; they certainly improve the comfort that you will feel in freezing weather.

Under-quilt

Whether you have a specific hammock sock or you’re using a standard hammock, an under-quilt will undoubtedly help you keep warm. However, the majority of under quilts will only help in temperatures down to 40 degrees F. Therefore; you will need to look for some specific winter under quilts If you’re not using one of the socks.

The preferred choice is to use a sock, or what we will look at next is the sleeping bag hammocks.

Top Quilt

If you have an open hammock, then you’ll undoubtedly want the top quilt or thermal top cover. These top covers go over your sleeping bag to keep elements off your sleeping bag no matter what the weather. However, there is one significant disadvantage to using a standard hammock, even with the top cover. Your face and the inside of the hammock are open to the elements. Therefore, if you are using a waterproof hammock and it rains, you’re going to have a puddle of water inside.

If you know that it is just cold where you were going, this may be a viable option; however, as we all know, the weather can change, and rain, sleet, or snow can appear within an instant, unexpectedly.

Sleeping Bag

Even in the summer months, not taking a sleeping bag is a ludicrous idea. However, if you know that you are doing winter hammock camping, done a high quality cold rated sleeping bag is essential. I’ve seen some websites that mention only taking an under-quilt and over quilts and blankets. However, in my experience carrying all of those things is going to take up a lot more space, plus it is going to be heavier than taking a sleeping bag alone. Therefore, we recommend taking a sleeping bag no matter what the weather, instead of taking all of the other items that some other sites suggest.

There are various styles of sleeping bags that you can use. However, when you are looking at winter sleeping, there are no better types than the mummy Style. That is because this type of sleeping bag will offer all-round protection, including your head, and some zip up so that you only have your mouth exposed to the elements to allow for better breathing.

Sleeping Bag Rating

One thing that you do you have to consider when you’re in the cold is the range of temperatures that you will be in, as we have said before. Bags that you may find online or in stores will have a temperature rating attached to it. You will need to ensure that the rating is for at least the lowest temperature you will encounter. However, it is more beneficial if you can get a sleeping bag that is related to a higher percentage of the temperature. For example, if you are going to an area that commonly goes to 15 degrees F, then you will want a sleeping bag that can withstand temperatures and still keep you warm up to at least 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although companies will leave a margin of error within their ratings, you also need to do the same. There is nothing worse than being out in the wilderness with an unsuitable sleeping bag for the temperatures. Having said that, though, your hammock, providing it is a winter one, will increase your thermal capacity somewhat.

Extras To Consider For Winter Hammock Camping

There are many extras that you can use depending on the circumstances. In all honesty, the use of these extra items will depend on the quality of the sleeping bag and hammock that you are using.

Liners and Blankets

Fleece bag liners and woolen blankets, of course, allow extra heat retention during even the harshest winters. However, one thing that you do still need to consider is that you will have to carry and pack all of the things that you take with you. If you have already read the bushcraft essentials list article, then you will know that there is probably quite a lot we already have to carry without extras. Therefore please be wise with what you are taking as you do not want to have to abandon any other equipment while you are out in the woods.

You are better off taking the right equipment and only having to carry the minimum amount instead of taking more stuff because what you have is not adequate for the situation.

Tarpaulin

As we mentioned earlier, not all sleeping bags, hammocks, or topliners are 100-percent waterproof. However, with the use of a tarp, not only will you be able to keep out the water and rain and snow no, but you will also be able to stop other elements that are likely to cause you issues.

The wind has a substantial ability to take away bodily heat very quickly. Stopping it from getting to your hammock is, of course, one of the best ways to prevent that from happening. The most tried and tested method of doing that is to have a high-quality tarp over the top. Even though most people think tarpaulin is just a fancy name for a groundsheet, they still come in various shapes sizes and uses.  start

With the age of the internet comes an exponential increase in products available to us. Therefore you can now buy tarpaulin multiple shapes sizes and uses. Some even come with doors specifically for use with hammocks. The benefit of these doors is that you have all four sides covered for While you are out in the elements.

Clothing

Although it is probably something you already know,  I find it necessary to remind you that you will need sufficient clothing for the weather that you will be involved in. Remember keeping warm while you are winter hammock camping is your number one priority.

I don’t mean warm clothing for daytime activities necessarily, but you want specific warm sleeping clothing too. If you ensure that your sleeping area is dry at all times, then you can have appropriate sleeping clothing stowed away inside your hammock so that you always have dry clothing for when you go to bed.

There is nothing worse than wet clothing at the best of times; that fact is even more prominent when you have to wear your damp clothing to sleep in As well.

So the question is, what sort of clothing should you keep in your hammock ready for sleeping?

Hat

A good wool hat will keep your head warm even if the winds are blowing through the ventilation in your hammock. However, you need to make sure this is good quality because the winds will be unusually cold at night.

Additional Clothing

Remember to take any other clothing that you may think will help you:

  • Long John’s
  • Thick socks
  • Gloves
  • Thermal vests

As they are all going to be sleepwear, they can also remain inside the hammock during the day.

Additional Information About Hammock Camping In The Winter

No matter how good your equipment is, there are still precautions to abide by while winter camping. In this section, we will take a look at what some of those are and how you can avoid them.

Blizzards

The weather is a huge factor that you need to take into consideration. It doesn’t matter if you have the best equipment that there is to offer, the weather is devastating.

Even the most experienced mountaineers need to check the weather before they take out on an expedition, and you need to do the same. There are certain weather types that you need to avoid at all costs.

Blizzards are possibly the most dangerous weather that you are going to encounter under normal circumstances. Ensure that you have some way of checking the weather while you are out. That way, you can monitor any changes that may occur. However, learning early weather warning signs is by far one of the best things that you can do in a situation like this just in case you have any power issues for the mobile device that you are using.

Avalanches

Hammocks + avalanche always equals a bad outcome. Always survey the place that you intend to hang your hammock. Furthermore, check with local authorities to see if where you intend to camp, is a safe location.

Do not ever camp on mountainsides or large hills where there is fresh powdered snow.  

Locations For Winter Hammock Camping

Locations For Winter Hammock Camping

So, how do you choose the best place to go camping in a hammock? Well, obviously, you need to avoid areas that are certain to make concern:

  • Flash flood areas
  • Large open, exposed areas
  • Dangerous zones

There are other places that you can initially think are good to hang your hammock, for example:

A basin in the landscape can seem like an ideal wind shelter as the wind will go above the basin. However, when you look at it a little more, cold air is denser than warm. Therefore, you will find that a basin will catch and trap colder air than the areas surrounding it.

They are also more prone to water collection.

Cliff faces can also seem like a wonderful windbreak to use. However, they can be the exact opposite when the wind blows in the other direction.

Cliff sides, I feel, are a bad idea in general. However scenic they may seem, there are no windbreaks up there at all. If you are already in a winter situation, the last thing that you want is colder air rushing over you and your sleeping area.

There are a lot of places that can be extremely dangerous for winter hammock camping. However, there are a lot of sites that are very good for it too. Learn your surroundings and find great places. Survey them in better weather than the winter, so that you can get a better idea of the land.

Plans

The last two things that I would like to run over in this article are essential. You need to ensure that you do them every single time:

Make plans. – Making plans and telling other people them before you set off is vital. I don’t mean to plan it in your head. You need to write it down, step by step, on a time basis. For example:

  • Day 1: – Travel to the campsite. Set up camp, stay for one night. (Provide accurate locations and co-ordinates if you have them, and stay where you said you would be.)
  • Day 2: – Keep the campsite in the same place, in the morning, travel to (co-ordinates and route). In the afternoon, travel back to the campsite via (route). I will ring on arrival.
  • Day 3: – Move campsite to a new site. (new co-ordinates and routes. by foot, car, etc.)
  • Day 4: – Return home via (route).

Continue in this fashion for as long as you plan to be away, and stick to it as rigorously as you can. Although that may seem like an arduous task, if things go wrong, rescue teams will have a much higher chance of finding you.

Do not be afraid to change plans if required. – Although planning a winter hammock camping trip is exciting, you should always be ready to switch to a tent if the weather seems unsuitable for a hammock. Alternatively, you should not be afraid to cancel it altogether if you need to.

Conclusion

Prior planning and the right equipment will give you the best chance of enjoying your trip. Furthermore, it will also give you a superior probability of rescue should the worst happen.

Not many people like to envision the possibility of things going wrong, and that is a huge downfall that can lead to catastrophe. You are always in a better position if you plan for the worst and receive the best, than if you prepare for the best and get the worst.

Plan well; stay safe. And remember, if the weather looks like it may be an issue, do not worry about postponing the trip.

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