Winter camping is an experience like nothing else. Hiking through the snow and seeing the wilderness during winter can be fun and exciting, it can also be cumbersome with a lot of camping equipment.
One of the ways to eliminate bulky camping gear is to ditch the tent and go with a hammock. Winter hammock camping can sound like a frigid endeavor, but with these winter camping tips for beginners, you will stay warm and cozy in your swinging bed.
Just like you do when you are hiking out on the trail, you are going to want to layer your hanging bed to insulate your body and conserve heat. Here are the layers you will need as part of our winter hammock camping tips for beginners.
Single VS. Double Layer Hammock
Aside from price, you may be wondering what the main differences are between the single and double layered hammocks. For true winter camping in your swinging bed the more insulation you have, the better you are going to keep warm at night.
Double layered beds have openings at either end, allowing you to slide a sleeping pad in between the layers. Compared with their single layered counterparts double layer ones can hold more weight and stand up to more wear and tear.
Your choice may come to whether you are going to be using an under quilt. Many people find that they don’t need to use a sleeping pad if they have an under quilt.
Personally, I am always cold; I use both to stay extra warm. You may have to play with variations of our layering to come up with the perfect plan for your camp experience
Lots of people who camp use sleeping pads in their hammocks. Typically, there are two kinds. Inflatable pads and CCF foam padding. With either of these types of padding, you are going to have your benefits and drawbacks.
The size of your sleeping pad is going to depend on whether or not you purchased a single or double layer hammock.
For double layered hanging beds, if you are planning on inserting the sleeping pad between the two layers, make sure the width of the sleeping pad is not larger than the width of the opening at the ends of your hammock.
Insulated Inflatable Pad
Insulated inflatable pads are great because they do not take up much space. You can deflate them and put them in a pack or camp box without worrying about whether you are going to have room for the sleeping pad. The insulation will provide great added warmth to your hammock at night.
There are generic inflatable pads, and then there are insulated pads. Make sure you get a down insulated pad. The down insulation is going to be the barrier between the cold, your sleep sack, and your body.
CCF stands for closed cell foam. CCF pads are lightweight but can be bulky. Sometimes CCF pads can get wrinkles or can bulk up in areas which can cause irritation when sleeping. They are easy to slide into and our of the double layered hammock which makes them convenient when setting up camp.
When deciding whether to purchase an inflatable pad or a CCF pad, your choice may come down to the R-value of the pad. R-value is the pad’s ability to resist the cold. The higher the R-value, the better able to withstand cold temperatures.
If you sleep hot, you may not need a high R-value sleeping pad. If you know you sleep cold (like many women do) you may need to look for something with the highest R-value. You need an R-value of at least five for any cold weather camping.
As far as insulation goes Mylar blankets are designed to reflect and retain up to 90% of your body heat. Typically only used in emergency situations, Mylar makes a great material to heat up any winter hammock. You will want to place the Mylar directly into your bedding before you put down your sleeping bag. You can also use a Mylar blanket as a top quilt on your bedding when you are camping in the winter.
Hammock manufacturers make special under quilts that you can attach to your bedding. These are designed to wrap around the outside of your sleep sack. They are convenient and easy to use and can give you that extra edge of comfort on a freezing night.
For this winter camping tip, all you need to do is wrap a sleeping bag around the outside of your hammock. Now you have an under quilt that you can also use on other adventures. Just make sure the sleeping bag that you bring to use has two zippers and unzips all the way to the feet. Using a regular sleeping bag will ensure that you can wrap the sleeping bag all the way around your hanging bed without leaving parts of your body exposed.
Building Your Layered Hammock
- Set up your hammock and tarps. Use any natural formations (rocks and thickets) to provide extra protection from the elements.
- Place your sleeping pad in between the two layers of your double layered hammock. The sleeping pad should have an R-value minimum of five for winter camping.
- Place your Mylar blanket inside the blanket. Make sure the reflective side of the quilt is facing you –if your sheet is labeled this way.
- Set your 20* or below sleeping bag inside your hammock. You may want to put your clothing and other materials at the bottom to keep them warm for the next day.
- Attach any under quilts to the outside of the bedding.
- Sleep warmer than you ever thought possible in your swinging bed during your winter camping trip.
- Most people never consider camping during the winter for fear of not staying warm during the night. You won’t have to worry about that because you can properly layer any hammock for cold weather camping trips.