Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    341

    Cheap, Compact, and Light ways to make a hammock warm(er)...suggestions welcomed

    Had my first night out bikepacking last night. Just an easy shakedown run to try and see if I could sleep comfortably in the cheap hammock I got at a local gear store. It went mostly well; the hammock was a breeze to set up and was physically very comfortable using my down jacket as a pillow. Getting into the hammock and into a sleeping bag at the same time was a bit tricky but I can get used to that. My whole sleep system (down bag, hammock, and rain tarp) fit easily into a dry bag that I strapped to the handlebar.

    The only downside was the seeping cold from underneath me. It wasn't a very cold night, maybe low 50s, and I was in a 32 degree down mummy bag. But whatever was down against the hammock got cold, while the rest of my body was toasty to the point of being too warm. So I want to keep the hammock setup for its' lightness but I gotta do something to insulate the bottom. The underquilts that I've seen on the market are expensive and look enormous (I know down packs, well, down, but still). A closed cell foam sleeping pad is out of the question because I just can't see trying to keep it under me while in a mummy bag cocooned in a hammock, plus they don't pack down very small.

    Sooo....

    Option A: tape a heat reflective emergency blanket to the bottom of the hammock in a way that allows a sort of air buffer between the bottom of the hammock and the emergency blanket. In theory, it would work like double pane glass, my body heat would raise the temp of the air bubble around me thereby keeping me warmer. CHEAP, light, but will it actually work?

    Option B: Get a local gear repair guy to make a smaller (7 by 3 ft or so) down quilt to either sew directly or velcro to the bottom of the hammock. Not sure if sewing directly to the hammock would impact the material stretch or strength characteristics. Also would have to be done in a way which doesn't compress the down, rendering it useless as an insulator. Thoughts? I probably have just enough room in my dry bag left to fit something like this.

    Option C: Let me hear it...

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    816
    Down doesn't work properly at the bottom of a hammock - it needs air inside it to provide insulation, even if you sew in a down quilt it won't work it will also be a nightmare if it ever gets wet plus it will start stinking. I have a couple of Hennesy Hammocks one of them is a deep jungle that comes with the reflective bubble pad here.
    Insulation: Hennessy Hammock Catalogue
    This works a lot better than just a normal reflective blanket plus you can stitch in a couple of mounting eyes at both ends of the hammock to stop it sliding around - I have been perfectly OK in temps down to the low 30's in a 2 season down bag, silk liner and a half decent base layer with this set up. At $30 I would say it is pretty cheap but to some it may seem expensive.
    I think a taped thermal blanket would come off and start sliding towards your ass leaving you with an uncomfortable night.

    The bubble pad is very light but a little bulky - I wrap mine in a revelate bar roll with clothes inside so it is manageable.

  3. #3
    Slothful dirt hippie
    Reputation: verslowrdr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    2,555
    I started with a BA insulated air pad and then this season moved up to an Exped Downmat UL7. NOT cheap, but very light/compact and I just toss it into the hammock and put the bag on top, make sure to unzip and butt-plant strategically... and then just fall asleep for the night. No problems.

    I often take an SOL thermal bivy I've torn apart and duct taped together as a big flat blanket spread out as additional insulation between the double layers of my hammock. I figure it can also double as a ground cloth if I need to go to ground. Does it help? Yes... but I'd be reluctant to use it as the only insulation under me, it's just not enough unless it's REALLY warm.

    For 'cheap' and 'more compact' I'd probably start with a chunk or two of the Gossamer Gear thinlight pad foam.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    341
    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleJon View Post
    Down doesn't work properly at the bottom of a hammock - it needs air inside it to provide insulation, even if you sew in a down quilt it won't work it will also be a nightmare if it ever gets wet plus it will start stinking. I have a couple of Hennesy Hammocks one of them is a deep jungle that comes with the reflective bubble pad here.
    Insulation: Hennessy Hammock Catalogue
    This works a lot better than just a normal reflective blanket plus you can stitch in a couple of mounting eyes at both ends of the hammock to stop it sliding around - I have been perfectly OK in temps down to the low 30's in a 2 season down bag, silk liner and a half decent base layer with this set up. At $30 I would say it is pretty cheap but to some it may seem expensive.
    I think a taped thermal blanket would come off and start sliding towards your ass leaving you with an uncomfortable night.

    The bubble pad is very light but a little bulky - I wrap mine in a revelate bar roll with clothes inside so it is manageable.
    just to be clear, both options A and B would be done to the underside of the hammock. I know that down inside the hammock between me and the hammock itself doesn't work, that's why I was cold inside a down 32 degree mummy bag on a 50 degree night. I would like to put the insulation on the outside, a la the down underquilts, but I'd rather not pay 300+ bucks for it.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Central Scrutinizer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    135
    For lows in 50's or so a PLUQ would probably work, and pretty much meets your cheap/compact/light requirements.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    341
    Quote Originally Posted by Central Scrutinizer View Post
    For lows in 50's or so a PLUQ would probably work, and pretty much meets your cheap/compact/light requirements.
    Thanks for the link...looks like I'm on the right track, now if only I had a sewing machine/knew how to use it.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Central Scrutinizer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    135
    Quote Originally Posted by jmctav23 View Post
    Thanks for the link...looks like I'm on the right track, now if only I had a sewing machine/knew how to use it.
    Just make the version that doesn't require sewing...

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    198
    A closed cell pad in the bottom of the hammock works pretty well in temps down to about the 40s.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: rjwall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    140
    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleJon View Post
    Down doesn't work properly at the bottom of a hammock - it needs air inside it to provide insulation, even if you sew in a down quilt it won't work it will also be a nightmare if it ever gets wet plus it will start stinking. I have a couple of Hennesy Hammocks one of them is a deep jungle that comes with the reflective bubble pad here.
    Insulation: Hennessy Hammock Catalogue
    This works a lot better than just a normal reflective blanket plus you can stitch in a couple of mounting eyes at both ends of the hammock to stop it sliding around - I have been perfectly OK in temps down to the low 30's in a 2 season down bag, silk liner and a half decent base layer with this set up. At $30 I would say it is pretty cheap but to some it may seem expensive.
    I think a taped thermal blanket would come off and start sliding towards your ass leaving you with an uncomfortable night.

    The bubble pad is very light but a little bulky - I wrap mine in a revelate bar roll with clothes inside so it is manageable.
    Does anyone have any experience with this Hennessy bubble pad (or maybe car sun shade) vs a standard sleeping pad in terms of warmth? Also, has anyone used either of these in a sleeping bag between the bag and a liner? I was thinking that since the bottom of the sleeping bag is going to be compressed anyway, putting the pad in the bag could help keep it under you. Haven't tried it yet, though. I'm new to using a hammock and am sold in terms of comfort. Already looking forward to using it this winter.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    751
    I've a +11C Sea To Summit 'Thermolite Reactor' that I slip into my -10C rated sleeping bag for winter on the Great Divide. I don't use a hammock, but knowing how well the +11C 'Reactor' works, in the coldest conditions that I've encountered, I can imagine for use with a hammock, a Thermolite Reactor rated to your conditions, would be an excellent addition. Thermolite Reactors comes in several temperature ratings ... I think that the highest rating is +15C.

    They weigh nothing too. They are soft and stretchy and allow plenty of movement. They are some sort of space age almost gossamer like (looking) material, with what looks like a very fine mono filament metallic thread woven into the material. The +11C Reactor that I have was about $75AU. I can imagine that the +15C Reactor to compliment a snow bag in absolutely shocking conditions, would be most comfortable.

    Warren.

Similar Threads

  1. New Bottom Bracket Needed...Suggestions Welcomed
    By kevinboyer in forum Drivetrain - shifters, derailleurs, cranks
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 04-12-2013, 09:41 AM
  2. Ways to make the bike feel longer?
    By wayniak in forum Bike and Frame discussion
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-15-2012, 09:01 AM
  3. Warm Riding Boots on the Cheap - Really Cheap
    By Shark in forum Fat Bikes
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 01-19-2012, 01:35 PM
  4. Suggestions for a Compact Digital Camera
    By Jnthomps08 in forum Photography for mountain bikers
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 07-03-2011, 02:49 PM
  5. Rental and Trail Suggestions welcomed
    By talca in forum Oregon
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 06-09-2011, 09:33 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •