My first cold weather test trip report
Hey everyone! Just went on an overnight shakedown hike in cold temps here in Michigan over the weekend. [On a side note...superfeet insoles ROCK!] Ok..back to hammocking.
I have a crappy thermometer, but after comparing with weather.com I think I can safely say that it was between 30-34 degrees Saturday night, with no wind. Maybe even cooler, because I was right next to a lake and it was a clear night.
I started off w/my Nest underquilt, mid-weight thermals, wool socks, Patagonia long sleeve shirt, hat and a "buff" that I used as a neck gaitor/balaclava. I also ate a Snickers right before bed to up my metabolism. I crawled inside and zipped up my 20-degree WM bag. Almost instantly I could feel my butt getting cold. I layed there for a bit to see if my body heat would eventually warm up my lower body (feet were also freezing), but it wasn't enough. I may not have had my underquilt pulled tightly enough on the foot end, but I don't think that would have made that much of a difference.
I had my blue wally world closed cell foam pad (Sgt. Rock talks about this one...$12.00 and trimmed to 18" at the feet) hanging over my hammock outside, so I crawled out and added that on the inside.
I have to say that yes, it's a bit more difficult to get in your bag/on top of the mat, etc. BUT, it was that exact process that allowed me to build up enough body heat that once I got in my bag, I was toasty toasty warm, so it all worked out great. Instantly, no cold butt, I took off my socks and feet warmed up too. I fell happily asleep, but around 2:30 a.m., I woke up sweating! I had to unzip my bag for a second and cool off.
I think the additional long sleeve shirt over my thermals was overkill. The rest of the night, I only got cold chills when a shot of cold air made it into my bag and hit my damp skin (from sweating). The only other thing I dealt with was a freezing nose and from time to time, I'd put my whole head in my bag.
I slept on both of my sides (in the fetal position for best use of body heat) and on my back all stretched out. I didn't have any problem slipping off the pad. Actually, being all zipped up in my mummy bag, prevented me from moving off the pad (which is quite grippy actually). It didn't affect the comfort-level hardly at all, so even though it was significantly colder than the last time I camped here w/my tent, I still slept better because as you all know, my HH is SO comfortable! I think sleeping in a mummy bag all zipped up affected my comfort level more than anything, but it wasn't unbearable.
Oh yeah...had this crazy dream about baby black bears and giant female lions too! Pretty funny stuff.
I've got pics coming, I just took a disposable camera and will have pics later this week.
So I think I feel very confident with my set-up. I still had other clothing I could have added, and I could have added my water bottles w/hot water as a last resort. I pitched my tarp really close to my hammock (it was quite windy during the day) but I had zero condensation problems. I overheard 2 guys in the site next to me (tenters) saying the next morning that the inside of the tent was almost dried out, and they were wiping what I'm assuming was condensation from the inside top of their tent.
Nothing like getting up on a cold morning, making a hot cup of coffee, and lounging in your hammock. It was a perfect weekend. I ended up cutting my ridgeline and it did make a HUGE difference in comfort for lounging too. I'm going out again on Nov. 11 for even colder temps. Can't wait!!!!! Thanks to everyone for all of the advice and instruction you've all given me. I had hung my hammock and tarp perfect the first time, and feel like I'm over that learning curve now.