Vapor Barrier Problems
It seems I need some serious help on vapor barrier issues. I just spent my second night in my Blackbird and found the bottom of the hammock was soaking wet in the morning.
I've been using my OCF HH pad in the pad pocket of the Blackbird, with a Heet Sheet space blanket on top of it. This seems to work very nicely and is way easy to set up. The problem arrises overnight (and I had the same problem in my Explorer Deluxe) in that I'm always a very warm sleeper and now I've got one layer of silnylon between me and the space blanket (which is how the HH SuperShelter is supposed to be set up. Even if I put my sleeping bag down and lay on top of it I still find the vapor barrier soaked in the morning.
My question is: do I really need the vapor barrier? Is this better left out for people who have night sweats? I seem to remember doing that once and finding that pretty much everything got wet. Help! What should I do / try next?
I use vapor barriers when its seriously cold, freezing or below, anything above that makes me sweat like im in the sauna.
Thanks ikemouser, do you still have condensation problems (icing on the barrier) then?
The first few times I used this setup it was down around 3-5C, but my last couple of camps have been around 10C. Is that too warm for a VB? - vapor barrier, not the beer! I was under the impression the VB was there to stop condensation problems, not to cause them. From reading the other threads about VB's, it seems this is a fairly common concern.
Do the innovators of the Forum have any alternatives that work?
Aahhh, VB! It has been far too long since I have had one of those, and yes, I mean the beer.
First thoughts are: I don't see how you can make that HH OCF pad work in the pad pocket of the BB. It seems to me like it would be crushed flat by your weight, and be cold. Does that not happen?
I don't know what to advise. I've never used a vapor barrier/space blanket in the BB pad pocket so I don't know how it would work. I have used one extensively in the HH UL Explorer and Super Shelter. But I have never had any problems at all with condensation. Only increased warmth. I have had far more condensation problems if I did not use the VB/SB.
Could the problem be related to how tight the VB fits against your skin( actually, not your skin,but the inside hammock fabric layer that would be against your skin)? I think you would be much tighter against it in the BB compared to when putting a VB on top of the OCF pad in the SS. The SS elastics only hold the VB/pad against your back with very moderate pressure, and I think said pressure would significantly increase if using the BB, where your body weight would press hard against the pad. I don't know, I'm just making a wild guess.
Also, there should be no sil-nylon between you and the VB, but only breathable hammock fabric. A layer of Sil-nylon would form a separate, additional VB.
There is a sticky under Tips/tricks about vapor barriers I found helpful. Find it here.
Bumper, are you adding silnylon to the layers? Because if you mean the top layer of the pad pocket of the hammock, that's not sil. The supershelter is made of sil, the Blackbird is ripstop nylon.
I wouldn't use a vapor barrier at all until it's a lot colder than freezing. Switch to closed cell foam and you won't need the space blanket.
It would be interesting to see what happens if he switches to a closed cell foam, CCF, pad since the CCF pad is itself a vapor barrier.
It's true that CCF is a vapor barrier too, but it's not going to reflect heat in addition to maintaining it. I had one of those stiff eggcrate type blue ccf's when I got started - at about 32F with midweights and a hat, plus a top quilt, I was warm with a smidge of cold butt syndrome. I'm curious what temp he was soaked in.
Doh! My bad... You're right, it is ripstop on the hammock bottom.
Originally Posted by lori
Okay, I admit to being a very big girl and so regardless of whether I'm using the SS on the Hennessy or the pad pocket on the Blackbird, I'm probably squashing the pad and SB against my back. I also used to get very sweaty using a thermarest on the ground, so maybe the problem is me, not the hammocks! Most mornings I've been able to air out my bedding, but if I was doing a multi-day walk, or it was wet and miserable it wouldn't be possible to get stuff dry.
As far as temps go, mostly around 5-10C. It's happened in both high and low humdity which makes me think maybe I'm overheating as Youngblood's post says. Trouble is, I'm not awake to know it and do something about it.
2Q, thanks, yes I'd read Youngblood's post previously (I was one of the ones who needed it!) and I'm still not sure I fully comprehend the whole thing.
I'll acquire a CCF pad and try that to see if it helps, or try not using a VB until it gets down to freezing. Colour me confused (and moss green)!
Thanks all for your answers.