Thoughts on insulation
I've been lurking here quite a while now and finally decided to chime in.
After much consideration, I finally ordered a hammock to use on my annual Men's Fishing Trip into the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. Last year's lack of comfort in a tent was the final straw and I decided to look for something different.
I just ordered the Kammok Roo and Python straps and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my little bundle of joy.
I knwo there are quite a few differing opinions about insulation and I wanted to know if anybody had any thoughts on the rig I'm proposing to assemble. I plan on using shock cord to hang a space blanket (reflector side up) a couple of inches below the body of the hammock to ensure there is some dead air between the blanket and the bottom of the hammock to give the reflective surface some room to work its magic. I plan to hang it in a manner where the curve of the blanket is parallel to the curve of the hammock.
I also hope this will block a good amount of wind.
I've looked at some other methods but have reservations.
Underquilts are really expensive and add weight and mass to the backpack (we hike in) so I'm not really sold on those.
I'm 6'6" tall so I don't think I will be able to use a Peapod configuration.
At night the temps fall to about 38 degrees F and I'm hoping not to go the way of the Donner party.
As for other gear adjustments. the caribiners that come with the Roo look solid, but I weigh in at about 300 pounds so I am looking to replace them. I'm sure they will hold as they are rated at 250 pounds each, this is more for peace of mind than anything. Any particular brand or style you guys recommend?
Lastly, I have a good idea as to how I'm going to handle a bug net and rainfly but the more I look around the more I am astounded that I haven't found any rainflys with bug netting built into it. It seems like thsi would be a ntural progression but no luck so far.
I know this is a lot. Any input would be appreciated! Thanks for having me!
There are a lot of options when it comes to the insulation, while underquilts can be quite expensive, they do tend to be relatively light (if you go with down). As far as the space blanket, I think you would need more than that for those temps, I know I would. There are some other options but it usually boils down to 2 of 3 options, cheap, light weight, or small (compressible). You can get 2 of the 3, but finding something with all three is almost impossible. Almost ;). It's usually a matter of figuring out what's most important of the three. I fashioned a cheap underquilt (ran about $30 or so) out of some ripstop and the foam underlayment you use for hard wood floors that you can get at your local box home improvement store. I used a double layer of foam, and with the nylon and rigging it came out to be ~1lb. It was a rough sew job, but it functioned. I got down to the low 40's with a 20* bag and clothing. The downside to this was that it was quite bulky. I was able to get it into my pack by folding and rolling, but it was still the size of a volley ball in the bottom of the pack. By packing everything on top of it I was able to smoosh (that's a technical term) it smaller.
How much time before your trip? Whatever you decide, you need to practice with it before those 38 degree nights. IMO a space blanket alone is not enough insulation. Get a down underquilt, a good sized tarp and practice setting them up and sleeping with them until you can set up in the dark when it's rainy and the wind is blowing. You'll be glad you did. Also get stronger carabiners. 250 lb. biners aren't acceptable for anybody.
You can also buy Reflectives from home depot or lowes! It's like bubble wrap with shiny stuff on each side! They use it to insulate ductwork. It's a little bulky but doesn't weigh a thing. That will help, but you need a blue foam pad or half of an old sleeping bag as under insulation! If not you will be cold!!!! I cut an old sleeping bag in half then trimmed off the zipper it gave me two under quilts add shock cord and some minibeaners and you have a compact 30-40 degree under quilt.
It would be helpful to know what you plan to use for a sleeping bag or quilt.
I think you'd be better off with a pad of some kind. I assume if you've slept on the ground you've used a pad. It can be used in a hammock with a little positioning.
A space blanket is good to supplement insulation by way of being a vapour barrier. On its own I don't think its adequate for your expected temperatures. An old sleeping bag can be fashioned into a makeshift underquilt.
I think bugnets are usually part of the hammock because it uses less material than if it was attached to the tarp. Tarps set ups change depending on the weather so you'd need more material to account for setting up the tarp higher or lower. In clear weather, some don't even use a tarp.
The reflective sheet will be cold at those temperatures. It offers to reflect the heat back to you; however, it will not stop much of the convective heat loss. The wind coming through will transport the heat away at a very fast rate.
A cheap solution would be to use a CCF pad for about $10; however, you'll likely get cold shoulders as they only run about 24" wide.
The reflectix could be a good option. It's very light & reflects the heat like the reflective sheet, but with bubble wrap added between the layers to stop the convective heat loss. I use it in my cozy & it keeps the water burning hot even after 10 minutes. I also take a sheet to put down to insulate my chair. However, I don't know how long it will last before the bubbles pop between the layers.
I tried to keep away from the UQ's, cause I thought that they were ridiculously priced. I then got a short one in synthetic. After several more, I came to realize what a huge difference they made. I now have like 5 full length ones. I just wish that I hadn't purchased all of the other ones before I spent all the money along the way.
In short, go to the 'For sale' section and get a HG Incubator 40* used and save yourself the trouble (I really wish I had). It's all of 2 lbs max & will save your trip.
But of course, as David said, test it out several times at home, so that you get it dialed in before you go out on your trip!
I'll be a little more blunt then the others.
On a 38* night, you won't even know the space blanket is there. You will be the first guy the Donner party will eat.
You won't be able to maintain a uniform air gap between the space blanket and the hammock and even if you did, without insulation in that gap, the convection currents would quickly rob your heat. The slightest air movement will push the blanket against the hammock.
If it would work, we would all be saving ourselves 1.5 lbs and $100-$275.
As WV stated, use a method known to work and try it out/practice it well ahead of your trip. Failure to do so will result in some miserable all-nighters by the fire.
Thanks for the responses. Looks like I'm going to either need to build or buy an underquilt.
I guess I'd rather be broke than frozen!
As for practice, I plan on sleeping in the back yard with it a few times and practice breaking it down and putting it up multiple times.
Any advice on brand/style of 'biners?
I made my top quilt out of some ripstop and Quilter's Dream Puff Batting, I am planning to make a UQ out of the same stuff. My informal test, (sitting on the deck at about 35 degrees in shorts for 20 minutes) makes me think it will work extremely well. The whole thing only cost about $30 bucks in material. The Dream Puff batting is fairly cheap but warm, my 60 x 88 quilt squishes down to about the size of a soccer ball and weighs in at just under 4 pounds. I am sure it would be a pound less if I had used a lighter material on the backside.