Mummy cocoon tips. Doesn't fit in "weather protection" or the top or bottom insulation message boards, so I'm going with the general board.
After spending about 15 nights hanging last year and 21 this year in a hammock surrounded by a down mummy bag as a cocoon, here are some tips that Iíve learned from experience and fine tuning. First the gear list.
40 degree North Face Light Year down mummy bag with zipper opening in footbox for late spring through late summer. Long lenth.
15 degree Sierra Designs Nitro down mummy bag Ė 800 fill!! Ė for early spring, fall, and winter. Long length.
Grand Trunk Nano 7 hammock with whoopee suspension, straps and trail-stick toggles.
Papa Smurf Bug Sock for hardcore buggy summer nights.
Coghlans bug head net spring and fall when my body is covered by the bag but the bugs will still eat my face.
Netless in winter.
Zpacks cuben fiber hammock tarp with doors. Ah, the luxury. Ultra light. Ultra big. When pitched to ground, an tent. In good weather pitched high, a veritable pavilion.
With the 15 degree bag, Iíve hung as low as 5 degrees and felt very warm and slept like a baby.
My stats. Male, 5 ft 10, 155 pounds. Nano 7 plenty big for me. Structural ridge line allows consistent sag every time for comfortable diagonal lay.
Tips on using a bag as a cocoon. A long length bag on an average height hanger allows you zip the foot box zipper down to allow just the whoopee to exit the zipper, which keeps all the warmth inside the bag and the drafts out. Iíve experimented on very cold nights with the foot zipper open to allow the bag to be pulled up over the exiting channel end of the hammock, and by putting my cuben fiber pack cover down in the foot box, it blocked all drafts and was comfortable. However, at 5ft 10 I can keep the bag down at the end of the hammock with just enough zipper opening for the whoopee to pass through. By tightly drawing up the drawstring at the top end of the bag, the bag conforms snugly to the entire bottom of the hammock. It creates an underquilt with no required suspension and no sags or air gaps. Toasty. Here is the trick. The U-shape cutaway profile of the hammock means an air gap at the chest/neck, for a man. Many a chesty woman wouldnít have this problem. So take your rain jacket or wind shirt or any surplus piece of clothing and tuck it on top of your chest/neck to seal that gap. Works great for me as a back and side sleeper. Your results may vary. I use no CCF pad under me until the temperature drops to 30 or lower. The bag serves as an effective underquilt. But I find that below 30 degrees, regardless of my wonderful 800 fill down bag serving as an underquilt, my back gets a little cold. I am comfortable sleeping on a pad in my hammock. Many are not. But I am. And from 30 degrees down to 5 degrees the pad beneath me and the bag pulled around my hammock has kept me toasty warm. In summer, I wear briefs and short sleeve wicking shirt in the bag. Spring and fall, smartwool long bottoms and top. Below 45 degrees I pull a Montbell down sweater on top. Below 30 a light Columbia down jacket on top of that. At 5 degrees I wore light fleece pants, too. This works since at 5ft 10 and 155 pounds, I have plenty of room in the bag for the extra layers. On all but the most hot summer nights I like a light fleece beanie on my head. Below 45, beanie, with a smartwool balaclava underneath. Below 20 a heavier balaclava. Since the bag hood does not completely envelop your head in this system, proper head protection is key. The hood comes behind the bottom of the hammock and keeps the back of your head and neck warm. But you really need proper full head protection.
OK. Thatís my story. This is an ultra light, no-fiddle, packs-really-small system. Itís not for everybody but it consistently works for me.