Just wanted to give a brief trip report on a recent trip last Friday to Dolly Sods / Roaring Plains. Initially we were headed to the Red Creek Campground but the drifting snow had made the road very difficult to get through so we turned back to the road the goes out to the gas line cut on Roaring Plains. There most of the way to the cut we came on a very good campsite in the middle of the spruce. I was able to set up my hammock back in the spruce so I could avoid almost all of the wind. The hammock was a Trek Light with a Snugfit Universal plus a couple blue pads in a chair kit for the bottom insulation. I used a 0 deg down bag as a quilt, a cheap down jacket and three hats including a down balaclava for my top insulation. One of the key things I did however was that I brought an aluminum pan for melting snow over the fire - we melted a good amount of snow and when it was time to hit the hammock I had a Nalgene full of hot water to keep me comfortable. It was a great night - I was completely warm all night and of course being in a hammock I was completely comfortable too. If anything I was almost too warm with this setup. I must have looked quite the sight in the morning with the ice in my beard standing in my long johns and down jacket.
Anyways - lessons learned
1. a hot water bottle is worth its weight in gold on cold nights in a hammock
2. having a good sized pan makes getting hot water very convenient - just leave it next to the firs and toss in snow whenever the water level gets low
3. the Snugfit is easily replaces 2 ccf pads - before I started using the Snugfit I would have used 4 ccf pads in these conditions and it would not have been as comfortable
4. as always keeping the head warm really helps keeping the rest of the body warm
5. an iced over beard is no big deal but when the condensation doesn't freeze and drips down to skin level it is a bit noticeable.
6. a sheltered site is great to have for setting up the hammock