View Full Version : High winds

08-25-2011, 14:45
Hi all!
I'm curious what you will come up with.
Problem is most likely to occur when you can't choose the weather - so most probably during long hikes. I decided to ask here.

As many of us probably noticed, hammock sleep system in some circumstances is basically same as tarp sleeping setup + hammock gear - groundcloth. That is of course when a pad is used rather than an underquilt.
I wanted to prepare lightweight setup in the way that actually enables me to sleep on the ground. Not that I would want it often, but sometimes I can be forced to do so.
There are some differences in gear choices, like tarp size and shape, or taking blanket/quilt rather than mummy bag when hammocking. I actually need to have a footbox in my hammock sleeping bag, but that's another story.

I made myself a bigger tarp-poncho, it doubles nicely as a raingear, and it's rather on the light side. It's pretty narrow when compared to hammock-specific tarps, the length is just about right though to cover the hammock from one end to the other (plus some extra).
The result is I can get pretty chilled even during pretty warm, but windy nights, and I hardly imagine hanging in heavy wind and heavy rain combined. Not a weather, nor the topic for an overnight trip...

I've experienced wind that was said to be up to 7 degrees in Beaufort scale, making some moderate damages in the area I've been camping in. Now, windy issues were pretty easy to overcome - I've untangled the poncho and wrapped into it. I also stuffed flaps in my diy-ed SPE with everything possible. Condensation was quite big, but I slept warm in such a burrito. Trees were maintained well (it was paid camping), so nothing killed me. I was since then thinking about making myself a kind of wind stopper, that could also double as a groundcloth in case of high wind and rain combined, which is basically "ground dwelling sentence" in case of using poncho. I still think that this is lighter and more versatile solution than using mighty big tarp to protect against bad weather, and the weight of tarp-poncho+"wrapper" is probably lighter than big tarp alone (one that I would produce on a budget, we're not talking about cuben gear here).

I was thinking about using the hammock itself to put a pad on top of it, but first - taffeta is maybe tough, but not waterproof at all, second - the ends are gathered, and even if I would mod my hammock in the way that enables me to untie them, they still would hold the wrinkles, and finally - it would be barbaric to put the thing into raw mud. Plus, this solution has no wind stopper.
I was also thinking about using a liner inside a sleeping bag, but it seems to be good for adding warmth, not stopping wind.

Now - first of all, maybe I do something wrong? I guess what I experienced is not that uncommon, just a different version of CBS - not caused by insulation compression, but by lack of wind stopping. I wasn't even shaking, I was just chilled. Maybe I should throw out that 15yo quilt and buy new, really cheap and light 15 C synthetic bag and I will not feel cold again?

Second - what material to choose? I don't have any experience in wind-stopping subject... This still have to be really, really lightweight, common and cheap. Sadly tyvek is not popular where I live, I guess that would be right on spot. Dense polyamid cloth dires quickly enough to get it wet, but it's not that light. Impregnated one I have available loses waterproof capabilities really quickly. For now the only idea that came to me is using "thick enough" ordinary plastic foil I have around, we used it while painting walls to cover the floor and it has not holes in it after that, but even that I can fix with some tape. Similar thickness to shower curtain, but it feels stiffer. In terms of budget - zero cost will make things work great for me. Condensation - I will survive with that issue, I can leave one side slightly open. But still - would you use such thing? Or rather just cover yourself with everything and wait through the night?
How are you dealing with high winds in different (short tarp) setups? I guess there is no chance to go in hammock with tarp-poncho through wind + rain conditions...

08-26-2011, 12:25
I bring a super light ground cloth with me just incase i would need to go to ground. I also use it to keep my gear under my hammock in wet areas. I prefer these in particular Polycryo Ground Cloth (http://gossamergear.com/shelters/shelter-accessories/polycryo-ground-cloth-medium.html) so cheap they are basically disposable, but pretty sturdy if you pick your camps well. For me this is strictly an emergency ground cloth when I can't find trees or get stuck somewhere that doesn't have any, at 1.6 oz you can't beat them imo.

I also carry a gossamer gear 1/8" pad for under my legs which works in a pinch for insulation. It doesn't make for the most comfortable night in the world on the ground, but it is better than cuddling up next to a tree.

08-26-2011, 13:28
There are several styles of "hammock socks" that block wind. Think of a bugnet that fully encloses the hammock, to and bottom. Now change that from netting to nylon.

Search for theses "hammock socks" and you will find a variety of ways to go about this.

08-28-2011, 06:56
As for socks - I know the subject well... that's from what I know not a lightweight solution. I mean it has to be both able to stop the wind and probably a bit of water from time to time, and be breathable, which rules out all but really tightly woven fabrics and membrane materials - those are heavy, or expensive if light. And even in this last case - this is still heavier than a piece of foil. Sure, way more comfy than anything else.

Just an offtopic - I'm wondering if there could be a chance of combining two or three kinds of fabric to help with keeping weathershield-like sock warm and well-ventilated. It would be probably more like a "tarp liner", hanging sealed under the tarp-poncho and shielding the hammock. I hope you got the idea - basically a flying, loose "tent floor".

I like those groundsheets though. Having to pay, I'd go for a space blanket, maybe even cut down to exact size I need. Not that tough and not as lightweight probably, but I'm able to buy it here where I live (not so with the groundcloth). And just as reparable.

At least now I have some "pro" dimensions to start with :D

Thanks a bunch to both of you :)

08-28-2011, 09:54
You can use tight woven fabric as a wind block and spray shield. It is what you want. The trick is to ventilate on the downwind side.
Since you said you use an SPE you might want to use something like the Hennessy overcover:
http://hennessyhammock.com/catalog/insulation/ scroll down
You can also use something like this as a wind block/insulation/moisture barrier:

I have use the blankets as both a ground sheet and an over cover. On top just don't completely seal the lee edge and it ventilates enough to avoid problems

08-30-2011, 13:04
I'm slowly leaning towards space blankets TBH - that is if I'll buy automobile first aid kit, there should be one there (I guess it will hold some items I would want, like safety pins and wound dressings, shopping this piece by piece may cost me more than taking whole kit at once, I hope to have some surplus there as well, and I will have to buy a couple more items probably). I'm still unsure about advantage of space blanket when compared to ordinary foil, I guess there will be not much of a difference, apart from noise in high wind, but this may be completely different story when weather will worsen.