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  1. #1
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Pads, condensation, 90* and bridge hammocks

    Ever since I joined here about 12 years ago, there have always been people who complained of condensation when trying to slep on a pad in a hammock. It might be worse with CCF pads, and in single layer hammocks, but I am not sure of that.

    But as I have been using a 90* hammock with and without a pad lately, it occurred to me that I have never heard a single person complain of condensation while using a 90% Hammocktent, or an Amok D. Actually, I don't think I have heard of any one with that complaint with a bridge hammock. But, probably 100% of 90* style hammocks at least sometimes use pads, and probably relatively few use pads with bridge hammocks.

    So, my question is: why are we not getting the condensation on pads with these hammocks?

    Are people getting troublesome condensation and just not reporting it?

    For all those who have problems with condensation on pads in GE hammocks, were these double layer hammocks or were you laying right on the pad?

    Is the double layer the answer? Does that somehow reduce condensation?

    Is it because people are not using CCF pads much in 90* hammocks? But they do in bridge hammocks, so.....

    Any thoughts?

    I can't really go by me, because I have not had condensation those few times I used a pad in a hammock. One of those times was when I stacked a CCF and short self inflating pad inside an SPE. More often, I have slipped a torso sized WM blue pad inside the pad pocket of a JRB bridge after I got a little cool before sunrise.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    I've not had condensation issues in my Amok with synmat 9. I also don't have a ton of cold nights in, maybe a handful per winter

    only times I've had issues with pad getting wet, is when it was 35c+ and the pad was just too warm and I sweated a small pool into it, lol

  3. #3
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    First, I REALLY don't think what people are experiencing is condensation at all. If it were, it would not only be where you're in contact with the pad. It would be all over the pad and on a whole bunch of other stuff as well, i.e. the hammock body, bug net, tarp. I don't believe this has anything to do with water vapor encountering a surface that's at a temp below dew point.

    I believe what we're addressing is being in contact with a CCF pad or an inflatable mattress with a non breathable skin. All you have to do I perspire a reasonable amount and that moisture between you and the pad has no way to escape. (It would be like sleeping in a hammock made of waterproof material.) No different than sleeping on a pad on the ground. Put a cover on that pad or put it behind a layer of hammock bottom and that cloth will at least help dissipate some of that liquid and allow it to evaporate. The better the material is at wicking, the more likely you'll stay pretty dry.

    It make no sense to me to call it condensation!

  4. #4
    OlTrailDog's Avatar
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    I think it has a lot to do with the differentially cut pad pocket on the HTs. The hammock material and freedom within the pocket help mitigate sweat build up. It also has to do with the pad material and construction. I think, or in my experience, the Exped Synmat and Downmats are less prone to sweat build up.

    Actually last night I used a Synmat 7 UL MW in a WBBB XLC. I had the Wooki set up with the DH Sparrow in the garage and I didn't want to take it down just in case the curing epoxy toxic cloud drove me out of the house and into the shed where I've spent the last 2.5 weeks. At first I had the Synmat inside the double layer of the XLC, but the darn thing wouldn't stay in the diagonal. So I took it out between the double layer and put it on top. I slept on top of the Synmat with a sleeping bag as my TQ (I just say nope to TQs). This is how I use to use a Exped with a DH SL Raven. With the pad on top I can scooch the pad into the proper diagonal. Plus I like to have my feet below the ankles off the end of the pad which completely eliminates any heel pressure. I had such a great night sleep that I didn't wake up until just before 0800 instead of the usual 0530-0600. It was so nice that I will be doing it again tonight. I did not have any sweat issues with the thermostat set at 65*F. The pad also provided and extra flat surface for side sleeping which I like to do too.

    However, I will say there have been times during the summer that I have experienced a minor level of sweat build up when sleeping directly on a pad. Not overwhelmingly so, but noticeable. I have thought about slipping the Exped inside a rectangular sleeping bag liner to mitigate that minor discomfort, but it hasn't been top on the mod list.

    However, I will say that

  5. #5
    oldpappy's Avatar
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    I successfully used Gossamer Gear CCF pads in my HH Backpacker UL in the 22F range for several years by placing/wrapping the pads in a flannel sheet which absorbed the condensation. The flannel was damp, but not wet in the morning, and my sleeping bag was perfectly dry. This was 10 or 12 years prior to me trying Vapor Barrier clothing.

    There were Space Blanket experiments at the time and moisture was always an issue because I didn't know to insulate under the space blankets.

    I never laid directly on the CCF pads, I always laid on a sleeping bag. Early usage (2006 era) I had not tried the flannel yet and my sleeping bag was quiet damp in cold temps (I think mid to low 30's was considered very cold hammock weather then). After a year or so of sleeping in damp bedding I tried wrapping the CCF pad in an old flannel sheet and voila - my sleeping bag was dry and flannel absorbed the moisture. I stated my success on HF and got the 'cotton kills' replies - it sure worked for me. I don't know the science, but here are my thoughts:

    I think it is not condensation from the outside air, but this is condensation of the moisture your body puts off and it is concentrated in the trapped area right under you. My flannel sheet wrap was always dampest right under - maybe the exposed flannel just allowed evaporation, I don't know.

    I've never used a double layer hammock, but I would say this alone would not negate the moisture development on a CCF pad if the pad is held tight against the sleeper.
    The modern ribbed blow-up pads will allow some air movement, so CCF would have to be used for testing for condensation in cold weather.
    Are these double layer pad insulated hammocks designed for and being used below 32F? or do folks use them above about 40F?

    I predict BillyBob is chomping at the bit to pull out his CCF pads and give it a test run this winter - or is using that PeaPod just too much comfort to turn down
    Last edited by oldpappy; 11-03-2018 at 07:39.
    Enjoying the simple things in life -
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldpappy View Post
    I successfully used Gossamer Gear CCF pads in my HH Backpacker UL in the 22F range for several years by placing/wrapping the pads in a flannel sheet which absorbed the condensation. The flannel was damp, but not wet in the morning, and my sleeping bag was perfectly dry. This was 10 or 12 years prior to me trying Vapor Barrier clothing.

    There were Space Blanket experiments at the time and moisture was always an issue because I didn't know to insulate under the space blankets.

    I never laid directly on the CCF pads, I always laid on a sleeping bag. Early usage (2006 era) I had not tried the flannel yet and my sleeping bag was quiet damp in cold temps (I think mid to low 30's was considered very cold hammock weather then). After a year or so of sleeping in damp bedding I tried wrapping the CCF pad in an old flannel sheet and voila - my sleeping bag was dry and flannel absorbed the moisture. I stated my success on HF and got the 'cotton kills' replies - it sure worked for me. I don't know the science, but here are my thoughts:

    I think it is not condensation from the outside air, but this is condensation of the moisture your body puts off and it is concentrated in the trapped area right under you. My flannel sheet wrap was always dampest right under - maybe the exposed flannel just allowed evaporation, I don't know.

    I've never used a double layer hammock, but I would say this alone would not negate the moisture development on a CCF pad if the pad is held tight against the sleeper.
    The modern ribbed blow-up pads will allow some air movement, so CCF would have to be used for testing for condensation in cold weather.
    Are these double layer pad insulated hammocks designed for and being used below 32F? or do folks use them above about 40F?

    I predict BillyBob is chomping at the bit to pull out his CCF pads and give it a test run this winter - or is using that PeaPod just too much comfort to turn down
    Your experience is much like mine. My only disagreement is the phrase I put in bold. The moisture excreted through your skin is not vapor but is in liquid form. It's not evaporating and then condensing on the pad. Being trapped between body and pad, it isn't evaporating as it normally would.

    With substantial perspiration from overheating, possibly from significant exertion, cotton can't wick moisture away quickly enough and when the moisture in the cotton evaporates, there is a cooling effect. Not what you want in a cold environment. Hence "cotton kills" or "cotton is rotten". However, that's exactly why cotton can be so comfortable in the summer.

  7. #7
    oldpappy's Avatar
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    That makes sense that right under you the temps are warmest and moisture can't penetrate the CCF. I fully agree to avoid cotton clothing's sweat and cooling effect during the winter.
    But, why doesn't the sleeping bag get damp (on 2 or 3 night trips) when using the flannel wrap but it does get damp when not using it?

    My thoughts were always that the bag I made from a flannel sheet absorbed moisture better than the synthetic sleeping bag I use so the moisture just collected there - I would dry it out the next day or flip it over to the dry side - all based on what I experienced using the same hammock under similar conditions with/without flannel and about 10 to 20 nights total camping per winter.

    The double layer hammock/pad question is a good one.
    I only have HH with pads/flannel experience and 22F with double pads was my personal best (and I was cold and anxiously waiting for the sun).
    Recently I started using the HH SS with space blanket/open cell pad and 20 oz of added insulation down to 15F and I was very warm and no moisture under my same sleeping bag. The many variables probably just confuse the issue.
    BillyBob has his HH SS experience (to 6F) and owns a double layer hammock.
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  8. #8
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    As long as the humidity levels aren't excessive and you aren't sweating (that's "glowing" for the women!) too much the dampness in the sleeping bag dissipates enough that you'll hardly ever notice it. I'm guessing the dampness in the bag is soaked up by the cotton when you do use the wrap. The synthetic material is much less likely to hold water but when there's nowhere else for that water to go...

  9. #9
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldpappy View Post
    That makes sense that right under you the temps are warmest and moisture can't penetrate the CCF. I fully agree to avoid cotton clothing's sweat and cooling effect during the winter.
    But, why doesn't the sleeping bag get damp (on 2 or 3 night trips) when using the flannel wrap but it does get damp when not using it?

    My thoughts were always that the bag I made from a flannel sheet absorbed moisture better than the synthetic sleeping bag I use so the moisture just collected there - I would dry it out the next day or flip it over to the dry side - all based on what I experienced using the same hammock under similar conditions with/without flannel and about 10 to 20 nights total camping per winter.

    The double layer hammock/pad question is a good one.
    I only have HH with pads/flannel experience and 22F with double pads was my personal best (and I was cold and anxiously waiting for the sun).
    Recently I started using the HH SS with space blanket/open cell pad and 20 oz of added insulation down to 15F and I was very warm and no moisture under my same sleeping bag. The many variables probably just confuse the issue.
    BillyBob has his HH SS experience (to 6F) and owns a double layer hammock.
    Very warm and dry at 15F in an augmented HHSS? Love to hear when things work out like they do for me. Including being dry/warm using that VB aka space blanket. Love it!

    EDIT: So the added insulation to the HHSS worked much better for you than the double pads/flannel? What was the added insulation? How thick were the double pads?
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 11-07-2018 at 14:20.

  10. #10
    New Member Fimbul's Avatar
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    I have several times been waking up soaked in my Amok. I was using the Exped Synmat UL LW. I'm thinking that the fabric used for this pad, is the big issue... I have not tried other pads.
    I sold the hammock and the pad, because of this + I didn't like the mosquito netting and all the creaking noise and ordered the XL version instead. I hope the Fjøll pad is working better for me.
    /Rasmus

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