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  1. #1
    LowTech's Avatar
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    Hanging at 115° in the desert

    I realize that the majority of threads around this subject are about how to stay warm, this is the opposite.
    For the last few days its been over 100° every day, w/ some days reaching as much as 115°, like today. We also don't expect it to stop for at least a week.
    I know that most of you will hide inside w/ the AC or swamp coolers on. For us that's not an option as we live off-grid in our rigs and the inside temps will climb as the outside temps do, not as fast but on a 115° day it will reach 115° inside at some point.
    So our latest experiment in hammocking has been to turn our cotton Brazilian hammocks into evaporative coolers.
    We have an area on the property where we're parked-up that has a bit of a roof. Really just something to keep the rain off of some stores resources, but its strong enough to hang from. So every day as the desert temps climb to around 100°+ we stand under the garden hose for a minute and then soak our hammocks. They instantly become almost too cold to lay in, but we are brave.
    The next three or four hours are a very cool desert siesta.

  2. #2

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    I do this too. Becomes extra effective if you point a fan at the underside. I’ve slept comfortably, even a little cool above 95°F ambient this way.


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    Tensa Outdoor, LLC, maker of the Tensa4, Tensa Solo, and Tensa Trekking Treez hammock stands: http://tensaoutdoor.com/

  3. #3
    FLTurtle's Avatar
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    At least you can get evaporative cooling...here in Florida, with the high humidity it's just not possible to really cool down. Yeah, at night the temps will draw back but it's still humid AF. So for me, I don't do much hiking or camping here until mid/late September. But, we can get away with 40F gear for our version of "winter." So for me, in the summer I head north to the mountains...might still be hot, but usually not as humid. And it definitely gets cooler at night.

  4. #4
    Member Hiker_Section's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLTurtle View Post
    At least you can get evaporative cooling...here in Florida, with the high humidity it's just not possible to really cool down.
    I agree with FLTurtle there's some silver lining in that humidity is not in the mix. I use a system in high heat/high humidity that actually has much more ideal results in your situation (high heat/lower humidity). Aside from using a fan (whether or not I'm backpacking dictates size of fan), the system I use involves putting a dry towel (full length) under you in the hammock and then putting a damp cotton or synthetic sheet/cloth/towel (well wrung out) on top of your body. The dampness evaporates over time as you sleep and if I want to slow evaporation I make sure the fabric on top of me is damp cotton. Check out the link below. Also, I'm pasting a link to a post I made 2 years ago where I was doing some research. I might revive the older post if I can add some beneficial content. Judging by the weather forecasts for extreme heat this summer (especially in the western US) I imagine there will be others like you trying to solve the problem of hammocking in temperature extremes.

    https://sleepbetter.org/sleep-like-an-egyptian/

    https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...humidity/page7
    Last edited by Hiker_Section; 06-14-2021 at 09:34.

  5. #5
    LowTech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLTurtle View Post
    At least you can get evaporative cooling...here in Florida, with the high humidity it's just not possible to really cool down. Yeah, at night the temps will draw back but it's still humid AF. So for me, I don't do much hiking or camping here until mid/late September. But, we can get away with 40F gear for our version of "winter." So for me, in the summer I head north to the mountains...might still be hot, but usually not as humid. And it definitely gets cooler at night.
    I'm familiar w/ the heat and humidity of that sandbar you call home, that's why I spend so much time in the SW.
    I do still venture out that way a couple times a year to kayak some rivers w/ my mom once summer is over and again in the spring.
    Usually we roll farther north before now but this last year has been a challenge and we're hanging close to the big city for resources while I work on my truck.

  6. #6
    LowTech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker_Section View Post
    I agree with FLTurtle there's some silver lining in that humidity is not in the mix. I use a system in high heat/high humidity that actually has much more ideal results in your situation (high heat/lower humidity). Aside from using a fan (whether or not I'm backpacking dictates size of fan), the system I use involves putting a dry towel (full length) under you in the hammock and then putting a damp cotton or synthetic sheet/cloth/towel (well wrung out) on top of your body. The dampness evaporates over time as you sleep and if I want to slow evaporation I make sure the fabric on top of me is damp cotton. Check out the link below. Also, I'm pasting a link to a post I made 2 years ago where I was doing some research. I might revive the older post if I can add some beneficial content. Judging by the weather forecasts for extreme heat this summer (especially in the western US) I imagine there will be others like you trying to solve the problem of hammocking in temperature extremes.

    https://sleepbetter.org/sleep-like-an-egyptian/

    https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...humidity/page7
    Thanks for the links, will check them out as I get time later today.

    I've also used the "top sheet" method and may have to again if these temps climb much more.

  7. #7
    Member Hiker_Section's Avatar
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    Sounds good. If you wake up in the middle of the night a little chilled from the damp top sheet, you can always hang it temporarily on ridgeline and add/remove as needed.

  8. #8
    LowTech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker_Section View Post
    Sounds good. If you wake up in the middle of the night a little chilled from the damp top sheet, you can always hang it temporarily on ridgeline and add/remove as needed.
    It's not the nights that are an issue. Another plus for no humidity. Last night, after a 115° day, it got down to 70° and I had my 40° UQ loose under me w/ a super light fleece blanket on top. It's the mid-day temps that we have to survive. That's why the Mexican siesta is a sign of intelligence even though a lot of Americans consider it to be a sign of laziness.

  9. #9
    Member Hiker_Section's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowTech View Post
    It's not the nights that are an issue. Another plus for no humidity. Last night, after a 115° day, it got down to 70° and I had my 40° UQ loose under me w/ a super light fleece blanket on top. It's the mid-day temps that we have to survive. That's why the Mexican siesta is a sign of intelligence even though a lot of Americans consider it to be a sign of laziness.

    Got it. I just had a flashback to a summer trip I took to Lake Mojave (houseboat) and we were dealing with those kind of temps near 120F. I am not as much an expert in desert high heat as I am in my own region where it’s high heat humidity. To help you brainstorm the following lists some of the ways I deal with the summer daytime temps in my region if I was brave (or foolish) enough to venture out to do hammocking between June-September.

    • Research and apply best practices for dealing with daytime extreme heat and sun in your region.
    • No direct sun. Make sure hammock is suspended under shaded tree cover or canopy of some sort. Pitch tarp higher for better ventilation.
    • Stay extremely hydrated.
    • Electrolytes. I like Pedialyte grape powder packets added to water.
    • Soak clothing, hats, bandana and towels in water and wear on self. A wet garment wrapped around neck is also a good technique. Cotton clothing soaked in water is your friend and not your enemy like it is in cool weather.
    • Wear white or light colored clothing
    • Little to no activity. Definitely siestas when intense sun is out.
    • Eat meals that are more soupy and liquidy
    • Avoid or limit alcohol during extreme temps as this causes dehydration
    • Increase salt intake
    • Cover self with damp cotton sheet
    • Use a high powered fan if possible. If you don't have access to electricity, buy yourself an industrial shop type fan (not those wimpy D size battery ones). If this summer gets as bad as they say it's going to get with temps, I may purchase the following fan runs off of batteries and can be rigged over ridgeline. There are some other good alternatives also. Not sure of what the best options would be for you since you're off grid (solar powered, etc.)

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-18...3320/205022215
    Last edited by Hiker_Section; 06-14-2021 at 15:08.

  10. #10
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    Most of my hanging is in the Tonto National Forest; Sierra Ancha Mountains or on the Mogollon Rim. I recently acquired a DutchWare 11' Wide Netless Hammock and found it near ideal for hot weather hanging. Coming from Hennessy Deep Jungle XL I had never considered how much the bug net blocked the breezes. One negative of the wide hammock is that the hammock sides are tall and can block the breeze. I found myself hanging a leg and arm to hold the sides down. Perhaps a vertical knotty mod is needed to reduce the side height.

    The discussion of evaporative cooling reminded me that I have a "cooling vest" from my motorcycling days. It was pretty effective under a motorcycle jacket for about one and a half hours when soaked in water. Then you had to stop and recharge it by putting it in a supplied zip lock bag and pouring in about a liter of cool water. It worked best under a Kevlar cycling jacket that had the main zipper up and the wrist, arm pit and back vents open. This configuration was much more effective than a mesh cycling jacket. I intend to dig out the vest and give it a try in the hammock or while hiking.

    I found an interesting link to a DIY Cooling Ice Vest: https://www.instructables.com/Ice-Vest/

    Apparently pilots use cooling vests in the Southwest in aircraft that lack A/C. The article author made his own using an old down vest, a shower liner to fabricate a bladder, absorption gel from adult diapers, and an antifreeze solution of rubbing alcohol and water. He claims the vest stays cool for up to five hours when removed from the freezer. The concept may be viable for an under quilt and/or top quilt.

    If you decide to try this DIY project you might want to travel out of your local area to buy the adult diapers to protect your reputation. Or you could spend the $100 for a vest.

    Remember when personal water misters were a thing in AZ around 2000? They were a 16 oz. thermos with a pressuring pump, thumb valve and hose with a misting nozzle.

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