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  1. #1
    Senior Member turk's Avatar
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    An ULTIMATE sub-zero hammock hang

    Hey folks. I am looking for some guidance and expertise.

    I need to build the ultimate sub-zero hammock set-up. ... and I only have a few weeks left in which to do it.

    Specifically I hope some hammockers that have slept in single-digits and gone below zero deg F might chime in here. But I would certainly welcome any and all comments from anyone that understands insulation systems and how to best keep my weight down.

    I am gearing up for a snowshoe & pulk, bushwack trip for 3-4 days in northern ontario. I am expecting day time temperatures of around -13 deg F and night-time lows between -25 to -40 deg F. With winds ranging from 20-60 MPH. A quick consultation of my windchill chart gives me a worst-case senario of "feels like" -91 deg F. under full exposure at night. My information is based on average weather and temps for a specific area for that time of year. Wanting to be extra cautious, I would like to be WELL prepared for my worst case weather scenario. Not just surviving and huddled in a ball until morning... but sleeping sound and comfortable.

    Only a few more weeks until the trip. I have been backyard testing every weekend in 20's, and teens. My personal low temp record is only single digits. I know I am asking for much more than taking the next step ..... rather more like one gigantic leap. But there are great people here, and I know I will get the knowledge, and expertise to pull this off.

    What I need are suggestions to either refine or replace my hammock insulation system. to get me down to about -40 with no
    additional heat source.



    Here is what I am working with so far:


    JRB prototype hammock tent. Sealed up tight with both doors closed, offers very good wind protection. I can also bank snow against the walls for added insulation and heat retention from the stove.

    Titanium Goat Wood stove. I don't want to have to rely on this stove for all-night comfort, but rather have it as an option. Of course I realize that in my worst-case senario from above... I will be running this stove at maximum output all night long, and trying to sleep in short intervals between tending the inferno.

    Hammock - ENO single.

    Maybe i am dreaming but here is my concept for a bare minimalist sleep system. Feel free to laugh if you think I am being way too optimistic.

    4 Piece insulation system:

    JRB Old Rag Mountain + JRB Rocky Mountain No Sniveller as stacked underquilts. Feathered Friends Rock wren (in bag mode) + JRB Nest as top insulation.

    Sleep wear: under-armour long underwear, + 400wt Fleece pants + wind pants + drywick LS shirt + wool sweater + toque + fleece face mask + ski goggles + drywick socks + down booties + down mittens


    I own 4 additional down-filled bags, and 6 synthetic bags in a wide range of temperature ratings. If you think I need to be adding an additional layer to my insulation system please let me know. And where I should be adding it. Top layer, or bottom.
    Also please feel free to comment on my proposed sleep clothing, as I can certainly adjust that for more or less core temp warmth.
    If necessary I may need to sleep in my parka, or use part of a modular 2 or 3 piece jacket system comprised of a down jacket, fleece, and waterproof/windproof layers. I would like to avoid that if possible, so that these items can dry from daytime exposure to snow. I am not fully decided on what my final outdoor clothing system will be, so its still flexible.

    Any and all thoughts, advice and general help would be most welcome.
    Last edited by turk; 12-27-2007 at 19:20.

  2. #2
    I saw your excellent review of the Titanium Goat wood stove:

    http://hikinghq.net/forum/showthread.php?t=2327

    How do you plan to use that in conjunction with your hammock tent. Surely, you're not going to rest it on your lap?

  3. #3
    I suppose a more sensible suggestion would be to replace the hammock-tent with a large basha with closed ends and combined with a reflective emergency film, and build a reflector behind your stove also covered in a reflector. Any sleeping bag/ quilt you have would cover you, rather than envelop you, becauseyou'll be absorbing heat from the stove through the bottom of the hammock.

    That way, you will combine the benefits of basha camping (warmth, circulation, stars with hammocking (no ground conduction, light weight).

  4. #4
    Senior Member turk's Avatar
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    I have many pictures posted in different threads around the forum. Here are a couple recent ones from christmas day, so you get an idea of what the setup looks like inside:


    You are completely right in suggesting the basha, as it is an already proven ground concept. I should have mentioned that my primary goals is to work with the JRB Hammock Tent, and Ti-goat stove as to provide real-world field testing in very low temps. As you can see from above, I have the same benefits you described in basha camping, already altered and designed for hammock.

    I have done extensive testing ... but my weakest areas, and the reason for this thread is my lack of knowledge and confidence
    in my hammock insulation system. I sure as heck own enough gear. I just need to find the best way to put the right components
    together to stay safe in temps potentially reaching -90 deg F. Its almost 100 deg's colder than the coldest weather I
    have hammocked in. Maybe I should have posted this in the discussion thread I already started for hot hammocking. But I don't know how to move a post now that its made. (happens when you are still up and typing at 2AM) perhaps a mod could move this for me. Either way I am still looking for conventional wisdom on un-heated hammock insulation and getting well below zero deg F.
    Last edited by turk; 12-27-2007 at 03:21.

  5. #5
    Dutch's Avatar
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    It sounds like to me that you have all the insulation that a person could possibly carry. I can't really fathem -90 windchill. The only thing I could suggest is looking into Beyond fleece pants and coat. I have the combo and the stuff is great, but a litttle pricey. It also may take too long to make it for your trip. In any case don't become a turk-cycle. I'm pretty sure you will be hitting some kind of record in a hammock. I have to ask what you plan your pack weight to be?
    Peace Dutch
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    A good snow shovel and plenty of time to make a snow trench. If a 60mph gust takes down the tent, you'll be dangerously exposed for the few minutes it takes to freeze.

    Are your buddies tenting right next to you?

    Pushing the envelope - I like it. Be safe.
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

    - My site: http://www.tothewoods.net/
    - Designer, Jeff's Gear Hammock / Pack Cover by JRB

    IMPOSSIBLE JUST TAKES LONGER

  7. #7
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    about the only thing that might be a possibility that I can think of would be to add a vapor barrier under all the sleep time clothing - should help keep the down dry and insulating as well as keeping you warmer

  8. #8
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    I have absolutely ZERO experience with any of this, so keep that in mind...

    I have seen a picture on the HH site of a snow trench dug to hang a hammock in. Snow provides a LOT more insulation than your hammock tent. A deep snow trench with a strong tarp over it could potentially be covered with some more snow to insulate part of the top. A properly constructed snow cave has the advantage of keeping the sleeper above the coldest air. It seems your hammock would offer this same advantage. I read in a NOLS winter camping book the other day that a -40F day would be 70 degrees warmer inside a proper snow cave. Just be sure to ventilate properly. According to the book, a 2 inch hole is enough for a single person. I think this assumes there is also an entryway vent

    I am wondering if you'd have condensation problems, and so a crazy idea I have is to hang another small tarp underneath the top one to protect you from "rain"

    Again, don't make any decisions on my advice, I'm just thinking out loud. this sounds like a fun project, but I don't think I'd try it myself!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Wow turk, that is a pretty serious trip. I can't imagine carrying too much more insulation, but I certainly agree with snow trenching. At least, as a back-up. Like JJ said, if something brings that JRB rig down you're going to be at real risk of exposure in very short order. Might be a good idea to have your fox hole pre-dug. For an extra ounce I think I'd have a space blanket with me too; every bit helps and all that.

    You are one brave fella, good luck!
    Trust nobody!

  10. #10
    Senior Member headchange4u's Avatar
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    You are a heck of a lot braver than I am. -90 below. Sheesh.
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it." -Terry Pratchett



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