So since the wife was out of town last night, I decided it'd be a great time to test out my gear in cold weather before the NJ winter hang. I dug a path through the snow in the yard to my hammock stand and set up my tarp in the afternoon while it was still warm (high 30's).

Played around with configuring my tarp to block the brisk cold wind, and how to best utilize the tie out points on the guide gear 12x12. I think that'll still be a work in progress, and will change when I hang from actual trees, and don't have to work under the constraints of the hammock stand.

Went off to work, and got home around midnight, determined to go out despite the temp. I went out to the hammock at around 1:30. It was already 14˚ out. :-) This was what my setup looked like, taken the next morning:

Clothing setup:
smartwool base layer bottoms, and a pair of cargos.
2 pairs of wool blend socks.
ems techwick short sleeve, thermal crew long sleeve, eddie bauer downlight sweater
buff around neck and pulled up over mouth, knit hat over ears and eyes, convertible fleece mittens

I used my brandy-new winter Phoenix, my DIY fleece lined climashield TQ, and JRB foam pad for under my legs/feet. Also a stuff sack with a bunch of scraps of insulation tethered to the head end, for a pillow (and neck warmth).

Here's a pic that shows just how much loft the Winter Phoenix gives. So pretty

And a top down view for refence, showing my layers. Light blue is the hammock:

Once I got situated, I warmed up real quick. Got myself tucked in, pulled down my hat and pulled up my Buff, and settled in. No noticeable cold spots, except the spot between the rim of my hat and the edge of my buff, and the fact that my breath was condensing on my buff, making a little cold patch every breath. Managed to drift off in toasty warmness. Not hot, but not at all cold.

Woke up between 4:30 and 5 AM. no longer as warm as when I started, but still not cold. Pillow had slipped a bit so my neck was stiff and a little chilly, but still doing alright. But, of course, I had to go the bathroom. Tried to ignore it, and since I'm not used to sleeping on my back, tried to see if I could get onto my side and still stay covered. This one was a fail, and I still am not sure quite how to mitigate all the layers while on my side. TQ quilt wouldn't stay covering me, couldn't quite get the UQ situated right, etc. Tried to go back onto my back, and that's when I realized I was getting real chilly underneath. Kicked on my headlamp and felt around, and realized that the UQ had sagged a bit during the night (probably due to cold temps, and such) and that it was still sealing at the foot and head ends, but the sides weren't tight against my body, and it was letting the now frigid air in. This only made the urge to go the bathroom stronger, so I decided to bail to the house, and investigate the UQ droop in daylight. On my way in the door, I checked the thermometer. 11˚ outside, and after checking again a little while ago, that was the low temp for last night. Had my UQ stayed sealed against me, I totally could have weathered it out. Kudos to Adam for his downy goodness.

So overall I'll call this a win, and a great learning experience. I have no doubts that I could have gone lower, if need be. And that for temps in the 30's, I'll be golden. I have since checked out a few threads here, and this morning when I took the pictures tied a set of knots in the suspension shockcord for the Phoenix, and ended up shortening it by at least a foot on one end, which seems to get my UQ tighter to the hammock and me, and lying in it for 5 minutes, seemed to do the trick. We'll see next time out. I also have my UQ garters (triangle thingies) that I made for my rectangular synthetic UQ, and might try to combine those with the stock suspension on the Phoenix to give a little extra lift to the edges.

Thanks for listening, and if anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear em. Either way, I think I'm ready for South Jersey next weekend!