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  1. #1
    Certain's Avatar
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    My first cold weather test trip report

    Hey everyone! Just went on an overnight shakedown hike in cold temps here in Michigan over the weekend. [On a side note...superfeet insoles ROCK!] Ok..back to hammocking.

    I have a crappy thermometer, but after comparing with weather.com I think I can safely say that it was between 30-34 degrees Saturday night, with no wind. Maybe even cooler, because I was right next to a lake and it was a clear night.

    I started off w/my Nest underquilt, mid-weight thermals, wool socks, Patagonia long sleeve shirt, hat and a "buff" that I used as a neck gaitor/balaclava. I also ate a Snickers right before bed to up my metabolism. I crawled inside and zipped up my 20-degree WM bag. Almost instantly I could feel my butt getting cold. I layed there for a bit to see if my body heat would eventually warm up my lower body (feet were also freezing), but it wasn't enough. I may not have had my underquilt pulled tightly enough on the foot end, but I don't think that would have made that much of a difference.

    I had my blue wally world closed cell foam pad (Sgt. Rock talks about this one...$12.00 and trimmed to 18" at the feet) hanging over my hammock outside, so I crawled out and added that on the inside.

    I have to say that yes, it's a bit more difficult to get in your bag/on top of the mat, etc. BUT, it was that exact process that allowed me to build up enough body heat that once I got in my bag, I was toasty toasty warm, so it all worked out great. Instantly, no cold butt, I took off my socks and feet warmed up too. I fell happily asleep, but around 2:30 a.m., I woke up sweating! I had to unzip my bag for a second and cool off.

    I think the additional long sleeve shirt over my thermals was overkill. The rest of the night, I only got cold chills when a shot of cold air made it into my bag and hit my damp skin (from sweating). The only other thing I dealt with was a freezing nose and from time to time, I'd put my whole head in my bag.

    I slept on both of my sides (in the fetal position for best use of body heat) and on my back all stretched out. I didn't have any problem slipping off the pad. Actually, being all zipped up in my mummy bag, prevented me from moving off the pad (which is quite grippy actually). It didn't affect the comfort-level hardly at all, so even though it was significantly colder than the last time I camped here w/my tent, I still slept better because as you all know, my HH is SO comfortable! I think sleeping in a mummy bag all zipped up affected my comfort level more than anything, but it wasn't unbearable.

    Oh yeah...had this crazy dream about baby black bears and giant female lions too! Pretty funny stuff.

    I've got pics coming, I just took a disposable camera and will have pics later this week.

    So I think I feel very confident with my set-up. I still had other clothing I could have added, and I could have added my water bottles w/hot water as a last resort. I pitched my tarp really close to my hammock (it was quite windy during the day) but I had zero condensation problems. I overheard 2 guys in the site next to me (tenters) saying the next morning that the inside of the tent was almost dried out, and they were wiping what I'm assuming was condensation from the inside top of their tent.

    Nothing like getting up on a cold morning, making a hot cup of coffee, and lounging in your hammock. It was a perfect weekend. I ended up cutting my ridgeline and it did make a HUGE difference in comfort for lounging too. I'm going out again on Nov. 11 for even colder temps. Can't wait!!!!! Thanks to everyone for all of the advice and instruction you've all given me. I had hung my hammock and tarp perfect the first time, and feel like I'm over that learning curve now.
    This is my signature.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ShakeyLeggs's Avatar
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    That is gret news Michele. Glad to here you got everything working. Good luck on the next outing.
    A Bad Day On The Trail Is Better Than A Great Day At Work!!!


    -.- -... ...-- ... -.-- --..


  3. #3
    Member Hangman's Avatar
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    hey michele, could of you used your sleeping bag as a quilt in that set up? maybe you would not of been too warm. i,m going out this weekend in a simalar set up in pa. is your pad 3/4 or full? a few weeks ago i was out in the lower 40's and only used nest and 20 western bag as quilt and was fine all night. will bring pad this weekend just in case. my pad is 24x72 not cut yet will modify if needed. its been great hearing all your posts on your shake downs. keep it coming!!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Seeker's Avatar
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    congrats michele! that 'cold blast of air' is why i still use a sleeping bag instead of a quilt... gives me the option to crawl inside if it's below about 55 (when the 'cold blast' gets uncomfortable).

    funny how your feet got warm when you took OFF the socks... better circulation perhaps...

  5. #5
    Certain's Avatar
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    Hangman--

    My sleeping pad was that really huge one from Wal-Mart (Sgt. Rock recommends it). It was full length, which was good, because it was only my lower body that was cold at first. I use my bag as a quilt when it's warmer, but I needed to have it zipped up and I ended up pulling the collar tight around my neck later that night when it must have gotten much colder. I totally agree w/your temp threshold though, I was fine in the 40's w/only an underquilt and my bag as an overquilt. Anything in the 30's and below need additional insulation for me.

    Seeker--

    I agree, I couldn't be happier with the choices I have w/a sleeping bag that can also be used as a quilt. More options for more weather situations. The sock thing was weird. I'd read somewhere that a woman was layered up in her bag and was freezing, so she stripped down to almost nothing and warmed up. Seemed the layers were insulating her heat from getting into the bag. My feet didn't warm up, however, until I added the sleeping pad. I think I do have poor circulation in hands/feet, it seems they're always cold if not moving.
    This is my signature.

  6. #6
    Rat's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
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    First, I hafta say, I agree with you on the Superfeet insoles. I couldn't believe what a difference they made! Second, I love my Buff! I hope they come out with a "heavier" verson for colder temps. Until then I used it over my fleece balaclava and it worked pretty good that way. I am wearing it in my avatar.

    My first time in a cold hammock was not as pleasant as yours. I was expecting temps in the 30's, but above freezing. My insulation was two CCF pads a 20* bag and my bailout was a pair of insulated coveralls. The low that night was 28* and I just about froze my **** off! That is when I learned that below 32* was an entirely different game. Of course, that is when we were experimenting with windshield reflectors and that sort of stuff. I didn't really have any idea of how it all worked as a system. But I learned fast!

    I am glad your forst cold hangout was better than mine.
    "I aim to misbehave." - Capt. Mal Reynolds
    Mind of a Rat Youtube Channel

  7. #7
    Senior Member txulrich's Avatar
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    Here's my cold weather setup:

    HH Expidition Asym
    Homemade version of JRB Old Rag Mountain for underquilt
    JRB Weathershield
    JRB Nest (pre-overstuffed) for Overquilt
    MacCat Deluxe set low and pulled close to the hammock

    Clothing:
    Polypro long johns
    polar fleece pants and sweater
    Heavy socks
    Fleece gloves
    knit hat

    I've had this setup down to about 30-35 degrees and had to shed some clothes.

    I have a 20 degree bag that I could use as a top quilt and hang both quilts under. Hasn't been cold enough here yet to try it!
    Peace,
    Joe

  8. #8
    Certain's Avatar
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    Check this out Hogn8r

    Quote Originally Posted by Hogn8r View Post
    First, I hafta say, I agree with you on the Superfeet insoles. I couldn't believe what a difference they made! Second, I love my Buff! I hope they come out with a "heavier" verson for colder temps. Until then I used it over my fleece balaclava and it worked pretty good that way. I am wearing it in my avatar.
    Here's a winter buff, I hear they're pretty new: http://www.winwood-outdoor.co.uk/aca...olar_Buff.html

    I just now saw that they make the buff w/skulls all over it....gonna have to get one of those!
    This is my signature.

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