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Thread: Trip Report #2

  1. #1
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    Trip Report #2

    I didn't see a forum for trip reports...so sorry if this is the wrong place.

    When: This past Saturday/Sunday, Nov. 11-12

    Where: S.E. Michigan, at a state park

    What: My 2nd overnight shakedown, only this was in cold weather

    My Equipment: HH Ultralite Backpacker Asym, JRB Nest underquilt, WM 20-degree mummy bag, Wal-mart blue CCF pad cut to fit inside the hammock, MacCat Deluxe Tarp

    Saturday's Weather: Highs in the upper 30's, lite rain/drizzle, 10-15 mph winds, Lows in the low 30's/high 20's but the windchill was hell

    Sunday's Weather: Highs in the upper low 40's, tiny snow flakes from time to time, no wind

    I hiked into the campsite, 7 miles. Got there at around 3:30 p.m. It was FREEZING if I stopped moving around. One of the other women hiking with me had a watch w/a thermometer and it said it was 38 degrees, but did not take the wind chill into account. It definitely felt like it was in the 20's.

    It wasn't raining, but the wind was coming straight off the lake (I was about 100 yards from the shore) so I chose 2 trees that would have the wind blowing directly towards the body of my tarp. I tied my tarp up, but left it in the skins. Then I put my hammock up, slid the skins back and let my underquilt get some loft. I staked out my tarp and probably had about 1 1/2 feet from the ground to the bottom of my tarp (remember I've got a deluxe...the biggest one). Changed into more layers, put my sleeping pad and bag in my hammock.

    By this time it was about 4:30 and was only getting colder. I made some dinner and it started misting out. Couldn't start a fire w/the saturated wet wood, so at 5:27 p.m. I called it a day and went to seek refuge in my hammock. It was sprinkling, and the last temp. check from my friend was 34 degrees, but the sun was still up and again..the wind was COLD!!!

    Round 1 with the cold:

    I was wearing wool socks, mid-weight patagonia thermal top/bottom, l.s. marmot shirt, wigwam cap. I was chilled and my lower body was uncomfortably cold w/my feet feeling like ice. Got up around 7:30 p.m. to water the leaves and decided to add my micropuff vest and add my silk bag liner just around my lower body (those things are a pain to get into inside of your bag!)

    Round 2 with the cold:

    With added layers, my upper body was getting warmer, but my lower body was still a little cold. Feet still like ice, but legs a tad warmer. I have to say I was surprised a silk bag liner could make that much of a difference. I also added my balaclava and put my wigwam cap on over that. I felt like I was losing a lot of heat from my head. I ate a snickers bar and ended up falling asleep for a few hours, but woke again around 11:30 p.m., needing to pee......again. As many of you know, if you have to continuously pee throughout the night (more than normal) then it's a sign your body can't heat the urine enough, and it's telling you to get rid of it. I wasn't quite warm enough yet.

    Round 3 with the cold:

    I got up to pee and when I crawled out of my hammock, it was snowing tiny little icy flakes. When I got back to my hammock, I decided to adjust the side of my tarp that the wind was hitting, lower to the ground because I could feel the wind moving over me inside the hammock. I moved it inward and now only had about 6 inches of space between the ground and the tarp. I also put my hiking pants back on (which were dry). My last step was to go ahead and do hammock gymnastics and get my full body inside my silk bag liner, inside of my bag. NOT easy, but the process did help me build up body heat at least! So this time, with added clothing, readjusted tarp, empty bladder (again), I was finally warm. Just by adding my hiking pants, my feet totally warmed up.

    Verdict:

    It was a learning experience. I did finally get warm, but I ended up spending 14 hours in my hammock, which would have been fine if I didn't feel so constricted by my mummy bag (felt that way in my ground-dwelling days too...so it's no fault of the hammock). I don't think, however, that I would have been warm if I had unzipped it and used it as a quilt. I feel like I might need a fleece layer for my lower body in addition to my thermals. I don't trust my hiking pants will always be dry enough to wear to bed, and I had been wearing my Frogg Togg rain pants all day to block the chilling wind and light rain.

    Important Lesson Learned:

    Location...location....location....that's what Ed Speers and all the other experts say. This is so true. If I wasn't restricted to designated campsites, I would have set up my hammock back up the trail a bit where I could have had total protection from the wind. The wind is our enemy when hammocking in cold weather.

    How'd the Ground-Dwellers Compare?

    I had 2 friends with me, one in a tarptent, the other in a Big Agnes tent. One person said her feet never got warm and she was tossing and moving positions all night, the other said she had to add some layers and it took a bit to get warm enough, but she woke me up snoring in the middle of the night (from about 30 feet away!) so I think she slept ok. I think it's safe to say that I would have had the same cold-issues in my tent and I should have started off with more layers in the beginning.

    So that's that. I'd like to get out into the teens, since I'm sure I'll experience that on the AT next year. I'll post some pics tomorrow.
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  2. #2
    neo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michele View Post
    I didn't see a forum for trip reports...so sorry if this is the wrong place.

    When: This past Saturday/Sunday, Nov. 11-12

    Where: S.E. Michigan, at a state park

    What: My 2nd overnight shakedown, only this was in cold weather

    My Equipment: HH Ultralite Backpacker Asym, JRB Nest underquilt, WM 20-degree mummy bag, Wal-mart blue CCF pad cut to fit inside the hammock, MacCat Deluxe Tarp

    Saturday's Weather: Highs in the upper 30's, lite rain/drizzle, 10-15 mph winds, Lows in the low 30's/high 20's but the windchill was hell

    Sunday's Weather: Highs in the upper low 40's, tiny snow flakes from time to time, no wind

    I hiked into the campsite, 7 miles. Got there at around 3:30 p.m. It was FREEZING if I stopped moving around. One of the other women hiking with me had a watch w/a thermometer and it said it was 38 degrees, but did not take the wind chill into account. It definitely felt like it was in the 20's.

    It wasn't raining, but the wind was coming straight off the lake (I was about 100 yards from the shore) so I chose 2 trees that would have the wind blowing directly towards the body of my tarp. I tied my tarp up, but left it in the skins. Then I put my hammock up, slid the skins back and let my underquilt get some loft. I staked out my tarp and probably had about 1 1/2 feet from the ground to the bottom of my tarp (remember I've got a deluxe...the biggest one). Changed into more layers, put my sleeping pad and bag in my hammock.

    By this time it was about 4:30 and was only getting colder. I made some dinner and it started misting out. Couldn't start a fire w/the saturated wet wood, so at 5:27 p.m. I called it a day and went to seek refuge in my hammock. It was sprinkling, and the last temp. check from my friend was 34 degrees, but the sun was still up and again..the wind was COLD!!!

    Round 1 with the cold:

    I was wearing wool socks, mid-weight patagonia thermal top/bottom, l.s. marmot shirt, wigwam cap. I was chilled and my lower body was uncomfortably cold w/my feet feeling like ice. Got up around 7:30 p.m. to water the leaves and decided to add my micropuff vest and add my silk bag liner just around my lower body (those things are a pain to get into inside of your bag!)

    Round 2 with the cold:

    With added layers, my upper body was getting warmer, but my lower body was still a little cold. Feet still like ice, but legs a tad warmer. I have to say I was surprised a silk bag liner could make that much of a difference. I also added my balaclava and put my wigwam cap on over that. I felt like I was losing a lot of heat from my head. I ate a snickers bar and ended up falling asleep for a few hours, but woke again around 11:30 p.m., needing to pee......again. As many of you know, if you have to continuously pee throughout the night (more than normal) then it's a sign your body can't heat the urine enough, and it's telling you to get rid of it. I wasn't quite warm enough yet.

    Round 3 with the cold:

    I got up to pee and when I crawled out of my hammock, it was snowing tiny little icy flakes. When I got back to my hammock, I decided to adjust the side of my tarp that the wind was hitting, lower to the ground because I could feel the wind moving over me inside the hammock. I moved it inward and now only had about 6 inches of space between the ground and the tarp. I also put my hiking pants back on (which were dry). My last step was to go ahead and do hammock gymnastics and get my full body inside my silk bag liner, inside of my bag. NOT easy, but the process did help me build up body heat at least! So this time, with added clothing, readjusted tarp, empty bladder (again), I was finally warm. Just by adding my hiking pants, my feet totally warmed up.

    Verdict:

    It was a learning experience. I did finally get warm, but I ended up spending 14 hours in my hammock, which would have been fine if I didn't feel so constricted by my mummy bag (felt that way in my ground-dwelling days too...so it's no fault of the hammock). I don't think, however, that I would have been warm if I had unzipped it and used it as a quilt. I feel like I might need a fleece layer for my lower body in addition to my thermals. I don't trust my hiking pants will always be dry enough to wear to bed, and I had been wearing my Frogg Togg rain pants all day to block the chilling wind and light rain.

    Important Lesson Learned:

    Location...location....location....that's what Ed Speers and all the other experts say. This is so true. If I wasn't restricted to designated campsites, I would have set up my hammock back up the trail a bit where I could have had total protection from the wind. The wind is our enemy when hammocking in cold weather.

    How'd the Ground-Dwellers Compare?

    I had 2 friends with me, one in a tarptent, the other in a Big Agnes tent. One person said her feet never got warm and she was tossing and moving positions all night, the other said she had to add some layers and it took a bit to get warm enough, but she woke me up snoring in the middle of the night (from about 30 feet away!) so I think she slept ok. I think it's safe to say that I would have had the same cold-issues in my tent and I should have started off with more layers in the beginning.

    So that's that. I'd like to get out into the teens, since I'm sure I'll experience that on the AT next year. I'll post some pics tomorrow.
    i am really looking forward to seeing your trip pictures neo

  3. #3
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    Nice report Michele.

    Where you cold from underneath or all over? For your temp needs you may need a thicker pad at those temps. I found out something really cool. I can use my jacket as a pillow and a face/head cover. I was warm like this down to around 30 degrees without another hat or face cover.

    Oh and I'm not going to say how last Friday night in Cincy it only got down to around 50.
    Is that too much to ask? Girls with frikkin' lasers on their heads?
    The hanger formly known as "hammock engineer".

  4. #4
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Awesome report, Michele. Sounds like you're getting there. It'll only be that cold for a short time during your thru, too. When are you leaving again?

    I got some K-Mart fleece pants for $7, 100% polyester, prolly equivalent to 300wt, and they're warm but pretty bulky. So check there first if you're gonna buy some. They're not windproof so I wear my rain pants when I'm out of my bag.

    I'd REALLY like to get some baffled down pants from Feathered Friends but I don't think I have enough honey-do credit yet.
    “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

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Jeff View Post
    Awesome report, Michele. Sounds like you're getting there. It'll only be that cold for a short time during your thru, too. When are you leaving again?

    I got some K-Mart fleece pants for $7, 100% polyester, prolly equivalent to 300wt, and they're warm but pretty bulky. So check there first if you're gonna buy some. They're not windproof so I wear my rain pants when I'm out of my bag.

    I'd REALLY like to get some baffled down pants from Feathered Friends but I don't think I have enough honey-do credit yet.
    Wouldn't those compress while laying in your hammock? Man...EXPENSIVE!! I just looked them up! Better get out there and start mowing/shoveling snow/cleaning out the attic/garage AND then taking your wife out for a romatic weekend get away for those suckers!

    Oh, I'm starting my thru on March 12. I figured I'll need to be prepared for the cold stuff for about the first 6 weeks, but I don't expect it to be THAT cold every single night either. I'll also be choosing locations that have wind protection, unlike my location last Saturday.
    Last edited by Certain; 11-16-2006 at 07:22. Reason: Forgot to address Jeff's question
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammock engineer View Post
    Nice report Michele.

    Where you cold from underneath or all over? For your temp needs you may need a thicker pad at those temps. I found out something really cool. I can use my jacket as a pillow and a face/head cover. I was warm like this down to around 30 degrees without another hat or face cover.

    Oh and I'm not going to say how last Friday night in Cincy it only got down to around 50.
    I was cold all over...not just underneath (I learned what that felt like last time I was out!). I think it was originally a combination of not enough layers and my tarp being pitched to wide, so air was going up under it and over me and my bag, whisking away all of my body heat.

    If I end up getting a fleece layer for upper/lower body, I may be able to use my micropuff vest like you're describing. However, as soon as temps drop into the 50's, I have to wear a hat....I must have one empty head full of hot air, because I'd bet I lose 95% of my body heat through my head/ears.
    This is my signature.

  7. #7
    Senior Member txulrich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michele View Post
    Where: S.E. Michigan, at a state park.
    What park? I grew up in SE MI and have prolly been there!

    Quote Originally Posted by Michele View Post
    My Equipment: HH Ultralite Backpacker Asym, JRB Nest underquilt, WM 20-degree mummy bag, Wal-mart blue CCF pad cut to fit inside the hammock, MacCat Deluxe Tarp.
    Good gear. Aren't MacCats great.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michele View Post
    By this time it was about 4:30 and was only getting colder. I made some dinner and it started misting out. Couldn't start a fire w/the saturated wet wood, so at 5:27 p.m. I called it a day and went to seek refuge in my hammock. It was sprinkling, and the last temp. check from my friend was 34 degrees, but the sun was still up and again..the wind was COLD!!!.
    This is a skill you may want to spend some time on. A fire can be a real lifesaver. You can make some emergency firestarter material to help in bad conditions. Get a cardboard egg container, add a charcoal briquet and coat it in wax. Light the cardboard with a match and it'll burn long enough to dry out some small wood to get a fire going. Another thing to look for is some birch bark. There should be plenty in your corner of the world. Birch has a natural oil that is very flammable. The white portion of the bark peels off and will burn like paper. Of course, only take bark from dead and down trees. I would also add some strike anywhere matches in a waterproof container.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michele View Post
    Verdict:

    It was a learning experience. I did finally get warm, but I ended up spending 14 hours in my hammock, which would have been fine if I didn't feel so constricted by my mummy bag (felt that way in my ground-dwelling days too...so it's no fault of the hammock). I don't think, however, that I would have been warm if I had unzipped it and used it as a quilt. I feel like I might need a fleece layer for my lower body in addition to my thermals. I don't trust my hiking pants will always be dry enough to wear to bed, and I had been wearing my Frogg Togg rain pants all day to block the chilling wind and light rain.

    Important Lesson Learned:

    Location...location....location....that's what Ed Speers and all the other experts say. This is so true. If I wasn't restricted to designated campsites, I would have set up my hammock back up the trail a bit where I could have had total protection from the wind. The wind is our enemy when hammocking in cold weather.
    Great report. Keep working it as comfort for you is what works for you. We'll continue to throw ideas your way as you request them, but they have to be adaptable to your situation and available gear.
    Peace,
    Joe

  8. #8
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    Great report!

    Question: Could you have "Stelth camped" a few yards up trail to get out of the wind? Hammock engineer & I stopped up trail in a state park Fri & Sat at "the perfect site" (left no signs we had been there naturally) without incident. The campsites at our state park, , , , , suck. They are the chosen party sites, no water, etc. Even had we stayed at one, we would likely had camped away from the "designated" area.

    We chose the site for asthetics not wind protection, but that protection was a quick walk away. As it turned out, we chose wisely anyway.


    Doctari.

  9. #9
    Senior Member headchange4u's Avatar
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    Great report. You'll be a pro at this hammock thing in no time

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctari View Post
    Great report!

    Question: Could you have "Stelth camped" a few yards up trail to get out of the wind? Hammock engineer & I stopped up trail in a state park Fri & Sat at "the perfect site" (left no signs we had been there naturally) without incident. The campsites at our state park, , , , , suck. They are the chosen party sites, no water, etc. Even had we stayed at one, we would likely had camped away from the "designated" area.

    We chose the site for asthetics not wind protection, but that protection was a quick walk away. As it turned out, we chose wisely anyway.


    Doctari.
    Well funny you should ask that question....I think I'm going out again next week for 2 nights and plan to do just that. I've been out there enough to know that no ranger ever comes out to check on who is there or isn't there. I'm definitely going to find a good location versus the designated spot. Right there on the shore of the lake is just crazy with the wind. If I go again....I'll let you know what happened.
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