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  1. #1
    Jsaults's Avatar
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    How to be cold in a hammock. On purpose.

    Here is a list of "worst case scenarios", all of which I experienced yesterday. Consider this a list of what not to do if you want to stay warm while hanging in sub-freezing temps.

    1. Made a spur of the moment decision to do a short test hang in the local state forest to see how warm a 3-season Hammock Gear Burrow and a 3-season 3/4 length Hammock Gear Crow's Nest might feel. No real planning (spur of the moment, hereafter referred to a SOTM) so I just threw stuff into my pack and headed out. I wanted to see what the gear felt like in conditions that were near the lower limit of the rated temps for three season.

    2. Didn't eat lunch (SOTM) , so the furnace was empty.

    3. Have not received my WB SuperFly yet, so I decided to forego setting up the CJH's summer-type tarp. Temperature was about 24 degF, light snow starting to fall with light wind.

    4. I had previously cut pieces of Reflectix to fit the CJH's six pockets, but didn't want to take the time to fold and pack them (SOTM).

    5. Hiked in about 1/2 mile and had the CJH NX-250 set up with UQ and TQ within 20 minutes. Location was in a mixed grove of hardwoods and Hemlocks but in a fairly narrow stream-cut hollow. I crawled in wearing my hiking socks (liners +raggs), TNF thick fleece tights (w/o light longies), and a light poly zip-tee shirt. And a fleece balaclava. The shirt was very slightly damp from the hike in.

    6. With no good winter tarp the wind was causing the CJH's Weather Shield to "pump" with each light gust, causing the atmosphere inside the hammock to cool noticeably. I would hear the wind in the treetops, then feel the hammock shudder, followed by a perceptable drop in warmth.

    As you might guess, I lasted only about an hour before calling it quits. After the initial warming of my insulation systems I could feel myself becoming colder and colder with each gust of wind.

    Classic case of doing everything wrong you say? Well, yes, but I did this on purpose. Most of the time I over-prepare and over-pack. That makes it easy to be warm and comfortable. This little exercise was a great opportunity to see what the limits were for gear basically rated at 20 degF.

    If I had taken the time to add extra (dry) layers of clothing (SOTM), if I had used additional insulation underneath (Reflectix in the pockets), if I had eaten a proper lunch and had snacked and if I had been protected by a good winter tarp I really believe that I would have been comfy.

    "Aha!" you say. No insulation for my feet with a 3/4 UQ. But you know, my tootsies felt pretty warm. But I have plans for that in the future as well.

    All in all, a successful test IMO. Of course, I changed a bunch of parameters all at once, but I had the luxury of making myself miserable a short distance from my vehicle with little or no chance of hypothermia.

    Jim
    Man, that hot shower felt great. So did the "footwarmer feline" who plopped down on my feet when I crawled into bed.

  2. #2
    Senior Member easyriver's Avatar
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    I see a "What To Do" in there as well. Don't go in so far that you can't get out easily!

  3. #3
    OutandBack's Avatar
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    Excellent report. Lots of good info in there.

    The wind... The wind... that darn wind...
    Man how that changes everything. mfg temp rating just go out the door.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Slo's Avatar
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    make a great point though. I find that temp ratings are like ranges on walkies.. They say they're good for up to 32 miles, but theydon't say that that's in perfect conditions, on the ocean with no obstruction in ideal atmospheric conditions. For most of us, they work about a mile or two.

    Temp ratings on bags are like this. Example I went on a wilderness camp for a week. Temps got right around freezing at night, probably mid thirties. Enough to frost the grass but not freeze the water. I had brought 2 bags to use in my hammock that are both 0degree bags. Ones Marmot and ones Gander Mtn. both synthetic. My brother brought everything but the kitchen sink but forgot his bag of all things so he used my Gander Mtn and I used the Marmot. We were sleeping inside a tent on sleeping pads as well. All that being said, we froze. Keeping the fire going all night was a necessity because once it would go out, it wasn't long beore we'd wake up from cold, get it going again then get back to sleep.

    Here it is,30 odd degrees with 0degree bags on sleeping pads and aren't staying very warm at all. I've found using common sense over bag ratings help greatly in getting the performance out of your gear you'd like. But great test to show these unfortunate facts of life, that 20 degree rated equipment (and ratings are rated for comfort not survivability) maynot keep you comfortable inmid 20's without using some of your own personal know how and the right tweaks and what not here and there.

    Thanks forthe post, sorry for the rant
    Last edited by Slo; 01-09-2011 at 17:09.
    "I ain't here for a long time, I'm here for a good time"

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  5. #5
    Doctari's Avatar
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    It's good to know what your limits are. Now you know what that particular set up can & can not do & you can go from there.

    Thanks for the report!

    I now "Know" what my "3 season" set up will do (29 degrees, no wind) & the minimum below that where I am starting to get in trouble (27 degrees, no wind) both tests were in a safe environment, my back yard
    MY test was with a tarp, but I did not close the doors, I do know closing the doors adds an easy 5 degrees, so the above is MY limit, but with a margin of safety of 5 degrees Just in case, & add a hot water bottle for another 5 degrees or more.
    When you have a backpack on, no matter where you are, you’re home.
    PAIN is INEVITABLE. MISERY is OPTIONAL.

  6. #6
    Tumbleweed's Avatar
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    Great to read your report and know that others explore limits as well. Sometime I "forget" an item on purpose, just to see the effects. Biggest lessons= set tarp lower and keep your feathers near by. Lots of stuff is just "nice to have, but not essential". Get out of the wind and use body "fuel" to get you thru the deep quiet cold times.

  7. #7
    Senior Member TinaLouise's Avatar
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    something else to remember is that what one person is comfortable at, another may be to hot or worse, to cold (same gear, same cercumstances). Jsaults has done his homework and figured out what temps he can use his gear at. Very nice testing. Something else you can try would be to have extra gear with you and after finding that what you're doing is not working... then try adding your "extra's". It would give you an idea of how much or how little you may need to do to change your "failed" trip into a great (or at least into a liveable one) if you couldn't bail out.

    TinaLouise

  8. #8
    in it for the naps oldgringo's Avatar
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    Brinksmanship is not my cup of tea...nothing succedes like excess.
    Dave

    http://www.uark.edu/misc/xtimber/rna/pattonsbluff.html

    It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.
    John Steinbeck

  9. #9
    Jsaults's Avatar
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    Tina Louise and Old Gringo:

    Tina, I ALMOST packed the Reflectix for the CJH pockets, but there I was, standing in the wind & snow-whipped parking lot thinking "Do I really want to spend another five minutes freezing while I fold and pack this stuff?" Another SOTM decision. Could have made a big difference.

    And Old Gringo: Bring on the brinkmanship! I live on the edge! Thrill a minute! No risk too big to take! (Especially when I can walk out to the car easily.)

    Jim

  10. #10
    Senior Member millarky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldgringo View Post
    Brinksmanship is not my cup of tea...nothing succedes like excess.
    Whew! Had to look that one up. Too early-need more coffee but thanks for the morning education OG
    The gene pool needs a life guard.

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