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