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  1. #1

    Newbie's questions on winter hammocking

    First post, so please be gentle. I'm a Finnish hiker interested in lightening the load and trying out new things to add to my camping experiences. I do some of my own gear, so sewing is no problem. I've sewn tarps, stuffsacks and backpacks.

    Now my first camping hammock is in the mail, and I'm contemplating on using it on several of my trips, including the upcoming winter. The Finnish winter temps can drop to -30C (-22F), so good insulation is a priority. I've been previously camping on the ground with a combination of two 3-season sleeping bags on top of each other, a CCF pad and a tarp.

    So, a load of questions for you experienced winter hammockers out there...

    The hammock I will be using is the "Tenth Wonder Black Compact Camping/Bushcraft Hammock", with a 3x3m (10 ft) square tarp.

    The goal? To make the my winter sleeping more comfy and to have less digging in the snow. I think I have two options:

    1: Use the pads and sleeping bags I've used before in the hammock and deal with the negative effects. What are my worst scenarios here? Crimping on the shoulders? I can make winged CCF pads myself, would this be enough?

    2: Make an underquilt. My budget for this is near zero, so I can't buy one. I recently acquired an old 4-season down bag for $8. It has been molested - the hood has been cut off and there is no string to tighten the top. If I modify it to an underquilt, what should I take into consideration? Should I keep the footbox intact and just make a hole in it and take the hammock straps through there? Would there be anything to gain by doing this, or should I just cut the whole footbox off?
    How about attaching the quilt to the hammock - how can I minimize the the amount of airspace between the quilt and the hammock? I've been thinking about setting up cords on the edges of the quilt and pulling them tight, so the quilt would rise up to the hammock. Would this work?

    What other ideas do you have on my upcoming setup? Is it realistic to even try to have this work in the winter?

    Lots of questions, because of zero experience in hammocking.

    Thanks in advance for all the answers!

    Edit: Typos
    Last edited by invicta; 07-12-2011 at 05:55.

  2. #2
    Burning at both ends Dblcorona's Avatar
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    Well welcome aboard. I don't have experience at that low of a temp, but something I would look at is something like a Speer Peapod. This is something you could do with modifications to sleeping bags. Or with a large sleeping bag around you and one inside.
    "We don't stop hiking because we grow old,
    we grow old because we stop hiking."

    -- Finis Mitchell,

  3. #3
    Whoooo Buddy)))) Shug's Avatar
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    It is doable....I live in Minnesota and our temperatures are similar to Finland.
    Here are some videos I did in -17F.
    Shug

    Whoooo Buddy)))) I Love Onions, Grits, Greens, Livermush, NC Style BBQ, Potted Meat, Anchovies, 'Naner Puddin", Peanut Butter Pie, Red Velvet Cake and Cocoa and Straaaaaawwwwberrrry Milk and Coffee Crisps....
    I Hope Heaven has a Bakery!!!!



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  4. #4
    New Member Dogstar's Avatar
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    As someone who likes to gear up on a budget I'm using a sleeping bag conversion as a UQ/pod. I would advise keeping the footbox on since a footbox can be a wonderful thing to push your feet down into. It also means that (depending on your sleeping bag) you can zip it right up, pod style.

    I've got a very unsophisticated system whereby I've whipped some para cord to the corners of the material on the head end and I just run those up my suspension and tie them off where I want them. I might add an s-biner on there for ease of use.

    The tail end is just a small hole I made in the footbox, as you suggested. The position of this hole dictates, to some degree, how much hang that end of the quilt has; so that's something to consider. You might like to sew a channel at either end to gather the material up and eliminate gaps.

    I'm sure there are much better bag-to-pod conversions out there but it does the job for me until I can afford a nice 900+fill winter quilt.

    Edit: I particularly think dblcorona's suggestion of using a bag-inside-bag setup, I bet that would keep you toasty-the-mosty.

  5. #5
    turnerminator's Avatar
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    Foam pads will keep you warm down to just as low temps as an UQ but the problem is the tree trunk sized roll of mats you'll need and they have to be laid side by side which takes some fighting with them and careful placement to avoid slippage. I used 5 summer mats with Aluminised Mylar for the coldest weather and to be honest, couldn't feel any cold through them at all.

    I've been down to around -15C with foam mates quite comfortably, I wouldn't go back to them though, UQ's are soooo much nicer-well worth the time and effort to make.

    If you have a breathable hammock, foam mats can augment the UQ to boost the insulation and also act as a vapour barrier to the UQ too-something you will need at very low temps.

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