How Do You Insulate a Hammock? 8 Tips to Keep Warm

Camping is a fun outdoor activity that I would want to keep up with despite the cold temperatures. Most people will abandon the hammocks for a nice warm tent or rather just toss the hammocks in boxes and wait for the sun. You can avoid all these by just insulating your hammock.

It is always a challenge to keep warm when the outside temperatures drop. Campers using hammocks will have to gear up to avoid a situation referred to as ‘ice butt’. This is where when sleeping in a hammock, there are parts pressed on the fabric thus getting cold because of the wind.

Here are 8 solid tips to help you keep warm in your hammock;

  1. Choosing The Right Spot for Your Hammock

This is the first step when trying to set up your hammock. The main objective is to deal with the wind, which is your worst enemy. Look for wind barriers like hills, mountains and take advantage of them. Imagine there are no costs for using natural windbreaks.

Instead of putting yourself in the open, look for areas that are clustered with a lot of trees. In addition to wind-breaking, you have plenty of support for your hammock. A tarp can be placed between two trees to provide another layer of protection.

  1. Use Hammock Under quilts

Under quilts are insulated blankets that are hung from the longer hammock ends then stringing underneath the hammock. They protect the sides of the hammock, butt, and back from heat loss. You will find them in different temperature ratings for you to choose from.

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The blankets are quite expensive, but are preferred because they are easily compressible into a bag and lightweight. There are also many lengths to choose from, but I would prefer full-length quilts. Others would take the ¾ length quilts that do not cover the legs and calves. I would say it depends on personal preferences in this case.

  1. Using a Sleeping Pad

This is an alternative to the under quilt, the difference being that the sleeping pad is placed inside the hammock. There are either inflatable pads or standard foam pads that you choose from. However, often sleeping pads can slip or slide out if you move around while taking your nap.

The solution is looking for hammocks that have inner compartments holding the foam or air preventing it from shifting. Also, you can go for hammock-specific sleeping pads which have side sections and can easily fold to fit the shape of the hammock. They also have materials that help reflect the body heat and keep warm. 

  1. Layering Your Clothes

Warm clothing will help increase the warmth and comfort of your hammock. Having layers of clothes aid in regulating body temperatures keeping you from getting too cold or too hot. Over time you will learn to add or remove clothes without even leaving the hammock comforts. 

The extra clothing is recommended to be always available in your hammock to avoid inconveniences of getting out. This may sound obvious but always remember to scrape off the snow before getting into the hammock. It will go a long way to make a difference in maintaining your hammock warm and dry. 

image credit: instructables
  1. Go Mummy Mode
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Blankets may not be as effective as you may have expected. So, be sure to bring a warm and mummy-style sleeping bag especially rated 15⁰F or less. Place the bag inside the hammock, enter the bag and then clinch to close it at the head leaving space for breathing.

Note you should keep boot liners and clothes in the sleeping bag to keep it warm. They will take up the dead air spaces and am sure you will be thankful in the morning after a warm night. 

  1. Using a Pillow Protector

Yes, your body and head will be wrapped in the warm mummy bag, but bringing a pillow will do no harm. First of all, you will get comfier as your head gets support. You will increase the body warmth by the pillow acting as an insulator between the nylon hammock and your head.

  1. Top Insulation of the Hammock

Most campers would opt for a quilt over a sleeping bag as it takes up much less space. This is not a disadvantage for sleeping bags, but quilts are less frustrating to use in confined spaces. You can use quilts to cover the top of your hammocks thus helping to retain the body heat.

You can also rig a tarp above the hammock which will help block rain, wind, and snow and most importantly trap heat. Make sure you tap as low as possible to a spot that is just a few inches above the hammock straps. The corners of the tarp should be pulled to the ground to secure them. 

  1. What About Boiling Your Way to Warmth?
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This is a trick that has been used for ages now by hammock campers. Boil some water and pour it into a Nalgene bottle or any other insulated bottle. You can then place the bottle on your feet as you go to sleep.

Am sure everyone would be happy with this. It will help warm your entire body through the night from your feet. You must have to avoid burning yourself by placing too hot water.

Conclusion

I hope I have given you enough motivation to go back camping in your abandoned hammock. Yes, it is quite easy to camp during the warm weather, but things get complicated during the cold weather. All you have to do is follow the above super tips and you are ready to go.