Ever wondered if it is actually possible to stay warm in a hammock during cold weather? It may come as a surprise to you, but hammocks are generally becoming more popular among campers. If not for anything, it is an absolute lightweight and is easy to carry around. Despite the challenges posed by swinging mid-air, surrounded by the elements, using a hammock is a great way to spend the night outdoors, even in cold weather.
As you should know, hammocks don’t lie on the ground like tents, so you have one thing less to worry about: snow. Hammocks are designed to be hung out in the open, exposed to the elements, which otherwise may be limited when you’re using a tent. Nevertheless, you can overcome the fear of turning into an icicle when you spend the night sleeping on a hammock out in the cold. This you can do when you adequately prepare yourself and get every necessary gear to make your night as comfortable as possible. Here’s what you can do.
Ways To Stay Warm in A Hammock
Set Up Your Hammock Strategically
It is very important that you consider the weather and your surroundings when setting up your hammock. You don’t want to be caught up in between a valley (valleys trap cold) or get set up in the direction of the wind. You would be wise to set up your hammock in a spot near a natural windbreaker (boulders, hills, a patch of trees), and somewhere not so high up in altitude. Consider mid-level areas (hilltops have fierce winds).
Also importantly, you may need a tarp/rain fly to protect yourself against precipitation. In the event you don’t have a tarp, you can use tree shades for cover. You definitely have to be wary of old dead trees as your anchor. Avoid setting up in slopy areas where accidents can easily occur. Set up far from bodies of cold water because you may expose yourself to hypothermia.
Sleeping Bags, Sleeping Pods, and Under Quilts
If you cannot afford expensive gears, a sleeping bag may provide just enough warmth to carry you for the night if set up properly. A sleeping bag made from synthetic material will provide more insulation than the one made from down materials. Sleeping bags may not provide all the warmth you need as they can get easily compressed (except you’re using a self-inflating sleeping bag), hence an under quilt is a better option for insulation.
Under quilts generally hang below the hammock and can be adjusted at will. Under quilts help block wind from beneath and help trap your body heat to provide insulation. Another great advantage of under quilts is that they don’t get compressed like your sleeping bag. Under quilts are very comfortable (they move with your hammock) and are lightweight, eventually taking up less space than a sleeping bag. Under quilts come in various sizes, but I personally prefer the full-length quilt.
Dress For The Weather
You definitely want to be properly dressed up for sleeping out in the cold. And as much as a sleeping bag or under quilt will provide needed warmth, you don’t want to be up in the cold scarcely dressed. One important way to be comfortable sleeping in a hammock and increase your chances of staying warm is to dress in warm clothing.
You should sleep in clean dry clothes to increase your chances of staying warm. Always change into a new set of clothes after your day activity. Layer up as much as you can. From a clean pair of socks to warm hand gloves, warm boots, balaclava, or hats, adding extra layers of clothing is definitely to your advantage.
If you can, avoid cotton fabrics. Go for woolen or synthetic fabrics. Thermal underwear would be a great addition. Cover up your ends, you get cold faster through your head and feet. Make sure to properly cover them well at night, and more rightly so, ensure you have ample room to breathe fresh air.
Eat And Drink
You already know how important food is to the human body. Without food, your body cannot function properly. Make sure there is no scarcity of warm food and beverages. Try to avoid high carb meals. Instead, opt for protein-rich meals and fatty foods- they take longer to burn, and the longer they take to get burned, the more heat your body produces. You could also add a little ginger to your snack bites as they not only warm you up but also boost your immune system.
Stay properly hydrated always. Your body requires water to function properly. Take frequent drinks, even when you don’t feel thirsty. This will work better to fight the cold if you stay away from cold water.
As an extra activity, you can take long walks down the loo, or a brisk run just before you settle for the night. Pushups would also be a great idea. This helps keep you jazzed up and gets your body worked.
As an important warning, do not make fire directly under your hanging hammock as an attempt to get warmed up. Hammocks are made of flammable material. If there’s ever the need to light up a fire, make sure it is done at an appropriate distance from your hammock or any other object that could easily go up in flames, but also strategically close enough to provide you with warmth.
You can also include a pillow in your sleeping gear. If you can, get yourself a fluffy soft pillow to provide extra warmth for your head and a little comfort. Sleeping pads eliminates the problem of compressed sleeping bags and in the process, adds a layer of comfort between you and the hammock to increase your warmth. In extremely cold situations, doubling up on the sleeping pads could be of great advantage.
If you want to enjoy a night out in the open using a hammock, you don’t have to worry about the elements. With the tips we’ve given, you can have fun under the heavens and not freeze while at it.