The summer months are long behind us but it doesn't mean you need to put your hammock away. While it may sound crazy, cold weather hammock camping is a thing and it's actually quite exhilarating!
You haven't been hammock camping until you've been hammock camping in the winter. Truly a gem that can only be experienced in person, cold-weather camping is incredibly sublime, something out of Henry David Thoreau's Walden.
However, we cannot undermine its nature. This is a cold that is inescapable until you find yourself back indoors. Cold weather camping or hammock camping is not for the ill-prepared or inexperienced.
So before you get ahead of yourself and end up an icicle, it's in your best interest to be prepared for, well, the cold. That said, we created today's article to list out some things you need to know when cold weather hammock camping.
Some Cold Weather Hammock Camping Tips
To address your first question, yes, you can go hammock camping in the winter. In fact, hammocks are best suited for cold-weather camping in comparison to tents as you're up and away from the ground. This keeps you away from the snow, allowing you to retain your warmth whilst tucked away in your hammock.
However, your hammock is not enough to withstand the cold. If you want a successful go at cold-weather hammock camping, you need to first research your desired location and be in the know of any and all safety measures.
Scouting out the best location to pitch your hammock is just like any other camping trip, yet this time around you need to factor in the cold weather. We're not being dramatic here, remember that heat rises.
The lower you are in terrain, the temperature will reflect this. Therefore, it's in your best interest to pitch your hammock in an area that is midway up a hill, valley, or mountainside.
Also, do not forget about the wind. That's a rookie mistake and one you should not be willing to make due to just how cold it can get during the winter months. That said, look for a spot with a natural barrier, or a spot that can allow you to build your own barrier if needed.
If you could take away only one thing we mentioned so far, take away this: heat rises and the wind is not your friend while winter camping.
Leading right into our next point—safety precautions, another factor you must take into consideration if you do decide to go winter camping.
We cannot stress how important it is to be mindful of the cautions to take when camping during the winter months. Not only does choosing the right location keep you from being cold, especially upon nightfall, but it also helps to prevent any potential accidents or tragedies from occurring.
Look out for any branches or trees that have the potential of falling, especially due to a high wind current. Moreover, it is ideal for you to avoid any areas that have the potential for morning dew. Because you're camping overnight, during the winter months, morning dew can cause hypothermia.
Check the Forecast Beforehand
This one may seem like a no-brainer but we can't go without stating the obvious. In the effort to further stress precaution, be sure to check the forecast before you decide to go about your cold-weather hammock camping trip.
Hypothermia isn't to be disregarded or discounted. It's classified as a medical emergency and therefore should be something to do take into consideration in terms of preparing yourself with the appropriate gear for cold weather hammock camping as well as the weather.
Do the obvious and check the forecast and your gear before embarking on your overnight hammock camping trip. Also, if the weather isn't agreeable on the day of your trip, do the obvious again and rain-check for another day.
Cold Weather Hammock Camping Gear Must-Haves
Okay, so finally, the "exciting" part: gear!
Obviously, cold weather hammock camping gear differs slightly from traditional hammock camping gear. So what exactly does one need to bring to avoid, you know, possibly waking up an icicle come sunrise?
If you plan on going cold-weather hammock camping, don't even consider pitching your hammock before purchasing the following equipment.
Ah, yes, a sleeping bag. You know you have one of these lying around. Well, go ahead and add it to your gear list. This cannot be overlooked when doing cold-weather hammock camping.
Sleeping bags function as insulation between your clothing and hammock. It is an absolute must for your hammock camping gear.
Therefore, be sure to invest in a sleeping bag that can actually withstand the cold winter weather. Look at customer reviews if you're going to purchase a new sleeping bag for this particular occasion.
Many find that the mummy-style sleeping bag is the best for the cold weather as it conforms to the shape of your body, retaining your body's heat in the process.
Just like the sleeping bag, the underquilt is an absolute must for any hammock camping in the cold weather. What makes an underquilt so important when you have a sleeping bag?
If a sleeping bag functions as the insulation between your clothing the hammock, the underquilt functions as extra insurance for more insulation from the outdoor elements.
Under quilts are fitted directly underneath the hammock, ensuring that you have an extra layer of protection from the outdoor elements when cold weather hammock camping. Be sure to have your underquilt fitted snugly underneath your hammock.
The snugger, the better insulation, and protection from the cold, wind, and overall exposure.
Perhaps this one is a bit of a bonus, however, we couldn't not mention a top quilt. Just like an underquilt, a top quilt serves to provide insulation and protection from the cold as well as the elements.
This one you can go without, but if you would like and are searching for some additional means of insulation, consider purchasing a top quilt for your upcoming cold weather hammock camping trip.
Oh yes, a tarp! A bonus but not really a bonus. Maybe you can go without a tarp; however, you'll know the difference if you do a trip both with and without one.
A tarp: the ultimate form of assurance for nature's "in case of emergencies" moments that we can never truly predict. Don't get "got" by nature and her silly mishaps and unpredictability, especially in the cold weather.
We all know about the worst-case scenarios and a tarp is to help you be prepared given a worst-case scenario.
They function as a means to keep you dry if the snow or rain decides to fall. They are a barrier against the wind (let's not forget about winter wind currents). They also provide additional protection from debris, ice, critters, and so on.
Again as we said, tarps are additional insurance—insurance worth having when weather hammock camping.
If you do decide to skip out on a tarp, be sure to double-check the water and/or weather resistance for each of the above-mentioned gear. Being wet and cold while cold weather hammock camping will definitely pose safety concerns and could increase the risk of frostbite as well as hypothermia.
Pro Tip: Invest Smart, Choose Agility
Everything mentioned on this list can be found online or by visiting us, Grand Trunk. Specifically, we have a 360° ThermaQuilt 3-in-1 Hammock, covering your gear needs for an underquilt, blanket, and sleeping bag.
Simply wrap it around your hammock and you're good to go! Our TheramQuilt is water-resistant, with a cord tunnel cinch lock to keep out the cold, keeping you nice, dry, and warm for temperatures as low as 40 degrees.
All you need is a top quilt if you decide on those supplemental items and for sure a tarp (and we have you covered for that as well!).
Grand Trunk, Your Go-to for The Outdoors
We at Grank Trunk specialize in all things hammocks and provide outdoor enthusiasts like yourself with the proper gear, equipment, and hammocks for your adventure needs.
If you're unsure about the products, feel free to contact us, view our FAQs, or refer to the reviews down on each product's page, our customers are always vocal.
Do yourself a favor and prep right for your upcoming hammock camping trip. Your money will go a long way when you decide to invest in the best.