5 Ways to Stay Warm While Winter Hammock Camping

As warm temperatures fade like the autumn leaves, so do thoughts of your next hammock camping trip. But while saying goodbye to summer is inevitable, saying goodbye to hammock camping isn’t. Say hello to winter hammock camping.

After all, camping in colder temperatures does have its advantages. You’ll encounter fewer people, making your excursion more peaceful, and you won’t have to worry about snakes or bears. Additionally, you’ll see nature in its winter coat, which is quite beautiful, while hanging in a hammock.

So here are 5 ways to stay warm while winter hammock camping, or anytime you want to stay snug as a bug sleeping in a hammock.

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ENO House Fly Rain Tarp shown with ENO Blaze Underquilt

1. Put a tarp up

On the perfect summer night, a cool, calm breeze is blissful. In freezing temperatures, any wind is downright dreadful. To block the evil forces of wind chill, you need a tarp and one that stretches from your hammock ridge line to as close to the ground as possible. The ENO HouseFly or the Grand Trunk All Purpose Rainfly are both excellent hammock tarp options.

But, if those feel too pricey, a tarp from a hardware store can do the trick. Make sure it’s big enough, windproof, waterproof and has plenty of guy line points.

2. Use a sleeping pad

I know what you’re thinking: why use a sleeping pad in a hammock? Yes, hammocks are so comfortable that you don’t need a camping pad but, there’s no denying what the insulating factors of camping pads do to keep your buns toasty.

After setting up your hammock, put your pad inside. If you’re using an inflatable pad, consider not filling it all the way so you can still enjoy the contouring effects of your hammock.

Opt for pads with higher R-values. The Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite and Xtherm are good bets as is the ENO AirLoft, the first ever hammock-specific mattress.

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bradysleepsystem
Brady’s hammock setup for warmth. He used a Therm-a-rest sleeping pad & regular sleeping bag.

 

3. Add an underquilt

An underquilt is like a sleeping bag for your hammock because it wraps around the outside of your hammock to create an insulating layer. The increased popularity of 4-season hammock camping has brought about many options when it comes to buying a hammock underquilt.

If you’re a DIYer and have an old sleeping bag lying around, there are lots of ways to make a hammock underquilt, including this one that requires no sewing.

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ENO Blaze underquilt & Ignitor top quilt shown

 

4. Bring a top quilt

Obviously, no camping trip is complete without a sleeping bag; however, sleeping bags can be challenging to get in and out of while turning in for the night in a hammock. Get a top quilt to make things easier. As an added bonus, you can drape the quilt around you when you’re making breakfast or lounging around the campfire.

As for hammock top quilts, ENO makes two great options: the Spark and the Ignitor.

5. Make a baby

Hey, get your head out of the gutter! I’m talking about a Nalgene baby. This is one of the oldest and greatest camping hacks of all time and perfect for cold weather hammocking.

All you do is fill a water bottle (one that can withstand heat, preferably a Nalgene) with boiling water. Then, after securing the lid tightly closed (very important), put it in your hammock with you. You’ll have a nice little heater that’ll keep you warm for hours.

Things to consider while winter hammock camping

Before camping in colder temperatures, make sure you have what it takes—both the gear and mental toughness. Because of the increased risk of hypothermia, hammock camping in cold weather can be more dangerous. There’s also no shame in turning back. If the temperature drops below what you anticipated or you encounter a nasty storm, it’s ok to head back to civilization.

But, if you plan everything out properly, you’ll take your camping experiences to the next level while staying warm and toasty in your hammock.

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Check out some other great resources on the web for winter camping, winter hammock camping, and hammock camping in cold weather.

What other ways do you stay warm while sleeping in a hammock in winter? Share your knowledge in the comments.

Written by John Krause


John Krause is a writer who has spent countless hours camping and hiking around the deserts, canyons, and forests in the Southwest. He has received awards for his writing including a Grand Award from APEX and a Platinum award from MarCom. John currently lives in Austin, TX where you can find him rock climbing and spending time with his family.

If you have something you are passionate about, you can write for us too. Check out our guest blogger section here.

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