If you have ever slept a night in a hammock then you know that it can be very cold. You may have the most expensive sleeping bag, but in a hammock your weight compresses the insulation leaving your underside exposed to the cold air. After many cold nights I decided to find a way to stay warm. There are two primary ways to say warm and many many variations of these two methods.
NUMBER 1 UNDERQUILT
An underquilt is simply a “quilt” of insulation that is hung on the underside of your hammock. When you lay in it you will not compress the insulation, keeping your underside warm. From there, you can get in your sleeping bag which will keep your top warm leading to a good night’s sleep. Underquilts are the very warmest way to sleep in a hammock but can be quite expensive. This can be solved with just a sleeping bag if you have one with the right design.
The sleeping bag must have two zippers so that you can unzip it from the bottom, and it works best if your sleeping bag is not a square. Now this is where it gets tricky. You need to test if the footbox (the part of the sleeping bag where the zipper ends to the end of the bag) is small enough and the actual length of zipper is long enough to create what is known as a pod. To do this, lay down on top of the sleeping bag, but do not put you feet past where the zippers end. If the sleeping bag still fits you even without using its full length, then it will work for what is called a pod. First unzip the bottom zipper so that there is a hole, then slide your hammock through the front of the sleeping bag and out that hole. Then your sleeping bag will be completely covering your hammock. This will not be as warm as a normal underquilt because there will be some air pockets, but it will still be warm. The underquilt that I have is also designed to be a pod which is quite warm. You can tell a difference between using the sleeping bag as a pod and using the one that is actually made for it.
NUMBER 2 SLEEPING MAT
This is a method that most people will have no trouble finding the resources for. All you need is any kind of sleeping mat that you would use for any other kind of camping. This can be set in your hammock on an angle. (Always sleep in a hammock on an angle, so you lay flat instead of like a banana.) Then you can put your sleeping bag on top.
There are many more ways to stay warm in a hammock, so get out there and try some yourself to see what your preferences are. If you are truly intrested in hammock camping, this man covers just about everything in a twelve part series. He is a little bit crazy, but you are sure to be educated and entertained!