In north woods, we don't let a little thing like winter get in the way of camping enjoyment. We just adapt, gear up and conquer.
Hammock camping is the rage right now for a lot of good reasons. A quick search of "hammock" on the Bass Pro Shops or Cabela's websites will amaze you in how much gear is out there for year round hammock enjoyment.
Yes -- YEAR ROUND! There's no reason to put away the hammock because temperatures are chilly or there's snow on the ground. In fact, you can comfortably sleep in a hammock at 0 degrees or colder without any problems. Camping in a hammock in the winter means you don't have to hassle with digging out a site for your tent or trying to get stakes into frozen ground.
Here are 6 Tips to Enjoy Hammock Camping no Matter How Cold it Gets
1. The same hammock you use all summer will work just fine, but you must have an insulated under blanket or pad for winter hammocking. Check out the Klymit Hammock V Air Pad. It perfectly fits a standard-size hammock and its body-mapped V-shaped design offers support and comfort. These deep ridges in the pad create lots of dead air space once you and your sleeping bag are on it and that equals great insulation.
2. Almost as important for comfort as the insulating pad is a good hammock camping pillow like the Klymit Cush Seat/Pillow. Our advice, go big. You can always adjust and move it as necessary, but with a tiny little pillow, you've got nothing to work with.
3. You'll generally want a sleeping bag rated for colder temps like the Cabela's Instinct Scout 0°F Mummy Sleeping Bag or perhaps super cold weather the Ascend Whammy -20º Mummy Sleeping Bag. These sleeping bags are different than you would use for sleeping on a cot or even a ground pad. Look for a model with baffles designed to prevent the fill from shifting and clumping. You want nice, even insulation all the way around your body all night long.
4. Just as in cold weather tent camping, don't wear anything to bed that's wet. It may seem like the wrong thing to do, but you're best off stripping down to a single layer of Merino wool long johns and Merino wool socks before you climb in. Keep a face mask like Carhartt Face Mask handy. Always use cold weather base layers with a good sleeping bag in the winter, you'll be toasty warm all night long.
5. Snuggled up in your bag, the only areas that will be exposed directly to the cold air will be your head and face. Few items do more to promote overall warmth than a Merino wool stocking cap worn to sleep. In extreme conditions, add a facemask.
6. Once you get into your sleeping bag and hammock, you aren't going to want to get out until morning. The key is a *** bottle or portable urinal. There are lots of convenient, sanitary options for portable urination devices for men like the Little John Portable Urinal. For women, the GoGirl Feminine Urination Device makes camping and the outdoors easier to go when a clean restroom is not an option. You may consider it "gross" at first, but once you've used one in the hammock on a single-digit night under the stars you will consider it the NUMBER ONE hammock camping accessory.