View Full Version : Hammock Trouble!

2005-08-11, 10:12
Hey All!

I just got back from my first hiking trip with my HH Expedition A-sym. Some friends and I hiked in the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming near where we live. Absolutely beautiful scenery with some of the coolest fishing I have ever done! We were out for 6 days, 2 of which were at tree line (around 10,000 feet). Temperatures were average for the mountains in August – pretty hot during the day with the sun out, and just above freezing at night (I think maybe temps were in the 40’s).

While much of the trip was great, the overall experience was nearly ruined by my hammock. When I called Hennessy this winter, as well as researching hammock camping on the web, I was given a ton of information about staying warm and knew it could be a problem. After much deliberation, I decided to get Hennessy’s Super Shelter system - which is a silnylon undercover and an open cell foam pad you place between the hammock and undercover. The Super Shelter System in combination with a 25 degree down sleeping bag, I was assured, would keep me warm in the temps I had described. Well it sure didn’t for me. I never slept more than an hour or so at a time before waking up with a frozen butt, back, and/or sides. I would get up, move around to warm up, try in vain to adjust some of the insulation between the hammock and undercover, and try again. It was totally miserable! I tried putting spare clothing between the undercover and hammock – piling it up until it was a good 3 inches thick, and it did help a lot…but I could still feel heat escaping through the sides of the hammock. I tried to pile clothing on the sides, but it would shift if I moved even a little, and the problem would reoccur. It was really weird…I was warm and toasty on top, but cold underneath. My friends sleeping on the ground, with a pad, were warm using the same sleeping bag I have (a Kelty Light Year). I guess I am a cold sleeper, but I have never struggled like this before in all the years of backpacking I have done.

Now let me say this as well. When napping in the hammock during the day, when it was warm out, I was so comfortable I could hardly believe it. Better than my bed at home! I really like this hammock and want to keep using it, but the nights are like some sort of temperature torture device used in the Middle Ages and I MUST find a solution. I could really use some help folks.



Just Jeff
2005-08-11, 10:29
Hammocking is so much more comfortable that it's worth the effort to find a way to stay warm! Welcome to the hanging crowd! IMO, underquilts are the best way...not much more spendy than the SuperShelter. Check http://www.jacksrbetter.com .

Here are several other ideas:


2005-08-11, 10:56
Thanks Jeff!

I checked out your web site and found it helpful. Since I am already into the Super Shelter system I would like to add to or modify it to work better.

A couple questions...
1. Have you used 2 Hennessy underpads before? I suspect that 2 pads and a reflector would help a lot, but what about the sides? I lost a ton of heat through the sides of the hammock.
2. Do the windsheid reflectors roll up so they don't take up to much space? What kind should I look at?



2005-08-11, 11:38
... The Super Shelter System in combination with a 25 degree down sleeping bag, I was assured, would keep me warm in the temps I had described. ...Who told you that? (... I have no doubt someone did, just curious if you remembered who it was.) I thought those open cell foam pads that are used with the silnylon bottom of the Super Shelter System were about 1/4" thick each. Now reference that to a 30 degree down sleeping bag that should have about 2" of down on top of you... the silnylon is a vapor barrier, does trap a little heat and very effectively blocks wind, but there is a big difference between 0.25" and 2" of insulation.

I use pads for insulation in my hammocks and they work fine for me. I developed a way to make pads more compatible with hammocks and was impressed enough with the technique to talk my friend Ed Speer into develop it into a product for hammock campers. It ended up as the Segmented Pad Extender that is referenced on Jeff's Hammock site (Speer's link is here: http://www.speerhammocks.com/Products/SPE.htm ). When you stack closed cell foam pads for sub freezing conditions, the combined stack can become somewhat stiff on long winter nights. I found that using a RidgeRest on top of a thick stack keeps it comfortable. All insulation methods for hammocks have tradeoffs to them... regardless of way some people may tell you, none are perfect in every way. Pads are bulky, but they are light weight, durable, dependable, waterproof and can be used on the ground or in shelters for sleeping or just lounging. They are also relatively cheap, especially if you already have some.


Note: There is a big difference in the warmth per inch of thickness with open cell foam and closed cell foam, closed cell foam is much warmer.

Just Jeff
2005-08-11, 15:51
I haven't, but I heard of people who have. If the pads fit well, the sides should remain snug. If you have fitted pads (vs other bulky insulation pulling down the bottom) and still have gaps at the sides, make sure it's installed correctly. If you still have gaps, you might call Tom Hennessy and see how he can help you.

One thing about putting makeshift insulation under you...any gaps between the hammock and insulation will make a cold spot inside the hammock. That's one reason fitted pads are important. Don't know if that was an issue for you or not.

2005-08-11, 22:07
Parsond, et al,

Medicine Man and some others have had some success, arguably great success, using JRB under quilt in a Super Shelter...We have no personal experience with this set up...there was a question of condensation issues in the SS, however that did not seem to be a problem for MM.

Try this White blaze link ... http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/archive/index.php/t-5859.html] ( [URL=http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/archive/index.php/t-5859.html) [/URL]

You may have to go to whiteblaze to access the thread.