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SGT Rock
2003-01-20, 18:56
I'm often asked about my sleeping pad system to stay warm. It changes as I experiement, but it is basically this:

At temperatures between 60-75 I use a truck sunscreen. It is good for reducing air flow around our body.

At temperatures below that I use 1/2"x68"x24" Army surpluss closed cell foam pad with the corners trimmed off.

For a bag I use a down quilt - Nunatack Backcountry Blanket.

So far this has worked down to about 26* F. with only a little chill under my shoulders by morning.

For the future: Maybe carrying a trimmed down pad just wide enough for the butt and shoulders. I've also thought about using some Tyvek remnants to sew a pocket at the botttom and top of the sunscreen so that the foam pad slips into them and makes the system one piece without a lot of fuss. I tried velcro and wasn't happy with it.

What about you other hammock hangers?

youngblood
2003-01-20, 19:43
Sarge,

Don't try sewing the sun screen! I have already found out that doesn't work, it is not like fabric where the needle finds its way between threads, all you do it punch tiny holes that will tear when tension is applied to the thread. I suspect that the same thing may happen if you try to sew the tevek material, since it is not like a fabric with threads. Try duct tape, but I fear the the compound bends will make the pockets difficult to deal with when you are in the hammock.

Foam pads attached with velcro to the sun screen works great, if only the velco strips would stay attached to the foam pads. Foam pads attached with velcro to the sun screen are easy to work with inside the hammock, especially when the sun screen is on the bottom with the shiny side down.

What we need is some adhesive that will hold the velcro strips in place on the closed cell foam over time and temperature. Does anyone know a reliable method to attach the velco strips to closed cell foam pads?

Youngblood

SGT Rock
2003-01-20, 20:42
You are probably right about ripping the sunscreen. I was hoping it would work since mine actually has a fabric edge sewn around the entire thing. I have sewn Tyvek with success. Maybe I'll take some remnants and try it with a wide stitch.

GrizzlyBear
2003-02-07, 11:46
Folks - I may be totally off-base, here, but I've been studying, pondering, and lying awake, thinking, over this sleeping pad - in - the hammock situation, and I keep coming back to the same thing. It seems to me that the only way to go is - outside - the hammock.

I'm thinking in terms of a "sandwich" consisting of a down quilt, cut to the shape and size of the entire underside of the hammock (I'm talking Hennessy, here)in the "body area". The sandwich consists of the quilt on top; a space blanket under the quilt; waterproof rip-stop nylon, under the space blanket - both to protect the fragility of the space blanket, and to waterproof the whole sandwich. The whole sandwich is sewn together (with a slit, in the proper position to accomodate the entry-slit in the Hennessy), with a series of Velcro patches sewn around all the edges (including along the edges of the slit). The opposite Velcro patches would then be glued in the appropriate "matching" positions, along the No-seeum-to-hammock-body-seam.

This arrangement would be extremely easy to sew-up, and it would be very easy to attach to the hammock, when it's been hung. It appears to me that it would solve a lot of problems inherant to the traditional sleeping-pad approach. No loft would be lost in the insulating material, since there would be no compression of the material. The whole thing should be amazingly light-weight, in relation to any foam pad, and it should stuff into a tiny stuff sack, eliminating the bulk of other types of pads. Inside the hammock should be glorious! Nothing but your sleeping bag! I don't know about the rest of you, but I have NEVER been able to stay - all night - in the same general vicinity as a sleeping pad. I've gotton awake shivvering me arse off, only to have to crawl across my buddy, to retrieve my pad from the other end of the tent. Search me! I've been trying various make-shift pads - inside - my Hennessy, ever since I got it, and the same old buggaboo still plagues me. It's not as bad in the hammock, as in a tent, but the same problem - I wake up with a cold spot, only to find that the pad went south, and I went north. One night, while trying my "slip-and-slide" Thermarest, I woke up in a panic, thinking I was being attacked, from above, by the "Pancake-People" from Pluto.

As soon as I get some time, I'm going to gather together the materials, and get my wife to thread the bloody machine for me (never have had any luck with that - she says I'm an idiot, Perhaps.) and I'm going to give this a try. I am going to, first, just fasten the sandwich to my hammock with plastic "chip-clips or something like, before I start gluing Velcro patches to my hammock. And then, I'm going to test adhesives on some rip-stop nylon, before I go to gluing them to the hammock. I certainly don't want to melt solvent holes in my Sheila.

Let me know your opinions of the sandwich idea.

SGT Rock
2003-02-07, 12:49
Griz - you ain't far off what a lot of folks are doing now. If you ever read Ed Speer's book he uses a system that is pretty well made up and has a lot of cold weather time in it. Basically hammock in hot weather; hammock with pad and blanket/bag in cool weather; hammock, blanket, pad and reflector in cooler weather; outside wrap blanket, pad, reflector, and blanket in cold weather. In really cold weather set up on the ground. I may have made a minor error in this since I don't have the book in front of me, but you get the idea. No one thing can do it, but there is a series of step ups to stay warm.

Of course some hammocks do better with an under or wrap quilt thatn others. My personal read on this is you should have a system that is flexible enough to sleep in a shelter or on the ground if you need to that includes a pad. I'm not oppose to under quilts, I'm thinking of trying a poncho liner type set up that can also serve as another blanket if I do sleep on the ground. I would just hate to give up totally on a pad then end up wanting one. A pad can work, and it is dual use.

GrizzlyBear
2003-02-07, 13:04
Yeah, I see what you mean about the pad, especially in case you have to sleep on the ground. The thing that has me working on this, is my trip in May to GSMNP in NC. We're going to be up near Clingman's Dome, after brook trout, most of the time. From everything I've been able to gather - weather-wise - it gets pretty regularly into the forties, at night, that time of year. I'm assuming that trees are aplenty, and I'm hoping I don't have to lug the weight and bulk of a pad along.

Anybody who is familiar with that area - I surely would appreciate any input of any kind. We'll be spending 5-7 days in the Hazel Creek watershed. The head-waters of Hazel Creek are up near the AT, not too far from Clingman's.

flyfisher
2003-02-12, 16:14
I have worked my way through several options. The path I am headed down at present will be a silnylon bag under the hammock about an inch thick, containing a pad.

I have to carry the pad... I use it to break up convective air currents in the air space. The pad does not get compressed and I don't have to deal with its wrinkles in the hammock. Just smooth nylon against my fleece. (I use a quilt)

More as I learn more.

<><

jumpngeorge
2003-02-23, 14:22
Originally posted by SGT Rock


For the future: Maybe carrying a trimmed down pad just wide enough for the butt and shoulders. I've also thought about using some Tyvek remnants to sew a pocket at the botttom and top of the sunscreen so that the foam pad slips into them and makes the system one piece without a lot of fuss. I tried velcro and wasn't happy with it.

What about you other hammock hangers?

I'm going to try a variation of this idea. plan to sew a one inch wide velcro strip (the fuzzy side to avoid the scratchy hooks in warm weather) next to the bug netting of my hennesy explorer. I will then fit a fleece pad and sew the hooked side of the velcor in the appropriate place. The fleece will run 2 from the enry port toward the head end of the hammock. Then I will sew a pocket big enough to hold my usual self inflating pad (3/4 length). The two-ply fleece alone would probably be enough to handle moderate weather. I would only expect to need the pad in extreme cold.

I will report back after my trip with pictures of the final version...

flyfisher
2003-02-25, 21:46
I have bought a roll of the bubble wrap foil covered insulation. Small experiment seemed to work out well for an hour at 17 degrees.

<><

DebW
2003-03-03, 09:36
I was experimenting with closed cell foam pads in my hammock this weekend. The large flat closed cell foam pads always buckled and didn't necessarily stay where I wanted to sleep. But with a Z-rest, I got something that seemed to work well. Took a 3/4 Z-rest and cut it in two, one piece with 6 sections (30 inches) and one with 4 sections (20 inches). I put the wide piece under my shoulders and the short piece under my hips, both with the accordion folds lengthwise to the hammock. This let the pad wrap neatly around me without buckling, and the full width of my shoulders and elbows was covered by pad. This pad will also be much easier to pack than a 27-30 inch wide flat pad. For sleeping on the ground, I can overlap one section of the two Z-rest pieces, have a double thickness in the small of my back, and be covered from shoulders to below the hips. I have yet to check a temperature rating on this system, but assume it should be adequate for summer and also usable in winter with an underquilt or peapod.

jumpngeorge
2003-03-11, 19:50
Originally posted by jumpngeorge
I'm going to try a variation of this idea. plan to sew a one inch wide velcro strip (the fuzzy side to avoid the scratchy hooks in warm weather) next to the bug netting of my hennesy explorer. I will then fit a fleece pad and sew the hooked side of the velcor in the appropriate place. The fleece will run 2 from the enry port toward the head end of the hammock. Then I will sew a pocket big enough to hold my usual self inflating pad (3/4 length). The two-ply fleece alone would probably be enough to handle moderate weather. I would only expect to need the pad in extreme cold.

I will report back after my trip with pictures of the final version...

I was able to sew the velcro to the hammock. I ended up with four one and a half in squares to the fuzzy side I sewed two sides using 20 pound test monofiliment. for thread. Curved needles really help too. Two toward the head end and two directly next to the bug net even with the entry port. Then I sewed the hooked side of the velcro to a fleece blanket. Then sewed a pocket wide enough for my 3/4 length pad to slip into it. The pocket gives me a double thickness of fleece under my back where the compression is the biggest problem. When it is really cold, I can use my pad too. I'm off to Virginia next week to check it out. I will report back.

Problems...Cutting the fleece is a huge pain. Hennessy hammocks are after all asymetrical. I will probably trim my fleece on the trail. It is a bit bulkier than I would like it to be. Uncompressed it is about the size of a football.

GrizzlyBear
2003-03-11, 20:11
jumpngeorge - I'm not following this, real well. Are you using this system inside, or outside your hammock?

jumpngeorge
2003-03-11, 20:41
I'm using it inside the hammock. Next week will be my first trip with my hammock. I know a lot of people swear my the under the hammock sollution. Seems to me inside the hammock I can really focus on areas where compression is the biggest problem.

cldphoto
2003-03-12, 19:45
Question for SGT Rock:

In your Hennessy articles, you mention that your Army 30-degree synthetic bag does well because it doesn't compress a whole lot. Is this the old(er) general issue OD cloth mummy bag (not down-filled), or the new GoreTex modular system? I ask out of considerable interest, since I have the old mummy bag, and heavy as it is, I'm hesitant to buy more gear if this old bag will do the trick for now. (I'm looking forward to summer, when I'll be able to use my poncho liner sack -- 2 poncho liners sewn together)

Much obliged, Top. (No offense, but I'm going to have to call you Top -- there's no way I can call an E-8 SGT. Don't want to start any bad habits.)

Also, just to comment on camping "above the timberline" -- I often have to camp below the timberline. In many places here in SE Arizona, if I'm not in the mountains (pinyon pine country) or in a canyon wet enough to support hardwood (cottonwoods, mostly), I'm stuck with mesquite and palo verde -- much too thorny to hook up a hammock, even if they aren't too scrawny. As for the alternative, I'm not lashing onto a saguaro, no matter how sturdy it looks. :)

SGT Rock
2003-03-12, 21:08
Originally posted by cldphoto
Question for SGT Rock:

In your Hennessy articles, you mention that your Army 30-degree synthetic bag does well because it doesn't compress a whole lot. Is this the old(er) general issue OD cloth mummy bag (not down-filled), or the new GoreTex modular system? I ask out of considerable interest, since I have the old mummy bag, and heavy as it is, I'm hesitant to buy more gear if this old bag will do the trick for now. (I'm looking forward to summer, when I'll be able to use my poncho liner sack -- 2 poncho liners sewn together)

It's the old cloth cover synthetic bag. I haven't got my hands on a modular system yet, although I have been promised we will get thm when we deploy since we have those intermediates and it can get cold in those Turkish mountains if we get to go that way. I've also thought about taking my Lafuma Down bag to use inside the intermediate in case we don't get the new bags.



Much obliged, Top. (No offense, but I'm going to have to call you Top -- there's no way I can call an E-8 SGT. Don't want to start any bad habits.)


Speaking of that. Trail Yeti once said I should change my trail name to "Top Rock" since I'm a 1SG. I'm sort of in the opinion that the trail mates give you a trail name, so I didn't "assume" that name. But I suppose I could if trail community folks said its good. Since I may not get to the trail for quite a long time, this is just as good. Maybe it will be a new poll LOL.



Also, just to comment on camping "above the timberline" -- I often have to camp below the timberline. In many places here in SE Arizona, if I'm not in the mountains (pinyon pine country) or in a canyon wet enough to support hardwood (cottonwoods, mostly), I'm stuck with mesquite and palo verde -- much too thorny to hook up a hammock, even if they aren't too scrawny. As for the alternative, I'm not lashing onto a saguaro, no matter how sturdy it looks. :)

Sounds a lot like what I was used to in El Paso. 1-3 meter tall dunes formed around mesquite that sucked for anything except a hidding place for snakes and rabbits. The good thing about desert is you don't need a heck of a lot of shelter. Many times I would just cover up in my clothing with a poncho liner. The sand was great for finding a soft spot.

Sgathak
2003-03-22, 17:51
Im not sure why I didnt think of it before, but for years now I have used a homemade sleeping pad that would probably be ideal for H-Hammock use.

This pad is very thin and not super comfortable on the dirt (I made it for snow use) but would probably work fantastically a few feet off the ground. :)

It is a triple layer system that sandwiches a peice of Mylar between nylon and fleece.

The version I use is heavy duty (1000d Cordura and Polartec300) but could easily be made with lighter materials...

Ive been using this for a few years and have had great results... It works well for me, and I have used it in a mayan hammock with good results... I dont know how it would work in a HH or similar hammock though.

The drawing in the link below shows a basic variation with double insulation under the body core... Obviously there are other variations that could be done... I use a footbox on mine.

The fleece allows for enough standoff for the mylar to reflect the body heat back and the cordura keeps the mylar from being cut by abrasion... It also helps to quiet the tin foil like sound of moving mylar.

http://shadowslight.com/backpacking/TRP.html

edit: fixing URL

GrizzlyBear
2003-03-23, 15:34
Well, my new Big Agnes "Encampment" sleeping bag came last Wednesday. I already had a full-length. 24", Thermarest, self-inflating pad, and not wanting to shell out seventy-bucks for a new pad, I spent the afternoon and evening cutting down and re-sealing the Theremarest to the 20" width needed for the BA pad-sleeve. (I would recommend finding the money for a new pad. I got it done, but it took a whole lot of doing.) I overmelted the seal at one corner, and had to use AquaSeal for that, so didn't get to try the new rig in my HH Explorer Deluxe A-Sym. until the next night. We've had the temperature drop into the mid-to-high thirties, the past three nights, and I slept warm and very comfortably, every night.

The BA Encampment is a 15 degree rated bag, with Polarguard 3-D fill, and I found that I had unzipped a couple of feet up from the bottom of the zipper, and had my knees thrown out of the bag by morning, to vent off some heat. I chose the synthetic fill because a good deal of my camping will be in the southern Appalachians, where frequent rain and high humidity are a given, and I don't want to have to babysit a down bag to save a few ounces. The bag only weighs 3 lb. - 10 oz., and it easily went down to 7"x14" in a compression sack. I can live with that.

I perspire a good deal, and found, within a few minutes after crawling in, just wearing skivvies, the first night, that I became clammy-feeling, between skin and the pad, but pulling on my REI poly. long-johns, solved that problem, immediately.

When I woke, this morning, the thermometer on the porch read 34 degrees F, and there was a pretty good wind blowing. Even with that, I had both knees at the zipper opening, and was as warm beneath, as well as all over. I had my clothes for today, rolled-up in the attached, internal pillow-pocket, and they were warm and toasty as I dressed inside the hammock

The Big Agnes is incredible in that it stays in the same position, all night - no slipping and sliding, with the pad ending up elsewhwere in the hammock. I found that by blowing enough extra air into the Thermarest, to make it rigid, the bag is easy to shove into the hammock, and position, making it easy to zip open, roll back into, and get oriented on the pad. Then I just reach up beside my head, open the air-valve, and allow it to conform to the hammock - and me - before closing it for the night. Considering the extreme warmth I've been experiencing, I do believe that I would still easilly be comfortable with another fifteen degree temperature reduction, without any alterations to my present arrangement. I would guess that by adding a space blanket beneath the pad, but still inside the Big Agnes sleeve, the reflective heat would drive me out of the bag, at well below the 34 degrees with wind, that I've already experienced. BTW - these three nights have been without a tarp over the hammock.

Although I have had little experience with other modern "technical" bags, I have slept in quite a few relatively modern bags, and I do believe that Brad Johnson is going to be - to sleeping bags - what Tom Hennessy is to hammocks. The bag is beautifully engineered with just enough increased dimensions to make it comfortable for my 6'-2", 225 lb. bulk, without adding too much extra space to keep warm. The full length draft-tubes along the sleeve-to-bag seams and over the zipper, appear to be perfectly positioned, as is the "draft yoke" which is attached "above" the neck and shoulders. I have felt no cold spots. The pillow-pocket is actually attached where your head goes, and it stays there. My experience has always been that whatever I've used as a pillow, always ends up at the bottom of the bag, or in the next county. Oh, yes - the zipper closer self-locks - where you put it - rather than crawling to the bottom, and disconnecting from the teeth. I've never yet been able to re-connect a zipper in the dark, while still half asleep, shivering like a dog pooping peach seeds.

In case you haven't noticed, I've already fallen in love with Big Agnes, and she appears to be custom-made for my Hennessy Hammock. Bag and pad, with no extra junque to carry. If she does anything to disappointment me in the future, I'll let you know, but right now, the only thing that bothers me is that she's made in China, rather than here in the U.S. Otherwise - I'm happy.

jumpngeorge
2003-03-24, 09:55
I am in love...I have never been more comfortable sleeping in the woods! The fleece blanket inside the hammock did a great job of holding the pad in place. (I will include a picture of the setup as soom as I find the wire to connect the camera to the computer!!!) I was toasty on 5 nights in Northern Virginia...Temperatures in upper 30's low 40's.

I only wish that the fleece was more compact and lighter. I think that the key feature is that having material between the sleeping bag and the pad allows you to roll over without shifting the pad. Holding the pad in place is the key to the whole system. I wonder if lighter, less bulky material would work just as well?

SGT Rock
2003-03-24, 10:02
How about silk?

jumpngeorge
2003-03-24, 12:24
Silk might be perfect...silk is so slippery that there would be very little transfer (of motion) between the pad and the silk.