You’ve just decided to try out hammock camping. You’re so excited to have a comfortable night’s sleep on a cool summer evening. Finally, no rocks poking your back all night. No sliding down the hill. No more cold hard ground for you. Everything is perfect, no clouds in the sky, your bug repellant is working great, and you have a cozy meal. The sunset is beautiful in the mountains and you cuddle into your sleeping bag- expecting the best rest you’ve had while camping. Everything is going great, except- hold on… it’s a little chilly! You’re freezing cold!!
Like most beginner hammockers, you didn’t even think about the cold night air underneath you! Hammock insulation is often overlooked, or not very well understood by beginner hammockers. However, hammock insulation is a necessity for a comfortable hang.
Lets look at the different options for hammock insulation, starting at basic level to pro level.
BASIC INSULATION— Some sleeping bags unzip on three sides, which allows you to wrap your hammock in your sleeping bag and provide insulation underneath the hammock and over top of you. These style of sleeping bags however tend to be bulkier and heavier than popular backpacking bags. If you’re just out for a weekend camping trip they’d be ok insulation option.
The biggest problem here is that the sleeping bag won’t contour to the hammock, thus creating cold spots and drafts.
BETTER INSULATION— Use an old ground sleeping pad. The insulation you used on the ground can do a decent job for insulation in the air too. Be aware that it’s not fool proof. The ground pad doesn’t contour to the hammock very well and often ends up flipping on top of you or getting pushed out of the hammock. Often you’ll get cold spots where the pad doesn’t totally insulate you. There’s a few methods to mitigate this problem though.
Put your ground pad inside of your sleeping bag. This way it won’t slide away from you and you’ll be able to pin it down better. You still might find some cold spots if your pad is skinnier or shorter than you, but it beats an entirely chilly night or sleeping on the ground with it!!
Some hammocks come with a ground pad pocket where you can slip your pad in underneath you and zip it up. This is inventive and handy for other things too, but the same problem occurs if you have a small pad.
One more option is a sleeping bag with a sleeping pad pocket. Some sleeping bags have the same idea as the hammock pocket.
BEST INSULATION— Now the nicest, most high quality hammock insulation you can get are hammock under quilts. Hammock under quilts are like a special sleeping bag specifically designed to attach to and contour to your hammock. Under quilts eliminate cold spots and drafts. Just like sleeping bags, there’s different fils, styles, lengths and temperature ratings- but that’s a topic for a different day. Any experienced hammocker would agree that, eventually, an under quilt is a must. They hug right around you, it feels like you’re in a warm cocoon of clouds. Couple your under quilt with a top quilt and you’ve got a match made in heaven!! There are many combinations of using hammock quilts to be the most comfortable and that all depends on your personal preference. Some people use an under quilt and a lightweight blanket in the summer. Some people like a top quilt and under quilt all year long.
The best quality hammock insulation comes from the finest quality of craftsmanship.
Teton Hammock Company quilts are made using the highest quality down available. Our down is Durawashed, hypoallergenic, certified by the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), and BlueSign approved. Learn more information on RDS and BlueSign
All of our quilts are stuffed to 120% fill capacity based on industry standard fill power/ loft temperature ratings. This can add up to 1.5-2oz of extra down depending on the target loft of the quilt. While this doesn’t change the temperature rating, it does help keep the down from shifting in the quilt’s channels. To learn more about our quilts, click here.