As the number of days sitting behind desk dwindle before the holiday break, the number of winter hammocking dreams grow! But hammocking in cold weather is no picnic in the park. Although the experience can be enriching, exciting and definitely breath-taking, it can also be a tad difficult. Dealing with freezing winds and heavy snow storms should never be done lightly, especially if they weren’t on the forecast. However, you can still have a safe and enjoyable camping and hammocking trip if you are sensible and attentive to the conditions. To help you along, we have comprised a few of links/tips to ensure that your winter-weathered adventure will not be your last.
1) According to REI’s blog post “Sleep-Warm Tricks for Cold-Weather Camping ,” there are a number of things you can do to maximize body heat for those blustery nights:
- Stay hydrated, but stop drinking water 1 hour before bedtime to reduce the chance of midnight bathroom breaks in the freezing cold.
- Make hot water bottles 30 minutes before bedtime using freshly boiled water and Nalgenes/ Liberty bottles (or any similar container) and pop them in your sleeping bag or hammock to make it snug for when you get in.
- Eat a huge, high fat snack such as cheese and crackers or a PB+J 5 minutes before bed time to fuel up on calories to burn in the night. The more fuel you have, the better the chances are you’ll stay warm.
- Complete a few minutes of super powered exercise 5 minutes before bedtime, such as star jumps or sit ups, to get nice and warm before getting in your sleeping back or hammock. The warmer you are when you get in, the more heat you will keep stored up.
- Seal up your sleeping back to minimize excessive exposure to the elements. Also make sure you have adequate protection on your feet, hands, head and neck as heat is lost rapidly at these places.
(NOTE: Unfortunately, the original REI article no longer exists.)
2) REI also have some awesome tips that range from pre-trip planning all the way to sanitation in the snow, in their article “How to Go Winter Camping and Backpacking.” Here are their ten cold weather essentials:
- Adequate navigation.
- Sun protection.
- Insulation, or extra clothing.
- First-aid supplies.
- Repair kit and tools.
- Extra food.
- Extra water.
- Emergency shelter.
3) Just Jeff’s Hiking Page also has some helping hints to stay warm in sub-zero conditions.
- Always use a tarp or cover.
- Hammock close to the ground if necessary to prevent wind blowing up and under your tarp.
- Consider bringing a winter shovel and dig a snow trench between two trees to increase shelter and wind protection.
We also suggest using a sleeping pad, an underquilt – such as our Ember – and a pillow – such as our PakPillow or ProPillows – to minimize wind exposure. If you need a tarp, check out our ProFly or DryFly tarps that both have a large coverage area and would be capable of protecting you from winter’s nastiness.
Whatever combination you go with, plan accordingly and be sensible when you’re out there. Have fun ENOpians! Stay warm!
While you’re planning your winter adventure, check out these photos other ENOpians have shared of their snowy hammocking experiences!