Richard Bucker

the pendulum swings away from hammocks

Posted at — Nov 16, 2018

Today is the first 60 degree morning of the season. my hammock was still set up and I decided to crawl in with my blanket just to see how comfortable this might be overnight. Although the hammock is still rocking a little and there is occasional gust of wind my toes are warm my torso is warm but my back is still a little cold and the 1/8 in foam pad is just too cold.The funny thing is I can’t remember ever watching any demonstration video of somebody climbing into or out if a hammock having to adjust the pillow adjust their pad adjust their underquilt adjust their blanket all while not dropping anything onto the ground. I dropped my pillow once my blanket three times and only got lucky with the pad because I was busy with the others. Even more lucky that the wind was not blowing or the ground wet or rainy.In the winter one stays warm by moving about and generating your own heat in the summer one gets cool by standing still and sweating. While I lay here in this hammock my feet are still toasty warm I suppose I could have worn some socks for an additional layer I could have warned Long John’s as an additional layer but without a thicker pad under my back or maybe another blanket I will wake up very uncomfortable. I just do not think you can go SUL or UL in a hammock unless you are ready for some discomfort or you know exactly what the weather is.There are a few reasons why people hike/sleep in hammocks the first is comfort the second is location location location. I suppose making the event more technical is another.I’ll make the point that peeing into a bottle in a tent or tarp is the best way to avoid the rain in the middle of the night. Climbing in and out of a hammock in the rain is no fun even if just to pee on your tree.UPDATE well there was some improvement. I replaced the closed cell pad with a full length partially inflated Klymit ultralight air mattress (Massdrop model so it has some sticky bits on the bottom). With a little finesse I was able to mount the hammock without losing any gear. I was also able to fine tune the position of the mattress, pillow and blanket. The blanket is a Versa, also from Klymit. It shares some features with hiking quilts like some buttons and a pocket for your feet.By now the temp had increased to 62 degrees but even so I think the test was still valid and consistent. After I was situated I was a lot more comfortable than my previous attempt. The difference this time is that a portion of my back that was exposed to the pad was now covered by my air mattress. This part was now warm. Sadly, because this mattress is slightly more narrow than my shoulders the parts of my shoulders that did not fit were exposed to the chill. Wrapping my shoulders in the blanket had some positive net effect but not enough for a good night’s sleep.