Hammock camping in winter is the most environmentally friendly option for eco-travelers. It is the best way to leave no trace while camping and experience nature and wilderness to the fullest. Wise and seasoned campers choose hammocks over tents whenever it is suitable to do so, and there is a reason for it.
Tents and camping used to be synonymous in the past but things have started to change in recent years. Nowadays, we have the opportunity to enjoy fresh air 24/7 while we are camping. You no longer have to get stuck into a tent during night time. Plus, you almost leave the camping area untouched when you use a hammock. I can’t say the same thing for tents with all the accessories such as the poles, stakes, and pegs. Well, the good news is that you no longer have to carry those tent accessories in your backpack.
Hammock camping is flexible, practical, and convenient. In fact, you should always choose hammock over the tent as long as you have a place to hang. Once you switch, you will certainly enjoy more freedom on your outdoor trips.
Benefits of Hammock Camping:
- Quicker and easier to setup than a tent, and trees are not the only option. You can even set it up for a quick nap.
- You are off the ground. No need to worry about snakes and poisonous insects.
- Cheaper than tent gear. If you compare the price of a standard tent for a single person, you will find out that the hammock is much more affordable.
- Superior comfort; perfect consistency of sleep. Hammocks ease back pain and help you fall into deeper sleep even faster than your regular bed. Forget about leveling out your camping area and sleeping on rocks.
- Breath the nature; you are no longer limited to breath (and smell) inside your tent. This is the best way to feel the outdoors to your bones. Tents can never provide the same experience even with the best ventilation.
- Better visibility; you can see what’s going around you. Check out the beautiful view during the day and stargaze in the evening.
- Hammocks work almost like an outdoor sofa. You can relax on them during the day, read a book, listen to music while watching the lake and birds. Most have side pockets to keep your valuables.
- Hammocks are super lightweight and can easily fit into your backpack.
Do not get confused though. Hammock camping is indeed easier done than a tent. However, you still need other gear to protect yourself from the cold winter nights.
Winter camping is a skill you develop over time and experience. You get to know what works best for you through practice. It is always a helpful guide to learn from others mistakes and experiences. I prepared these hammock camping tips list to help you through the hard-snowy nights.
3 Things to Consider While Hammock Camping:
- How to lay: you should try to lay asymmetrical instead of forming the banana shape. Twist and turn and find your sweet spot. A diagonal lay is the most comforting way to sleep outdoors and it can only be established by a hammock.
- How to set it up: the farther the trees, the higher the straps that attach to the tree should be. In general, the hanging distance must be 2 feet greater than the size of the hammock.
- How to prevent to catch cold from the bottom: you need insulation gear to keep the warm temperature inside the hammock, especially in winter. Most people like to use under quilts for this purpose. You will also need sleeping pads besides under quilts.
Do not hang your hammock too tight. It would squeeze your shoulders and create discomfort during sleeping. Select longer hammocks since they are easier to set up and provide better relaxation. Wind and moisture are your enemies during camping. Try to find the best spot to cover up yourself against them. A dense tree area is usually the best to set it up.
Most hammocks are washable in the washing machine. This is an important feature. Always read your product manual to learn how to wash your hammock. There are many specific characteristics when shopping for a hammock that you should be aware of, to make sure you choose the best available one.
Perfect Winter Hammock
I am a big fan of Wise Owl’s Outfitters Hammock. It is made special for winter camping and produced from real 210T parachute nylon with triple interlocking stitching. I suggest you get the double owl version even if you are only going to use it for yourself. Trust me, extra room will be handy. It literally takes less than 2 minutes to set this up. It comes with an attached bag for extra storage while you are taking a nap. You don’t have to sleep with full pockets. The straps are just great. The whole thing takes as much space as an eggplant in your backpack. It can hold up 500 lbs. and comes with many accessories.
Setting Up Your Hammock:
- Find two trees approximately 10 to 12 feet apart.
- Wrap the hammock rope around the first tree, and then do the same for the other one.
- Get your hammock and clip the carabiners (the metal loops) to the end of the ropes.
Always test your hammock before you jump on it by pushing down the straps with both hands. Clear all the sticks underneath the hammock. It is best if your hammock hangs 18 inches from the ground to easily get in and out.
How Do You Keep A Hammock Warm in The Winter?
The biggest issue when warming the hammocks in winter is the cold bottom. Your back needs proper insulation to keep warm. The wind and the cold ground suck up all the heat out of your hammock. It is easy to get hypothermia if you don’t have the right gear with you. You basically need 3 gears to keep a hammock warm in the winter.
- Under quilts; they surround the outside of the hammock and work wonders to protect you from cold. You should definitely select a durable, waterproof, and windproof under quilt in order to create a nest around your hammock. It keeps both the bottom and the sides from getting cold.
- Sleeping bag; do not even imagine sleeping under regular blanket in your hammock. You will definitely freeze. If you are not planning to stay all night sleepless and do a lot of jumping jacks, then get a high quality, puffy sleeping bag with you, preferably down insulated.
- Sleeping pad; it is a necessity during cold winter nights. After you tuck yourself in a sleeping bag, you need one additional layer between the hammock and your sleeping bag. This step is very important for appropriate insulation. Get a double bubble radiant pad. They are silvered on both sides and reflect 97% of your body’s heat back to you.
How Cold Is Too Cold to Camp?
Some people can camp under extreme conditions with the right equipment. They are experienced outdoor professionals who use specific gear to their advantage. However, for the average camper, there are certain criteria to decide if the level of temperature is too cold and prevent any disaster or unnecessary discomfort during camping. You should consider nighttime temperatures when deciding if it is too cold to camp;
- Never go out camping if you are not a very seasoned camper when the nighttime temperatures are in the range of 30 to 40 °F (-1 to 4 °C) or lower.
- You can camp out properly with the right gear if the nighttime temperatures are in the range of 50 to 75°F (10 to 23 ° C).
The reason we focus on night time temperatures is because that most people camp at high altitudes and the air pressure on mountainous environment creates huge differences between night and day. Temperature is not the only element that you have to check when going out camping. You should also take note of rain or snow possibilities. Do not take risks; the cold is a strong opponent, and it can become very hostile if you act amateurish without packing the right tools. Don’t trust your equipment too much either, if you don’t have the necessary know how.
How Do You Keep Food from Freezing in Winter Camping?
It is best to pre-cook your meal before you go out camping and keep them in freezer bags. It is the water inside the food that speeds up the freezing process during camping under severe weather conditions. Look for foods with high fat content rather than water. Get an insulated container to keep your water from freezing.
What You Need for Winter Camping?
Winter camping requires essential equipment for keeping warm and the know-how to use them effectively. There is some basic tools and rules that you should keep in mind to complete your journey safely and warm. Buying the priciest items is not always the best solution to plan for your winter camping. You must get the suitable items for the right time and right weather conditions.
Necessary equipment for winter camping:
- Sturdy, durable hammock or tent depending on your preference. Get double layer nylon hammocks to block the wind. Stay away from the pop-up, cartoon like tents. This will be your home during camping; pay attention to details such as ventilation, wall design, height and your overall space needs.
- Appropriate sleeping bags to keep you warm against frost and snow; check your sleeping bag’s temperature ratings.
- Insulated, foam sleeping pad. Your sleeping bag will be useless even if you have the best one when you don’t have a proper sleeping pad with you. This is because your body loses heat during sleeping.
- Boots with liners. It is not a good idea or feeling to step into frozen boots in the morning. If you have boot liners then you can easily keep them warm in your sleeping bag during night.
- Spare hats, gloves, and socks. It is so easy to lose or ruin these items. You never want to continue your trip without gloves, hats or socks. Do not cut your camping trip short; just bring a spare hat, mittens, and boots with you. These are essential to stand extreme conditions under cold snow.
- Urination bottles and devices.
- Fireproof clothes (especially jackets). If you are going out camping then it means that you will have campfire one way or another over the course of your adventurous journey. Although you should check with the region since some camping sites do not allow camp fire. It does not matter if you are cooking over your fire or having a romantic frosty night outdoors. You have limited supplies with you and the last thing you want is to burn your clothes and be left naked under snow. When you have fireproof clothes, you have better chances to complete your camping with clothes on.
It is never a good feeling to wake up in the morning and find out that all your gear is buried under snow. This can easily happen when it is snowing heavily while you sleep. In order to prevent this irritating situation, make sure you use the fallen trees and sticks nearby and stake out your valuables such as skis and poles.
And last but not least, please check weather conditions before you put your foot out the door. Stay ahead of the game by being aware of current temperatures and weather trends. Build a wise and strong trip plan by considering the season’s and the region’s characteristics. Just never underestimate the power of nature.
How Do I Keep My Feet Warm in A Hammock During Winter?
It is actually pretty simple to keep your feet warm inside the hammock during winter. Take a stainless-steel water bottle when going out for camping. It will turn your hammock into a sauna if you know how to use it. Boil your kettle over the campfire, and fill the stainless-steel bottle with hot water. Place it around your feet in the sleeping bag, and wrap some clean socks around it. You won’t believe how hot your hammock will be with this one small trick, and you will never have cold feet.
Many campers choose to string up a hammock rather than stuffing themselves in tents. What is the use of outdoor camping if you are trying to cover up yourself from the beautiful nature? Tents are not only uncomfortable, but it is really hard to accomplish a no trace camping with them. Hammocks are extremely practical, environment friendly, and provide the best outdoor experience under stars.