Disclaimer: The tips provided in this blog are based on individual experiences, and your comfort level may vary. It’s always a good idea to test your setup in various conditions before tackling colder temperatures to find what works best for you. Stay warm on your hammock camping adventure!
Hammock camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but it can be chilly at night, especially if you don’t have an underquilt.
An underquilt is a piece of fabric that hangs below your hammock and helps to insulate you from the cold ground. But what if you don’t have an underquilt? Don’t worry; there are still ways to stay warm while hammock camping.
This article aims to help you stay warm when hammock camping without an underquilt by providing tips and tricks based on real experiences.
So, keep reading to the end!
Do You Need An Underquilt For Hammock Camping?
The need for an underquilt varies from person to person. Some campers mentioned they “need” an underquilt when the temperature drops below 70°F, while others are comfortable without one up to 85°F.
Here are some of the benefits of using an underquilt:
- Warmth: Hammocks can be very cold to sleep in, especially if the temperature drops below freezing. An underquilt provides essential insulation to keep you warm and comfortable throughout the night.
- Comfort: Underquilts are designed to conform to the contours of your body, providing a more comfortable sleeping experience than a sleeping pad.
- Convenience: Underquilts are easy to set up and use. They simply hang underneath your hammock using suspension straps.
Tips To Sleep In A Hammock Without An Underquilt
Underquilts can be expensive, bulky, or hard to find, so you might want to try some alternative methods to keep yourself cozy in your hammock.
Here are some tips to sleep in a hammock without an underquilt.
1. Choose the right clothing
One of the simplest ways to stay warm in your hammock is to wear warm, layered clothing that will trap your body heat.
You can wear thermal underwear, fleece, wool, or synthetic fabrics that are designed for cold weather. Avoid cotton, as it can absorb moisture and make you feel colder.
In addition to the above, you can also wear a hat, gloves, socks, and a scarf to cover your extremities and prevent heat loss. Read our article about How To Dress For Winter Camping.
2. Use a sleeping bag
A sleeping bag will help to insulate you from the cold ground and create a cocoon of warmth around you.
You can use a mummy-style sleeping bag that fits snugly around your body and has a hood that covers your head. Also use a rectangular sleeping bag that can be unzipped and draped over you like a blanket.
Make sure to choose a sleeping bag that has the appropriate temperature rating for the conditions you are camping in.
Read more: Sleeping Pad Vs Sleeping Bag
3. Use a sleeping pad
Using a sleeping pad in your hammock, such as a slightly underinflated thermarest, can be an effective way to insulate yourself from the cold underneath.
A sleeping pad will provide a layer of cushioning and air between you and the hammock fabric, which can reduce the compression of your sleeping bag and clothing.
However, using a sleeping pad in your hammock can also affect your comfort and stability, as it can make your hammock stiffer and narrower. Therefore, you should ensure that the pad is placed properly for comfort.
I recommend for you products like the ENO HotSpot Hammock Sleeping Pad Wings or Big Agnes Zirkel. These are designed to enhance insulation and comfort in hammocks.
Recommended Reading: How To Increase The R-Value Of Your Sleeping Pad
4. Use a hammock sock
A hammock sock is a piece of fabric that goes around your hammock and helps to keep the cold out.
It is similar to an underquilt, but it covers the entire hammock instead of just the bottom.
A hammock sock will create an enclosed space around you that will trap your body heat and block the wind.
You can buy a ready-made hammock sock or make your own with some nylon or polyester fabric.
5. Use a tarp
A tarp can be used to create a windbreak or to cover your hammock at night. A tarp will protect you from rain, snow, dew, and wind chill, which can lower your body temperature significantly.
You can set up your tarp above your hammock with some stakes and ropes, or attach it directly to your hammock suspension system.
You can also adjust the angle and height of your tarp depending on the weather conditions and your preference.
6. Use a campfire
A campfire can provide a source of heat and light that can make your night more enjoyable and comfortable.
You can build a campfire near your hammock site, but not too close to avoid sparks or embers from damaging your hammock or tarp (at least 15 feet). Read about the common hammock camping mistakes.
You can also use some rocks or logs to create a reflector wall that will direct the heat towards your hammock.
Important note: You should be careful not to rely solely on a campfire for warmth, as it can die out during the night or pose a fire hazard if not properly extinguished.
7. Additional Insulation
If you still feel cold in your hammock despite using these methods, you can add some additional insulation to boost your warmth.
For example, you can pay attention to your shoulders, as they might still get chilly due to the hammock curling around you.
Adding a thin blanket or sweatshirt under your shoulders can help provide extra insulation. You can also use a pillow or a stuffed animal to fill the gap between your neck and the hammock.
8. DIY Solutions
If you prefer a DIY approach, some campers cut up blue foam Walmart sleeping pads or create their own insulation solutions for added warmth.
- Use duct tape to attach some bubble wrap or reflective foil insulation to the bottom of your hammock.
- Sew some fleece or quilt batting into a tube shape that fits around your hammock.
9. Alternative Materials
Consider using some alternative materials that are not specifically designed for hammocks but can still provide insulation and comfort.
Such using a self-inflating pad and a sleeping bag unzipped as an overquilt. You can also use a poncho liner, a wool blanket, or a down comforter for extra warmth and coziness.
10. Adapt to Weather Conditions
Depending on the weather, you might need to adjust your setup and use different methods to stay warm in your hammock.
For instance, using a cheap picnic blanket under the bag can provide windproofing and additional warmth.
You can also use a bivy sack or a space blanket to create an emergency shelter around your hammock.
Some campers have successfully used these setups in temperatures as low as the high 20s Fahrenheit, but it’s essential to consider your comfort level and adapt accordingly.
Hammock camping without an underquilt is entirely doable with the right strategies.
Whether it’s choosing the right clothing, utilizing a sleeping bag or pad, employing DIY solutions, or adapting to weather conditions, there are various ways to stay warm and comfortable in your hammock.
Remember, personal comfort levels may vary, so it’s crucial to test and adjust your setup accordingly.
These alternative methods remain efficient in temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but if you are camping in colder temperatures, I prefer to invest in underquilt. My recommendation is the OneTigris Hammock Underquilt.