I thought it would be a great idea to test out my hammock set up in the UK before I set off on my world trip. I needed to know how cold it could be before I needed extra gear. You can see my full kit list in another post.
I took my whole bag with me so I would have everything that I would have whilst travelling. We made a camp fire, my friend boiled some water and made himself some pasta, then went to sleep at about 9pm.
For the record, my hammock set up is as follows. I have used it a couple of times and it is really easy to set up, and fits in to a TINY space. My friend has a standard set up and all three items below take up less space than his hammock alone.
Looking at the MET office weather for where we are, I can report that the temperatures went something like this:
- 21:00 8 degrees centigrade
- 22:00 7c
- 23:00 6c
- 24:00 4c
- 01:00 3c
- AND SO ON AT 3 DEGREES till 08:00 when it starts to warm by 1 degree per hour for the day
I slept from 9pm till 1am fine. It is now 2am and I am lying in my hammock, toes freezing, wondering whether I will make it through the night. I’m not sure whether it was the slightly more favourable temperatures, or the two beers and half a bottle of whiskey that allowed me to sleep from 9 till 1 but whatever it was, is NOT WORKING NOW.
I am wearing my emergency jacket so my kit list has been beaten by the UK Spring. I am also wearing the following:
- Super mega warm (LIES) sealskinz socks – toes are freezing
- Wool leggings
- Cotton joggers – legs are pretty cold
- Cotton t shirt
- Wool long sleeve shirt (reviews said they wore it skiing and it was ‘so warm, la la la’ so they CLEARLY HADNT WORN IT WHILST SLEEPING IN A HAMMOCK
- Wool t shirt (added when the long sleeve shirt Wasn’t enough)
- Cotton jumper
- My emergency down jacket was added as a duvet at about midnight. It worked for a bit as I could curl in to a ball under it but then the cold got worse and I’m wearing it now
I also have a standard hammock set up but no sleeping bag or under quilt. For the experienced ‘hammockers’ out there you’re probably thinking I am a massive idiot. Stop laughing. The point of this was to test how cold I could go with my current travel gear and I’ve done exactly that.
For the record, I also used my mozzy net and hung it under the hammock. I then lined it with a foil emergency blanket, creating a makeshift under quilt (I’ll pat myself on the back). This worked REALLY WELL and I was actually warm…until I rolled around, the foil ripped in to pieces and now it has zero insulating effects. At one point when I had set up my hammock, I was thinking to myself ‘hmm, my right butt cheek is cold’. So I reached under my hammock and actually the foil had ripped and there was none covering my right cheek. So the foil really does work
So the results of my test are as follows:
- I can sleep in temperatures down to 6 degrees comfortably, with my current clothing and without a sleeping bag
- Below 6 degrees is a catagorical NO, find a hostel!
- If I spent some time rigging up the foil underneath me properly I would be SO warm right now
- Foil blankets are amazing. I wrapped one of the scraps round my feet and they instantly became warm.
- Only camp in the summer
It is about 02:30 and I’m going to try and sleep now. As an indicator, my phone is so cold it is lagging about two words behind as I type, but thats funny to watch so I’m not complaining.
After falling asleep again at 2:30, I managed to sleep again until 05:00. I woke up again and was really cold so decided to get up and pack away. The sun was just rising by the time we left. After getting up I was fine and the walk home made me comfortably warm.
So to conclude.
With my current gear I can sleep down to 6 degrees with no sleeping bag etc, although I probably wouldn’t want to. And I can comfortably survive 3 degrees outside during the day time.