During winter, people get very uncomfortable to even think about camping, let alone in their hammocks. We believe you can get away with a hammock camping at the start of winter when the cold is not as extreme as it might get later.
Moreover, spending time out in the open during these long dark nights with a clear sky and a mug full of cocoa in hand might give you the best experience of your life. With the right strategy and gear, hammock camping can get as comfortable as you want in winter.
You simply have to follow some tips and tricks to get the most out of your hammock camping experience. Remember to avoid areas that are too windy and plan ahead to choose the proper camping gear. Bring some pillows, a quilt, and an extra rain fly for more comfort. A hot water pack and a pee bottle will come in handy too.
In this post, we decided to provide you with such intriguing winter hammock camping tips that’ll surely elevate your camping experience to the next level. Without any further ado, let’s jump straight into it!
37 Winter Hammock Camping Tips
Hammock camping in the winter can be an experience of a lifetime. It can also turn out to be an utter disaster. The only barrier between these two possibilities is to know how to pull off a successful camping trip. Here are 37 of the most valuable tips that we found to be a lifesaver.
1. Avoid Windy Areas
Your primary goal for setting up a hammock is to protect yourself and your belongings from any sort of potential winds. As winds will make you feel very chilly during winter, it could mean returning with fever and sore throat if you’re not careful. So to keep yourself safe, take advantage of natural windbreak areas like rock formations, hills, large trees, etc.
Instead of hanging your hammock in wide-open areas, try to find spots that’ll block out the winds like a cluster of trees, rocks, etc. Don’t forget to take advantage of the sheltering effect that nature offers you for free.
2. The Sun is your Friend
Sunlight is a rare scene during winter, and it is even more apparent when you go out on a hammock camping trip. When setting up a camp, look for sunlight. Try to keep the hammock in an orientation that’ll give you the most sunlight. Look for an opening in the forest or light entrances that can let the sunlight in.
Sunlight will keep you nice and cozy. It’ll also provide you with the means to dry up your clothes and equipment if they get wet.
3. Plan for the Camping
Before you start planning for the camp, you should ask yourself – should you go hammock camping during winter? It depends on your area and the temperature you might expect during winter.
If you live in an area that doesn’t have too many snowfalls and rarely goes below -17°C (0°F), then hammock camping might be an excellent idea for you. During snowfalls, blizzards, and slush, don’t go to hammock camping at all.
4. Prepare Yourself for Hammock Camping
If you have never had any first-hand experience with hammock camping, it’s always a good idea to give two or three test runs before committing yourself to the real thing.
You can set a camp in your backyard and keep track of what you need to give yourself maximum comfort. With the proper preparation, you can easily avert any sort of complications.
5. Go for the Easy Route
If you’re really eager to try out the hammock camping in winter but you’re afraid of the changing weather and don’t want to take risks, a safer alternative is to camp in your backyard.
Micromanaging your stuff inside your house would be pretty straightforward, and if it gets way too cold, you can always go back inside your home. Plus, you can bring in your family members and dogs for a fun weekend night out.
6. Choosing the Proper Gear
When choosing the gear for the hammock camping, choose the temperature rating accordingly.
For example, you should choose items rated 20°F/ 7°C colder than your expected weather. This rating is essential because the gears are rated for the lowest temperature they can sustain in, rather than providing you with comfort in that specific temperature.
7. Choosing Proper Hammock
When you’re looking for a good quality hammock for winter camping, there aren’t any obvious rules that you have to keep in your mind. Go for a high-quality, durably-made hammock that’ll last you for a long time.
Most common hammocks are made from parachute nylon, which might be very durable but provide little to no insulation. Although some newer models have some insulation pockets built-in, your primary focus should be comfort.
8. Some Recommended Hammocks
Here are three of the best hammocks according to our choice. You might want to invest in them or look for other options. The choice is yours.
- Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock: This is quite a sturdy and robust hammock, and it can be packed into tiny sizes. It’s pretty spacious; two people can fit inside this hammock easily.
- Bear Butt Hammock: This is an expert-made hammock with reinforced straps and a durable build that’ll last you for ages. It’s also very comfortable, comes in different colors.
- OneTigris Night Protector Hammock: This hammock is specially designed for 5°-20°C temperature in mind. It’s an excellent choice that’ll provide you with additional warmth even during the harshest of winters.
9. Preheat the Sleeping Bag
After you’re done with site seeing and done with activities for the day, time to go inside the sleeping bag, right?
But before you head inside, a nifty little trick is to preheat your sleeping bag to make it warm and cozy. That way, you won’t feel the sudden rush of cold weather when you go inside your sleeping bag.
After you are done with your supper, let some water boil off onto the stove and put it onto a metal water bottle. Then put that metal water bottle inside the sleeping bag. Once everything gets warm and cozy, go inside and enjoy a peaceful sleep. You can also keep the water bottle inside if you want to.
10. Start a Fire just After the Sunset
Fire is more important than you think. It keeps you warm during cold winter nights, safeguards you from harmful animals, lets you make food, and also provides you a light source to see during the night.
Build a fire pit first to keep the flames contained in one area without causing damage to the environment and surroundings. It would be a good idea to bring some high-quality wood for the fire as well. Don’t rely on the wood from the campsite to make the fire.
11. Covering Yourself
When the sun sets, and the temperature gradually falls, blankets won’t provide you with enough warmth. So make sure you have a sleeping bag handy that’ll not only keep you warm but also cover your whole body, including your face. Don’t forget to fill your sleeping bag with a ton of clothes and boot liners, as these will keep you warm during the freezing winter nights.
Belt up the hood around your head, as that will keep your head safe from the cold and different elements. Sleeping bags will ensure you a warm and cozy sleep and comfortable camping even in a hammock.
12. Bring in a Rain Fly
Precipitation and rain add a whole new layer of danger to hammock camping. If you’re not careful about the weather, you’ll find yourself soaking wet on a freezing winter night.
No amount of sleeping bags can keep you warm if you’re wearing wet clothes. The rain fly is a great lifesaver that’ll keep you safe and protected from rain, snow, blizzard- anything you can name of.
It’s always the best practice to keep a rain fly handy even when you’re sure that there’s minimal possibility of rain. Weather is a very delicate matter and can change instantly. So instead of putting your whole camping experience at risk, we suggest you take some effort to bring in a rain fly for your own good.
13. Pillows for Comfier Sleep
Bringing in a nice comfy pillow is always a good idea for a good night’s sleep. When you’re trying to sleep in a hammock, you should keep your skin away from pressing against the hammock fabrics and weaving as much as you can. Although sleeping inside a sleeping bag will prevent your skin from pressing against the hammock fabric by a large margin, keeping a pillow handy will also add a new layer of protection against it.
Moreover, sleeping on a pillow is always good for your posture. Not only will it give you a comfy sleep, but it’ll also let you have a good day afterward.
14. Layer your Clothes
When you camp in the winter, it is of utmost importance to know how to layer your clothing to provide you with maximum comfort in freezing cold temperatures. Layering is quite an easy task. If you don’t know how to, there are a ton of online guides available that’ll help you through the process.
Layering will not only help you keep your warmth during freezing temperatures, but it’ll also help you regulate your overall temperature much more efficiently. With layering, you can put up or get rid of clothing according to the weather, so you never have to feel too cold or hot during any type of weather.
15. Keep your Head Warm
You’ve layered your clothing and protected yourself from extreme cold and other weather conditions. But you’ve probably forgotten about a vital body part that many people also forget about. That part is your head.
As you go inside the sleeping bag, your head and the face are the only exposed part of your body. You can wear a merino wool cap to keep your head warm and cozy. For extreme weather, when a wool cap won’t cut it, you can go for a wool facemask.
16. Enter in your Sleeping Bag Dry
Try to enter inside your sleeping bag with a dry cloth and warm feet. If your clothes get wet for some reason, it’ll be almost impossible for you to get properly warmed up.
You can change your clothing or dry them up in fire to give you maximum comfort. Also, take off your sock and give your feet some breathing before entering inside the sleeping bag. Once the blood gets flowing, you’ll have warm feet in no time.
17. Sleeping Pad
Sleeping pads are an excellent supplement for your sleeping bag if you really want the maximum amount of comfort and warmth. However, your body weight compresses the insulation in your sleeping bag, reducing its effectiveness to keep you warm at night when it’s chilly outside.
That’s where sleeping pads can come in handy. They go between you and the sleeping bag and work as a good quality insulator. Partially inflate sleeping pads and keep them on the bottom portion of the sleeping bag inside your hammock.
18. Keeping a Hot Water Bottle Inside
Water bottles can be a lifesaver when no insulating is helping, and you don’t have enough clothing to give the warmth you need.
Before you go to sleep, heat up an insulated water bottle with a bit of boiling water. Stash the water bottle near your feet, or keep it in the middle – according to your preference. Even on the coldest winter evenings, this will keep you toasty.
19. Under Quilts are Important
Under quilts, like hammocks and sleeping pads, are an important part of your winter hammock camping gear arsenal. They remain beneath the hammock and provide you with proper insulation from cold winds and freezing weather.
Underquilts are exceptionally good at blocking the wind blows through the nylon of your hammock. It’ll save you from cold winter winds so you can rest easy. Ensure that the surface area of your under quilts is at least as large as the surface area of your hammock before purchasing.
20. Top Quilts Will Keep You Warm
The top quilt is a crucial piece of your camping gear that many people forget or even ignore in the first place. If you’re looking for maximum protection against cold during hammock camping, a top quilt is what you’re looking for. It keeps the wind off your body, providing you with the insulation and warmth you’re looking for.
Same as the bottom one, look for top quilts that will fit or extend for a bit over your sleeping bag.
21. Place a Tarp Above
Placing a tarp above your hammock has quite a lot of benefits. Firstly a tarp can efficiently block out excess winds, rain, and snow. Secondly, a tarp can help in keeping the heat inside the hammock.
The best place to plant a tarp is to keep it as low as possible, closer to the hammock. Attach the tarp around the tree, right above where you placed your camp. Use strong ropes to secure the tarp in place, keeping it closer to the hammock. It’ll give you the best performance.
22. Use a Pee Bottle
It’s very hard to get out till morning once you’re inside your sleeping bag and hammock. But what if you need to come out for sanitary reasons? The easy answer is to get a pee bottle for both men and women. It might sound gross at first, but it’s a very practical solution.
There are also different sanitary options available for the campers. You might go to that route if you want to.
23. Keep a Close Eye on the Weather
Knowing the weather is especially important for winter hammock campings. Blizzard conditions with heavy wind and snow might be a few minutes away. Before you know it, you could get overwhelmed with harsh weather conditions that’ll make both your life and camping experience quite troublesome.
A large rain fly with a strong rope attached to it is necessary to defend against any unfavorable weather conditions.
Heavy snow can get trapped on top of your hammock. When the snow melts, it’ll make you colder, and you’ll have a hard time against the cold, snowy water. Also, the small fly can get blown away if you don’t secure it properly. Sometimes, it can get torn apart from heavy wind. Large and robust flies don’t have the same tendencies; they can last for a longer time.
24. Appropriate Clothing
Depending on the situation, you might need extra insulation to keep yourself warm during hammock camping. There are mainly two options you can look out for.
The first one is the fleece bag liner. It is a liner dedicated to your sleeping bag’s outer side that can add an extra bit of warmth. It is also very comfortable and breathable. So, you’ll be very comfortable with this.
The second one is a wool blanket. Wool blankets are a great option to cocoon yourself in when you can’t get enough warmth. Just don’t bring too many blankets, as they can overwhelm your insulation system.
25. Pack Smartly
A thing many people neglect is packing. When you go camping alone, you must focus on packing as efficiently as you can. You can take your tarps, quilts, blankets, and other winter clothing within your hammock. Just arrange everything systematically and wrap them with your hammock. Your hammock should be large enough to cover them all.
You can buy most of your camping stuff from Amazon, Bestbuy, or any other online store. They are readily available, and if you buy them together – they’re likely to provide you with a good discount.
26. Take a Water Filter
There are many small water filters available. They are easy to use and store and can provide you with excellent service for a long time.
Water is essential, especially during winter times. Taking your personal filtration device with you means that you don’t have to think about water. Just get them from any source near you, filter them through, and you’re good to go.
27. Carry Enough Soaps And Hand Sanitizers
In the forest, you’ll find a wide variety of dirt, bacteria, and fungus. Furthermore, in light of the current pandemic, it’s even more critical than previously to maintain personal hygiene.
To avoid getting sick when eating, make sure you have access to hand sanitizers on hand. In the long run, it will prevent you from numerous illnesses.
28. Get a GPS
Navigation is a vital thing during camping, especially if you decide to go deep into the wilderness. Keeping a site map along with a GPS will quickly let you go through the site and not get lost during the return.
Many GPS devices and trackers these days are available at a very low cost. You can also use your smartphone for this specific purpose.
29. Bring in Cutting Equipment
You should definitely bring in some cutting equipment with you for different purposes. You can easily cut off ropes, carve into the trees, chop off foods, and do many other things.
Swiss all-purpose knives are perfect for camping. They last for a long while, provide you with different cutting options, and come with safety options.
30. Avoid Blizzard at any Cost
Blizzards are the most disastrous natural phenomenon that you can get yourself in during hammock camping. If you’re not careful, blizzards can make you go into a life or death situation. The best way to get ahead of the blizzard is not to get stuck into one at all. Closely monitor the weather around your living place and pay close attention to any sort of weather alerts broadcast on the radio.
If there are any forecasts related to a blizzard, the best decision is to call the trip off. You can always come back later once the weather stabilizes.
31. Look out for Avalanches
Apart from blizzards, one crucial and deadly winter scenario that you need to stay away from is the avalanche.
If you’re chilling on a hammock and suddenly there’s an avalanche, you’ll be in a perilous situation. Not only will you be buried deep within the snow, but you’ll have a hard time getting out. The probability of you living to tell the story another day is very thin.
To avoid avalanches, what you can do is avoid setting up your camp on the mountainside where snow has just formed recently. You can also consult local rangers and experts on choosing the perfect location for your camping spot.
32. Look for Snow-filled Branches
Look out for any snow-filled branches above your hammock when you set out a camp. Excessive snow deposits might break the branch, and it might lose its integrity.
A broken-down branch on top of your hammock can’t be a good thing. Your hammock might get damaged, you can get hurt, and a lot of things can go wrong. So look for any branches beforehand before setting out the camping.
33. Places to Avoid During Camping
Locations are the most critical decision you need to make during your camping trip. This decision alone makes or breaks your entire camping experience.
Some of the common areas to avoid while you choose your camping spots are:
- Flash flood zones
- Open windy areas
- Basins in the landscape
- Cliff faces and cliff sides
- Dangerous terrains
- Site very far from ranger zones
34. Take a Tent for Safety
Don’t be afraid to call out your hammock camping off if it gets too dangerous or complicated. The main difference between an ordinary camper and an experienced one is that the experienced ones know their limits. Whenever the weather looks rough, or you might be having difficulty adjusting, it’s always better to call it off and try it again later.
If you’re determined to set up your camping in a challenging situation, take up a tent instead because tents are way more weatherproof and can protect you from unfavorable circumstances. Never let your ego come in the way when your safety and wellbeing are in question.
35. Take First Aid Kits
First aid kits are not always necessary, but when they are, they can be the difference between life and death.
Take some essential medicines, some bandages, stitching tools, ointments, and salines. Keep them stored in a sturdy water-resistant bag, and you’re good to go.
36. Keep Others Informed about your Trip
Whenever you plan to go out in the wilderness for a camping trip, you should definitely take some time to let other people know about your plan ahead of time.
It has two different benefits that will help you in successful camping.
Firstly, it’s always better to camp with some people than to camp completely alone. Taking a friend or family member will make it a whole lot easier for you to manage every single aspect of the camping trip.
Secondly, regardless of whether you’re bringing someone with you or not, informing others will help you get help from the rescue team if anything goes wrong.
Especially if you’re planning on doing any winter hammock camping, don’t skip this step because of the many hazards that could arise.
37. Clean up the Campsite Before you Leave
After you’re done with your camping, it’s important to keep the site pristine and free from any sort of artificial junk that’ll ruin the campsite.
You should be especially aware of plastic bags, metal cans, and other non-organic components. Put them in a plastic bag, don’t throw them away in the wild. And before you leave, take the plastic bag with you.
Winter hammock camping can be quite an arduous task if you don’t know how to. It is not for beginners in camping because this type of camping comes with a whole lot of safety issues and health concerns.
But with our winter hammock camping tips, we believe that you won’t have that much of a hard time enjoying nature in your hammock during the winter. The main goal is to keep yourself warm during the night and the day and ensure your safety – that’ll be all. Happy camping!
Pavel is a true outdoor enthusiast with a passion for nature and a love for the great outdoors. He started Outdoor Fun Mag to introduce people from all walks of life to everything the outdoors has to offer and hopes that you’ll find something that excites you every time you stop by.
When not exploring nature Pavel works as an Electronics Engineer — a job that gets him thinking and makes sure he pays attention to all those fine details. This means that when he leaves work for the week, there’s no better contrast than the calmness and serenity of the natural world. By giving Pavel the chance to switch off and relax, his time spent camping and hiking allows him to feel refreshed.
In the future, Pavel plans to explore new areas and corners of the world with nothing more than a backpack and a tent. It’s an authentic way of seeing new places that allow him to de-stress and enjoy life, and he wants you to make the most of your life too.