View Full Version : Pad Modification for Hammock

Wander Yonder
01-13-2003, 11:58
I just modified a Ridge Rest Deluxe for use in my hammock.

Since I am short, I do not need the full length of the pad. So I cut 3" off each end and duct taped the pieces to the side of the pad to cover my shoulders down past my elbows when I am in the hammock.

The duct tape stuck fast to the foam and it looks like it is going to work great. Also, I can fold the "wings" in and roll up the pad without having the extra 6" sticking out.

01-13-2003, 23:15
Nifty, keep you from rolling off it. How do you fold it though? I'm imagining something like a Z rest, which folds into an accordian.

Wander Yonder
01-14-2003, 01:43
Redbeard, the wings are so when the hammock cradles around me I don't get cold spots. Since I have the Clark instead of the Hennessy, I don't sleep as flat so the pad never moves out from under me.

The Ridgerest Deluxe is a very bulky pad. I got it because it has an R-3.1 rating which was more warmth for the weight than an inflatable pad. I just roll it up.

I do wish I could find a pad wide enough to protect my shoulders with at least an R-3 rating, that didn't weigh more than the Ridgerest and would be more packable. I really don't like the bulk! It rolls up to 20"x8".

01-19-2003, 06:58
"I do wish I could find a pad wide enough to protect my shoulders with at least an R-3 rating, that didn't weigh more than the Ridgerest and would be more packable. I really don't like the bulk! It rolls up to 20"x8"."

there is another option.
I am a recent A-sym owner and section hike the AT year around. If you are venturing onto the AT anywhere from March onward you will find temps that can go as low as ZERO! This past weekend we had an outside (of the tent) low of 4.6F.......

check out this link:


this is the solution for cool/cold/but freezing temps and hammock usage...ditch the pad and get an 'underquilt'....it is obviously more packable, has a higher R than 3 and will protect your shoulders!

since at this point in time you will have to sew one yourself you determine how much insulation/bulk/ you need.
I have ordered 12 oz. of Primaloft to construct mine and when done the underquilt should weigh in at 16-18 ounces:
Primaloft 12oz.
Outer sil-nyl cover 3oz.
Top aluminized sil-nyl 2oz.
Toggle/clip 1oz.

I plan on using a Nunatak Arc Alpinist 22oz.
and the A-sym 31 oz.

Tot.package: 71oz or 4.4 pounds which I dont think is so bad for shelter this comfortable and versatile (lounger,seat,vestibule)
There is another 5oz optional for yet more warmth:


He has taken a Thermolite blanket and made a cover for the bug netting. This move addresses the fundamental of heat-that it rises and the realization that the bug netting of the Hennessy A-sym (and other models) is hardly needed in winter. I plan to capitolize on this technique (already recieved the Thermolite from Campmor) but plan on enhancing the entire setup by continuing the Thermolite toward the ground but connecting with the other side of Thermolite creating a cone that points to the ground. This cone will:
1.create a dead air space below the hammock increasing the thermal efficiency of the underquilt
2. stop venturis below the hammock which as you may recall from physics are areas of super increased flow of liquids where a pressure gradient is found (like when air/wind crosses over a curved surface-like the bottom of the hammock
3. create a pocket to place items in-like boots-which will act as ballast to keep the cone from swaying to much in the wind.

We have discussed the ideal of using panels of sil-nyl, draping from either side of the hammock to the ground to create a dead air space but found these problems:
1. you never know how far the ground will be from the hammock
2. if the panels are attached to the ground (either staked or weighted with ballast) the panel/hammock system then acts like a sail and fights the wind

Out inverted cone model negates the above problems but time will tell if it is efficacious.....something tells me that with underquilt deployed there will be times-like when it is 10 or below, that the dead air zone of the under hammock cone will be most desireable....

OK,hope this motivates you to pass on the bulky closed cell pads and get started on an underquilt!

Wander Yonder
01-19-2003, 10:26
Simva, you have given me much to think about.

As I seem to have a lot of trouble designing and making things, I am leery of trying to create an under blanket. I wonder if one of the more inexpensive down sleeping bags could be toggled on to make the underquilt? If so, what rating would work on the bottom to keep me warm at 0 degrees?

I am almost brain-dead when it comes to math/physics, etc. I have the extra-large rainfly for my Clark which comes down to the bottom of the hammock and can be staked out to the ground instead of up, if desired. If the hammock is hanging so I am very close to the ground (say 6" off of it), then the rain fly would also have about that much clearance, and would be in the cone shape shown in the second picture (if I am understanding it right).

I had experimented with hanging it that low so that if it were really cold I could rake up leaves under the tarp and hammock and create a warm insulating nest. That would work great where dry leaves were available, but wouldn't work if the leaves were wet. Also, using the leaves would eliminate needing a pad altogether.

(I have raked up a deep bed of leaves and put my sleeping bag directly on it before and been toasty in freezing temperatures. Only problem is that by morning the leaves are crushed and the rocks dug into my back. Hanging the hammock in the leaf bed would eliminate that problem.)

I guess what I am asking is for a way to make the underquilt using something I can buy (not terribly expensive) instead of having to make it, which would probably be an expensive disaster!

01-19-2003, 23:03
Looks Awesome ! Obviously very well thought out. I put together a fleece sleeve for a pad today that I intend to use this weekend. It ties into my bivy / bag cover so it won't slide around. Had I seen your project a few weeks ago I may have tried something similar. Thanks for sharing it !

BTW you neet to mow your yard :)


01-19-2003, 23:21
I wish that were my yard in Seattle but that pic was posted at Backpackinglight (I think) from another HH user who is attacking the cold weather issue.
Once I saw the pic I was enamored by the design. In his text description at that site he kinda describes what he did....these things I gleened which are most important:
1. be in the hammock when someone takes the measurements
2. notice that from one side of the quilt to the other where the slit ends (foot end) there is elastic-this allows you to pull the quilt toward the head end, enter the slit, lift up your legs and the slit will automatically close per Hennessy genius and the quilt will automatically snap back into position under your feet
3. you cannot buy the toggles, 'not frozon' made them himself out of plastic
4. he told me in an e-mail that the Thermolite Emergency Blanket (what he used for the side that abuts the hammock material proper) is not ideal-he never told me why not.....I have priced alumized sil-nyl from Warmlite---25$/yard !!!! ouch,,,,so currently I am debating whether to use the Thermolite or cough up the money for the alum. sil-nyl
5. it is important to be in the hammock to get the measurements
because you will want a 'differential' cut of the outer (material facing the ground) and inner (material contacting the bottom of the hammock), so you cannot create a cold spot
6. Realize that the issue of cold spots around your shoulders with this setup are negated
7. The issue of 24 or 26 or 28 inch pad is negated by the underquilt and how to carry such a behemoth of pad rolled up on your pack.
8. There is debate (in my mind and others) concerning the underquilt about condensation, I will use an aluminized fabric
so the condesation will not penetrate into my Primaloft insulation (which is sandwiched between the two layers of sil-nyl)....this is a non-issue for me because when it is cold I use a whole body vapor barrier in my sleeping bag because:
1. it will prevent the condensation problem before it even happens
2. it keeps my bag dry and clean
3. it doubles as my pack liner
4. it keeps my hydrated overnight
5. it keeps my tent dry and soon my hammock shroud (the Thermolite will probably be used for this shroud that covers the netting and forms the dead air space cone below)
6. The whole body VBL is 4oz., it is made and sold by our friend
Kurt at Wanderlust for 25$
7. a VBL can add 10-20 degrees (or more) to your sleeping bag,
you are crazy not to carry one if winter/late fall/early Spring camping since it is an excellent pack liner as well!

Concerning using an old sleeping bag for an underquilt I say why not! that is why I posted the link to the cheap Primaloft bag....I just wanted sil-nyl as the bottom fabric for incendental splashes that may occur--this is a non issue to when the inverted cone is deployed below the hammock..

The idea of suspending the hammock low to the ground, even nestled into needles or duff is a good one and alreay posited by SGT ROK.....even setting up the hammock on the ground in really realy cold weather....a sound idea

01-20-2003, 00:26
when you can why not get out a little used sleeping bag
and suspend it under the hammock....would be a good experiment
to convince you on a cold night
you could also get a cheap roll of aluminum foil from Big Lots (or the equivalent in your area) and sandwiche it between the sleeping bag and the bottom of the hammock.....

in the end I can see two quilts-or maybe one quilt that can accept another quilt-one for winter and one for spring/fall, both using the same toggle system and the same attachment points on the hammock

I am also toying with the idea of Velcro along the junction of the bug netting with the hammock body and corresponding velcro on a piece of Pertex so I can pop on the Pertex panels over the bug netting closing it in to heat robbing wind....the Pertex is breathable and a small amount of netting can be left at the foot and head apex to allow ventilation......
of course the panels to cover the netting (again with the belief that heat rises! and that any serious use of the HH should also consider enclosing the netting tent-like) should be measured while the HH is underload-i.e. get in the thing!

01-20-2003, 10:53
Ok, I thought that was a pic of the quilt you were working on. I'd like to see the project quilt you are working on too. I wouldn't think that toggles would be a problem at all. There is an electronic surplus poutlet not far from me that has plastic rod from time to time that could be made into toggles. The toggle Idea seems to be a very practical way to secure something beneath the hammock. As far as a reflector goes have you considered using a GI combat casualty blanket ? The whole blanket weighs in at 9oz but you wouldn't need all of it. It certainly would be cheaper and it is durable.


SGT Rock
01-20-2003, 11:48
I think at some point a hammock hiker will have to decide at what point are they carrying too much stuff to make the hammock work in cold weather. It is an individual question that each individual must answer.

Ao far I've found if I can handle it with just a pad and my sunscreen (26* F. so far) then I would rather set my hammock on the ground. I don't know if I would ever want to start hanging quilts under my hammock, but who knows :D

Ed Speer has a good example of how he does it, some of which wouldn't work in a Hennessy. Mainly in consists of three differnet thicknesses of pad, a quilt, and his pea pod stuff. The last line in really cold weather is a pad under you, a quilt over you, and the pea pod around the whole thing.

Trail Yeti
01-20-2003, 13:20
how would a vapor barrier bag increase/decrease heat gain/loss if you used it and a pad underneath you in your hammock?

01-20-2003, 22:26
for the underquilt I am drawing the line at 1 pound
for the panels to cover the bug netting the line is 6oz.

so the totals are:
Arc Alpinist 22oz.
HH A-sym 31oz.
underquilt 16oz.
pertex panels for bug netting 6oz.
tot=75oz 4.6pounds

not too bad to get to 10 degrees HOPEFULLY

01-20-2003, 22:41
the weight of the top surface of the quilt I am working on can't weigh more than 3 oz.....that's hard! my goal is no more than a pound for the whole quilt and that's with 12oz. of Primaloft, so realistically it will probably end up 18 oz.
12oz insulation
2 oz. top
3oz. bottom
1oz fitting
a pipe dream I know

and I can already see another quilt for later in Spring

01-20-2003, 22:44
just to let you know
I am using mitten hooks a round plastic circles for the suspension of the quilt-six total, 3 on eash side

01-21-2003, 23:00
Keeping the weight down is pretty doggone daunting. I'm going to get some fabric in the next week or so to start on my quilt. I'm debating wheter or not I will be hammocking this weekend or not considering the forecast. A predicted low of 14 degrees this weekend doesn't sound like much fun in a hammock.


SGT Rock
01-21-2003, 23:08
It won't kill you, but maybe you will figure out what works best.

1. Use a pad and reflector (it ain't really a radiant heat reflector, but nevermind).

2. Eat some high fat food like olive oil on beans and rice, then you will also learn why we call it a fart sack in the Army.

3. Heat up some water and bring it to bead with you.

4. Wear a hat.

5. Have extra clothing and pads available to experiment with.

6. Think warm thoughts.

01-21-2003, 23:14
I have only been in the dammed thing twice but the comfort compared to the ground is just unreal....mentally I was remembering not too long ago when I HAD to stay in the shelters when I was finishing off the Smokies-it sucked sleeping on those hard ass platforms-was never really comfortable even with a thermarest and z-rest.
14 degree should not deter us and I am confident that the underquilt is the answer. I am also certain Tom H. is working on this as as soon as I have spent 200$ on my quilt he will offer one for probably over half that!
So good luck with your quilt.
My girlfriend has a digital camera and as soon as all my parts and pieces are here I will look into sharin the pics with you and Rock.

01-21-2003, 23:47
Simva - I look forward to seeing the pictures !. Rock - flatulence is a good way to stay warm :) There is nothing like a farting contest to build camaraderie. I generally sleep with something on my head in the cold anyhow (nomex hood) and I generally wear midweight polypro. I'm probably going to go the bivy route for this trip. I was looking forward to showing off my homeade snakeskins but at least I'll get to see how my Cat stove works in the teens.


01-22-2003, 00:44
tell us about your snakeskins, not that I want to get out of 20$ to TH but why not make your own....I was trying to think of something already out there that would do the same thing-have you seen the covers umbrellas sometimes come in-that sort of thing....
Speaking of head covers, I am salivating over the Nunatak Down Hood...I am waiting for an Arc Alpinist from them, when I see it I may save up for the hood but so far my cheapo balaclava has done the trick.

01-22-2003, 01:13
I made the snakeskins out of some waterproof nylon I had laying around. I basically made both sides 6' long and sewed a tube which was tapered towards one end. The material I had on had on hand was not the lightest in the world but it seems to have worked out pretty good. After seeing Sgt' Rocks pictures of the snake skins it was pretty easy to duplicate them. I pretty much estimated the dimensions and they were pretty close to rigt on the money. Something I may add is a plastic tie wrap in each large end to make sliding the tubes easier.

I need good headgear as I am follicly challenged :)


01-23-2003, 05:29
sharon your not the only one to have trouble makin stuff, I got eight stitches in my pinky to prove it:eek:

I ve been working with a foam/fleece version that has been very encouraging. my first try came out about two lbs. (didnt like the cut tho) The foam is low density so it squishes up real nice and weighs very little.

for try two, im going to use polyester instead of fleece and rework the fit some. I am going to use thin bungee cord to attach it so that some stretch will be allowed.

Unlike sgt rock who lives way down south in a nice warm climate Im up here in the north and it is below freezing at night for almost half the year. I just cant wait that long to go hiking again!

01-23-2003, 11:29
i bet tonight even SGT ROCK will feel Jack Frost's nip....in upper north eastern TN at 10 this am it was 5.1, tomorow I'm expecting 10 below zero-far from a record. but I'm less than 2.5 miles as the crow flies from Roan High Knob

SGT Rock
01-23-2003, 11:34
I's supposed to get down to 19* F, I hjave the new hamock already set up out back for the test :D

01-25-2003, 03:02
package arrived from OWF, all is there but I am still awaiting the aluminized sil-nyl.....the first package had a 2.5week turnaround, not to bad since I use checks and not a credit card, but I can at least start laying things out and decide whether to 'batten' the Primaloft or use the yarn trick per Jardine. I have decided to wait for the alumized sil-nyl and not use the space blanket thinking the sil-nyl would be stronger.

01-25-2003, 17:46
Hey Simva....

I've been following your discussions about your "underquilt". Also checked out the link above. Not being a HH owner myself this is probably one of those DUMB questions. Instead of attaching the underquilt temporarily..why not sew or seal it onto the bottom of the hammock? Why Primaloft instead of Down?
As I'm just down-the-road from you I'd be interested in seeing your setup when it's completed. Maybe that will firm-up my mind on which way to go....groundpounder or flyboy......so to speak!! :D

01-26-2003, 05:23
In answer to your question skyking having a down underside built into the hammock during manufacturing would be ideal but I havent seen anyone offer it. attaching a built-in down underside after manufacturing might be doable on some hammocks but not on the henny owing to its very closed structure which makes sewing almost impossible unless you disassemble it first.

primaloft doesnt require a lot of skill or practice to work with as it comes in sheets unlike down which needs baffels and so on to work correctly. primaloft is also a lot cheaper then down so it can be sacrificed in the cause of science :D

because of the experimental nature of what we are doing I am building my prototypes out of common polyester fabric and open cell foam untill I work out the correct dimensions and attachment points. If I come up with a design that works I will consider making it out of sil-nylon and down but untill then I would only be wasting my money. a complete prototype only costs me maybe ten bucks to make assuming I started from scratch while a down blanket can cost over a hundred for materials alone.

I hope that clarifies the matter....

01-26-2003, 20:40
Hey SkyKing, where are you?????
anyway, not sewn on permanently for variability, when it gets warm ---like when I am fininishing GA this Summer, I wont be taking the underquilt....also the underquilt I am getting materials for now will ultimately be modular...picture 2 or 3 quilts, snap on one or two depending on Temp....
Primaloft is my choice for the reasons another poster mention, plus I love the stuff, have an anorak,pants,pullover,sleeping bag of course, mits, booties, etc. of the stuff and have used it for years, to me it is incredibly warm for the 'loft' and it not a worry when wet (obvious)....
just remember the beauty of the design Not Frozen came up with, that I am emulating is the elastic from one side to the other where you enter the hammock...it pushes back as you enter then snaps back once you pull your legs up into the HH......
I have recieved all material from OWF except the aluminized sil-nyl...once that is here I can begin to measure for the unit!

01-27-2003, 22:21
Simva....I live in the sticks about 3 mi due N of the I-40/I-81 split. Lived in Johnson City and Elizabethton in the 80's..worked at TI. Oh....forgot the little island in Watagua that was my weekend home from march thru october! :D
I like your modular besign....take only what ya need. Waiting for next "Underquilt" installment. ;)

01-28-2003, 00:25
Watauga Lake's island? the one across from the picnic area run by TVA? we used to swim from the dam to that island and back...fun place, sea kayak camped there last Halloween with the full moon-I had too much Jose!
Did you ever know Karen Bradford....I dropped her off in your area, aren't you near a I-81 rest stop?
glad to know you are close...

01-31-2003, 00:56
when all the stuff is here and the quilting has ended i will post and arrange a meeting time so you can see. My best friends wife is a master of sewing and she said she would sew the underquilt if I play pipes for her son's class-I agreed and will play for them next Friday when I get off...hopefully the last piece I need will be here by then and the quilt completed within 2 weeks-I'm hoping!

Hammock Hanger
01-31-2003, 09:47
I have made one out of an old sleeping bag. I will test it out next week on my Swannee River Hike. This being FL it may not be cold enough... Then again we have been having freezing weather at night for a few weeks now.

Let ya know what I think of it after the trip. Hammock Hanger

01-31-2003, 16:53
Cant wait to hear what you discover.....
next week when i get off i will be placing my HH in a tube tent that Moonbow made for me and placing an older Campmor down bag between the bottom of the tube and the HH..it is rectangular and has a zipper so when unzipped will cover the sqare footage below the HH...the tube tent also has a drawcord on one end so I can cinch it down....you will report back before me so good luck!