View Full Version : Hammock Insulating Sleeping Pad

10-06-2002, 15:00
I just had the opportunity to spend 30 minutes in my new Hennessy Hammock in 50-degree weather. I was trying to stay on top of a deflated 3/4 Ultra Light Thermarest in a 15-degree down mummy. Everything was fine if I stay on my back and on the sleeping pad. Unfortunately, I'm a side sleeper, and as soon as I rolled I fell off the pad the pushed my knees and butt against the walls of the hammock. It was amazing at how quickly anything that wasn't insulted got cold; literally less than a minute.

Per comments on Sgt. Rock's http://hikinghq.net, I'm about to purchase (on rush order since I'm leaving this weekend) a large 1/4" Evasote pad from http://owareusa.com/sleep.html. While I hate to give up my Thermarest since I also plan to sleep in shelters occasionally, this pad is at least wide enough at 40" that I can double it to half an inch.

Does anyone have any other lightweight suggestions for hammock insultation or setup to help me get through possible 30-degree nights next week? Should I consider wearing fleece as well? :confused:

SGT Rock
10-06-2002, 15:56
I tried using a fleece blanket with the sunscreen as reccomended by some other Hennessy users and found it didn't work. I've just got a new pad from Wal-Mart of all places. It's called an Ozark Trails Eggcrate pattern pad. It's 24" wide which is why I got it, but the surface also is similar to that rubbery stuff you can put on your kitchen shelves to make them grip better. So far test results are good, but then again Louisiana hasn't been cold yet.

I like to have extra clothing ready in case I do get cold, so wearing fleece might be a good idea.

10-06-2002, 16:08
Kerosene, if your in a 15 degree goose down mummy bag I don't think your have any problems at all with temps in the 30's.

Take along some fleece just in case, but I doubt if you'll need it.

I'll be doing the same thing next week. I also have a 15 degree goose mummy for my clark. I don't foresee any problems.

I survived a couple of bad nights in the 20's with a crappy 25 degree bag. I used a survival blanket. I can't say I was warm, but I was still breathing the next day.

There's a bag called a Big Agnes that has a pocket for an inflatable pad inside of the bag.

I'd like to touch base after we both get back to see how it went.

10-06-2002, 16:28
I got one of the Oware 1/4 inch pads a couple months ago and it has its pluses and minuses. The main thing I didn't like about it was that it made it more difficult to get arranged in the hammock due to a surface that tended to grip harder than the other pads I have used. The Oware pad also tended to develop wrinkles where you are laying in the hammock and tended to suck up water (sweat) resulting in often packing a slighly wet pad in the morning. On the plus side it did come up around my shoulders once I got it arranged so I did not need my usual extra clothes to pad the area by my shoulders.

With respect to what I use now - a cheap blue half inch closed cell 20 inch by 72 inch pad from Walmart for temps above 40 deg F and a Thermarest Guidelite or LE full length for when the temps are below 40 deg F (LE for when it might get under 30 deg F). For insulation around my shoulders I stuff some fleece clothing or wear a thick fleece pullover.

As for sleeping style - I found that I could adjust to sleeping on my back in a hammock since I am not really laying flat - my hips are somewhat flexed (even in the diagonal position in the Hennessy) which relieves the tension in my lower back enough to be comfortable.

SGT Rock
10-06-2002, 16:49
Ditto to HOI on back sleeping. the more I use a hammock, the less I sleep any other way in one than on my back.

10-08-2002, 20:59
Thanks for your help and suggestions. I've ordered the Oware pad and I'm thinking of lugging along a pair of fleece pants, just in case. I should've done an overnight in the hammock before going out for a week, but I'll survive. Can't wait to head out this weekend!

Dan Bowen
10-28-2002, 18:21
I know this probably falls under the "stupid asked questions"catagory,but I can't figure something out.I have never seen one up close but I understand you enter the hennessy hammock from underneth.If you use a full lenght pad, will it get in the way of you entering and exiting?Can someone explain how to get in and out with a full length pad?I like the whole hammock idear,I think I may get one,just don't want to give up my long pad.Thanks:confused:

10-29-2002, 12:12
My 60" long pad overhung the entrance to the hammock by a foot or so. I ended up simply folding it over and sitting on top of it as I entered, then pushing it back down over the entrance when after I had scooted up. I didn't find that I needed a full length pad to insulate my feet however. Apparently there wasn't enough pressure to compress the down.

10-29-2002, 14:46
A friend who lives down the lake from me (Check it out Ripshin
Lake on www.topozone.com, type it in the first search box you see
then look for the AT as it crosses Little Rock Knob 2 miles away
from me and the Roan), anyway my neighbor down the lake just painted his house...being nosey (sp?) and needed a paint job myself I ask him how much he responded 'round 8k'....well his house is smaller than mine and I did recently paint my house for less than $600..so what gives? he used a paint for insulation not color, his old paint wasnt even that old...search for 'ceremic paints' and learn of the new technology that weighs next to abs. nothing....a layer of paint got him almost an extra 10R in his housing insulation, imagine what 1/2 once could do for the pads the hammock hangers need..I tried to post a link but as fate would have it my comp. says I am out of free memory.
OK, found a link to a comp/retailer or whatnot that sells ceramic paint:

12-04-2002, 10:12
Have you all seen this site?


The guy (Ed Speer) is selling his own brand of hammocks and accessories, a book on hammock camping, as well as offering tips and make-your-own directions. He sells a sleeping bag that goes around the hammock and can be worn as a robe as well. Maybe you can do without a foam pad in cold weather if the sleeping bag is outside the hammock so the insulation isn't crushed. Might be alot of interior space to warm up, though.

SGT Rock
12-04-2002, 10:37
Speer hamocks are interesting. He also now has a hammock camping newsletter, and in a good spirit also mentions other camping hammock manufacturers.

http://www.hammockcamping.com/Newsletters/Dec 2002.htm

12-25-2002, 02:04
after much thought on the hammock/pad/cold weather thing I believe that the answer to many problems is a sleeve on the bottom of the hammock, maybe out of sil-nyl, maybe better out of something breathable, maybe out of mesh.....
of course we love the Hennessey Hammock and therein lies a small problem-the opening on the bottom of the hammock, but there is a solution.
Picture the hammock from the bottom. picture a rectangular panel of mesh from the head area to the opening of the slit...and an opening into the mesh panel perpendicular to the slit from one side of the hammock to the other....this is where the pad is inserted..and if what i have read is correct then most of the insulation compression is from the slit, i.e. from our buttocks up.....and now optional mesh panels, also rectangular on either side of the slit....
So three mesh panels added to the bottom of the Hennessey Hammock and three pieces of closed cell foam.
Granted the foam for the two pads adjacent to the slit can be much thinner since it has been pointed out that the legs/feet compress the insulation of our sleeping bags the least.
Your thoughts please SGTROCK and DebW.......
Also too bad once can't get therm-a-rest pads in these dimensions!
Regardless I think this is a viable option for this very important reason.
Say I did spend the major dollars for the custom Feathered Friends and then decide to use it in your basic tent, or better yet say it turns out to be a major bitch getting into it after the pad is inserted and the entire gizmo is in the hammock.
This idea kinda mirrors the Clark (I think it is) which has the pockets under the hammock but using a mesh panel the size I mentioned above the slit up to the head end of the hammock would give good continuity.
Now here is a debatable point I want you two in on....how wide should the pad be? 24 inches seems like the number I keep hearing--and since Santa isnt here yet I dont know exactly how wide the hammock is...so before I have someone sew on the mesh, since the pad can go on the bottom, is 24 optimal or is 26 better?
Enough for now, you can probably tell it is slow tonight in the hospital!

SGT Rock
12-25-2002, 10:48
Actually your under the hammock pockets have already been done by Clark Hammock. The way you climb into a Clark makes these pockets very handy for stuff, but the best part is in cold weather, you could stuff them with spare clothing, a cut up pad like you mention, dry leaves if you don't want to carry extra weight (good luck finding dry leaves in the spring on the AT), or even newspaper.

I did a review of the Clark Ultralight where it only has one pocket and reccomended changing to mesh. Besides using it to stuff insulation, you could also put your extra gear in there. Your backpack (depending on modle) could actually serve as a piece of insulation if you oriented the pocket in the right way and made one big enough. True it wouldn't be as accessable as a Clark pocket while your in there, but don't put the stuff you need under you, take it inside. Another benifit to mesh is damp stuff would have air circulation to it.

Your idea of sil-nylon pockets however I would frown on. I looked at attaching the Gearskin to the hammock and found that the dissimilar materials would have different stretch qualities. The end result would have been either tearing the hamock, tearing the Gearskin, or ripping out seams. I thought about using velcro instead, but the gearskin is so narrow it would be hard for it to always be perfectly centered. Now I just stuff it into it's own mesh pocket to use as a pillow or to store it inside a stuff sack.

I say try the mesh pockets, sounds like a winner.

12-04-2004, 12:25
i am using a pad i bought at walmart $14.99,it is 24 x 72 in.i cut it down to
54 in.long,now 24x54,it is .25 closed cell with egg carton open cell foam on the other side,it works great,very light.very comfortable in my hammock,even comfortable on ground or in a trail shelter,great multiuse pad.:bse :jump :banana

12-04-2004, 16:27
I've got the same pad from oware. The pad does cup nicely providing some extra insulation and wind block on the sides. And while it wrinkles as mentioned above, I found the wrinkles tended to go away if I was careful to smooth out the creases as I got on it. The pad does not slide or move around in the Hennessey...which is a big benny given everything I've read and heard about others' use of pads in hammocks.

On the trail, with no sleeping bag, I've been down to 28F wearing an insulated jacket and pants set with polypros. I've done 23F in the backyard switching out the polypros in favor of a set of Smartwools. Again, no bag or quilt but I think I've hit the limit with that system and particularly that pad.

On two occasions (including the backyard experiment) I covered the oware pad with a very light fleece throw (Campmor). Both times I did not experience the wet shoulder/back in the morning that I did when I didn't cover the pad (only did three hours in the backyard). I think I got the idea from Sgt Rock's site...the throw cost another 13oz, a total of 20oz in combo with the pad.


12-04-2004, 16:30
I have the Target 24" wide blue closed cell pad, for less than $10. I've trimmed off the corners to make it fit the Speer Hammock. It works amazingly well.

12-04-2004, 19:59
I'm curious to know more about the Target pad (since I have one). Can anyone give a temperature range estimate for it? I'm a little afraid to take the hammock out with temps dropping into the 20s at night. Will the Target pad keep me warm in the 20s? Thanks.

12-04-2004, 20:35
Speer's hammock book suggests a 15F rated Bag and a 2 inch pad for 20-30 degrees. I used his Peapod, which is said to be good to 40 degrees, along with the Target pad, a Thermorest 3/4 Ultraguide pad and a zero degree WM sleeping bag. The coldest was in the mid-20's and I was toasty.

12-05-2004, 00:18
I'm curious to know more about the Target pad (since I have one). Can anyone give a temperature range estimate for it? I'm a little afraid to take the hammock out with temps dropping into the 20s at night. Will the Target pad keep me warm in the 20s? Thanks.

My guess is that the 3/8" thick solid closed cell pads that Target cells are worth about 20 degrees of insulation... if that is all you use underneath, that would take you to about 50 degrees, without wind.


Panama Red
12-05-2004, 00:23
therma rest makes a pad to pad link that is made of something that holds tight to the pad and has the same exterior material as the pad. i think this might do the trick if you attach it from the pad to the hammock. and if you care about interior decorating they will color match it to your pad .

12-05-2004, 09:26
My guess is that the 3/8" thick solid closed cell pads that Target cells are worth about 20 degrees of insulation... if that is all you use underneath, that would take you to about 50 degrees, without wind.

Guess I'll sleep in a tent this winter!

12-05-2004, 10:45
Guess I'll sleep in a tent this winter!

When you winter camp, what low temperature do you prepare for and what insulating pads do you use?

12-05-2004, 23:00
If the forecast is for temps below freezing, I take an old down bag that was rated to -20 when I got it. I've never used it at that temp, but it's kept me warm down into the teens with no trouble. I've got a full length EMS crash pad in 1.5" thickness (I think - could be 1.75") that has also worked down into the teens. I don't think I've ever camped out in single digit temps, so maybe some other folks could discuss really cold camping.

12-06-2004, 11:42
EMS's web site said that the EMS crash pad weighs 2 lbs 2 oz. I think the 3/8" Target pad weighs 10 oz. Would you take your hammock if the EMS crash pad would keep you warm enough?

12-06-2004, 13:38
Absolutely. I think that the hammock is significantly more comfortable on my old bones than is the ground, and I plan to use it so long as I can stay warm. I spent a night last month at Rausch Gap Shelter, sleeping on the wooden floor. My hips were in pain by morning. Wooden floors and hard ground didn't bother me 20 years ago, but they do now.

I think that the biggest problem with the EMS pad and the hammock is that the pad wouldn't be wide enough to provide insulation all around. Other folks have mentioned that you really need a pad that will wrap around you to stay warm in a hammock.

I'm getting the Hennessy underpad for Christmas, but the pad seems pretty thin, so I don't think it will provide adequate warmth when temps get down into the teens. It's possible that a combination of the Target pad, together with the Hennessy underpad, will work. I'll post when I get a chance to try out that combination.

12-24-2004, 09:40
I also use a Speer hammock. The Speer is a top entry hammock..it is very different from the Hennessey. (I own both). When it is cold I use the Speer Peapod that wraps around the entire hammock and I also use a top blanket. The Speer does not spread out flat like the Hennessey but this also means your pad does not have as much room to move around in. To offset the sung feeling from the Speer I use an inflatable pad. I have several different thermarests and switch them out depending on how cold it is. I use the prolite pad in the summer. I am considering purchasing the Big Agnes insulated pad for my spring hike. It is a little heavier but would be much more comfortable on a shelter floor and would provide alot of insulation in the hammock should the weather be cold this spring. As I have stated earlier I do own a Hennessey and a Speer hammock. They are both excellent products. I prefer the Speer because everything is seperate..you can setup the rainfly in a flash and use the hammock like a porch swing. It is very easy to cook dinner sitting in the hammock. I have a place I camp that looks out over a gorge. This is not a place you could tent camp. I can pitch the Speer hammock there-without the rainfly or bugnet-get inside the peapod and watch hawks fly all afternoon...or I can read a book or even take a nap. Of course the real reason I use the Speer is that my dog prefers it. It is much easier for her to jump in and out of it..(yes she does sleep with me in the hammock)

12-24-2004, 12:34
myb favorite hammock pad is from REI for 12.00 it is 25 inchs wide 3/8 in thick cut down to 54 inches,wieghs 7 oz.it grips the hammock and is very soft and comfortable:sun neo