View Full Version : Question for hammockers, how wide????

04-09-2005, 04:05
For those of you using a pad inside the hammock how wide is the minimum?
The reason I'm asking is that Big Agnes Insulated Air Core pads are now available in 25inch widths...seems like when the Insulated Air Core pads came out many were excited but hammockers were not because they were not wide enough to use in a hammock.

SGT Rock
04-09-2005, 06:36
Imade a 24" wide pad work for 6 months while I was in Iraq.

04-09-2005, 06:57
so is this new from Big Agnes? i dont think they had one 25" wide before?

SGT Rock
04-09-2005, 07:00
I don't know. I just heard about a new pad recently on this. I've been so happy with my JRB underquilt I haven't paid attention to the pads.

04-09-2005, 07:01
I use a 20 inch pad augmented by some extra cloths that I stuff around my shoulders

04-09-2005, 07:04
but there are those who havent gone to underquilts, thought maybe it would be of interest to them...i just wondering if 25 inches is enough without augmenting like HOI does???
anyway just wondering out loud...

Ed G
04-09-2005, 07:58
Is using a 24 x 72 thermarest ok? Or should I just stick with my good 'ole closed cell pads?


04-09-2005, 11:41
I read and read this and other forums trying to get some ideas. None of this really mattered, however, until I actually TRIED a pad in my hammock. Experience is the best teacher, I guess. Just have to make sure the lesson isn't TOO hard. I tried Therma-Rests and found they work well from the insulation standpoint, as might be expected as this is one of the things they were designed to do.

I really wanted this to work, too as I ALREADY had the ThermaRest (thus no additional $$) or, if I decided to use one of the old blue foam types, they're cheap.

I tried it in several different conditions from cool to downright cold, mostly in the backyard so I'd have a bail-out option.

I found it to work ok with some shortcomings. First, I couldn't keep it under me very well. It your pad isn't under you, it's just a badly designed blanket. Second, mine was often too narrow to shield my sides from the cold where the hammock wrapped up on the sides. It would have to be both wider and stiffer to adequately protect my sides. Stiffer seemed to defeat one of the main benefits of a hammock (as I saw them).

I tried several things like adding clothing worn or put beside me, or wrapping a blanket around my shoulders, heavier sleeping bag, all as much as I could without adding too much expense in the experimentation.

Then, to approximate an underquilt, I tried various ways of attaching a regular blanket or synthetic-filled comforter to the underside of the hammock. Clothespins couldn't hold the weight of the makeshift underquilt up. Safetypins worked a bit better, but I often wished they weren't stuck into my hammock for fear of damage and/or I didn't get the needed sag of the quilt right in relation to how it would be when I was IN it (unfortunately, I couldn't be both in and out of the hammock at once :)).

Eventually, I hit on a good fit by luck and found that THIS was the way to go for me. No wrestling with the pad, sides adequately insulated as well. I remember the first time I got the fit right: I felt the warmth under me as never before almost immediately.

It got even better when I got a professionally-made purpose-built underquilt, too. easy to use and works great. since I had been using a sleeping bag unzipped as a quilt, I got a down quilt as well. Another improvement in function and reduction of weight.

This is what worked for me and I would suggest experimentation. Don't spend a dime (ok, maybe a quarter) until you get something conceptionally close to what you want to try and see how it works. then make your normal decisions towards the purchase of gear for that purpose. Some will get the best they can afford and take really good care to make it last, some will get something cheap and upgrade later, some will look very closely and then make their own version, etc.

Just experiment and then go for it. Heck, you may even decide that hammocks aren't what works for you. Fine. At least you know you tried it and can honestly say that you are more comfortable in the shelter or tent or whatever. If you're here reading this (not many are still reading on this bleeding post, I bet), you are probably already pretty sure you're going to be better off in a hammock.

Sorry to have gone on for so long.

"ME & U"
04-09-2005, 12:41
I tried a therma rest for a bit. I found that if I slide my spare clothing over the mat it stayed in the hammock better and didn't slip around so much. I've since switched to a closed cell mat about 25" wide but only need it in colder weather and it goes under my hammock, inside my bag cover...

04-09-2005, 13:54
Back in November, I used both. I used a 3/4 Thermarest Ultraguide as cushion for my pack. I also brought a Target blue pad 30 (?) inches wide. I cut off the corners of the blue pad to let the Spears Hammock close at night, and used an underquilt.

I was toasty warm. I think the blue pad would have been sufficient. From using an HH, I know the Thermarest alone is too narrow, as my shoulders chill in contact with the fabric.

04-09-2005, 14:30
i use a 24 in wide pad i bought at wally world it is a combo open and closed cell pad, 1/4 in closed cell laminated with 3/4 in open cell egg crate .it form well to your body and hammock its cut down 42 in long,it long enough to go fom my shoulders to below my knees,it cost 14.99 it wieghs 10.5oz,it also is the support for my pack,i roll it up like a cylinder stick it in my pack and place every thing
in the center,i love this pad,you dont sweat on it,i also trimmed the corners
to reduce a little more wieght,

04-09-2005, 14:47
For those of you using a pad inside the hammock how wide is the minimum?
The reason I'm asking is that Big Agnes Insulated Air Core pads are now available in 25inch widths...seems like when the Insulated Air Core pads came out many were excited but hammockers were not because they were not wide enough to use in a hammock.
25 inches will get the job done,i sleep on a 24 in pad and use a speer top quilt
no problem in the upper 20,s:cool: neo

04-11-2005, 17:53
I use a 20" pad with my Big Agnes sleeping bags in my Hennessy. I have yet to have any problems at all. Its actually kind of nice in warmer weather because you can actually dangle a leg or arm off of the pad to cool off a bit. I have not slept on a wider pad so I cannot comment, but as I say, I have had no issues with my little 20 incher....

04-19-2005, 19:50
I have used a 20 inch pad extensively, cut in two 36 inch lengths and then used as an overlap pad.


The narrowest pad I was ever comfortable with in cool weather at full length was the 27 inch wide Target pad.

My new hammock has integral insulation 32 inches wide and 44 inches long, and it is at what I would now call bare minimum for sleeping at less than 45 degrees 3 AM temperature.