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1074RE: Hammock Camping Condensation

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  • Ed Speer
    Apr 18, 2003
      Welcome--glad to hear you're experimenting with making your own gear.  Your sleep pad sounds well thought out and solves many of the problems we discuss here.  Condensation of body moisture is always a concern with any sleep pad--they are all vapor barriers, except for open-cell foam pads which will pass moisture.  But the condensation problems become greater as the temps drop and as the pad gets wider &/or longer. Wicking long johns or fleece next to your skin will help a bit to keep the moisture away from your skin; however once saturated, even these fabrics will feel wet to the skin. I deal some with the condensation subject in my Hammock Camping book--this is the biggest hurdle to sleeping comfort in cold temps. We can surround ourselves with sufficent heat trapping gear, only to created excessive condensation problems.  One solution is to go ahead and enclose the body below the head with a vapor barrier bag--this traps all moisture inside the VB bag and keeps it from getting into the insulation layers. It really is warm and dealing with the resulting wet body/clothes in the morning is not as difficult as imagined.  Another solution, is my custom-made PeaPod sleeping bag which goes completely around the hammock (removable bug net type only) and is breathable to allow most of the body moisture to escape. In temps below 40F, the PeaPod setup requires additional insulation such as top blankets and sleep pads, but the sleep pads can be kept small thus eliminating bulk, weight, and excess trapped moisture.
      Your suggestion of adding some fleece should help--let us know how it works.  Also, the Reflectix can be damaged with normal use--the Aluminum layers soon break along the creases between the bubbles and begin to peal off.  Keeping the Reflectix on the bottom of the pad may help protect it. Since the Reflectix and the closed-cell foam pad are both vapor barriers, there should be no difference in warmth no matter which one is on top. Likewise the reflective heat properties of the Reflectix is probably greatly overshowded by its' vapor barrier features--in other words, you may not be able to feel any real benefits from it's reflective properties no matter how it is positioned.
      With the return of Spring here in the SE, it's getting too warm for testing cold-weather gear in the hammock. Good to hear you've found some proper weather!  ....Ed
      -----Original Message-----
      From: bronco372003 [mailto:hlusk@...]
      Sent: Friday, April 18, 2003 12:04 AM
      To: hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Hammock Camping Condensation

      Hello to everyone, I really enjoy this forum. Great info.  I sleep
      in a HH and I made a new sleeping pad last week and tried it out the
      other night.  I used a 3/8" closed cell pad 27" x 72" , I made wings
      from my shoulders to my waist Overall width was 34"(I am broad in
      the shoulders) and I attached a piece or 5/16" Reflectix from my
      shoulders to my butt. The temp was about 29 degs F. and snowing.  I
      was quite warm all night but in the morning I had some condensation.
      I think if it was any colder I would have been quite wet on my
      backside.  Any suggestions ??  Or it that typical with the reflectix
      as a thermal barrier? I had the reflectix facing down. Maybe it
      should be up? Maybe some add a piece of polar fleece?  Any
      suggestions would be great.

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