WindBumpers - keeping my sides warm
Latest in the stable of innovations from the Risky Dayton Hammock Shop!
I have always had problems with cold knee and cold shoulder in winter hammock
camping. When I am on my back, I have to make sure my overlap pad is well up
the sides of the hammock. When I turn on my side, my knee often pushes against
my down quilt leaving no effective insulation between the knee and the hammock.
The Garlington Insulator and the TravelPod allow me to put lots of insulation
below the hammock, but they both lie right against the side of the hammock,
giving no insulation there. Something had to be done.
I first tried sewing a pocket in the side of the TravelPod to hold insulating
clothing, like my Frogg Togg rain wear. Unfortunately, the pad of protection
was far too likely to drag down the TravelPod, ending up too low and pulling too
hard on the top of the travel pod, squishing the quilt over my chest and
decreasing it's ability to keep me warm.
Then the idea came to me to sew a tunnel like pocket along the long edges of the
hammock. This pocket is filled from the ends with bulky insulation like the
FroggToggs. It stands out from the surface of the hammock like a bumper. This
does two things:
- I now have insulation up at the top of the hammock on its sides. This is the
hardest place to get insulation from a pad. It directly insulates my shoulders
while sleeping on my back, and my knees and back when sleeping on my side.
- Secondly, the bumper creates an an air space between the side of the hammock
and the TravelPod (Or GI). The Travel Pod hangs from the WindBumper and does
not touch the side of the hammock. This was one of the failings of the original
designs when I tested them, and the WindBumper does an excellent job of creating
the needed insulation space.
To make a wind bumper on a 48 inch wide double bottom hammock, I:
- cut two rectangles of 1.1oz ripstop 9 inches by 48 inches
- hemmed the two pieces with half inch hems all around.
- sewed one long edge of the rectangle along the center 48 inches of the long
edge of the hammock on each side. The rectangle is sewed to the outer fabric
shell of the double bottom.
- measuring from the long edges of the hammock, the other long edge of the
rectangles are sewn 6 inches from the edge and parallel to the long edge. The
hemmed rectangle is about 8 inches wide, and the extra material makes a long
pocket open at both ends. There is no stitching transverse to the hammock that
could create a weak area across the major axis of pull.
For use, I put my arm through the long tube and draw the pants of my FroggToggs
through one tube. In a similar way, grasping the end of the collar of the
FroggToggs jacket, I pull the jacket through the other tube. The FroggToggs
do not compress much with the weight of the TravelPod. The tube could also be
filled with other clothing, leaves, or paper.
This is a simple addition to the hammock which adds a little less than an ounce
to the weight. I have used this and find I sleep warmer and more comfortable
with it in place.
Modifications: For 60 inch wide hammocks, optimal placement of the WindBumper
may not be along the edge, but instead, with the top of the bumper 6-8 inches
from the edge of the hammock. The design is in its test period with a double
bottom hammock. I believe the design is compatable with a single layer hammock
as well, though Ed Speer has some doubts. Time and testing will resolve the
I am beginning to consider a series of these tubes, like corrogated cardboard
(baffeled tubes), all the way across the bottom of the hammock, into which can
be inserted spare clothing or specially made down filled (or synthetic
insulation) tubes. In such a configuration, the pad we put in a hammock may
become unnecessary. In essence, it is a way to hang an underquilt, but allowing
one to decide what goes in as insulation - anything from air to down to leaves.
However, that is considerably more difficult. For the present, this easy
modification of the WindBumper is something which I wanted to share. Perhaps
someone else will find it useful this winter.
Protect the ground...hang from trees.