Winter Hammock Camping

15 Toasty Tips For Winter Hammock Camping And Staying Warm

Winter hammock camping brings different challenges than regular hammock camping. Pretty much everything is harder.

From moving around with more clothes on to the constant struggle of keeping warm, but not sweaty, to the wonderful joys of peeing at 4 am in chilly temperatures.

Nonetheless, winter hammock camping is awesome. It just takes more preparation.

Winter Hammock Camping

The key to winter hammock camping

Staying dry is key.

The Norwegian arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen, who led the first expedition across Greenland, grounded his exploration strategies in the wisdom and practices of the Sami, the indigenous people residing in Scandinavia’s northernmost regions.

Apparently, Nansen noted the Sami’s deliberate and unhurried movements, aiming to minimize physical exertion that could cause perspiration.

This approach was particularly vital in freezing conditions, where excessive sweating could be detrimental, thus running or any intense physical activity was generally avoided in extremely cold temperatures.

With that in mind, let’s dive into the tips about winter hammock camping and how you can use these tips to make your next camping trip toasty and awesome.

1) Try Winter Hammock Camping In The Yard First

Winter Hammock Camping = higher risk. Everything is harder and the elements are different. That is why you should definitely test both your skills and your gear, before heading further out to camp.

Try winter hammock camping in yard

Make sure you have your bases covered.

Bring a quality-rated underquilt or sleeping pad that will match your camping trip requirements.

2) Take care of your feet

There are a lot of traps to fall into when it comes to your feet for winter hammock camping.

They are the body parts closest to the ground, and subject to snow, moisture, and sweat. Make sure to bring a good pair of boots, enough change of warm socks, and bring some bread bags or plastic bags for an easy DIY vapor barrier between layers of socks.

Remember, if your feet get cold, you get cold and your trip will be ruined.

3) Don’t get cold during the day

This point goes back to my introduction about how the Sami cope with the cold.

It’s all about keeping a baseline. Don’t allow yourself to start sweating (too much), or get too cold during the day. Be mindful to operate at a leisurely pace.

Check out: 40 Interesting Camping Stats (2024)

Which brings us to the next two pointers: layering clothes and sleep temperature.

4) Layer your clothes optimally

You should layer your clothes so you can adjust with more or less clothes depending on how cold it is and how warm or cold you are.

Here in Norway we say: “Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær”. Which translates to “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”.

Layering your clothes for cold winter hammock camping goes like this:

  • Base layer (underwear)
  • Middle layer (insulation)
  • Hooded jacket (optional extra layer)
  • Outer layer (shield)

For my base layer, I usually go for Merino wool.

The middle layer can be fleece, wool, or insulated jackets in synthetics or down.

Your outer layer is your shield against wind, moisture, snow, and rain. Waterproof and breathable is what we are aiming for here.

Stay away from cotton, as it absorbs moisture and stops insulating. Cotton kills, as they say.

It is important to adjust layers quickly if you start sweating.

5) Go to sleep perfectly toasty

Be mindful not to go to bed cold. Do some camp chores, and some jumping jacks and adjust your layers to retain that heat.

Make sure you are perfectly toasty when you tuck in for the night.

6) Bring dry camp clothes When Winter Hammock Camping

Part of being perfectly toasty for the night is making sure you bring dry camp clothes you can change into when you go to sleep.

Also, don’t hang around in sweaty clothes and allow your body to become chilled.

7) Protect your water source

It’s easy to forget about your water when you are heading out in winter.

There is always the option of boiling snow. However, if you bring water or a filter, it can freeze and leave you without a water source. Make sure you have a way of handling that, like keeping some water or your filter in your sleeping bag.

8) Spend more time preparing for winter hammock camping

When you go winter hammock camping, you will need to prepare a lot more. Winter clothes, and layers, by themselves, will take up more of your pack and you might even need a bigger backpack. Then there is other additional gear like underquilts, snow shovels, and so on.

A sled can come in handy when winter camping. You can pack a lot more, and it doesn’t really hold you back when traversing in snowy landscapes.

9) Fuel the furnace

When I was out in winter as a kid, I always got to hear that I needed to “fuel the furnace” to stay warm. It stuck.

When you consume food and beverages, your body creates heat. Then there’s the added benefit of the items being hot themselves. Which can also be a mental pick-me-up.

Drink hot drinks while winter hammock camping

Make sure you bring your favorite hot beverages, like:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Hot cocoa
  • Hot chocolate
  • Yerba Mate
  • Hot water

Bring snacks and dig in through the day

In Norway, we can bring some reindeer jerky or cured sausage, but we ALWAYS bring our beloved Kvikk Lunsj, which translates to “quick lunch”. It’s a chocolate.

Whatever you bring, make sure it lasts and that you can keep eating it. So you better like it pal!

10) Bring a hot water bottle

Boil some water and pour in that baby. Make sure you secure the lid, we don’t want any accidents. Then place between legs. Can’t really go wrong with this one. So toasty.

11) Don’t leave any body part exposed

That means your head as well. From now on, you are a balaclava baby. Time to double hat up and wool hats are your friend.

12) Choose your campsite wisely

While the view from that nice peak can be a real treat camping at in summer, it can leave you really exposed to the gnarly winds of winter, chilling you to the bone. Camping anywhere isn’t always a choice, you need to find that golden spot.

Look for natural shelter like trees and behind bigger rocks.

13) Check the weather

Check the weather and prepare for the worst anyway. Tell someone where you are as well.

14) Have a backup plan

If it is your first-time winter hammock camping, it is especially important to have a backup plan. Having your car parked nearby and bringing some emergency supplies can make all the difference.

15) Bonus: Hand warmers

While I often struggle to find room to use hand warmers in general, they can come in quite “handy” in winter camps at night.

If you are feeling a bit chill, just pop some hand warmers.

Conclusion on winter hammock camping tips

In conclusion, winter hammock camping offers a unique experience that demands proper preparation.

As we’ve explored, the key to a successful winter hammock camping trip lies in thorough preparation, appropriate gear, and a flexible mindset to adapt to the unpredictable elements of nature.

Happy camping and until next time, stay warm and embrace the winter wonderland from the comfort of your hammock!

Sources: National Park Service, National Weather Service

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