Hammock Insulation - What Are The Best Options?

Hammocks, Insulation -

Hammock Insulation - What Are The Best Options?

Hammock Insulation - What Are The Best Options?

If you've ever hammocked or have started looking into hammocking, you would have come across the Achilles heel of hammocks. And that's cold butt syndrome.

So what is cold butt syndrome and how do I avoid it?

When lying in a hammock you have air all around you. The air tends to get cold at night, and where your body is in contact with the hammock it really feels the cold. It's the same situation for those campers that sleep on an air bed.

What's the best way to avoid it, and to get that cosy night's sleep?

Starter Method.

Chances are that you might already own a sleeping bag. So we'll start there.

As with sleeping on the ground (tents). When you're sleeping, you're compressing the insulation underneath you. This is no different in a hammock, and like sleeping on the ground, you'll need some form of insulation.

If you already own ground insulation you could use that. However, this method does work best with a double layer hammock. ie. one that has two layers of material underneath you, as you can slide your ground insulation between the layers to help hold it in place.

Foam mats. Yep, those cheap as chips ones. Provide great insulation.

Self-inflating mats. Work well enough. But don't overfill them with air, as this provides a more comfortable nights sleep.

Self Inflating Mat

Inflatable mats. Again, don't blow these up as much as you would do for ground sleeping. It's more comfortable this way.

Inflatable Sleeping Mat

For the cost-conscious, I have found that a foil backed blanket works really well. With the added bonus that I can use it as a picnic blanket or as a comforter in the hammock during a chilly day. Use it foil side up though.

Foil Backed Sleeping Matt

Luxury Method.

I say luxury, but I also mean for those that intend on using their hammocks outside of the summer season. Because let's face it, it's a great time to be out when the holidaymakers have gone.

For best results, an under quilt is the best option. This is a quilted duvet if you like, that is strung, usually with shockcord under, but close to the hammock. This means that the insulation is never compressed and provides a substantial amount of warmth. If you feel the cold, even on a summers night, this is definitely the way forward.

Hammock Under Quilt

You could then use your sleeping bag as normal in the hammock.

Alternatively. You could use a wrap around hammock quilt instead of a sleeping bag. The advantages of these are that they are easier to get into and out of and provide more flexibility. They are often much lighter than a sleeping bag, and therefore the additional weight of an under quilt is offset by this.

Hammock Quilt

Down or synthetic insulation?

I'll cover this in more detail in a future post. So I'll just cover the basics.


Warmer than synthetic. Lighter than synthetic. More compressible than synthetic, and therefore packs smaller. However, when it gets wet, has virtually no insulation at all.


Cheaper than down. Provides insulation even when wet. Though if anything wet is touching you then it will drain heat from you anyway.

For these reasons, I would choose a synthetic under quilt and a down hammock quilt to wrap myself in with.


If you're just starting out and experimenting with hammocks, or have some of the gear for ground camping already. I'd just start with the suggestions in the starter section above.

If you have already spent a few nights in a hammock and would like to be more comfortable and warmer, or are wanting to hammock out of the summer season, I'd recommend considering the under quilt route.

Final note.

If you're considering buying a sleeping bag for hammock camping, I would suggest that you choose a bag a grade up from what you would choose to sleep in a tent with. So rather than choosing a two season bag, choose a three season bag. You can thank me for that later. 

Hammock Insulation

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