Winter hammock camping is compatible with ultralight camping. I managed a 9.9 lb (4.5 kg) base weight pack for winter conditions. My whole pack for the three-day trip with food, fuel, and water was 15 lb (6.8 kg). Everything fit in my small backpack. Most of the advantages I outlined in my three-part, guest blog on Andrew Skurka’s site: also apply to winter hammock use. It certainly is pleasant not to sleep directly on snow.
While there are a few tricks to dial in your gear, in particular getting your under-quilt working, it seems clear to me that most people could easily master winter hammock camping. I managed to get it right the first night out, setting up in the dark at 12°F (-11°C).
The most noticeable difference between three-season and winter hammock camping was the need to stay exactly positioned over the under quilt. When 3-season hammock camping, if you move off the under quilt you might notice in 30 minutes to an hour that you are cooling off. When winter hammock camping, if you move even a smidge off of the under quit, within seconds you’ll notice heat rapidly leaving the exposed portion of your body.
Winter hammock camping is not only possible, it can be a wonderfully warm experience
(for examples of extreme winter hammock camping, be sure to see Shug’s , or his ). But you can’t just jump
into winter hammock camping, like I did, and expect traditional tent-based
techniques to work automatically. Hammocks have their quirks and one distinct
disadvantage in the cold winter months compared with tents: hammocks are hanging out
in the air. What makes hammocks heaven in the summer makes them cold as hell in
winter. The cooling convection saps essential heat at an alarming rate, and without
proper protections, a hammock camper will be chilled in moments.